Last week, Billboard announced the nine labels that will be distributed by the Frenchkiss Label Group, which formed late last year. One of those labels is New York-based imprint God Mode, which is run by journalist/Mr. Dream drummer Nick Sylvester and Mick Management's Talya Elitzer, who manages Mr. Dream. The label was launched rather casually in 2009 with Mr. Dream's four-song 7", "Mr. Dream Goes to Jail," but they've grown more serious about the enterprise over the past few months and have releases from Yvette, the Sleepies and Matt Fasano planned for later this year.
"Working with Talya on something like this, for me, was a no-brainer" Sylvester told Billboard.biz. "We work closely on all the unsavory, extra-musical parts of being a 'real band' and somehow don't want to kill each other."
The pair began working together nearly two years ago when Elitzer began managing Mr. Dream as a sideline from her dayjob at William Morris (she now works at Mick Management handling day-to-day for Fort Lean, http://www.billboard.biz/bbbiz/industry/backbeat/backbeat-fort-lean-rocks-santos-party-house-1006320752.story Sarah McLachlan and the Walkmen). Not surprisingly, God Mode has a philosophy similar to the one that Frenchkiss Label Group VP Jordy Trachtenberg described to Billboard.biz: hands-on, with a sense of community.
"We're running God Mode like a production company" Sylvester said. "Every release is a collaboration between us and an artist. We record, mix, produce, and try to get the artist's music to the right people. Nothing feels super-professional, which is important. We're all good friends and we all help each other out."
New York duo Yvette is the first non-Mr. Dream band to be added to the God Mode family-Sylvester describes them as a "black magic Sleigh Bells", although there are also some sonic similarities with L.A. noise ambassadors Health. The label released the duo's "Erosion"/"Cold Sweat" 7" in February.
"We became friends with Nick because our bands practiced next door to each other," Yvette guitarist Noah Kardos-Fein said. "At that point, God Mode was a mini-label that was just releasing Nick's band's music. We talked about releasing our 7" on God Mode, and before we knew it Nick put things into gear and God Mode was a 'real' label, working on distribution, getting other bands on board and planning future releases."
Yvette are slated to release another 7" on the label in September and are at work on a full album. Matty Fasano - bassist with New York indie pop group Arms- is slated to release a solo 7" on the label next month, which Sylvester describes as "weird, minimal piano-and-voice music along the lines of Perfume Genius or James Blake." And New York quartet the Sleepies-who Sylvester describes as a "sardonic punk act from Bushwick"-have a full-length album slated for a September release on the label.