The Co-Op Communique Volume Three by Various Artists is OUT NOW and FREE!!!
So I decided to catch up with my music friend Dw. Dunphy and find out what’s been going on in his musical world. Funny, how I’ve known him for a while now, and yet I’ve never really understood what his actual mission was-at least as far as The Co-Op Community Facebook page that he’s created. What is this community all about?
Like me, he has a LOT going on! Let’s see how well we can clarify all the great work he’s doing!
But first, let me just clarify something with you, the reader. Notice the co (lower case o) and then the Op (uppercase O) resulting in Co-Op. Cool! Now let’s move forward to the man himself-Dw. Dunphy!
So, Dw., when a person clicks on your Co-Op Community Facebook page, what are you hoping they will find?
First and foremost, I hope people will find a place where they are understood. One of the peculiarities about creative individuals is that we often create compulsively. We don’t have strict regimens about it. If anything, our compulsions mess up other regimens. So I hope that being a part of the Co-Op means that you don’t have to explain that.
Second, I hope the group allows people to collaborate. The page should be more than just an outlet for musicians, but also for writers, illustrators…origami folders. How brilliant would it be if a traditional painter connected with an origami folder and did something.
Finally, I want people to promote their work. So often on these Facebook pages there’s an overarching dictum about it being okay to talk about what you ate for lunch, but not about what you make or do. Seems kind of backward that we would celebrate the mundane things but not the things that express talent and effort. Therefore — so long as it is not incredibly offensive or comes from a place of hate & intolerance — the Co-Op welcomes your creativity and wants you to talk about it.
B. What is it you hope will keep the Co-Op community coming back?
The idea that this is a real community, that you should be inspired by stopping by, and — I hate to use the word “empowered” because it’s so overused to the point of cliche…how about — emboldened to do your own thing and be proud of it and to show it off. I think that would give people a reason to come back.
C. I am clarifying that your CD comp releases are technically called “The Co-Op Communique” (?)
Yes. The Communique is an annual collection. I hope that in future installments it can be expanded to include a PDF booklet about the musicians, but also include visual contributions. That would continue to push the arts community aspect forward.
2) How would you LOVE to see the Co-Op community “participating” more on the community page? Has it been as active as you’ve wanted it to be, up to this point?
Collaboration and the freedom to take a bit of ownership of it. Frankly, there’s only one rule that I hold as far as the page goes. It’s pretty simple. “Don’t be a jerk.” Show each other some respect and support. Definitely collaborate, strike up conversations. But if you’re there to stir up trouble that is the one thing that will cause someone to be ejected. And frankly, there are plenty of places to be a jerk on the Internet, and not so many where you can express your creativity. So I want to see participation, interaction, and hopefully lots of collaboration.
3) You are also a label for artists but you don’t necessarily “sign” artists, right? What is your role, as a record label?
I started making music a long time ago but found it incredibly hard to stay motivated because it often felt like there was no audience. Or rather, that support system that said, “You’re onto something here, keep going” wasn’t in place, so there was often a struggle involved with staying motivated. Nothing is as deflating as working on something for months and months, and then you drop it into the world, and the response is the same as if you’ve done nothing at all.
So my primary goal with the Co-Op, the label (Introverse Media), and all the efforts that surround them is to be that megaphone that shouts out, “You should see/hear/read this!”
Although I’ve run Introverse for more than a decade, it’s been only for my own purposes but that might change soon. The fact is that I’m doing this on a shoestring, financially. I’m hoping to scale up so that my ability to be more of a help to everyone is that much greater. There are opportunities. I think that there’s going to be a genuine need to support the arts independently, and very soon. I’ll keep this from getting political in either respect, but suffice it to say that the days of government-funded arts is probably over. I’m hoping that independent concerns like mine can fill the void and I’ll be able to work with patrons who can help grow this.
That’s another thing about the Co-Op Communique. I don’t charge artists to be included. I know of other annual compilations that do, and I know why. There’s a certain amount of overhead involved, and maybe that’s necessary to carry forward the final product. But I feel very ambivalent about taking money from artists, and generally refuse. You spend months writing a song. That’s a valuable-enough contribution. To have to pay to get it heard — that just rubs me the wrong way.
In lieu of money, I strenuously encourage the people involved with the Co-Op to help promote. Doesn’t have to be paid either, and I don’t want people going out-of-pocket anyway. Using one’s social media to connect their fanbase(s) with the compilation, and expose them to new artists and songs, that’s pretty effective too. Spread the hashtag #CoOpCommunique like crazy. Word-of-mouth is very effective!
4) What are the methods you are currently using to help promote the artists you support?
I will put out a press release upon the compilation’s release — a paid release with good reach into the media. I also will pay for social media ads and, in fact, have been promoting Co-Op 3 for more than a month now, even though it doesn’t come out until the end of May. That will continue.
Once it does come out, not only will I be promoting each song and artist on Volume 3, I’ll be doing the same for the artists on Volume 2 (which presently is the combined Vols. 1 & 2 on Bandcamp). That’s another thing. I’ve structured this so that once you’re in, I won’t forget you come the next time around. I hope to give each Co-Op Communique volume as much spotlight as the previous one. There are ways to accomplish this. You can do it if you really want to.
And this promotion will continue well after the initial release occurs. I think that’s what people have appreciated most. I get emails back saying, “Thank you for continuing to back me. It’s been 9 months since this came out and you’re still tweeting out my song and spreading the links to my CD Baby and Bandcamp pages.” I think that’s what means the most to artists, that they haven’t been forgotten. That incentivizes continued work and effort.
