DFA Records is now on a small screen near you (actually, below). Today, the Red Bull Music Academy released a 12-minute documentary short entitled “Too Old To Be New, Too New To Be Classic: 12 Years of DFA” that examines the history of NYC’s influential independent “indie dance” music label on the occasion of its 12th anniversary.
The film features interviews with founders James Murphy and Jonathan Galkin, appearances by members of LCD Soundsystem (Murphy’s band), The Rapture, and Holy Ghost! as well as unseen archive footage.
Founded in 2001 by Murphy, Galkin, and Tim Goldsworthy, DFA has released more than 140 12’’ singles, 34 albums, and six compilations while keeping its production and operations "small and family-like." The label is credited with sparking a "indie dance' music movement/revival which DFA popularized with tracks like the Rapture's 2003 "House of Jealous Lovers." “Throughout the 90s dance music was not something that was accepted in any way in the indie rock world,” says DFA’s The Juan Maclean.
“This film perfectly and quickly captures the story of our label DFA, a story that is told many different ways by many different characters – and honestly no one remembers much all too clearly," Galkin said in a statement. "The filmmakers really capture the close knit creative sprit of what we do and the peculiar ways we do it.”
In conjunction with the film, on May 25th, RBMA is hosting a seven-hour, celebration in honor of label’s 12th anniversary at Brooklyn’s Grand Prospect Hall. The event will feature performances by James Murphy and over 15 more live acts and DJs spanning the entire history of DFA, including some fist ever US performances.
In the film Galkin also notes that, “DFA is a family; ‘dysfunctional’ is a good word to use.” Some of that "dysfunction" reared its head this past March when news broke of DFA suing co-founder Tim Goldsworthy in Manhattan civil court for nearly $100,000 for allegedly taking compensation for services he didn't carry out, carrying outstanding loan debt, improper use of a DFA credit card and unsanctioned bank withdrawals.
DFA Records, however, continues to fully operate and is home to such artists as The Juan Maclean, Factory Floor, Sh*t Robot, Planningtorock, YACHT, and more.
“Too Old To Be New, Too New To Be Classic: 12 Years of DFA” was produced by m ss ng p eces, a Brooklyn-based production company and is narrated by comedian Marc Maron and directed by Max Joseph (of MTV’s Catfish). Songs from the film and other tracks from DFA’s catalog are available on a Spotify playlist here.
The film is also available on the Red Bull Music Academy's website here. The energy drink company is currently hosting the 15th edition of its dance-music-oriented school in New York City which includes lecturers and performances and installations by a vast array of artists (including Brian Eno, Giorgio Moroder, Ryuchi Sakamoto, Erykah Badu, Four Tet, Nile Rodgers and others) as well as music production facilities, a daily newspaper and much more.