Divorce Records

Divorce Records
Date of Birth: 1999
Releases to Date: 30
Biggest Seller: Be Bad/Attack Mode seven-inch; The HoldNeedEP
Upcoming Releases:Dog Day/Husband and Knife split cassette; Torso/Unicorn split CD
Online: www.divorcerecords.ca

Named after label founder Darcy Spidle witnessed a seemingly ill-fated wedding, Halifax’s Divorce Records first began when Spidle, aka Chik White, found himself facing commitment of a different kind. His band at the time was getting familiar with the machinery of the music business, but the turning of those gears was ultimately leaving Spidle discouraged. Perceiving DIY culture as a nemesis to the industry formalities that were holding him back, Spidle started up Divorce as a way to "escape some bullshit.” With a strong focus on noise, experimental, and punk, Divorce has since been working with some of Halifax’s best underground offerings, like Be Bad, Torso, and the Hold, but the label isn’t married to any one genre. Although the label takes its name from a broken union, its attitude couldn’t be more steeped in the values of loyalty and encouragement. Community-based and DIY to the core, Spidle points out that although it’s his label, he likes to give the artists as much freedom as they need.

Do Unto Others
"We have pretty open-ended relationships with the bands. I don’t want to have any contracts so bands can go and do things with other labels. There’s nothing holding anybody back. It would be nice if the bands end up going on and doing bigger things with bigger labels and we could be where they put out their short-run EPs and things like that. I just feel like contracts are too restraining. I’ve been in the situation where I’ve signed a contract and it feels icky.”

Looking for New Recruits
"As far as recruiting bands goes, I usually see them live. All the bands at this point are from Halifax. That’s going to change a bit, though, because we’re putting out a release by Unicorn from California so that’ll break that cycle. But the Divorce bands are usually people we’ve seen live. I get demos sent to me but I haven’t followed up on any of those yet. Music to me I guess is primarily a live thing. Every band on the label, in my opinion, is one of the best bands I’ve seen in this city so that would be the criteria for them being on Divorce.”

Colouring Outside the Lines
"It’s hard to say what our niche is. I feel there’s certainly a scene happening right now where there’s this DIY experimental noise thing going on with short-run releases, and I think we fit into that, or at least one side of the label does. Other than that I would say our niche is just people interested in underground music that’s not overly genre fascist. I feel like we haven’t really narrowed down a certain target market as such. It could be our downfall, or not, I’m not sure. It hasn’t seemed to hurt, though. It was something I was worried about, especially when Dog Day and Husband and Knife came on board. It just seemed a little bit too far from what we were doing, but I think it’s actually helped a lot. People’s interests in music are wider ranging than maybe I assumed. In this day and age people seem to like a bit of everything so it might work.”

No I.D. Required
"The label’s identity has always been an issue. It kind of started as a punk label, genre-wise, but I’d come across bands and acts that I really liked that really didn’t fit into that category, so I had to take it as it came. It seems to be working out. I think that there’s some common ground with all the bands on the label in that they’re creative and they will play shows together. Torso has played with Dog Day, believe it or not. I like that idea. I think that’s when interesting music is created, when extremely different genres come together a bit.”

Living in the Eighties
"There’s not much of a profit margin on seven-inches...You have to sell a lot of records to get your money back in the first place, especially when you want to silk-screen the covers and do a nice job. I’ve found that to be a problem but at the same time I love vinyl so it’s definitely worth it. We’re trying to cover all the ground as far as format. We’re doing a really short-run Dog Day/Husband and Knife split cassette… There was one other cassette release that Gilbert Switzer made. I just think it emphasizes that DIY ethic, that old tape trading thing of the `80s. A few short-run labels have done cassette releases recently and I think it’s an interesting format. It does go right back to the very idea of doing things for yourself.”