One of the most exciting record labels to me that's relatively bubbling under the radar is Die High Records out of Perth, Australia. While acts like Flume and What So Not along with labels like Future Classic getting a majority of the Australian headlines here in the states, Die High has hit the ground running for right around a year. With jaw dropping releases from Paces, Sable, and even Mr. Carmack, along with a grip of others of ridiculously high quality, I took the opportunity to open up the doors and give Gabe from Die High the opportunity to go in on some bits of their story so far. Massive shout out to him for taking the time to offer up some insight on how their operation works.
Die High have been steadily dropping some crazy records for just under a year now. How and when did everything formally come together for the label to take shape? Who’s involved in the business and who’s on the official roster (if there is one)?
Thank you! We started out about a year and a half ago just sharing some tunes for friends (to our other friends) who had self-released their music, that progressed into forming the label because we all liked how things worked... and it just kinda made sense for the combined goals of everyone involved. At the moment, we don't have an official roster because the label was initially just a digital space for our friends to do whatever they want, no fixed contract, walk away anytime, cowabungaaa! That space is still fuckin important to us, but we have some people that now want to work long term so an official roster won't be far away. Corey & I run the label el-solo from our houses and Die High has been an after-work thing mostly.
As much as you are willing to divulge, what are your responsibilities with Die High and do you project any potential internal expansion with label staff, roster, etc. in the near future?
Making sure yum cha can be delivered for meals is always pretty high on the responsibilities list. Telling Huang that the Shanghai dumplings need to be sealed otherwise the romance is standard. Outside R&D with artists, it's all boring administrative shit, emails and phone calls, but that is part of the process. I guess you could say we're in an expansion phase right now, we're going to have a full time recording space and some world class agents covering our bookings and publishing in the near future. So that's pretty big for our growth as a label. A good team is everything.
The majority of your releases come out for sale through the Die High Bandcamp with some freebies thrown in via SoundCloud. Was that the mindset from the beginning? What’s your reasoning for to selling the releases upfront and offering minimal free content? Is this allowing you to provide any substantial revenue for the artists releasing music on Die High?
Every release has been available for free in some form from the beginning. We've recently been offering the .WAV for $1 just for the nerds (weoucheaaa). The $1 helps pay our hosting fees, but you can almost always grab a 320 or at least the 192 kbps version free direct from us. We're currently negotiating our distribution to iTunes, Beatport, etc. For limited new releases, with limited vinyl also coming soon on selected titles. Plus USBs with games and other weird shit that people can pay for to put food in peoples mouths.
In your short time of cranking out an insane amount of quality music, what do you guys ultimately dedicate your success to, so far?
We can't take credit for much, the records go out and do their thing... and they become something people directly associate with. We're the vehicle for that to happen, so we just try and make the car look nice.
This slogan is hilarious. "Kids from the burbs with brains on the internet." Tell us about how you came up with that.
We quite literally grew up in the suburbs and spent heaps of time on the internet..
You've had a number of noteworthy releases, including standout stuff from Sable and Paces. What are some of your favorite releases from the short but stellar catalog?
Releasing Mr. Carmack was cool. He doesn't release on labels very often so that was really dope. I personally still listen to "Hold Moi" by JL a shit ton, but there are so many great songs. As far as EPs/packaged releases go, I think Sable & Paces came out fire, but we've got a few coming up that haven't come off repeat since they have been finished. So it's kinda the typical "I can't pick a favorite" answer.
Tell us a bit about what’s in store for the coming months and for the rest of the year. What are some long-term goals you guys see/have in the foreseeable future?
We're partnering on some good shows over the next few months. Mr. Carmack at Big Ape on April 26 is going to be ridiculous and it's the only thing I can mention because announce dates for the rest are still a few weeks away. Check the Die High Facebook over the next few months if you're in Perth for all the ticket links & info. Beyond that just doing our thing, putting out whatever we like :)