Dauw

Location: Ghent, Belgium
Est: 2014

Potted History: “The label was founded by visual artist Femke Strijbol and I,” explains musician and Dauw co-founder Pieter Dudal. “We were living together at the time, and while working on a tape release of mine – and since the initial project was coming along very nicely – I jokingly said from the staircase that we should start a label. In the end, my tape never saw the light of day but the label was born. In hindsight, this became a life-changing decision and we couldn’t be happier with how it’s turned out so far.”

Mission Statement: “There was definitely no big plan in the beginning,” says Dudal. “We just created small-run tape releases with a strong focus on the visual part and the printing techniques behind it. We aimed to create pieces of art that are pleasing both to the ear and the eye. This is still an essential part of what we do, but we now increasingly put the musicians and their careers in a more central position. It’s evolved from a boutique outlet for tapes, to a solid and ambitious label with a long-term focus on supporting a select group of musicians and their work.”

Key Artists & Releases: “We were very happy with the release of r beny’s ‘Echo’s Verse’ album,” says Dudal. “We were the first label to put out his music and this album really stands out to us. It was his debut vinyl release and the initial run sold out in a few days. We got nice press, and had the chance to book his first European tour. This was when we felt that we were doing more than just releasing art objects.”

Future Plans: “There’s a lot of new music in the pipeline from both returning and new artists,” reveals Dudal. “Shortly before the pandemic took over, we were gradually making the switch to vinyl from the tape-only practice we had since we started. Since then, both prices and waiting times have increased a lot and have really put a strain on release schedules. We hope this situation will change soon, as we feel that changing to vinyl releases will be a big step up for the label – you can increase your audience directly, expand your distribution network, and so on. That being said, we’re optimistic about the future and are looking forward to what it will bring for us.”

Any Other Business? “My ultimate advice would be not to start a label!” laughs Dudal. “Sometimes you see people setting up an imprint only to close after several releases. I think most people really underestimate the amount of time and energy you have to devote to make it work. But if you want to start one, do it with passion. Try to find a balance between following your heart and making rational decisions. And most importantly, only surround yourself with people you feel comfortable with.”

For more, see dauw.bandcamp.com

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