Rekords Rekords exists for one purpose—to make music. There’s no hidden ulterior motive. There’s no overbearing corporate machine. There’s no middleman. There’s no pressure to conform. There’s just art, in its purest form. Founded by visionary Queens of the Stone Age and Them Crooked Vultures frontman Joshua Homme, Rekords Rekords remains a creative collective, first and foremost. Since 1997, the label has been a vehicle for Homme to release Desert Sessions and Eagles of Death Metal albums. There’s more music rising on Homme’s horizon than ever before though. Through a unique partnership with Dangerbird, Rekords Rekords is truly coming to life in 2010, and rock ‘n’ roll may never be safe again.
Homme describes the label’s ethos best. “It’s about the creation and releasing of music, period. I wanted to put out releases without being asked any questions. That’s why Rekords Rekords started. More than ever, now is a great time to make music for the sake of making music. Single, shmingle, just make a fucking piece of art.”
The first piece of art releasing on the label this year is Alain Johannes’ solo debut Spark. Eleven co-founder and Queens of the Stone Age cohort Johannes pays tribute to his late wife and creative partner Natasha Shneider with an honest and heartfelt collection of songs. Dropping August 31, this is the label’s flagship release via Dangerbird.
“Because Alain plays, produces, records and sings, there’s no plumbing between his feelings and what the music sounds like,” enthuses Homme. “The rollercoaster of Spark’s very fragile beauty is the reason I started playing music. There are some things that can’t be explained with words. I like to ask, ‘Can someone play it to me instead?’ This record is such a great example of what cannot be said but what is so true.”
For Homme, each release will offer the listener an experience, and it begins with Spark. He goes on, “Many people listen to records on the way to the bank and that’s absolutely fine. However, you should be able to actually hold your breath and swim down deeper into a record until you’re absolutely consumed by it. Spark is a record that can whisk you away, and that’s such a valuable commodity. I’m thankful when I get an album like that.”
The world will be quite thankful for everything that the label has in store. This isn’t a new venture for Homme. In fact, the label’s very birth was tied to that of Homme’s multi-platinum, Grammy-nominated Queens of the Stone Age. In 1997, through previous partner Man’s Ruin Records, Rekords Rekords released the first Queens of the Stone Age/Kyuss split. With the Dangerbird partnership firmly in place for North America, Homme plans on releasing new offerings from The Desert Sessions and Eagles of Death Metal as well as re-releasing Desert Sessions Vol. 1-10 as a box set. Dangerbird’s the perfect collaborator for all of this. Since 2004, the Silverlake indie label has been the home to crucial modern rock acts like Silversun Pickups, Minus the Bear and Sea Wolf.
Homme continues, “I have a true partner in Dangerbird for the U.S. The reason I went there in the first place was because they’re about getting things done—’nuff said. There’s no reason to wait or belabor the point about releasing records. This is the time to focus on the consistency of your art. Rekords Rekords is really more of a stamp in the hopes to try to be like Wolfman Jack. People listened to Wolfman Jack because they liked his taste but he was playing all different kinds of music. I hope to develop a similar trust with fans of the music. If people like one of our releases, they’ll like the next one sight unseen.”
Music enthusiasts can trust the label especially with upcoming releases such as Mini Mansions’ debut on the way. Fronted by Queens of the Stone Age bassist Mikey “Shoes” Shuman, the Los Angeles rockers elevate psychedelica to new heights. Homme comments, “I gravitate to music that paints a really colorful broad picture. Mini Mansions have these elements of Beach Boys, Pink Floyd and Eliot Smith without humping them at all. Their album evokes this dark and lovely landscape. None of that would matter if there weren’t hooks though, and there are!”
Homme’s got the freedom to do anything with Rekords Rekords, and he couldn’t be more thrilled to release even more forthcoming music under the label’s truly independent banner. “We’ve always done whatever we thought was right, and it’s always been a massive bloody fight,” reveals Homme. “That feels like misplaced energy. Trying to justify your music doesn’t matter. I feel like the real revolution is consistently doing whatever you think is right. That’s what this is about.”
Homme’s certainly doing the right thing with Rekords Rekords—for his immediate collaborators and beyond. He adds, “Rekords Rekords isn’t about putting out my friends’ rock music. It just so happens that Alain and Mikey made music that really floored me, and they needed their albums to come out without waiting for permission. So there’s Rekords Rekords.”
There’s also a synergy that runs through everything within the label. “I want to be surrounded by inspiring artists,” declares Homme. “The only way to do that is to be able to inspire and recognize someone else who is inspiring. I don’t care if I make coffee at a session as long as it’s a classic and cool session.”
In the end, it all comes down to honesty for Joshua Homme and Rekords Rekords. He concludes, “I’d simply like to make something really honest and hopefully that will set us apart from other labels. I don’t want to sell out Shea Stadium. I just want the people that are into the music to feel uplifted. I don’t think bigger is better. I just think better is better, and that’s fine. There’s nothing you can do to make people like your art. You just have to be honest and let her rip.”
Isn’t that the way all revolutions begin?