Local DJ Eug on Public Release Records and How It's "Not a Business"
As a designer, DJ, and record label owner, local figure Eug is very precise about the aesthetic of every project and party under his watch. Since 2001, he has been behind the collective Public Release, which began with him sending and distributing mix CDs to close friends but soon evolved into a label proper. In 2009, he put out the first official release from Public Release Records, with a picture disc of edits from Beats in Space's Tim Sweeney. Eug is also one half of the duo behind FACE parties, which regularly hosts guests like DJ Harvey and Jacques Renault playing sets late into the night. We recently spoke with Eug about the label's latest release from Woolfy, FACE parties, and his favorite record. He plays this Saturday at Public Works for FACE with Pat Mahoney (LCD Soundsystem), Tim Sweeney, and Mike Simonetti.
How did the FACE parties start?
They started around seven years ago, when Justin Montag moved here from N.Y., and we decided to start our own little party.
What has been your favorite moment thus far?
Too many to remember, they all feel like one giant, connected, never-ending night now. All of them are significant to us in some way, because 95 percent of our guests have been our good friends.
You guys have some awesome fliers. As a designer, do you pay more attention to these details?
It's super important for us to have a tight, cohesive image and message. I grew up being heavily influenced by all the UK stuff... Straight No Chaser, the FACE, i-D, Mo'Wax, XL, Me Company, Output, Sleaze Nation, etc. All the work that was associated with these cultural outlets had a strong identity or graphic point of view. Rishi Shourie, who's been our art director, knows what all this means because he has his own very successful agency, so working together has been very organic and natural. He also handles all the design for Public Release.
What is Public Release?
Initially it was an umbrella for any music-related projects I was doing at the time. This was probably around 2001? I was doing mixes and sending them out to a small email group, and also selling mix CD's in shops like Colette and aNYthing. The name came from a play on words like press release, or public document; basically anything that was intended to be distributed. Evan Hecox, who many people know of from his work with Chocolate and Girl Skateboards, did the logo. It's has a very utilitarian aesthetic and it's no accident that it has a similar vibe to the PBS logo, or National Film Board.
When did you decide to start the record label?
In 2009, the first 12-inch was released. It was a picture disc with edits that Tim Sweeney had done for his radio show Beats in Space on WNYU. We also used photography by NY-based photographer Shadi Perez. The first two 12-inches were basically "the New York series" in theme for both music and photography. Those two records have become quite the collectibles, particularly the second one, which Jacques Renault did.
How do you go about finding and choosing which artists to feature for the label?
It all happens in a very organic manner. It's close friends, or friends of friends, or a conversation with someone that leads to something, that leads to another something. Maybe I'll hear something that they play or perform out, and we'll then talk about releasing it, or friends will send me stuff to check out. I wouldn't do it any other way, because this label is not a "business." There's not any hardcore scouting/A&R. Our priorities are simply to get the music we like out, and second to that, we try to make the artists some money. We're really just trying to all have a good time producing something we enjoy. Having said that, we're trying to actively reach as many people as we can now, through proper distribution, [and] going vinyl and digital while having the music as easily available as we can.
Tell us a little about the newest release from Woolfy.
It's a fun track and has done really well for us. We had a bunch of friends remix it, too, like Eric Duncan, Jacques Renault, Kenji Takimi. Simon (Woolfy) has been super happy with the whole thing, so that's all that really matters to me in the end. Shadi Perez, who I mentioned earlier, did the video for this too. He actually directed a bunch of the old Beatnuts, Beastie Boys, Brand Nubian, House of Pain videos from when I was growing up, so it was really special that he was involved.
What's next for the label?
Working on the next few right now. Hoping to get number seven out by the end of the year. Our cadence is quite relaxed and we don't have much of a schedule, so things just kind of come out when they're ready.
Lastly, what's your favorite record find in your collection?
There's lots in there that are special for one reason or the other, but the one that springs to mind immediately, probably because I packed it for a gig last week, is the Laughing Light of Plenty double LP. The album was never really released properly. It was vinyl only, a few appeared in Japan, and that's pretty much it. There are probably stacks in some storage space collecting dust. Thomas gave me a copy, and it's not only great music but a beautiful object.