On Starting Dust Collectors Part 2

It’s been just over a year since I joined Bret in creating what is now Dust Collectors Records, and we have come so far in that short time. Last week we partnered with Apple Music to create an animation for our Cookin Soul release “Daisy Vibes” (art pictured above). It’s been a wild year.

In our last post, Bret talked a little bit about his experience getting DC off the ground and putting together the first comp (Seasonal Sounds Summer). In this post I’ll go into my origins with DC and offer a couple insights I gained along the way.

In early 2018 Bret slid into my Instagram dm’s. Back then he produced music actively, and I had played one of his tracks during a weekly late-night radio show at my college’s station. Somehow he figured this out despite not actually hearing the song on air. He informed me that he also lived in Boston and that’s why he decided to reach out. He asked me questions about my lofi show and told me about the music collective he ran. I thought the whole thing sounded cool and offered to interview him on my show. 

When I asked Bret if he’d like to come in, he said something to the effect of, “yes, but I’m 16, is that ok?” And I said something to the effect of, “idgaf.” This brings me to my first insight: age absolutely does not matter when it comes to art and vision. Any person of any age can be inclined to both.

Truthfully, I was astounded that he was 16, and I was simultaneously suspicious that maybe I had overestimated his radio-worthiness (whatever that means). I certainly endured some small anxiety right up until his dad dropped him off and we were preparing to go on air. 

Looking back, I can say with certainty that had the interview never happened, I would not be co-managing DC today and I probably would not have spoken to Bret much beyond our original chat on Instagram. In our in-person conversation, I perceived his vision clearly and could tell he had the drive to pursue his goals. The kid clearly worked incredibly hard. Consequently, I had a new goal for myself - I wanted to be part of the collective.

This brings me to my second point: in order to grow a music collective (or anything, for that matter), being proactive is a requirement. I realize that this is an oft-repeated word of advice, but I cannot stress enough how important it is. 

I had interviewed Bret, but I still had no affiliation with DC other than receiving an invite to the massive Discord server of assorted producers and enthusiasts. Despite the fact that the collective preceded my meeting with Bret by over a year, management was my goal. To achieve this end, I made myself indispensable to DC. I spoke to Bret often and offered to build an accounting system, handle contract writing (I had no idea at the time how I would accomplish this), form an LLC, take over the instagram account, help build the website, and complete a host of other tasks that I believed would be beneficial to the collective.

I started helping out in May 2018, and two months later in July Bret offered me the position of co-manager. Thankfully, I haven’t screwed it up (yet). As a disclaimer, managing a label teaches me new things every day and I’m by no means a pro at any of this. The advice here comes from what I learned early on at DC.

More to come in later posts.

Also, here are two tracks I’m listening to this month.