Release Date: Apr 16, 2013
Record label: Arts & Crafts
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, Indie Pop
Toronto, 2002. Something is happening in low-rent basements and low-cover music venues. A densely talented community which will later make up the roster of the Arts & Crafts label spends its days stoking various projects and pulling together pick-and-mix shows at Ted’s Wrecking Yard. Many shows featuring the central collective - recently christened Broken Social Scene - are promoted via invites found in 'Open Me' envelopes left lying around conspicuously in hip city hangouts.
In just 10 years, Toronto’s Arts & Crafts has become Canada’s pre-eminent source for indie music, if not one of the world’s biggest indie labels. Sure, there are great bands on Paper Bag and Idée Fixe has put out some good albums in recent years, but Arts & Crafts is the unqualified runaway success story. And it all happened rather quickly—the label literally struck gold with the first thing it released.
As Canadian indie pop was crossing over and becoming the big thing in the mid-2000s, Toronto's Arts & Crafts grew from a homegrown basement apartment to one of the most influential labels of that decade. Flash forward to 2013, and label heads Kevin Drew of Broken Social Scene and Jeffrey Remedios announced they would be holding the Field Trip Arts & Crafts Music Festival to commemorate the label's ten-year anniversary. To coincide with the event, a compilation titled Arts & Crafts: 2003-2013 was released.
It’d be slightly too much to say that the success (critical or commercial) of the Canadian music industry rises or falls on what happens with the Arts & Crafts record label, but they’re pretty damn important – of that there can be no doubt. It’s ten years since Jeffrey Remedios and Kevin Drew (of Broken Social Scene, the collective inextricably linked with A&C) came together with the initial aim of being an outlet for BSS releases, and then became something much, much more. First there was the releasing of records from the various BSS affiliates (Stars, Feist, Jason Collett), then came the outsiders – The Most Serene Republic, The Hidden Cameras, Dan Mangan – still Canadian, but then joined by Wales’ Los Campesinos! and branching out to worldwide distribution of various non-Canadians.