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Music May, 15 2009

Highsnobiety & Fairtilizer Present: Fool’s Gold Playlist & Nick Catchdubs Interview

Once again we bring you some nice exclusive music content in collaboration with our friends from Fairtilizer. This time we caught up with Nick Catchdubs. He created an exclusive playlist and we also had a quick chat about the record 2008 year of Fool’s Gold, as well as about what we can all expect from them in 2009.

Read the full Nick Catchdubs Interview after the jump.

Fool’s Gold never misses a beat. The label founded by A-Trak and Nick Catchdubs has been pushing the envelope since day one with artists such as Kid Sister, Nacho Lovers, Jokers of the Scene, or Treasure Fingers, and you know their whole crew is bound to go hard in 2009. We had the chance to chill with the eternally cool Catchdubs, dj/tastemaker/label manager/producer extraordinaire.

What’s up Nick Catchdubs, what are you up to these days? You’re a multitasker, a man of many talents always on the grind, tell us about all your activities.

Music is my life, the label is my job, but I play for the team I own so it’s all gravy. When I’m not on the road, daily operation is wake up, get a bagel and hit the Fool’s Gold office with Dust La Rock. Bang out a bunch of work – everything from shaping new releases with our artists and a&r-ing, to just regular dumb office shit, mailing the bills out, etc – then come home and work on my own mixes and tracks. Maybe hit the town if my friends are bartending or DJing or visiting from out of town, but I gotta be honest man, I like the homebody lifestyle. If I don’t have a gig I want to use my free time for my own shit. I have a ton of ideas and I gotta get them out!

2008 was a great year for Fool’s Gold, looking back how do you feel about it and what are you the most proud of?

We started the year with our self-funded video for Kid Sister’s “Pro Nails” breaking on to MTV and radio, and never looked back. We dropped a SLEW of singles for the rest of the year. Had a true international smash with Kid Cudi’s “Day ‘N’ Nite” and the Crookers remix, introduced a new generation of producers-to-watch like Treasure Fingers, Jokers Of The Scene and Nacho Lovers, and curated a free, two-CD compilation with Scion to showcase the whole label family. We teamed up with Dim Mak for a North American tour, got with Mad Decent for a crazy “Mad Fools” show in Central Park, and ended the year getting Pepsi to fly all our artists out to NYC for a holiday party with DJ Premier and Cipha Sounds on the decks with us. So obviously I’m proud of all of that! Plus we moved out of my kitchen into an office.

The whole year was one long learning experience, because the only real master plan was to put out music we genuinely loved from artists who were family. And simply by following that, we were able to expand the scope of the brand to incorporate everything from new-school rap to underground electronic music, and breaking this new music to bigger audiences on our own terms. People like it because they like it, not because we’re hyping it down their throats.

How about Fool’s Gold 2009?

The mission is still the same, give people a lot of diverse, jamming new music. So far we’ve already dropped debut singles from Trackademicks and Congorock, and a crazy remix single for Kid Sister’s “Get Fresh” that Zombie Nation and Alex Gopher did mixes for. Next up are singles from DJ Gant-Man, Alexander Robotnik, Malente, Bag Raiders, LA Riots, big follow-up records from everyone else on the roster, Kid Sister’s debut LP (finally!), our first real compilation album, and a bunch of fun collaborations and surprises…

As far as parties and events it’s off to a crazy start with packed SXSW and WMC showcases, and we’ll have some other new tours on the way. Dust La Rock has an art show in NYC. We’re even turning part of our office into a storefront, which will be open in time for summer and have a lot of exclusive shit.

Then next up it’s invading Europe!!!!!!!

What will be musically exciting in 2009?

Last year’s rave revival is this year’s obsession with anything everything “exotic” in dance music. Some of it’s so-so but a lot has been great. People are starting to embrace slower BPMs again. And rap! It’s just cool to see the diversity creep back in.

What are the songs you play the most in your sets these days?

