Think Like A Key Music – DIY series

The ‘TLAK GOES DIY series‘ is a wonderful invitation to get acquainted with the idiosyncrasy of artists such as LMNOP,
R. Stevie Moore, Hawk Percival, Fran Ashcroft, and Brian Bordello.

Record boss Roger Houdaille (Ex Norwegian) talks about the creation of this series.

What prompted you to start the series?

As with many things I do, it just sort of manifested itself. Brian Bordello got in touch with his album at the same time I heard from Fran Ashcroft. Both are very different, but still kind of this DIY thing. Then, I was working with Alex Wroten and his Gatekeepers project, which R. Stevie Moore is on. Through that, I requested putting something of his out. Then I thought about LMNOP, who I’ve been in touch with the artist forever via his Babysue review site. Finally, an LA-based artist Hawk Percival surprised me with her songs, and we quickly made plans to put an album together. These were atypical releases, so I knew I had to tie them together somehow so it could be marketed better, and the DIY series was born.

The offer seems inexhaustible to me.  How did you make choices;  (first) which artists and (second) which records of those artists?

It’s true; it’s a vast and mostly unchartered world when it comes to DIY artists. However, since I didn’t start with the idea, the choices really made themselves. For R. Stevie Moore, I asked Alex which is his best album that hasn’t had a proper reissue, and “Games & Groceries” was high on that list. The “LMNO3” album hadn’t been available on CD, and it made sense to put that out.

Did everyone immediately think it was okay that you were going to polish up the sound?

Well, I didn’t try to truly polish the sound up. For example, “Songs For Cilla To Sing” wouldn’t work without its characteristic tape hiss. The same with RSM’s album, which had minimal polishing done. More cutting out bits that really shouldn’t be there, like tape drop outs at end of tracks, some sound balancing, basic EQ, etc. Overall, we do want a professional final product, but stayed faithful, taking into consideration that some releases are lo-fi. “LMNO3” probably received the most cleaning up, using the most up-to-date methods, and I think it helped in that case.

Will you continue the series after these releases?

I hope so. Of course, depends a lot on the reaction to this first batch. I definitely would like to keep releasing some more RSM and LMNOP records. As far as brand new efforts – I’m not sure. I won’t be looking for it. I don’t have time to look for any music, to be honest. But I’m sure some cool things will come around my desk. I have some of my own early DIY things that I may like to put out too.

How do you feel the series fits within the overall catalog of TLAK Music?

It adds a lot of character. I’m happy to have TLAK celebrate such an eclectic mix of artists that are not cookie-cutter, yet still accessible. I hope fans can tune in and get turned on to other artists who may not be on their radar otherwise, thanks to the diverse roster.

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