Last week SIMGE caught up with Dromedary Records founder Al Crisafulli to discus his independent distribution label located in the backwoods of New Jersey, which, for the past two decades, has provided the vinyl treatment to countless releases by a lauded roster of bands and musicians.
To celebrate the 20-year anniversary, Crisuafulli and Dromedary Records will take to Asbury Lanes this Friday (October 18th) and Saturday (October 19th) for its annual Camelfest showcases and fundraiser in support of Roots & Wings, a Denville, NJ-based operation that provides young adults who age out of the Garden State’s foster care system with safe housing, educational support, counseling, and life skills in order to empower them toward self-sufficiency.
Friday’s lineup features The Everymen, Cinema Cinema, The Coffin Daggers, and Wax Darts, while Saturday will see the likes of Stuyvesant, Overlake, The Brixton Riot, and The Anderson Council share the stage. As well as the two-night event, Dromedary Records is releasing commemorative 16-track collection titled From ’93 Til Infinity, which SIMGE is happy to unveil below.
“I don’t know if its because the music was that great or because we were just so in tune with what was going on when we started the label,” said Crisafulli, “but 1993 always seemed like a watershed year for indie rock to me. It was a peak in an unbelievably creative period for independent musicians and labels, and there were so many bands and labels from that period that inspired us to get started and keep going, despite a lot of seemingly insurmountable challenges. When I started thinking about the best way to celebrate 20 years of indie music, paying tribute to that time seemed like an appropriate way to do it.
“Obviously,” he continued, “the 16 songs on the album are the most obvious tribute, but there’s a lot more depth to it than that. There are a lot of more subtle tributes on the record as well, in the artwork, song choices, and liner notes – sort of a quiet way of saying thank you to friends, fans, bands and labels that we’ve gotten to know over the years. There’s not a lot of money in running a small indie label, especially now – but I can’t imagine I will ever stop doing it, because of the great friends we’ve made over the years, and all the great experiences we’ve had. This record is a way of acknowledging that.”
The Dromedary Records release is composed of previously unreleased tracks and covers by a multitude of label-mates…and Crisafulli couldn’t be more excited to unleash it.
“The album features a mixture of old friends and new. Bands like Jean Homme & the Broken Telomeres (which features members of Jenifer Convertible, an old East Village noise pop band), Guy Capecelatro III and Dots Will Echo are people we’ve known for decades, while Overlake and Cinema Cinema are bands we’re just beginning to work with. There are some old musical heroes of ours on there too in Dan Smith of d.smithsucks who was the bass player in Shirk Circus, as well as John Steele of The 65’s who was in Electric Frankenstein, and Ben Deily of Varsity Drag who was a founding member of The Lemonheads. And of course the compilation wouldn’t be complete without Stuyvesant who is probably our “flagship” band. Ralph Malanga of Stuyvesant has been my favorite songwriter since I was putting his records out in the ’90s with his former band, Footstone.”
Alongside From ’93 Til Infinity, Dromedary Records will be putting out a second compilation called “PAID: Thanks For Shopping,” which will be a free, download-only collection that traces the history of the label from the first song ever released on the imprint back in 1993 to the most recent pressing.
“While “From ’93 ‘Til Infinity” serves as a thank you and a tribute to our friends and influences, “PAID” is a companion to it, more of a musical timeline from our beginning til now.”
Stream From ’93 Til Infinity below and be sure to come out this weekend for Camelfest 2013 at Asbury Lanes.