New York City-based record label Tiny Montgomery is celebrating their two-year anniversary with a bang, and they want you to join! The party will be held at Aviv in Brooklyn on Friday, July 1st at 8pm. (And then they’ll party into the night. So you should be there.) Not only is this shindig getting everyone in the celebratory spirit for the label, but it’s also being hosted to observe the birthday of Tiny Montgomery‘s initial recording artist, guitarist and composer Tom Csatari.
Founded in 2014, Tiny Montgomery prides itself on releasing remarkable music by like-minded friends, artists, and lovers. “Tiny Montgomery mixes and matches the DIY and old-world record label tropes,” exclaims Uncivilized, one of the talents signed to the label. “It hurls hott, ineffably American music at you — like some sort of emphatic retro-future.” It gives progressive and experimental sounds an avenue by which to be heard and distributed, and its current roster is phenomenally talented. “I think Tiny Montgomery is unique among independent label outfits in that it’s a family affair,” clarifies Levon Henry. “Everyone is involved in some capacity on each other’s projects through the majority of the process (music-making included), which creates a nice circuit of reciprocation and takes a lot of the weight off the process of putting a record out for each of us individually.”
Newcomer Ivy Meissner has nothing but good things to say. “As I am on the precipice of releasing my first album with TM I have become increasingly aware of rare it is to have this kind of creative family. This album wouldn’t be what it is without their input. While everyone is playing on it, Julian is also producing and Levon and Tom are arranging horn parts.” Julian Cubillos is taking advantage of the collaborative aspect of the label, admitting, “Tiny Montgomery is the de-facto collecting pan for the runoff from unceasing studio collaboration in our small community. I’m trying to make as many records as possible.”
Although not every detail has been revealed quite yet (We love us some mystery!), we have confirmed that members of the wooden ship that is Uncivilized will be playing with several of the other bands and Ivy Meissner will be releasing her single “Talk at Me” and giving away download cards featuring artwork by Zuzu Snyder. “The show will be a fantastic chance to see another side of TM,” explains Julian. “In person, sans packaging.”
We got a chance to learn more about the label and its music–sans packaging–when we spoke Tiny Montgomery co-founder Alexander James.
What made you choose to start a label of your own, and where did the name come from?
We started Tiny Montgomery to bring music together under a single banner – sharing ideas, equipment, and resources – that would be open and full of soul. We were already starting to play shows and make records together out in Brooklyn, so the idea of bringing it together under the banner of a label only felt natural, not to mention exciting. We knew it would start small and grow subtly, but it’s the not knowing where we are headed that’s half the fun!
Our first meeting, so-to-speak, was at Great Jones Cafe off the Bowery. We ate and talked and decided we’re doing this. We’re all big Dylan/Band/Basement Tapes people and so our name grew out of that, as homage to the ethos Dylan credits that record with having and with how it sounds. “Windows open, dog on the floor…” Now we meet monthly at Yayo’s in Park Slope and come up with crazy ideas and try to make each and every one work.
What is your opinion on the music industry currently?
It’s alive, but it definitely smells funny! Records are important and a certain kind of curation is important, so we hope it’s here to stay and we’d like to be along for the ride, however bumpy.
Tiny Montgomery showcases itself as a “record label unfastened from any particular genre, scene or trend.” You chose this route to showcase friends and their music 2 years ago. How did you hear about the talent of the bands on your roster now?
There is a flutist who plays on most of our records — the great Tristan Cooley — he was involved with connecting several of the label’s founding members (perhaps he is the silver pipe throughout!), but Levon and Julian have known each other for ten years; Levon and Tom (Uncivilized) have been playing together since college; Ivy has been photographing everything since the start. One of the great things about this is the very genuine family vibe. We use Levon and Julian’s living room as our studio. Up to a dozen records have been made here, and this is where we make our records, and live, and hang out, and grow with one another.
Do you have any fun anecdotes from events/working with these great bands?
Well, there’s really nothing quite like working with your friends and getting to be a part of their artistic process and growth and be excited every day by what they are going to surprise you with next. Every day is like a potential birthday. Additionally, the humor is not lost on us that Ivy is about to release her album Platinum Blues and at some point or another we’ve all been there … platinum that is. Whether by natural or artificial process we’re all trying to go platinum and until then we have some blues. (See prior album covers for proof).
The showcase will feature all 4 talents on your roster. We know that you’ve held a successful showcase prior to this, and are wondering what the atmosphere is like when you’re hosting artists of different genres together.
Those are, in our opinion, the best kind of showcases, and, of course, labels. Eclecticism, variety, a certain worldliness and openness to all forms and sounds and ideas – these are very important ideals. It creates a very exciting and a very charged atmosphere and it’s a blessing to have the experience of seeing your best friends on stage and some of your favorite bands on stage be one in the same.
What do you have to say about the excitement to come at the showcase? Anything we should expect?
Expect the unexpected™ from Uncivilized at 8:30pm.
Expect raging Americana from Levon Henry at 9:15pm.
Expect gritty dream-pop from Ivy Meissner at 10:00pm.
Expect firework (sic.) from Julian Cubillos at 10:45pm.
As for the area the event will be in… any suggestions on food/sites to see before and/or after the showcase? (We know you’re not a travel site, but would love to add more in regard to making it a night at the show.)
Take the L to Graham Ave and it’s a pretty nice walk along Woodpoint Road up to the venue (just before the BQE on Morgan Ave. near the old 3rd Ward art collective); the area still has some of the free-form charm left on the outskirts of East Williamsburg / Greenpoint: you’re pretty close to bars on Graham and Nassau Avenues.
Vietnamese café Nhà Minh is directly across the street from the venue and it’s delicious.
Join them for the biggest party of the summer on Friday, July 1st! More information here.