Welcome to the world of Leaving Records, founded in Los Angeles in the year 2008. The label was launched by the experimental musician/producer Matthewdavid, and visual artist/designer Jesselisa Moretti. Initially the company had a strong focus on tape releases featuring a wide and wild mixture of genres ranging from odd hip hop, experimental, psychedelic to glitch, IDM, rock and synth-pop. Their artists roster included now famed artists like Julia Holter, Sun Araw,Diva, and Ras G. Since a while Leaving records also focus deeply on contemporary ambient, New Age and avant-garde celestial sounds by old and new artists like High Wolf, M. Geddes Gengras, Dntel or Laraaji. For Carhartt WIP Radio Matthewdavid compiled a Leaving Records show that mirrors his label perfectly. His mix starts with hip hop and beyond grooves full of glitch sounds and abstracts electronic tones. In the middle it melts into an ocean of ambient and New Age spheres that are made to elevate. Enjoy.
Hello Matthew, can you introduce yourself to us a bit? Where are you coming from, what is your occupation, what did you do in the past as a producer and label runner?
Matthewdavid: Coming from LA, raised in Atlanta but I call LA home now - occupation is father, husband, Leaving Records owner and operator, Stones Throw Records artist relations, & solo artist. In the past I have released experimental electronic, and instrumental hip hop music with Brainfeeder and various other boutique cassette labels. In the past - the label started modestly - it has grown from an art project releasing cassettes out of our garage, to now being distributed by Stones Throw.
Any role models, inspirations, or benchmarks for Leaving Records when it was launched in 2008?
Matthewdavid: :) Loads of cool tape labels particularly the Stunned label. As a hippie on a vision quest coming from a hip hop background I found LA the perfect place to immerse myself into the electronic music scene and bridge the gap between DIY experimental drone, New Age, ambient electronic, Jazz, folk, whatever really... .
And how did the process of running your label change over the past years?
Matthewdavid: I think slowly gaining a reputation for releasing quality cassettes with incredible packaging and design, alongside of being a “LA beat-scene producer” has led us to where we are now, able to release vinyl now and have world wide physical distribution - hailed as tastemakers, not being afraid to take risks and be bold with our releases.
Can you name us five good reasons to buy each single Leaving release?
1. Music is magic
2. Music is magic
3. Music is magic
4. Music is magic
5. Music is magic
What person can you imagine listening to Leaving releases?
Matthewdavid: Any and every person possible no matter the walk of life or demographic… seriously there’s something for everyone!
Can you still identify up to today with all Leaving releases?
Matthewdavid: Certainly, without hesitation I’m confident in saying our catalog is strong and influential.
What do you find most challenging about the work you do?
Matthewdavid: Making money!
How did Leaving and its sub label Modern New Age affect the musical history in your opinion?
Matthewdavid: Whoa! Modern New Age is our sub-label? sick! Great idea……the New Age series affects the musical history in dialing - in pathways to heal oneself with music as the means or the guide to doing so more directly than most other genres we release, which is a lot!
What qualities do you look for as a "curator" of music and what process do you follow for getting new artists??
Matthewdavid: I follow my heart. I listen to my community and immerse myself within it every single second of every single day. I’d say every release is an artist who is a friend.
Leaving releases al sorts of formats from tapes to vinyl. How come and what you like about spreading music on different mediums?
Matthewdavid: Each medium feels and sounds different and the listener can obtain a different personal, sensual relationship with each format.
Matthewdavid: Oh wow we just confirmed a record with Japanese producer Seiho - next level sound design abstraction with Jazz and avant-garde, mixed with hard, pure Electronic Dance Music. Many more Modern New Age releases, including the timelessness tapes of my wife Diva Dompe. SunPath is a beautiful, hyper hyper rare privately issued New Age artist from the 80s that I’m currently reissuing. Carlos Niño and friends new LP of super celestial Jazz and New Age is a big blissful bloom, due spring equinox and features folks like Iasos, Madlib, and Kamasi Washington.
What is your opinion on the digitalization of music and new listening behaviors like streaming?
Matthewdavid: Digitization? I embrace it and hope for the future to be more fair for artist and independent labels royalty percentages. I think its helpful to have accessibility and easy playback for whatever crazy content we release into the world.
You run your label together with the visual artist Jesselisa Moratti: how important are the non-musical components of your releases, i.e. packaging and album art?
Matthewdavid: Incredibly important. In the labels beginning years, it totally helped us carve a niche into the tape label scene of the 21st century - the design was on-point, congruent, and strong. We have worked with other amazing designers as well, Kristian Henson, Seth Ferris, Will Pesta, all incredible. Jesse started the label with me and is an essential component to visual direction - she’s the best mixed media artist I’ll ever know.
How much does your life as a musician influence your judges on demos and new artists for your labels?
Matthewdavid: It is really everything. I would like to say I operate an ‘artist-led label’ or ‘artist-run label’ my tastes as an artist, as a musician informs my curatorial decisions - no doubt. Leaving is what it is because this freak is running the operation!
Why in your opinion is New Age music currently in such high demand?
Matthewdavid: Because humanity has been some serious abuse so its time for some healing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
What is the next project you are working on for Modern New Age?
And what old albums you rediscovered lately and what makes them special?
Matthewdavid:The Byrds: Notorious Byrd Brothers, Steely Dan: Aja. The are both albums my parents enjoyed so they’re special to my family but as a kid, I rebelled against what my parents were into, that is why I got so obsessed with hip hop (my punk music, it turned out).
If you could be in any band, living or dead, for a day which band would it be?