5) As you continue your work on The Co-Op Communique Volume 3, what do you hope will happen, that didn’t happen with the last volumes….or do you feel the last 2 volumes were successful in reaching people and promoting the artists?
It’s a steady process. You do have to establish a name and identity for the overall concept. But like I said before, the folks who contributed to Vols. 1 and 2 will get continued push when Volume 3 launches, and it is my intention to funnel that rising tide that lifts all the boats.
As far as the success rate…sure, I would love to be able to talk about this on a larger stage. And I will talk about this to anyone who will speak to me on it! But there is a growth pattern that has to occur. People are reticent to jump into things without a track record to go on, both for producers and consumers. The task is to keep it up and keep pushing forward. I will insist that those who contributed in the first round continue to get heard and seen by the third, fourth and fifth round. I think this, too, is something that differentiates the Co-Op Communique. I don’t want to leave anyone behind.
6) Besides for promoting artists and their musical recordings, what else do find yourself promoting (art, theater, other arts…)
I’m a Senior Editor at the website Popdose.com. We cover everything, but we have a heavy focus on new and independent artists. That’s always encouraged by the Editor-In-Chief Jeff Giles. I don’t tend to promote myself there, but I have run reviews of artists who appear on the Co-Op Communique. I’ve also run interviews with artists who do other things. For instance: musician Dan Pavelich also has a comic strip called Just Say Uncle. I’ve covered both his music and the comic strip. Popdose has covered releases from the label Curry Cuts and artists like Brandon Schott. It’s all about pushing creativity forward, I suppose.
7) What else are you enthusiastically working on, as far as the Co-Op Community page goes?
Everything — within reason. My only rule in that is to be respectful and play nice, but by all means, play.
FABULOUS! I get it now!
Dw. Dunphy-The Man Behind The Co-Op
You are a musician yourself. Can you tell us more about the music you write and record?
I come from a 60s-70s pop and prog rock background. A lot of listening to Beatles, ELO, Yes, Rush, The Cars, Pink Floyd…so all of that tends to get filtered into what I do.
What is your musical background? (Bands, professional lessons, etc…)
I’m self-taught, but that’s kind of facetious, really. My grandfather always had instruments around and played almost everything. My parents both loved music and surrounded the kids with it. My sister had an outsized influence there. While kids my age (at that time) were listening to “kiddie records,” we were listening at least ten, fifteen years beyond that.
I’ve been in a couple of loose collaborations and was a part of an experimental unit called Nightmare Variations. I’d like to play more in a group setting but, primarily, I’m a one-man band in a DIY setting.
How long have you been creating, playing and performing music, on a professional level?
Since the mid-90s. Lots and lots of cassette releases. Having a graphic arts background as well, I was able to package them up and do okay in that respect. I wasn’t necessarily punk, but I had a bit of that renegade mentality. That’s really how Introverse started (and yes, that’s also an allusion to a bit of an introverted personality…but I do try!)
What instruments do you play?
Keyboard, guitars, a bit of percussion. I like doing multiple vocal harmony parts. I think if you can nail the perfect multi-layered vocal harmonies, there’s nothing better than that.
Do you do your own recordings, or do you record somewhere else?
It’s all me, at home with my modest computer rig. That’s one of the best things about the age we live in. It can be done, and the only limitation is your determination to do it.
That said, I’d love to see Abbey Road Studios. I’d love to see Real World Studios. I’m an idealist, but I’m not crazy! 🙂
Do you collaborate (or have you before) with others?
I’ll collaborate anywhere that I’m welcome to. Preferably, I’d collaborate with people I know and have a good rapport with, and are okay with my personal “isms.” If you are mainly a solo artist, you do pick up traits in process, so I like to work with folks who get that about me. I don’t really have much call to collaborate, but I’m definitely open to it.
After searching for your music, I came up with these main sites. Can anyone purchase your music from them at this time?
Most are available. A couple aren’t, and on earlier releases you can definitely hear a learning curve taking place. You are your own harshest critic, but I think I do well, and I’ve made several albums I’m really proud of. I haven’t done too badly as a “bedroom pop” pioneer!
What are your current releases?
The First Thing That Came To Mind came out late last year, and I’m prepping a 7″ record release that has songs from two previous albums, Modernism and The Radial Night called: Your Saturday Sins Limited Edition 7″ Record.
***(CLICK HERE TO LISTEN/PURCHASE)***
What else can we look forward to from you in the near future?
Currently, I’m putting everything I’ve got into Co-Op 3. We’ll see what progresses at the end of the year. I definitely want to devote my energy to Co-Op 3 though.
Apart from that, I’m going to have a few paintings and drawings hung at a local arts community center here in New Jersey around July, so I’m excited about that.
Any live shows/events scheduled? (even if it’s via internet).
Nothing live slated for now. The one-man band thing is an impediment, but I have considered finding a couple of folks in the area who might want to do some acoustic trio sort of thing, mostly just for fun, maybe just show up at a park and do some songs…annoy some deer, that kind of thing.
Where can we find more of you and what you are writing about?
Popdose is a great site with tremendous writers and a great sense about the world and the arts. I’m extremely proud to be a part of it.
And there you have it! A fabulous guy with a fabulous mission. Thank you for taking the time to chat with me today, Dw.!
Follow @DwDunphy on Twitter!