Monday, August 6, 2012 at 3:02PM
Nick Catchdubs is an incredible dj and a co-founder of Fools Gold Records. He took a minute out of his busy summer schedule to talk with us in between performing on the Fools Gold Clubhouse stage at HARDFEST and maintaining the label and shop in Brooklyn.
Fingers on Blast: Can you let us in on a day in the life of Nick Catchdubs?
Nick Catchdubs: If I'm not on the road for shows, I get up pretty early, usually hit the Fool's Gold office / store in Williamsburg by 10am. I keep pretty regular office hours here handling the day's business, then around 7 or so usually leave to do studio stuff for a few hours (either at home or at Proper Villains' space in Bushwick) then home to chill, wind down with old TV shows on Netflix or a movie. If artists from the label or other friends are in town, I'll go out to hang for a bit, but in general I try to keep any "free" time for myself when I can!
Fingers on Blast: You are a big part of one of the coolest labels out today, has the balance of hip hop and dance music been paramount for Fool's Gold? Or is it something that you come by naturally?
Nick Catchdubs: It's definitely something that came about naturally - this is the kind of music A-Trak and myself have always been into, and work to connect in our DJ sets and productions. We didn't set out and say "Yo lets be diverse! What a business plan!" it's just what we like. The kind of signings and releases on the label change and adapt with our interests at any given moment, but that core concept will always be there.
Fingers on Blast: Fool's Gold is definitely notable for the visual aspect. How important is that to you?
Nick Catchdubs: When we started the label, we were thinking about the kinds of indie labels we grew up with - Grand Royal, Rawkus, Mo Wax - and how you just had to look once at a sleeve, or a t-shirt, or a flyer, and would just KNOW the vibe already, even if you had never heard of the artist before. You trusted them. So that's always something we've worked to capture, and the art is a huge part of that. Like the music, it's another piece that changes with the times - we're going to be five years old now! - but it's always going to feel unique to Fool's Gold.
Fingers on Blast: Fool's Gold has recently started a subscription service with Drip.FM. What inspired the move? Is it something you've wanted to do for a while?
Nick Catchdubs: We're always on the look out for interesting projects and opportunities to be a part of. We weren't actively planning a subscription service when the drip.fm guys approached us, but what made the concept attractive was that it was started by a fellow label (the guys from Ghostly) who shared a lot of the same values about branding, music, etc. They wanted to empower other labels, so we were happy to get on board. It's a new process but a very interesting one. It's cool seeing our fans get excited about it!
Fingers on Blast: How do you balance the business side of Fool's Gold with the creative side of being an artist/dj yourself?
Nick Catchdubs: It's a big challenge on a time management level alone, but I've been DJing and making music my whole life, and I've always had a "day job" - you make time for what you're passionate about. What's cool now is that my office gig is at a company I own, and am equally passionate about.
Fingers on Blast: Is there a certain place you go to for inspiration? Relaxation?
Nick Catchdubs: I love to spend time with my family and friends and not have to "talk shop" as it were (not the easiest thing when all your friends are DJs). Just hanging out at somebody's pool or BBQ. I really love going to the movies, I definitely think about getting involved with film or television production at some point in the future... I'm a huge pop culture junkie and I am always reading / listening / watching something new. Some of the most relaxing times for me have been just killing hours at Amoeba Records in LA, or falling into a YouTube / eBay rabbit hole on the couch. That kind of stuff definitely works its way into artistic inspiration. I might think to myself, "I wanna make a beat that sounds like Edward Scissorhands" - the end result might turn out totally different, but those kind of sparks usually help get things started.
Fingers on Blast: Is there a specific artist or artists that have inspired you to do the sort of work that you have?
Nick Catchdubs: I grew up with MTV in the 90s, it was the heyday of hip-hop and alternative rock, it's what made me pick up a guitar and start making music of my own before I was even a teenager. I came into DJing much later on, right as the whole mash-up thing was happening - not the Girl Talk nonsense it turned into, but guys like Mark Ronson and Hollertronix who were doing creative stuff in the context of actual club DJing. I had been making all types of different music on my own, and the lightbulb came on that DJing was a way to connect all those dots together. It also looked crazy fun. I was right on both counts.
Fingers on Blast: You were previously an associate editor for the Fader, what inspired the switch from a publication like that to running a label?
Nick Catchdubs: I was always pulling double duty while I was there - magazine stuff in the day, playing clubs and making music at night. When Fool's Gold started I quickly realized after a few months that I couldn't do all three, so I left to devote my time and energy to the label. I'm still writing, just for FG press releases and bios and blogs, not for other publications.
Fingers on Blast: Is there an artist or company that you really want to work with? Is there anyone that you've been really excited to meet in the history of Fool's Gold?
Nick Catchdubs: In general our collaborations come about from existing relationships, deciding to work on a project with people we're already friends with. The same goes for artists we approach for music. There's tons of stuff I'd love to make happen in the future but I don't want to give those secrets away!
Fingers on Blast: You've got a stage at the Hard Summer Festival in Los Angeles called the Fool's Gold Clubhouse. Can you tell us how that came about? Can we expect the Fool's Gold Clubhouse to be appearing anywhere else this summer?
Nick Catchdubs: The whole "friends and family" concept has always been big with FG. We like to tie the larger creative community into events and projects, not just artists that are signed to the label but people who share the same approach. Clubhouse is the latest extension of that - the releases and the festival stages are packed with homies. The HARD Summer edition was so much fun! Action Bronson rapped his whole set from the crowd, everybody killed their sets (Araabmuzik live dubstep, who knew?) and the vibe was perfect. There's still more stages this summer (and new releases every month!) you can check it all at http://www.foolsgoldrecs.com/clubhouse
Fingers on Blast: Do you remember the first record you bought? Do you have any good digging stories?
Nick Catchdubs: The ACTUAL first record I bought with my own money I don't really remember much at all, it was the cassette soundtrack to the Garbage Pail Kids movie, which I got at Sam Goody in Woodbridge Mall in New Jersey. No idea what kind of music is on there, I hadn't seen the movie at the time (I did later on as an adult - it's so awesomely bad!) but I loved the Garbage Pail Kids and wanted it.
Fingers on Blast: Anything coming up you want to let us in on? Anyone you want to shout out?
Nick Catchdubs: I'm finishing up my own release on Fool's Gold, the vocals are by Gita - she's dope, look up her "Hood Rich" video on YouTube. The a-side is a big ravey record, and the b-side is a rap version. I started on an all hip-hop EP with the group World's Fair out of Queens, we're 2 tracks in on that and it's sounding really cool so far. I also started working on a dance EP with my friend Nick Hook (we put out his band Cubic Zirconia on Fool's Gold) that we're hoping to wrap up this month now that he's back in Brooklyn. A few new remixes out shortly... Mike Shinoda from Linkin Park really liked a Jim Jones bootleg I did ("666 Rackz"), he started shouting it out in interviews and asked me to work on some things with them. In general I've just been in the studio a whole lot more this year and psyched that my own music is starting to get out to people!