When Paul Murphy kept hearing albums-in-progress from friends and peers that didn’t have music industry backing, the solution became obvious: “I was like ‘Man if we just had a label, we could help out and put this out’,” the Wintersleep front person and musician behind the project Postdata explains, speaking with The Coast by phone. The logical-bordering-on-foregone conclusion took shape in the newly launched Cape Records, which sees Murphy and collaborators Michael Murphy and Adrienne Butcher creating a genre-agnostic haven for Haligonian artists looking to house a new sonic project.
(The first two albums to come out on Cape Records? A re-issue of the LP Light by Kary, the indie rock band Murphy was in pre-Wintersleep, and the debut album of Michael Terrance, Murphy’s brother and Cape co-founder. The former drops November 18 while Terrance’s album, Underneath Everything, drops December 9. A launch party for both the label and Terrance’s album will be held at The Marquee on December 16—Postdata will headline the gig.)
“I think it's just the home for music that I'm a fan of—that we're all fans of, me and Adrienne and Mike. Creating a home for music that, for whatever reason, we're drawn to and supporting the artists by making records with them,” Murphy says. In a press release about the label, he summed it up as: “Cape is a label that can be a medium for records like [Kary’s Light]... Hopefully, we can be supporting bands like Kary was at the time."
The fluid format and combined years of industry experience that’ll be available to artists at Cape Records means “the sky's the limit really,” Murphy says. Unlike a major label, that requires certain formats and presses certain amounts of vinyl, “You can make a seven inch record with somebody,” for example. Murphy continues: “Something that fits artistically is the main point.”
As the city continues to develop and change, Murphy joins a chorus of artists across mediums thinking of what Halifax will need for future creatives to keep making new works. One of the musicians alongside him is Lance Sampson, the rapper-singer-musician behind the moniker Aquakultre, who is raising funds for a community jam space and recording studio.
“Halifax-Dartmouth is crazy in terms of trying to find space right now,” Sampson tells The Coast by phone. “Because rent is so crazy.”
Sampson’s contribution to a solution has taken shape as a community jam space that will also feature recording equipment. “I want to, as a community, build something where you're able to go to the spot and do exactly how Centreline [studios, a community operation in Uniacke Square] is set up: You can just drop in and just do whatever you need,” he says. “Like, I love the idea of [local nonprofit artists collective] RadStorm, the idea of Centreline…It’s just got to take more of those: I’d like to see more of those types of institutions or organizations within Halifax-Dartmouth.”
Sampson consulted with community members before launching a Go Fund Me for the yet-to-be-named space, a 14-by-30 foot room located on Herring Cove Road at the former Canvasland Studio. So far, the effort has reached $2090 of its $2500 goal. “There’s a lot of support behind this: People are saying they need more spaces. Like, The Bus Stop already called in something, like ‘We’re having to turn people down all the time’ because they don’t have a lot of jam space,” Sampson says.
The space is meant to act as both a serious space for creation and a hub across mediums, with Sampson saying it’ll be perfect for everyone from bands looking for rehearsal space to graphic artists in need of a micro-retreat to buckle down on a project. Most of all, it’ll be one of the few (if only) 24/7 spots where musicians can jam without fear of noise complaints or sound curfews: “There’s like 5000 bands in Halifax and people need to be able to jam, people want to be able to jam late-night,” Sampson says. “Most of the creative stuff that happens is very late at night or very early in the morning, without distractions when you’re just locked in. It’s very important.”
More spaces to make art means more art gets made—an echo chamber of creativity that also helps the next generation get involved. “Jam spaces are important to really figure out how it is that you can present your thing to an audience,” Sampson adds, saying a space like the one he’s helping create would’ve helped him immeasurably in both his teen years and his early music career.
“I just hope it ripple-effects in a way: where the community just all comes together to make more of these types of spaces,” Sampson says. Murphy echoes his sentiment: “I mean, there's some good stuff happening in the music scene here. I think it's just shining a light on some of the different artists that you might not hear of otherwise. And then also creating hopefully, an artistic experience that's a little bit different. And just to help colour it in a little bit more: [Halifax] is already a pretty nice painting.”