When Benita Whyte, Katie McDonald and Jackson Darby moved from Montreal to Hamilton and began offering their own electronic and eccentric musical explorations, they were immediately welcomed into the more underground local art and art rock communities. Over the last few years, they’ve not only created and performed their own music but also began developing the infrastructure of what like minded artists could do. Persons, the band, is releasing a new 7–inch manufactured by Personal Touch Vinyl and available via their label Personal Records.
“Persons has been busy touring a lot and work–shopping new songs on the road and recording with different people in the studio,” offers Darby on current activities. “We’ve been working with producer Aaron Hutchinson (Haolin Munk, Shanika Maria, Ellis, Sarah Good) at Fort Rose to do our newest recordings. I’ve usually been producer so it’s a new experience working with a third party producer. Producers can fall into patterns so it’s exciting to have a fresh pair of ears to guide things into a different direction and maybe more effective a direction.
"We’ve been working on music and seeing what goes together well with the end goal of putting out a full length record but the two songs on the 7–inch work really well together and we decided to release them on their own,” adds Darby. “The songs had both developed in live settings quite well and they work structurally well in a complimentary manner. They have the opposite structure to one another which creates a nice sonic narrative. The first track has been around for a long time and has had a few different versions but the best of which is on the 7–inch.”
Personal Records is Darby’s own curated label umbrella that has already had a compilation released to add a focus on a swath of like minded Hamiltonians and more. The label has also developed a series of limited edition 7–inch lathe cut releases that have featured Guy Madonna, Bbomit, Bile Sister, Freaky Boos, YlangYlang and more all personally made by Darby and his company.
“Personal Touch Vinyl operates out of my home studio but also does online short run orders via personaltouchvinyl.com,” explains Darby. “It exists separately although clearly linked with Personal Records, which is more of a curatorial project. I do a maximum run of 50 and everything is cut in real time so it’s a very time consuming process. Anything more than 50 copies and I’ll have listened to that music far too many times.
“It’s a challenging format but it’s the opposite of people’s regular listening habits,” adds Darby. “Listening to a 45 is a very intentional listening experience so you can’t go very far, you have to stick around listen to it and then change the record. I hope the people that do buy them, listen to them because there is a lot that goes into making them. Being able to do this has been something I’ve been working towards for ten years and I knew it would take some time to get to this point. It’s a little difficult but it’s all been worth it for me and the artists that I work with.”
While set up was not simple, now that Darby’s up and running he’s finding more commissions from locals like Motëm or Man Made Hill and more. But while his work behind the scenes keeps him busy working on other people’s music, it’s his band that offers the greatest creative outlet and this weekend they offer up two new songs on a snazzy record with a live show to celebrate.
“We have songs, we play them and we mash them altogether,” Darby offers on what to expect from Persons live performance. “We’ll be performing a whole lot of new songs at Sous Bas. I DJ at the club regularly and I think Persons goes well on a bill with other DJs. Our music goes well in that dance environment. When I was putting the show together, I knew it would go over better in an environment that is designed for dancing. If I were to offer sonic influences it’d be some ’90s hip hop, disco and techno — the sound varies a lot but it tends to have a four on the floor drum beat so it’s conducive to dancing with hypnotic repetition and rhythm. There is a visual component with live projections and we’ll do an ecstatic, high energy performance that makes you want to dance.”
Persons play on Friday May 31 at Sous Bas with DJ Smooth Transitions and DJNPNP. Doors open at 10 pm and tickets are $7 in advance from sousbas.com or $10 at the door. Click on personalrecords.bandcamp.com