American Dreams Dot Zone is operating two businesses in one, kind of.
I originally started American Damage as solely distribution. When I began, I was basically trying to get copies of records I wanted from Japan but not pay an arm and a leg for shipping. I figured if I wanted these records, chances were other peoples in the U.S. did, too, so I began asking for wholesale rates. Within a few months, I was placing wholesale orders with Light in the Attic, Galakthorro, Trapdoor Tapes, Forced Exposure, Super Fuji Discs, and Public Bath Press – institutions that really helped make American Damage what it was. I have a problem – I am completely obsessive. When I find out about some obscure corner of audio I’ve never previously heard, I absolutely need to know everything I can about it. Really, it’s compulsive. I mean, I used to have a white collar job until industrial music ruined my life.
This quickly became a tape releasing operation, more or less to put out material by my friends who I thought needed to have something out. The first official release was Autumn Casey’s solo debut. Autumn plays guitar in Snakehole, a seething, corrosive noise rock duo, but she also plays piano. She’s amazing at it. I used to practice with Snakehole drummer KC Toimil in a concrete basement located in Miami’s Little Haiti – we were trying to do some kind of minimal noise rock thing ourselves, and Autumn would play piano sometimes. I was always like – what the hell? Why can I not hear this everywhere I go? So I asked Autumn to do the tape, and she absolutely delivered.
That is kind of the guiding principle of American Damage – seeing something hidden, and trying to dig it out, little by little.
American Dreams is a new vinyl imprint I’m making, focusing on instrumental electronic music that I think makes the world a little more beautiful. The idea is to be as much an art platform as a label. I’ve been completely transfixed by the Art Brut movement since I discovered it when I was about twenty years old – probably around when Sufjan Stevens’ The Age of Adz came out. Royal Robertson had done the cover, and it knocked my socks off. Who was this visionary prophet? So…excavation time. I was twenty in 2010 and since then, I’ve made connections with various outsider art institutions and self-taught artists with the idea of bringing this together with music at some point. I am trying to crystallize this with American Dreams. I want to create fine editions that would look as natural on display at an art museum store as a record store, and I want to get visual artists involved.
The Home page has a piece done by JJ Cromer from his house and signal series. Cromer is one of my favorite contemporary artists – you can see some of his work right now in Baltimore at the American Visionary Art Museum. The specific piece on the homepage has been used in the first release we are doing, which will emerge in June. I’m not going to spill the beans too quickly, but it’s a very exciting record.
I am a person who is very easily drawn to darkness. Actually I love the dark. I grew up being both terrified and drawn to monsters from movies like Tremors, Godzilla, Congo, even Jurassic Park. I love horror culture, I love monsters, and I love the grotesque. I always will. And yet, I can’t help but feel that right now the world could use a bit more beauty. So we’re going to try that out.