D-TRASH Records

D-TRASH Records
Name: D-TRASH Records
Date of Birth: 1998
Releases to Date: 116 CD-R/MP3 releases, 7 official CDs, 1 seven-inch EP, 1 DVD
Biggest Sellers: Schizoid All Things Are Connected (2000) and Unitus Cross Contamination (2002)
Current Releases: Various D-Trash Records’ Music Videos DVD, Various A Tribute To Atari Teenage Riot, Matamachete Tanin No Kao, Blipvert Stop:Skronk:Explode
Online: www.dtrashrecords.com

In theory a record label exists to sell records. D-Trash Records sells music, but capitalistic enterprise has little to do with the label’s guiding philosophy. When things started early in 1998, founding artists CPUWAR and DJ RABIES envisioned D-Trash as a collective — "a symbol of brotherhood and allegiance in the underground electronic community, meant to lash out at elitism and predictable un-exciting electronic music.” Jay Schizoid joined several months later and took over in 2000, organizing the energy and online networking of isolated artists working to get their own and each other’s music "out to the world.” As Schizoid explains, "Without a scene to operate within, we create our own.”

"Our music is very much at home with any of the more extreme or experimental techno/gabber/breakcore/digital hardcore/ industrial/ noise genres. Ideology-wise our label and its roster have a cyberpunk aesthetic and outlook. We come from an anti-government/ establishment/religious/corporate mind frame. Many of our artists harbour radical left-wing attitudes and beliefs, from vegans to hackers to those involved in direct action. The extreme nature of our music doesn’t lend itself to fence sitting. We all operate internationally to do what we can toward change in our own settings.” Identifying with the DIY spirit and revolutionary music of influential labels like Digital Hardcore Recordings (mid- to late 1990s), Earache Records (first 100 releases), and Relapse (early to mid-’90s), D-Trash artists range from metalized hybrids to acts with electronic/DJ appeal. "There’s a lot of ‘extreme electronic’ that does not ‘rock’; it has no energy or vitality,” Schizoid says. "We all play electronic music but we’re not hiding behind our equipment and nerded out. Our music sometimes has yelling, guitars, noise, spirit. There’s an extremity and urgency not found on other stuff, a direct and concise vibe.”

First releasing material on CD-R then as freely shared MP3s, in 2000 D-Trash introduced D-Trash Technologies as well for the distribution and promotion of officially-pressed CDs, beginning with Schizoid’s All Things Are Connected. The different formats allow D-Trash to balance DIY integrity with professional promotion, or being heard with selling tangible, high quality hard copies. "Many of our digital releases from our artists are their first album ever — great stuff we stand behind but the artist may be testing the waters with the promotion side of music. We offer those artists camaraderie amidst our better established artists, who might be at a point where they only want to release music that is sold.”

Schizoid describes the relationship between D-Trash and its artists as a "loose affiliation”: "Some want to be on the frontlines with us and out there spreading the word about D-Trash, and we’d probably expect that they’d do every release as a D-Trash release. Other artists do one album only and then that’s it.” For those committed to ‘spreading the word,’ D-Trash’s strategies are unsurprisingly high-tech and lo-fi: "intense viral internet tactics, photocopied flyers, word of mouth, posters at record stores, free CD samplers given out at local shows, podcasts of new releases, contests with magazines, label features in zines/press… We’re not out to market the digital releases: those are free promotion, free publicity, and part of our obligation to the underground that we come from, helping expose this great hardcore talent.”

DIY tactics keep the costs of running D-Trash low; in fact, the label’s highest expense is postage. "Since this is such a digital realm, there are not really recording costs; all of us have knowledge of home recording and have our setup well in place to make our own masters. The costs of releasing a new pressed CD and everything that comes along with it are a lot, but those are more occasional than day to day. Daily operations don’t cost anything except all the time I spend on it, which is one of the benefits of our approach. Otherwise, for financing and resources we concentrate strictly on ‘selling’ our professionally manufactured CD albums that are store ready. When we make a profit after the expenses of a release, we basically split it 50/50 with the artists.

"Although our sales are low (such is the difficulty of releasing independent music, and fringe/cult-genre music at that,) I can safety say our download numbers are in the tens of thousands, if not the hundred thousands. Tracking download numbers is difficult because the material that we want to be digital and traded for free, we put out through so many avenues. We take advantage of every nook and cranny of the internet to spread the word about independent music. You search for D-Trash online and you’ll find thousands upon thousands of results. When D-Trash is gone it will be decades before all that is cleared off of the net.”