The influx of Wisconsin, and specifically Eau Claire, bands on the national scene tends to mostly lead to one place: Jagjaguwar Records. Jagjaguwar is the label that first picked up Bon Iver’s debut and has released all of Justin Vernon’s subsequent projects, as well as Peter Wolf Crier’s debut and soon S. Carey’s debut. We sent an email to Kevin Duneman, the GM of Jagjaguwar (as well as Dead Oceans and Secretly Canadian), and asked him to talk a little about the Indiana record labels, working with Justin Vernon and Wisconsin music.
To start off, would you want to give us a brief history of Jagjaguwar/Dead Oceans/Secretly Canadian and as GM what your normal day may look like?
Jagjaguwar and Secretly Canadian started at roughly the same time, Jagjaguwar in Virginia with Darius Van Arman, Secretly Canadian in Bloomington with Jonathan Cargill, Chris and Ben Swanson, and Eric Weddle (who now runs Family Vineyard).
Kindred spirits found eachother, Darius moved himself and his label to Bloomington to join with the Secretly Canadian crew and forge a partnership with its owners. The partners are equal in Secretly Canadian and Jagjaguwar, but A&R for Jagjaguwar is driven by Darius and Chris. Dead Oceans came into the fold a few years back with Phil Waldorf, who runs his office out of Austin, TX. The support staff for all three labels is the same, centralized in Bloomington for our US operations. The A&R is really the big difference.
My day as GM is pretty dynamic, but also organic, I guess. Most times that I think I know what I’m going to be doing all day long, I get derailed early and often. I still do Project Management as well as the General Management, so I spend a lot of time on the micro and the macro in a day. The bands I project manage include the Chippewa Valley All Stars, so we’ve been through a lot together in the last couple of years. I spend a lot of time on the phone, and I read email. Is that a job? Yes, it is.
We have an incredible crew here, and working here just gets better and better. I can’t think of another job where people are still working, regularly, at 6:45 on a Friday.
Farms EP1 (Self-released)
This week’s free download is Eau Claire/Hudson duo Farms’ debut EP. The recording is a different form of Ben Larson and Andy Todryk’s instrumental music, much more menacing and darker. Instead of the customary whirlwinds of drumming and headstrong melodies that have ignited so many parties in the basement of the Red Mountain house, EP1 is a much more restrained, ethereal take.
Free For All is a weekly segment that showcases free downloads made available by the musicians and labels that release them. These are 100% legal and 100% awesome. If you’d rather us not put a track of yours up, let us know and we’ll remove it immediately.