Artist Feature: Not Not Fun Records / 100% Silk
Established record labels like Rough Trade or Warp Records once started out as small DIY companies. The Los Angeles based firms Not Not Fun Records and 100% Silk are the DIY of today to whom belongs the future.
Before we start to dive a bit into the already large and rich story of the Californian label Not Not Fun Records, we must say: they are really easy, nice, and obliging folks. Music lovers, who are totally dedicated to their vision! In terms of style, design, and all the other ways that can be used for artistic exposure they never follow one road. Instead since 2004 Britt and Amanda Brown release, produce, and compose music that is linked to an intiutive way of making music. A way that leaves the traditional model of proper producing beyond. That recourse old mediums like the tape to give them a contemporary rebirth. All this with a sort of New Age, No Wave, Drone, Noise, and Psychedelic music charme that is really difficult to compare with other contemporary music. Amanda Brown's personal label project 100% Silk, launched in 2011, is easier to describe. Here you get what people think and feel about House and Techno who are not bonded to a business ruled dance scene. Truly underground Electric Boogie, weird Pop, Italodisco, and dry House tunes. On both labels artists such as Peaking Lights, Maria Minerva, Ital, Dylan Ettinger, Sun Araw, High Wolf, and Amanda Brown's own musical reincarnation as LA Vampires already gained international fame for compositions that share one intention: to expand the mind of each new listener! Currently the Not Not Fun Records / 100% Silk family tours around Europe. Shortly before they hit the road we managed to talk to Britt Brown about their label, his childhood dream job, and some feelings towards the world he is living in.
How do you both know each other?
Britt Brown: I met Amanda in 2003 when she joined as one of the interns at a magazine I was writing for at the time. She got tired of it and quit so we started dating as an excuse to keep hanging out. Office romance.
What is your musical background? What was the impetus behind the start-up of Not Not Fun Records and 100% Silk?
Britt Brown: None of our parents are particularly musical but we both grew up being obsessed with bands and the culture of music. NNF was birthed almost on a whim, in February 2004 – just something Amanda suggested we do as a creative project to bond over. It rapidly took on a life and momentum of its own. 100% Silk was conceived in 2010 but didn't officially get going until January 2011. The vision for that was far more specific; we'd been running NNF for years at that moment and knew roughly how we wanted to operate it. The NNF umbrella is pretty inclusive but there's styles that don't make sense in that universe. 100% Silk was initiated with that in mind.
If you could describe the sound of both labels in one sentence, what would you say?
Britt Brown: A terrible thing to request of a label-runner, but loosely:
NNF – faded freeform electric hybrids
SILK – raw pleasure body music
What's the inspiration behind your work?
Britt Brown: The music we like. Art. People.
What do you find most challenging about the work you do?
Britt Brown: Keeping artists happy. Persuading people to pay for something they can easily steal on the internet.
You started with tape releases and you strongly provide vinyl. How important is the internet for you business-wise?
Britt Brown: The internet is the fastest and cheapest way to disseminate news, and make the things you create available to the widest possible audience. We've never run our labels in an internet-less world so business-wise it's like a foundation, something I can't imagine not being there. Aesthetically and financially I think it's a much muddier asset.
On what future projects are you working on?
Britt Brown: A new website. An infinity of new records and tapes.
How does living in Los Angeles shape your work?
Britt Brown: By making us happy. It's a beautiful place to live, which alleviates the stress and strain of working 6 days a week, 10 hours a day.
Why do you think the music you release receives such positive reactions?
Britt Brown: Does it? Reactions come in every color of the rainbow. It's very mysterious to us why things are received the way they are. It's not something that's easy to feel connected to. Everyone's a critic; so are we.
How do you think your generation is going to leave its mark on music?
Britt Brown: By dismantling the record industry.
What advice would you give to producers, DJs who are just starting out?
Britt Brown: Try to do something new. Don't be a dickhead.
How important are the non-musical components of your releases like packaging and album art?
Britt Brown: We wouldn't run a label if it wasn't for the physical dimension. Packaging and art are basically the reason we started NNF; there's so much potential in that realm, and it's so often underwhelming. When considering buying a record I haven't heard before, 90% of the time the art is what sways me to either pull the trigger or leave empty-handed.
What was your biggest hit so far?
Britt Brown: Peaking Lights "936" LP.
Would you say the music you release and the form how you do it got a message?
Britt Brown: Yes, but only implicitly: "Anyone can make fascinating music;" "Support DIY creative institutions;" "If everyone says something's good, it rarely is."
How did you select the tracks for your Carhartt Radio show?
Britt Brown: We listened through our itunes of new or recent-ish releases and made a folder of all the ones we were extra-feeling that day?
Who are you listening to these days?
Britt Brown: Everything that gets sent in the mail, everything we buy on a whim from used record bins, things we trade for from other labels and artists. I listen to music all day.
What's your life motto?
Britt Brown: Be real.
What shall the world forgive you?
Britt Brown: No clue.
Can you name us people that should collaborate for a better world?
Britt Brown: I could name the people that should collaborate for a better record.
What was your dream job as a child?
Britt Brown: Probably being a ninja turtle.
(Britt and Amanda Brown)
What are 5 words that would describe your personal fashion style?
Britt Brown: Accidental second-hand Californian industrial-casual.
When it comes to art, what are you most interested in?
Britt Brown: Untrained artists.
What superpower would you like to have?
Britt Brown: To heal the sick.
What were your teenage years like?
Britt Brown: Illegal.
What's your favorite Yoga pose?
Britt Brown: Falling asleep.
If you could be in any band, living or dead, for a day which band would it be?
Can you name us 5 things you used to believe!
Britt Brown: I still believe them.
What is a Friday night out with you like?
Britt Brown: It varies wildly.
You are located in Los Angeles. What are your favorite spots and secrets that you would recommend to somebody that comes around for a visit?
Britt Brown: LA's too populous for 'secret spots' but here's some options.
If they like weird stuff: Salvation Mountain
If they're rich: Inn Of The 7th Ray
If they're ironic: Venice Beach
If they're outdoorsy and/or hippie: Griffith Park
Currently the 100% Silk tribe tours around Europe. Find all dates on the flyer below: