Dragon's Eye Recordings majordomo Yann Novak is moving to L.A. this month. His label has garnered a worldwide reputation for releases that center on artful drones, rigorous field recordings, and emotive microsound, with an interest in how sound and visuals interact. DER's roster includes Son of Rose/Kamran Sadeghi, Tyler Potts, Wyndel Hunt, Marc Manning, and Novak himself, often in collaboration with others.
Novak's southern sojourn is happening for two reasons: to live with his partner, Robert Crouch (codirector of Volume, which organizes events and exhibitions that combine music and visual art), and to benefit Novak's artistic career. "As an artist working in such fringe mediums as microsound and sound art, developing a closer connection to the international art community is imperative to furthering my career," Novak says. "I feel I will have greater opportunities in Los Angeles. As far as the label is concerned, I think relocating it to an internationally connected city will only help the artists. Someone once told me that the best way to support your community is to succeed in your endeavors, because that success will in some way be attributed to where you were before. I hope that the label's continued success in Los Angeles would connect back to its roots in Seattle."
While Novak claims that DER is doing well, he foresees changes. "From watching the responses to our releases, I have developed a keener sense of the role DER needs to play within the communities it supports," he says. "Because of this, I would like to get back to one of my original motives for starting the label: to work with new artists and to give them a platform to present their work and to be heard. I will be producing fewer releases by our existing artists to make room for newer artists. This will also apply to my own releases, and I will be focusing on diversifying where my own work is published."
While in Seattle, DER has risen to prominence—as much as an experimental electronic-music label can—but Novak has mixed feelings about our city, despite the support he's experienced here.
"Because we have a smaller community and fewer opportunities, some institutions and organizations in Seattle [tend] to take advantage of local artists by not paying for their performances or frequently asking artists to donate their time or work," Novak laments. "These instances are in the minority, but I do feel they happen more often than they should. But the resilience and determination of both the artists and the fans is... truly magnificent, and against the odds they have made one of the most interesting and relevant communities [in which] I have had the pleasure of participating."
Future DER activity includes a winter release of Nest of Iterations by San Francisco's Lissom and new works by Edmonton's Clinker, Tokyo/London's Ian Hawgood, and Bellingham's Corey Fuller. Novak plans to avidly seek new artists for DER throughout 2009.