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Parallels. Photo by Norman Wong

Thisisnotanexit Records

Dazed speak to label owner Simon Carr about his love of Lynch and how it all started...

Inspired by East London, the label with a global agenda, Thisisnotanexit works to catalogue and release rare and unique songs as they feel like- with no limits on genre, styles or trends. Named after an 'American Psycho' quote, the label aims to combine unexpected songs with the common thread of originality and simply good music. With a new compilation release featuring Detachments and Canadian 80s influenced electro act Parallels, 2010 looks set to be a busy one for label owner Simon Carr.

Dazed Digital: What did you think was missing that meant you needed to create your own label?

Simon Carr: What was missing? Labels with personality. The vast majority are all corporate faceless entities or small faux indies funded by the majors. I don’t honestly think there’s many labels around that act in an interesting way and have a bit of a personality or an agenda. We have an agenda and aren’t afraid to talk about it.

DD: What is it that ties TINAE artists together?

Simon Carr: Thisisnotanexit is not a genre label – we don’t simply put out disco records, or indie, or dubstep or whatever the latest fad is. The best labels – in my opinion Factory, Mute and Output - all had an ethos of not giving a damn; good music will out. We exist in a similar manner. I would say that if there is some sort of common thread then it is that everything we put out is interesting in some weird sort of way and most likely very different from the last release. An uncommon thread almost. I like the fact that everytime you get a Thisisnotanexit release you’re not quite sure what you’re going to get.

DD: What's the story behind the name?
Simon Carr: Thisisnotanexit is a key phrase from the Bret Easton Ellis book ‘American Psycho’ which was a quite brilliant piece of satire on capitalism and consumerism. The phrase also features in another book by the same author ‘Glamorama’ which was a satire on society's obsession with celebrities and beauty. These books along with The Society of The Spectacle, HOWL and Lipstick Traces were key influences on the label when we started. We’re as influenced by writers as we are by music. Abandon all hope ye who enter here.

DD: Do you produce music yourself? If so / not, why?
Simon Carr: I don’t produce music. Owing to the fact that the label is a purely independent operation run day to day part time by myself and my wife April I simply don’t have the time. I do DJ when I can though and was lucky enough to be asked by Optimo a couple of years ago to cover for them whilst they were away in Japan which was a total honour. Hopefully one day I’ll get round to putting something together. A lack of time is a modern curse.

DD: What does it take to be part of the TINAE roster?
Simon Carr: We try and work with artists on a long term basis that we first and foremost get on with – we like having a small family type vibe – and everyone on the label exchanges ideas and music with everyone else on the label which is nice. To get on the label you’ve got to surprise us.

DD: Everything on the label seems quite cosmic, surreal or almost mystical, was this intentional?
Simon Carr: My obsession with David Lynch has probably meant that in my head I’m constantly choosing releases based on if they’d work within the context of a David Lynch film. Our biggest dream is for Lynch to do a video for us.   

DD: What's next to come?
Simon Carr: A busy 2010 lies ahead. Debut albums from Command V, Detachments, The Dark Esquire and Spectral Empire are all planned for 2010 alongside the second Thisisnotanexit Manifesto compilation. We’ll also be hosting a label night at the Land Of The Kings festival in Dalston on April 23rd and starting a monthly label party in Dalston in May.