Through its close to 10-year historical past, Dark Entries has established itself as a buy-on-sight imprint for lovers of dark-edged, brooding or idiosyncratic sounds that have been born throughout or take affect from the ‘80s. The imprint has developed a stage of belief few labels handle to perform on such a large scale in underneath a decade, with out compromising on an ethos of delivering releases from influential artists that exist on the outskirts of digital music.
But regardless of the imprint’s success, Dark Entries’ label founder Josh Cheon says his focus has by no means been based mostly on gross sales numbers. “I didn’t begin the label for achievement and don’t launch data for a recognition contest,” he tells DJ Mag over the cellphone from his hometown of San Francisco. “If I hear one thing I like, and might’t discover an inexpensive copy or it was by no means launched on vinyl, that’s the place I are available.” He additionally says his philosophy on deciding on whether or not to launch an artist is easy: “Be private and trustworthy. No gimmicks.”
Although the label does launch new music, with EPs slated for Cardopusher and Photonz earlier than the top of the yr, a lot of its back-catalogue centres round rereleasing uncommon or laborious to search out ‘80s-centric music – which has included EBM, new wave, Italo, Hi-NRG, proto-house, synth pop, submit punk and extra.
“I like melody and rhythms and have been listening to music with my ear tuned in since I used to be a child,” he explains of the sounds surrounding the label, earlier than citing Sad Lovers & Giants ‘The Things We Never Did’, Q Lazzarus ‘Goodbye Horses’, debut albums from Alphaville, Soft Cell, OMD, Depeche Mode and Ministry in addition to every thing made by The Cure and Siouxsie Sioux within the ‘80s as essential for him.
“I've been gathering vinyl since I used to be a teen in New Jersey, spending my weekends in Manhattan digging in file shops by no means wanting to depart,” he continues of his love of gathering data. “I'd purchase so many again then and suppose, ‘Why am I hoarding all of these things? And how am I giving again, or preserving the cycle going?’”
Later in life, that’s the place Dark Entries got here in. “I all the time wished to open a file retailer,” Cheon explains. “Then in 2006 I moved to San Francisco and was residing in an SRO and I met Phil Maier who runs the weblog, A Viable Commercial. I expressed [interest in] wanting to start out a file label and he informed me to take a look at his weblog submit about Eleven Pond as my first launch, since band member Jeff Gallea left feedback expressing curiosity. By that point, it was 2008 and I requested my roommate, Christopher Rolls– who ran KimoSciotic Records – all these questions and he pointed me in direction of sources for vinyl urgent, mastering and printing file jackets.”
Hugely prolific, Dark Entries – which Cheon runs from an workplace at the back of San Francisco file retailer RS94109 – has racked up over an astonishing 200 releases since beginning in 2009. “I like to remain busy,” he laughs. “I blame my mother who held three jobs and raised three children by herself and located time for herself as nicely.”
Many know Dark Entries by way of the label’s Patrick Cowley compilations, with ‘School Daze’, ‘Muscle Up’ and final yr’s ‘Afternooners’ that includes revered materials from the digital music pioneers’ long-lost classic homosexual porn soundtracks. “Patrick Cowley is the soul of the label,” Cheon explains. “He was an outsider eager about creating new sounds with the most recent piece of modular tools. Because of his progressive strategy his music doesn’t have a time stamp on it. He handed away on the younger age of 32, so who is aware of what would have occurred as his sound stored evolving. There’s a thriller there, questions left unanswered, that the large response validates.”
The label has additionally managed to reissue seminal materials from cult bands like Severed Heads and Solid Space – in addition to that debut launch from Eleven Pond. It’s an strategy that may current a novel set of challenges. “Some bands are simpler than others,” Cheon muses. “It relies upon if the band members are nonetheless speaking and agree on the main points of the reissue. It took me over 5 years to trace down sure teams. Often artists have a stage identify that render them unsearchable.”
This yr, Dark Entries additionally launched the debut album from Bézier, the DJ/producer – actual identify Robert Yang – who can be a part of Honey Soundsystem, of which Cheon was additionally a member till leaving final yr to concentrate on Dark Entries. “Robert’s been my finest pal since we met in 2006,” Cheon explains. “He’s a complete outsider musically. His sounds are dark-NRG, one foot on the dancefloor, one within the witch’s cauldron. We share a love for melodies, surging arpeggios and symphonic breakdowns,” he laughs.
Each launch bears a meticulous consideration to element, repeatedly together with inserts with lyrics and images, screen-printed designs and unique jacket duplicate artworks. Cheon has used the identical mastering engineer since beginning the label, George Horn, who has EQed each challenge for vinyl and reduce every lacquer, which leads to impeccable pressings on every launch. “Consistency with an engineer not a magician, who understands the physics and science behind sound and audio and slicing a file,” is what Cheon says is vital. “My designer Eloise Leigh is my barometer for every thing in relation to aesthetics. She fastidiously balances retro concepts with clear or messy artwork route, creating essentially the most stunning designs that get an increase out of me every time.”
Next yr marks Dark Entries’ 10th anniversary, and Cheon says the label has a compilation of unreleased Victrola demos deliberate, in addition to the debut album from West Coast producer Vin Sol and “extra ‘80s homosexual porn soundtracks from a residing legend”. 2019 additionally marks the yr Patrick Cowley would have turned 69, which Dark Entries will have a good time by placing out a set of unreleased music from his faculty years – from the identical reels the Dark Entries launched homosexual porn soundtracks got here from – in addition to a e-book.
For the combination, Cheon has delivered a mixture of “underground ‘80s and up to date artists launched throughout 2018 or forthcoming subsequent yr”, together with music from Cold Beat, Sepehr, Photonz, Cardopusher, Kittin, Vin Sol and Cute Heels.
Listen to Josh Cheon’s The Sound of Dark Entries combine beneath.