Om Records Celebrates New Lavish Habits Imprint Tonight with Maus Haus and Blackbird Blackbird
Here's another indication of the rising interest in that oft-discussed nexus between "indie" and "dance": San Francisco dance music label Om Records has a brand-new imprint that will specialize in it.
Called Lavish Habits, the project got off the ground last year with the debut release by Brooklyn's Body Language -- a dance-oriented electronic pop group with four members. But tonight the imprint is celebrating its arrival at Monarch, with performances by Blackbird Blackbird and Maus Haus, both important artists in the local indie electronic scene.
"It's something that we've wanted to do for like 10 years now," says Om Records founder (and Monarch co-owner) Chris Smith. "[Lavish Habits] is a new label to explore more of a live music direction, inspired by the the crossroads of indie rock and indie dance music."
The label's two S.F. signings reflect that: Blackbird Blackbird is the one-man project of Mikey Maramag, who builds guitars, synths, drums, vocals, and computer production into swirling, ecstatic ribbons of rhythm and melody. Maus Haus is set up more like a traditional rock band -- albeit one heavily armed with synths and other electronics. Both acts make music that's you might call quasi-dance: Their rhythms certainly offer some kinetic inspiration, but neither make the kind of focused tracks that usually pulse through dance clubs. (Disclaimer: Both acts played All Shook Down parties last year.)
Smith says part of the inspiration for Lavish Habits came from his work with the mysterious electronic duo Tiger & Woods, who perform an interesting cross between traditional dance music and a live show.
"It's really just them up there with all their equipment doing it, but they mix it all together like a DJ set," Smith says. "But the difference is, it's all their own music. They're actually playing their own music and manipulating it live and whatnot."
The label is currently working on its first Blackbird Blackbird EP -- which is due out mid-May -- and an initial Maus Haus EP. Smith says it's likely both artists will also do albums for the label.
Lavish Habits also plans to focus on the visual side of live performance, bringing in S.F. lighting outfit Future Weapons to design a show for a planned showcase tour in the fall.
As for the name of the imprint? Smith laughs when we ask him to tell the story behind it.
"Basically somebody at some point accused Om of mishandling our funds and throwing lavish parties, when in fact we never do that," he says. "I just thought it was really funny, so I turned it around and turned it into a label. It's exactly the opposite -- we're pretty bare bones."
The Lavish Habits party goes down tonight at 9 p.m. at Monarch, with live sets by Maus Haus and Blackbird Blackbird, and DJ sets by dAVi and Solar.