TVD Ticket Giveaway: Carpark Records 16th Anniversary Shows in NYC, 3/6, and DC, 3/7

For 16 years now, DC by way of NYC Carpark Records has been one of the finer proponents of all things indie—in sound and spirit both. In addition to a special basketball-themed picture disc to commemorate the label’s anniversary, Carpark is hosting 3 shows to celebrate 16 years of slinging some fine records our way. We have a pair of tickets to 2 of those shows to put in the hands of 2 of you, the Friday (3/6) show at Baby’s All Right in NYC and the Saturday (3/7) show at Washington, DC’s DC9.

First up however, label founder Todd Hyman was kind enough to pull himself away from the turntable to offer us some insights into the label’s inception and continued success.

“Carpark began in New York City in the late ’90s. I was working at a friend’s record store in the East Village and we started hosting a weekly DJ/experimental electronic music night at indie rock institution Brownies on Avenue A. I think a lot of people into indie music at that time felt like indie rock had reached its end. IDM/electronic type music seemed like a natural progression. Brownies still had bands playing every night but they ended them early then and began hosting DJ nights starting around 11 til closing (4am). We were on a Wednesday night.”

This kind of electronic music seemed like the future to me at the time. People making and performing music on their laptops! Seems rather mundane now, but it was brand new back then. Portable computers were finally getting powerful enough, and useful programs were finally available to the average consumer.

In addition to DJing at this night, called Invisible Cities, we hosted live music. Turned out there were quite a few folks making music on their computers with nowhere to play. We gave them a place to play. Some of the folks we hosted just to give you an idea: Marumari, Kid606, Cex, Keith Fullerton Whitman, Greg Davis, Lucky Kitchen, Kit Clayton, Safety Scissors, Jake Mandell, Zammuto, B. Fleischmann, and many others.

I thought there should be a professional label to represent this kind of music. Carpark was born!

Our early catalog came from the people I met at Invisible Cities. We experienced early successes with Marumari and Casino Versus Japan.

After 3 years or so though I began to feel like this type of electronic music was not connecting with the type of people I thought it would. I needed to change directions a bit. I helped start a couple sub labels. Paw Tracks was created with Animal Collective. Acute was created with Dan Selzer to reissue classic and obscure post-punk records. Paw Tracks saw early successes with releases by Animal Collective, Panda Bear, and Ariel Pink. Acute found fans from the beginning with reissues of Theoretical Girls, Glenn Branca, and Metal Urbain.

I started trying to make Carpark less purely electronic and more a mix of analog and digital. Greg Davis, Takagi Masakatsu, Signer, and Belong are some of the artists during this time that experimented with both sides of sound creation.

Then in 2005 my soon-to-be-wife got a job in the DC area and we moved down here. It was moving down here that inadvertently shaped the Carpark of today.

I knew a couple people in Baltimore I used to email to set up shows for our artists there. I got in touch with them when I moved to DC. I met a few other folks up there through them. There was a ton of bands making interesting music in Baltimore at the time. Wham City was just getting going. I was driving up there once or twice a week to go to shows, mostly at DIY venues like Floristree or the CopyCat building.

It was at this point that I gave up my deliberate intentions for the label’s sound. I got to a point where I thought people probably didn’t care so much what kind of music we were releasing. They just wanted to hear something cool. And so I just started to release what I liked. Early DC era Carpark (2005-2008) included releases from Beach House, Dan Deacon, Ecstatic Sunshine, WZT Hearts, and Lexie Mountain Boys. People thought we were based in Baltimore.

Starting in 2009 we began looking outside the mid-Atlantic more. New additions to our roster since then have included Toro Y Moi, Cloud Nothings, Speedy Ortiz, and Skylar Spence (formerly known as Saint Pepsi).

As you might expect, highs are when one of our albums take off, lows are when one of our albums doesn’t. Some of our greatest commercial successes have been Panda Bear Person Pitch (on Paw Tracks) which has sold over 100,000 copies worldwide, Beach House Devotion and Toro Y Moi Anything in Return.

I ran the label by myself for 12 years, which was very challenging. Fortunately because of our successes the last few years we now have a staff to whom I’m forever indebted.

Thank you to anyone who has listened to our music and cared about what we do.”
Todd Hyman

Friday’s show at Baby’s All Right in Brooklyn, NY will feature Lexie Mountain Boys, Greg Davis, Greys, Chandos, Ear Pwr, Safety Scissors, Adventure, Jimmy Whipsers (of Light Pollution) and DJ sets by Montag and Young Magic. The line-up for Saturday’s show at DC9 in Washington, D.C. is Lexie Mountain Boys, Greys, Adventure, Chandos, and Jimmy Whispers (of Light Pollution).

Enter to win by simply citing in the comments below your favorite Carpark release from the previous 16 years, and briefly—why. (Don’t forget to tell us which show you’d like to attend too!) We’ll chose 1 winner per show for a pair of tickets on Thursday, 3/5. Winners will be notified directly via email.

Carpark Records Official | Facebook | Twitter
PHOTO: KATIE CHEYNE

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