True to its name,
Important Records has established itself as one of the prime progenitors
of contemporary "experimental music," whatever that might mean to you.
Since its two first releases - by Daniel Johnston and Merzbow no less -
Important has carved out a discography that reads like a who's who of
unconventional music. Simply put, if you could choose one label and listen
to its releases alone for the rest of your life, well, Important wouldn't
be a bad place to start.
1. Is there a special significance to the
name "Important" or is it just a reflection of confidence?
Important was a word I noticed people use all
the time when talking about records. Records are Important, of course.
However, there have already been 3 other labels and a fake label on the
Patty Duke Show with the same name so the special significance has been
ruined for me. I wish I'd known about all the other labels when naming it.
But, at the end of the day, it's just a name.
2. How did Important Records come
together? How did an fledgling, upstart label snag Daniel Johnston and
Merzbow for its first two releases?
I had called Dan's dad and he put me in touch
with the label who was doing Dan's next record and they were willing to
work with me. Same goes for Merzbow. The doors seemed to be open in both
instances. It was a really exciting time.
3. What is your guilty pleasure?
I don't feel guilt in pleasure.
4. How important (guffaw) has Merzbow been
to the Important label?
Extremely. We're honoring that significance
right now with a 13 CD series packaged in a hand made bamboo box.
5. How did Important link up with John
He died a few months before I started
Important so I never had the distinct pleasure of working directly with
him. His work has had an enormous impact on my life and listening. My
children listened to him before listening to anything else.
6. Important releases a lot of records
from already well-established acts, but there are also a few less
recognizable names. what do you look for in a
potential Important record?
If I love the record, ultimately, I'd love to
7. Describe your clientele. Do you have
any devoted customers that buy every release?
There seem to be a lot of dedicated customers
who pick up most Important releases. A lot of customers also seem to have
listening habits in line with what the label does because they purchase
titles from across the sound spectrum of the label. I cherish these folks.
8. Who is your favourite philosopher?
Does Ayn Rand count? She must. The
Fountainhead just makes so much sense.
9. Take us into the Important office. What
is the average day like?
Cleaning yesterdays mess. Making today's
mess to be cleaned tomorrow. Trying to climb to the top of the mess in
order to see into the future.
10. Who on your roster would win in a
I guess it depends on who they were fighting.
11. Vinyl vs. CD - compare and contrast.
Vinyl, of course, though I'm perfectly fine
with CDs as well. Only recently has my stereo attained a level where LPs
sound noticeably warmer and more detailed than CDs. However, there are so
many garbage pressings out there that CDs are often preferable.
12. Is there a release that is
particularly dear to you?
Asa Irons & Swaan Miller. It's the best
record on Important that nobody bought.
13. There's a label named Insignificant
Records. Do you consider them your mortal enemies?
I'm unfamiliar with the label.
14. What is Important's all-time best
Ocean's Here Where Nothing Grows.
15. Got any strange stories?
Oh god, yes. I'd prefer not to even think of
them let alone repeat them.
16. What is your dream release?
The new Cave record on Important. The dream
is becoming a reality.
17. Does anyone support themselves on
Important employs a couple of folks in-house
though I'm not sure if any of the artists are able to support themselves
entirely on their music alone.
18. What is your favourite colour? Justify
I love all colors equally. Seriously. I try
to never pick favorites.
19. Where is Important Records going to be
in 5 years?
Bigger and better hopefully.
20. Where is Important Records going to be
in 50 years?
I want to be sitting in an ocean-side sauna
like Henry Jacobs. My goal is to own next to nothing by my 60th birthday
so that means that Important fans only have 27 more years of enjoying this
conducted by Michael Tau