MANIMAL RECORDS: IT TAKES ON A LIFE OF ITS OWN

June 14th, 2008 | Interviews


In the middle of the Manimal Music festival, my friend Quinn (from the band Corridor) grabbed me and shoved me together with Paul Behan, the founder of Manimal Vinyl, and basically demanded that I interview this guy. He’s the brains behind the label and curated the Manimal Festival last Saturday night at Pappy & Harriet’s in Pioneertown. This interview by Dan Collins.

I grew up in San Diego, I’m 32, and I used to play in lots of experimental bands. I started Manimal Vinyl in 2006, and at first it was just a small folk label, but it evolved into more of an experimental and rock label. Jac Holzman [from Elektra] is one of my main role models for how to do a label. I’m doing a lot work in association with the bands playing here tonight. We have releases coming up for Hecuba, Rainbow Arabia, and Ariel Pink, at the end of the year…

Is there something that all your bands have in common?

Weirdness. That became my motto—‘keep it weird,’ very underground—that way it takes on a life of its own, you know? It’s better than working for corporate adulation. That’s why most of our releases are available in vinyl and download formats only. CDs basically become landfill in people’s houses, whereas vinyl never really stopped in Europe. It’s the way of the future. If you think about it, it’s the only thing in modern history that’s gone, become obsolete, then come back and become significant again.

What’s the band you’re most proud of releasing?

I’m proud of all the bands I’ve released. I think bands like the Chapin Sisters easily would have been on a major label five years ago, so I’m excited for all the bands I have. We’re coming out with a tribute to the Cure that I’m very excited about. There’s a great lineup: Blonde Redhead, Bat for Lashes, Dandy Warhols, Kaki King, who did the soundtrack for Into the Wild, Hecuba, some other people. It’s coming out Halloween.

What are some bands you don’t have on your label now that you’d like to sign?

Teeth Mountain. I love these guys. We Are The World, who are playing tonight. They’re a dance troupe and a band. blackblack, but they already have a record out.

What’s the best place to play in L.A. for your bands?

Spaceland. I have to give those guys the props. Specifically Jennifer Tefft. A year and a half ago, no one would touch any of my bands—I sent her a compilation CD and away I go!

VISIT MANIMAL VINYL AT MANIMALVINYL.COM OR MYSPACE.COM/MANIMALVINYL.

PHOTOS: MANIMAL FESTIVAL