Craft Singles Gets Back to Basics

Craft Singles Gets Back to Basics
Andrew March is no rookie when it comes to operating his own record label. Since 2004, he's been running Youth Club Records, a Halifax-based label that has released music by the likes of Al Tuck, Jon McKiel, Ghost Bees and Cousins. But now March is keeping busy by launching another DIY record company, Craft Singles.

As the name implies, this label specializes in singles, which are available digitally and on handmade cassettes. In an interview with Exclaim!, March explains his reason for focusing on smaller releases.

"I wanted to cover a lot of ground," he says. "I wanted to get back to doing the kind of thing that I started the label for, which is working with new emergent bands on their first projects."

March is personally handling production duties on all of the songs that the label releases. Sound engineering has long been his passion, and he started Craft Singles as a way to hone his recording chops with a variety of up-and-coming bands.

"I've been engineering most of my life, sort of as a hobby, and in the last couple years started wanting to make it more serious," he explains. "I wanted to establish a sound as an engineer and a producer. So the singles format is good for that, because it's not a huge commitment on the part of the band."

In the spring, the label wrapped up its first series of singles. This included five acts -- Omma Cobba, the Ether, the Friendly Dimension, Lantern and Kill Squares -- which have now been collected on a new 14-song compilation, available September 12 for $10 (plus shipping).

Listening to the tracks, there's no doubt that March is well on his way to perfecting his own sound, heavy on reverb and analog grit. Listen at Bandcamp, and watch a music video from each single over at Facebook.

What's more, March has already embarked upon a second set of singles; the latest tape, by Play Guitar, came out last month. This new series will be available as stand-alone releases, or as a five-part subscription in collaboration with Electric Voice Records (you can order here).

At the conclusion of this second series, the A-sides from all of the singles so far will be compiled onto a ten-track vinyl LP. The label boss goes on to explain that all of the bands from the first two series are based out of Montreal or Halifax.

"I have a very strong feeling that the scene in Halifax, especially right now, is particularly golden," he observes of the Maritime city. "There's just so many new bands cropping up all the time, and there's very few venues there to perform in, so it's just not a career thing. It's not a money-making endeavour."

With such a rich scene to draw from, March has already completed a third series, which he promises will feature "really new Halifax stuff, really young bands." For his planned fourth series, however, he will be looking elsewhere for exciting new talent. March recently moved to Toronto and is currently scouring the city for young bands.

For more information on Craft Singles, you can visit the label's Tumblr and Bandcamp pages.

The Friendly Dimension - World Destroyer from Robert Drisdelle on Vimeo.