MONDAY NOVEMBER 20, 2017
 
Blog INTERVIEWS
DUTIL RECORDS' ERIC DICKSTEIN
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Eric Dickstein wants you to feel embarrassed about stealing pretty much everyone's music. Based in Vancouver and Toronto, Dickstein runs Dutil Records, an extension of his successful fashion company, Dutil Denim. His record company prints vinyl that showcases local talent, all while stressing the importance of supporting artists financially.

On July 11, at his Vancouver and Toronto stores, Dickstein launches Dutil's first compilation, To Long For — You, Sessions Volume 1. Featured on the album is Chin Injeti, a producer-songwriter who's collaborated with Drake, Eminem, Pink, and 50 Cent. 

TORO recently spoke with Dickstein about the romance of vinyl, losing money to make money, and the gumption of artists.

What made you passionate about helping recording artists?

I'm a failed musician. What I mean is that I never earned any money making music. But what I keep hearing from my musician friends is that the music industry is totally fucked right now. People don't spend money to buy music. I want to encourage people to start again. When people download music, there's a complete disconnect between the artist and the consumer. It's like eating a hamburger: Consumers don't realize that the meat comes from an animal. As a society, we steal music and just push the idea to the back of our minds.

Now, most musicians only make money by touring, right?

Labels are now in bed with bands on touring and merchandise, so they can get their cut. That means an indie band today will have to tour forever and maybe never earn a stable living.

So why did you choose to press vinyl?

It's a commodity that you can't download. And there's a nostalgia surrounding vinyl. When I was a kid, I'd open up a record, touch the paper, read the liner notes — there was a whole ritual prior to listening to the music. I'd get all sexed up; it was like foreplay.

How do you get people who don’t have a fetish for vinyl to buy into the idea?

Dutil's a fashion store, but more than anything, it's cultural store. We may only sell one record, but if we got 50 people to legally download the artists’ music, I'm happy. It's not about Dutil forcing people to buy vinyl; it’s about getting people to pay for the music.

Hasn’t the internet’s exposure helped a lot of artists — Arcade Fire, for example?

I understand that the internet has given everyone a platform. If you want to fart on YouTube, and enough people think it's funny, you can be the Fart King of the World. But bands like Arcade Fire are the exception, not the rule. And these bands aren't quantifying what they do. They need to bring more awareness to the issue.

Talk about the economics behind your Serotonin compilation.

On this record, it's going to be an impossibility to make money, because the production was so limited. All of the artists received product that they could sell in lieu of money. There was no risk for them.

Did you select artists based on personal taste?

We sent a shout-out to our client base and received submissions. We didn't want to pigeonhole our sound so we created journey, so to speak. There's "Side Clean" and "Side Dirty." It starts out with spoken word, ends with punk rock, and has everything in between. We're embracing artists, not a style.

People worry that Vancouver's music culture has stagnated — closed venues, absent infrastructure, etc. Do you feel the same?

I would say, "no," because for every person that feels that way, there's some young kid pushing really hard. Wherever there's someone who's frustrated, there's someone who's inspired.

Are there any other big projects coming up for Dutil?

We're going to make another record, but we're going to do it right. I kind of fucked up on this one. It took me a year-and-a-half to complete it; I did not realize how big an animal the record was. I think we'll be releasing singles instead full albums. I'll be able to make records much quicker this time around. We're trying to start a movement.

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