Recently I’ve been mixing in a lot of older stuff (which I’m either re-discovering or getting turned onto for the first time, so its still fresh to my ears) and get it to make sense with more recent tunes that are out. Like 90s Armand remixes and house or fast rap or whatever that I just wasn’t up on at the time. I hear so many generic DJ sets that are like listening to someone read a blog, just bombarding my ears with new songs and unnecessary remixes that may as well have been downloaded on the way to the club, with no flow or context at all. It stops being special or memorable – I’d rather take people on a trip. I started DJing so I could connect the dots between all the different music I love, and thats still the way I approach it. For me a good night lets me touch on everything.

How do you see things evolve when it comes to the dj/club scene?

I feel like from a booking standpoint there’s such an unnecessary emphasis on production lately – it becomes less about “can you rock a party?” and more about “what remixes do you have out?” It’s skewed, and it overestimates the real draw of new artists to an unhealthy degree, just cause somebody has a bunch of joints charting on Hype Machine or what have you. You get a glut of these wack, generic parties with underwhelming talent. Which is kind of why Ayres, Jubilee and I started Flashing Lights – so we could handle booking ourselves, take the bullshit out of the equation and just have it be a dope, DJ-centric night that we would want to go to, that we could invite our friends out to and be proud of. It’s hard to keep a residency when you travel a lot, but we make it work. I would love to see more of the other good DJs in other cities make that investment back into their own scenes and start their own new parties on the same vibe.

What should we be on the lookout for when it comes to your projects as a dj and producer?

I just put out a second volume of Radio Friendly Unit Shifter, the all-alternative rock mix I do for Mishka with my boy Mr Ducker, as well as another rap tape with Izza Kizza, “Wizard Of Izz.” The Flashing Lights mixes are dropping regularly – I try to do new mixes for every party I’m involved with, just to let people know what they’re in for, and because it’s super fun to do. On the production tip I’m getting original tunes together but not rushing it. I do remixes here and there, but at this point all the projects I take on are my friends and I work on it for fun. Again, there’s just too much clutter out there and I want to make sure my contribution to this musical conversation of ours is special.

The music industry has been in a transition phase for a while now…is the future bright? How do think things will work in 2, 3…10 years?

I’m not particularly interested in the industry side of that equation. I do think people will always love music, and that there will always be a place for a label like Fool’s Gold to act as a filter and an advocate for fresh sounds and hot shit, whether you’re the one weirdo who still buys CDs or you get singles beamed to a iPod chip in your tooth five years from now. As the old system falls further and further apart, the opportunities for people like us (who were trying to do something different and create a new model from jump) only get bigger and bigger.

The internet offers fantastic tools for the business of music but the choice is so wide it sometimes gets pretty complicated. For you, what kind of services would the perfect website offer (in terms of tools useful for a record label, artist etc)?

There will always be new sites and technology, and it’s hard for just one of them to act as a magic bullet. I would simply like it to be easier to link and update all my different sites at once, and bring them together in a way that’s meaningful. And look cool!

What advice would you give to youngsters trying to make a living with music, a label, or any music-related activity?

You have to do this because you love it, and because it’s something you’d do even if you weren’t getting paid. Because you probably won’t get paid. Get a regular-ass job. This has to mean much more than that. This way you’ll always be satisfied, and anything that’s successful just becomes this wonderful, wonderful bonus.

BONUS MOVIE QUESTIONS

5 movies that changed your life

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Do The Right Thing

Akira

Cool Hand Luke

1991: The Year Punk Broke

5 things needed for a perfect dvd night

Popcorn

Iced Tea (homemade)

Sweatshirt

Your Girl (I mean, not your girl, necessarily…)

Big Ass Couch

5 female movie characters you had a crush on

Sloane Petersen (Ferris Bueller)

Lydia Deetz (Beetlejuice)

Andie Walsh (Pretty In Pink)

Alabama Whitman (True Romance)

Debi Newberry (Grosse Pointe Blank)

Selectism