In November of 2019, David “Cap’n Swivler” Hawes was on the road from Denver to Albuquerque. As he hummed down I-25, a vision came to him: to bring together a collective of like-minded individuals who could push one another to strive for clean, high-quality sound.
“I thought up a group of seven people from a couple of the different places I have been,” he says. “I got two people from Chicago, two from Denver, two of my really good friends back in Albuquerque, as well as myself.”
Together they formed the label Oddio.Files, a group of experimental-bass producers from across the country who had a common goal of releasing music weekly. Each member involved would drop a track every seven weeks; the rotation would go indefinitely.
“It was kind of driving people to continuously create and to be able to meet the schedule,” Hawes says. “Everybody works a little bit harder when they have a deadline. Seven weeks is enough time to be able to really dive into your creative process.”
The Oddio.Files producers include Hawes, Philip “PhLo” Gomez, Dylan “TriLLwax” Trujillo, Spencer “Swesdo” Douglas, Shawn “MANDELbot” Gould-Masse, Nick “MR Truman” Hurley and Phil “Foxy Dope” Ade. The artists all promote each other''s work as if it were their own.
Oddio.Files artists fall under the experimental-bass umbrella, though their styles vary. The collective also puts out a monthly Oddio.Friends release, a track of a producer not on the Oddio.Files label.
Before the pandemic, Oddio.Files had planned two festival takeovers for 2020. The first would have been the Prairie Pothole Music Festival, six miles north of Anamoose, North Dakota, at the Aurora Knolls Resort and Event Center, where they would have played back to back with one another. The second would have been at the Earthrythms Music & Arts Festival in Waubun, Minnesota, at the Pure Bliss Ranch on the White Earth Reservation.
If anything positive came out of the pandemic-ridden and chaotic year, says Gomez, it was extra downtime to grind.
“It's been kind of a blessing in disguise, because we have been able to focus more on social media promotion, the actual schedule and having quality releases,” he says. “We actually have the time to sit down and look at everything more, and even more time to produce. If we would have hit festival season, we would have been making shit on the road. It's definitely been a good time to be able to establish what we have.”
Three members from the label — Cap’n Swivler, phLo and MR Truman — recently played a sold-out February 11 show at the Black Box. They debuted music they had been working on through the pandemic.
“It was a five-hour show,” says Gomez. “The first two and a half hours was all:Lo collective. Shout out to those guys, and those last two and a half hours was us three, and we were playing everyone's music.”
Looking toward the end of the pandemic, the collective has several goals.
“We want to travel to the East and West coasts,” says Hawes. “We want to do the Midwest circuit as a group. We want to make that happen with the crew. It's all about that crew mentality.”
Collaboration is something that the collective looks to continue. “We've been working pretty closely with all.Lo; they're really good homies,” Hurley says. “We have some music collabs in the works with them. They work hand in hand with Sub.mission and the Black Box.”
Oddio.Files also wants to throw a Colorado music festival.
“We have Prism Collective, who can help out with visuals and stage work. Klaus and Frits [Kinesis Acoustics] are always down to help with sound, and we provide beats,” says Gomez.
One of the members of Black Moon Syndicate — Oddio.Files’ Chicago-based producer, Swesdo — has played a crucial role in getting the label some footing in the Windy City.
“They've been really helpful with ideas and giving us a little bit of groundwork on how to run a couple of things,” says Hawes. “Especially toward the beginning, with ideas of how to utilize some of the platforms. Those guys are always super-supportive, and we like to share the love right back at them. To be able to get together as Oddio.Files, all.Lo and Black Moon Syndicate and throw some kind of fest with ourselves would be awesome.”
“To utilize Prism Collective, [a live event production company] Awaken the Night and get the three collectives all to be entertainment,” Hawes says. “That'd be one for the books right there,” adds Gomez.
The Oddio.Files label differs from others in the industry because of the frequency and quality of releases it puts out. Gomez describes the producers' sounds as “non-GMO” and “organic.”
When they create together, they like to give each member a small block of time to contribute to a track and rotate through.
“We set a timer most of the time, which is ten to fifteen minutes apiece, which will be round-robin style,” Hurley says. “One person will start. They'll have ten to fifteen minutes, then the next person goes ten to fifteen minutes, all the way until we're happy with where the composition is at.”
To say the group has a dialed-in chemistry would be an understatement.
“If you're actually driven and passionate about something, like you want to do something, don't let anything stop you,” advises Hawes.
“I started doing [music production] because I liked it,” Hurley says. “Some things do just come to you if you're lucky, but most of the time, you have to spend hours and hours upon hours building it, or it's just not going to happen. Music didn't just come to us. We love it, so we've been working hard the entire time to make it happen.”
“Peep the beats,” says Gomez. “If you like it, share it. We’re just going to keep doing it.”
Check out new releases from the collective at the Oddio.Files Bandcamp page.
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