Curators of Death By Audio’s New Compilation Record Talk Illustrious Run in Brooklyn, Debut Live Version of Jeff The Brotherhood’s “Heavy Damage”

Meredith Schneider

In November 2014, a beloved Brooklyn venue – Death By Audio – was forced to close its doors for good. For almost a decade, Death by Audio played an integral part in the Brooklyn music scene, serving as a recording studio, an effect pedal workshop, a music venue, and a home to musicians and artists alike. Hosting bands almost every night, this warehouse space saw the likes of many faces, including – but certainly not limited to – Fan Service, Ghost BonesNatural Child, Parquet Courts, Future Islands, and many, many more. To make the most out of a downer of a situation, a couple of wonderful humans decided to celebrate the space by recording the last month of live music at Death By Audio. They then assembled a shortened – but still dense and impossibly amazing – compilation of the music that is set to release on August 5th. Start Your Own Fucking Show Space tracks the last days of DBA in November 2014, a sweaty, bittersweet homecoming for many artists who began their career there.

The record itself is phenomenal. It includes 26 live tracks from artists such as Ty Segall, Thee Oh Sees, Lightning Bolt, and more. It starts with a bang, with Dirty On Purpose‘s “Ways to Drown”, rolling right into Deerhoof‘s “Paradise Girls”. Every single song on the compilation is a stand out, and makes us realize just how difficult the curation process must have been. They couldn’t have chosen a better medium than vinyl to truly display the brilliance of it all, as it ebbs and flows with stunning clarity despite the irregularities that vinyl presents. Each track has its own nuances, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Included in the compilation is a live version of Jeff The Brotherhood‘s “Heavy Damage”. We’ve got the exclusive premiere of the track (before the album’s release on Friday) right here.

We spoke with two men who were very integral in both the existence of Death By Audio and the curation of the new release. Cyrus Lubin – who is from Famous Class Records (the label releasing the album) – coordinated and curated the entire release, and speaks about the crazy turnaround and effort put into the project. We got a second round of Q&A underneath, conducted with Edan Wilber, who was running Death By Audio at the time of its closing.

CYRUS 

How did the idea for “Start Your Own Fucking Showspace” come about?

Basically from the moment the eviction notice came in we knew we wanted to make something like this. We had done the flexibook a few years prior (which you know about already) so we already had a basic structure for taking on a giant multi-band project like this. Out of the gate we knew it was going to be a bit of a crazy release, it was important that the comp really reflect the space and it quickly became clear that wasn’t going to fit on a single or double LP.

Did you run work from every artist who played the venue during the last month, or was there a curation process?

Pretty much every show at DBA was recorded by Matt and Edan, that’s how we dug up the 2008 set from Ty Segall that comes with the deluxe bundle. In that last month though, there was definitely more care put into getting the best possible recordings, more mics, a better eye kept on the levels etc. 

In that vein, how did you choose the songs that you included on the compilation?

It took a long ass time! It was a collaboration for sure. I picked about 50 or so bands from the last month and Jay Heiselmann (who mixed like 95% of this record) sent over rough mixes for the full sets. I probably went through each of those 3-4 times and picked my favorite tracks and then sent those off to Edan and Matt. We swapped a bunch of them around until we had a list of 26 we all where really stoked on. 

What were all the bands’ reactions when you told them about it? Was everyone like, “FUCK YEAH!”? 
Yea that initial approval process on this was super easy. Everyone was so stoked. We made sure everything was pretty well dialed in before we reached out to the bands though so when they said “yes”, they knew exactly what the plan was.

Did you encounter any challenges while putting this all together?

Haha. Yea. I mean it’s 26 bands, so getting the mixes approved, etc. takes a lot of time just due to the number of people you’re talking to. 

What was your favorite part of putting this all together?

Edan and I worked so hard on the inner sleeves, which list out every show in the history of the space. It’s over 1,800 shows with at least 4 to 5 bands per night. It was a motherfucker to edit, double checking the dates where right, all the band names where spelled right, and the commas where in the right place… and I’m dyslexic so that’s like the #1 worst task for someone with a brain like mine. After countless passes at it I think we got them all. When I got the final printed sleeve it just looked and felt better than I could have ever imagined.

Wcolor 

EDAN

Tell me about your role in “Start Your Own Fucking Show Space.” 

I got to help in many aspects of the release from booking the bands, running the live sound at the show all the way up to picking some songs and having a hand in the design artwork to editing the epic list of all the shows that appear on the jackets of each of the LPs.

Who named the compilation? 

Cyrus selected the name and I loved it instantly! Its a take on the shirt I was wearing on the last day of the show space, which was my own take on a shirt that Nolan Strals of Double Dagger wore at the last show they ever played which read “Start your own Fucking Band”. I really loved the sentiment, like you loved this band, it’s gone, now what? Start your own band! So when it came time for DBA to be sent off I felt the same way. Hey if you loved this place so much make a place that I can come see a show at some day. Hopefully we’ll see some in the near future.

What are your emotions regarding the closing of Death by Audio?

I mean obviously I was devastated, something I had been working with for so long was just gone, it took me quite a while to look back on it. I moved to Florida just to get away from it all, only recently have I been able to go through it all again thanks to Matt’s film and Ebru’s photo book. The first few times I saw the movie were very difficult for me, it was the best/toughest time in my life and to just watch it all play out again is so surreal. But now I have a great time when I see it, it’s a lot of fun to relive despite the trials we went through.

What does this project mean to you?

It means a lot, it’s an audio celebration of the last month of the show space so its just a big party. Being able to see all the shows on the sleeves all written out is crazy too, almost 8 years of my life shrunk down to a few record sleeves. It’s a very weird feeling. 

What do you think Death by Audio’s legacy will be?

Hopefully it inspires people to continue on in the vein of what we were trying to do. Whether that means starting a band, creating a space for bands to play that’s not completely based on profit or just going to a small show with bands you aren’t familiar with because you might just enjoy it. 

What’s something you want everyone to know about this project and about Death by Audio?

It was a labor of love and that’s the only way any of this stuff could’ve ever happened.

What’s up next for you?

Just trying to get a sound gig here in Austin so I can stop eating PB&Js for two of my daily meals.

The Start Your Own Fucking Showspace compilation will be available in stores August 5th and is up for pre-order now both digitally and as a 3xLP. The LP set is housed in a double gatefold jacket with printed inner sleeves listing every one of the 1,800+ shows in the venue’s history. There is a limited pressing of the compilation on clear with opaque blue & red vinyl, available while supplies last.

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