If you are an early aughts indie rock lover, you know Dangerbird Records. Perhaps not in name, but by their alumni artists: Silversun Pickups, Minus the Bear, Hot Hot Heat, Delphic and more. The veteran Los Angeles label has touched greatness and continues to mentor tomorrow’s scene leaders. Traditional deals are of course still being struck with new talent, but they are also nurturing experimental work through Arthur King Presents, a series named after the collective of the same name. And then there’s Microdose, a monthly series that is still growing and changing within the label.
Our city is a colorful and diverse place for underground music; Dangerbird has always known this, so in 2017 they debuted Microdose. It gave them an excuse to rub elbows with artists outside the label, where they would release two singles and play a show at their campus in Echo Park. They began scouting from their “hood” (LA’s eastside), finding new voices as well as veterans of the scene creating new projects that defy classification. Earlier this year, Microdose put a spotlight on little-known live band Milly, which had formed out of the bedroom project helmed by Brendan Dyer. Also in 2019, Grimy Goods’ favorite Joel Jerome was featured on Microdose with new solo music, even as his profile as a seasoned producer continues to grow.
Jim Fairchild currently leads the charge for Microdose scouting. He has been kicking around in the local scene as a player and musician, and he’s maintained years-long friendships with Aaron Espinoza and Peter Walker, A&R and founder of Dangerbird, respectively. “I’ve always had a deep relationship with both those dudes so it’s been really cool to have a work excuse for us to build our relationship after all this time,” Fairchild told me over the phone. After expressing his admiration for their efforts with Microdose, he was enlisted to help alleviate the burden on the label’s officers.
When we spoke, Fairchild was out on tour, which prompted a clarification of where he was searching for the next Microdose installment: “Nurturing local talent is important, but I don’t want to be limited to that. I’m in Colorado right now and I’ll be on tour for the next few weeks so it’s not out of the question that I might discover something new [while travelling]… This is an exciting opportunity for me because I’ve never stopped being a fifteen-year-old kid just looking for new music and trying to stay abreast of all the new sounds that people are making.”
The future of Microdose is still being written. When he was appointed this past spring, the series became Fairchild’s baby; moving forward, he has plans to expand the series’ reach, saying, “Our vision at this point is to just represent quality.” From there, Microdose intends to open doors. “It is a way for the label to help younger artists get something out there with press behind it. And then there’s potential for that relationship to expand into another single or an EP or an album [under the official Dangerbird label].”
Fairchild alluded to exciting news coming in the new year, starting with the series’ January spotlight on Unicorns at Heart, a lo-fi crew from Monrovia. Until then, it is worth looking back on the fresh faces that Microdose has propelled thus far—you are only a few clicks away from finding your new favorite underground act.