First of all, Claire Boucher (better known as Grimes) is not really starting a label. She could, but she's not. Really.
Now let's back up, to where this began.
Nicole Dallanganger has a voice like a focused wooden wind chime, eighty percent air and whisper and the rest a smooth drip of lantern ambergris. The Toronto-based artist has been uploading her home-recorded work to Bandcamp since 2013, most recently with Greta Gibson Forever (a reference to a Freddy Krueger victim and aspiring supermodel), released in March of this year. "Lemonade," the opening song on Greta, sounds as if Lana Del Rey joined the Bauhaus just before retreating into the bedroom of a Tim Burton set. Minimal instrumentation -- little more than chapel organ ambience and synth string plucks -- carpet a vocal performance that's as much confident silence as it is Dollanganger's bittersweet sway.
Now, to the present. Dollanganger is the reason for the Eerie Organization's existence. "I literally started Eerie to fucking put it out," Boucher says, referencing Dollanganger's upcoming record Natural Born Losers, scheduled for release Oct. 9. "It's a crime against humanity for this music not to be heard."
It puts out music (it will also oversee the Canadian release of Grimes' upcoming record), but it's not a label? What is Eerie, then? Boucher envisions a wide ladder, with helping hands at each rung. "Functionally," Boucher tells Billboard, "it's more like a cooperative than anything else. Some of the artists we are talking to are getting involved in helping out as well." The goal for artists Eerie works with -- don't bother sending them your demo, they aren't accepting submissions -- is to do well, and thrive, and move on.
"The ultimate goal is that any artist we work with moves on to a label with real resources, gets good management and is able to do all this stuff the right way, with help from people who’ve been through it already," says Boucher. "We want to be a healthy gateway to all that stuff, without taking anything."
The day-to-day of operations will be handled by co-founder James Brooks, previously of Elite Gymnastics (currently dreading it), who was also responsible for introducing Dollanganger to Boucher. Artists will take all profits and control all copyrights.
"I think if anything Eerie is a patron of the arts and a labour of love," Boucher continues. "It’s only a business insofar as it is required to be in order to help the artists we work with. The contracts only exist to protect the artists from me, so that they have peace of mind and know they aren’t getting screwed."
The music industry is a minefield for new, talented artists. (A recent poll found that most music executives think artists aren't treated fairly, a sentiment that most observers know intuitively, if not personally.) The complexity of publishing alone is enough to make anyone turn tail and run back to the eight-track under the bed, far away from the Klieg lights of fame. To that end Eerie will look to be a guide.
"I’ve seen so many artists get a team and build a business only to walk away with nothing, and in many cases be unable to continue because of the sacrifices they had to make early on just to get noticed," says Boucher. "I want to eliminate that aspect of it for the people we work with."