Everything was Good!
It was shortly after New Year’s day in 2008, that my wife, Landry, and I started considering the possibility of acquiring a second recording studio. The room that we’d bought a couple of years before was overbooked. Chessvolt Studios in beautiful Panorama City was constantly full. It was a quality problem to have.
We looked at a house in Woodland hills that boasted two SSL studios. We looked at a huge property in Agoura Hills, owned by Nikki Sixx, that had to be sold due to his divorce. We looked at another property in Malibu owned by one of Goldie Hawn’s ex-husbands. We were doing that L.A. thing, and feeling pretty good about it all.
We actually came very, very close to closing a deal, and would have had the seller not gone sort of crazy at the last minute. The year progressed, though, and we had no success in finding our newly expanded recording space.
Then, like a canary in a coal mine, all of our business ended. Our one location was frighteningly empty, save for a handful of crickets that took up residence in our storage room. Of course this foreshadowed the Great Recession that was soon to hit, but that, my friends, is another story.
Enter The People.
Landry and I decided to invite some indie bands into the studio. We literally had zero bookings, and so we started checking out some of the L.A. scene with the intention of offering studio time and production to a band we loved. We ended up discovering and inviting The Henry Clay People into the studio. The production relationship did not develop as I would have hoped, but a curious thing did happen.
At the time, I was discovering new music through two podcasts that I’d subscribed to: the KEXP Song of The Day from Seattle, and WFUV’s take 5 from New York City. Guitarist Andy Siara, of Henry Clay People, wrote me out a list of music blogs. I was still unfamiliar with the blogosphere, and eagerly explored the list. I instantly became a fan of what Daytrotter was doing, as well as another live music blog called HearYa.
Landry and I had an auspicious thought: “What if we did Daytrotter with video?”
And what if we pressed vinyl?
Simultaneously, we’d been entertaining producing a compilation album that would be released exclusively on vinyl. What would we call our new vinyl specialty label? The discussion was in full bloom one afternoon as we scanned the shelves of our neighborhood 99 Cents Only store. We both noticed a cylindrical can of “Luxury Wafers”, stopped in our tracks, and stared at each other. A new record label had been born.
While the vinyl label stayed as a wishlist project, when we began our “Daytrotter with Video” blog in the summer of 2008, we named it Luxury Wafers. Of course.
The first Luxury Wafers Session was L.A. Americana band Olin and The Moon. Over the following 15 or so months, Chessvolt Studios hosted almost 300 Luxury Wafers sessions which included Lissie, Mother Mother, Ben Kweller, Brendan Benson, Langhorn Slim, and Dawes.
We took Luxury Wafers on the road to The Hanger Studio in Sacramento, as well as Jackpot! Studio in Portland. Tape-Op editor Larry Crane, and publisher John Baccigalupe were kind enough to donate their rooms to feature local acts they cared about.
When our Chessvolt Studio was taken by the Los Angeles Unified School District in late 2009 to make way for an elementary school, Dave Trumfio at Kingsize Soundlabs in Eagle Rock stepped up and welcomed Luxury Wafers when his studio was available. The Kingsize sessions featured Adam Green, J. Tillman (Father John Misty), as well as L.A. favorites Dengue Fever, and others.
In early 2010 Landry and I decided to put the blog on hold as we discovered that a new Malick was on the way. Uma Mae Malick was born July 27th in 2010. The blog had been dormant for 6 months when our Uma was born.
In July of 2013, Uma was about to have her 3rd birthday, and we decided to revise our Luxury Wafers brand. I personally had some releases that had never been made available digitally. Butch Norton and I also had an instrumental album that was unreleased. Further, we negotiated the release of two very special projects that I’d produced: Courtney Jones’ “All The Things That Fall”, and Spencer Livingston’s “Grow”.
We decided that Luxury Wafers was to be reborn as a record label, and that we’d launch the label with a tour of the Northeast that we titled, amazingly, Luxury Wafers Goes East.
Since the tour, we have released German singer/songwriter Johna’s EP “Miles”, and Mexico rockers Volagio’s EP “Hollywood”, both projects that I produced.
We released a duets EP that I did with Fitz and The Tantrums drummer John Wicks, as well as a wonderful compilation for The Everywoman Festival, titled “Be Yourself”. Proceeds for the Everywoman compilation are going to support Embracing The World, humanitarian Amma’s charity, that the entire Malick family feels passionately about.