Don’t Die At Work is record label/clothing collective out of Los Angeles with a passion for spreading dope music and staying inspired to do what you love. Now with a roster full of of eclectic artists willing to experiment and doing things on their own terms, Don’t Die At Work has released their first compilation, Don’t Die In The Spring. With familiar heavy hitters like Hati to kick it off, things only get bigger and more diverse. 5AM makes things pop with a wonky space ride while NAPKN gets hyper meditative on a long journey to enrichment. By the time Rosebud turns things down a bit, the Don’t Die At Work mantra will be deep within you. We caught up with DDAW co-founder and one half of HMU, Joe, to see what they were all about. Check it out below and cop the Don’t Die In The Spring as a free download.
How would you describe the vibe of Don’t Die At Work and your philosophy?
Dont Die At Work was founded on the idea of not letting your day job define you. We exist to spread our passion for music, creativity, and staying inspired to do what you love. There’s so much world out there, it doesn’t make sense to stay cooped up at a desk not seeing any of it. Through music and design we are able to unite people who share this value and showcase their work, whether they are professionals or it’s just a hobby. We are just producers, artists, and fans ourselves who wanted to express how we felt and get it out there.
Who came up with the dream? What were the first steps you took to launch? What do you hope to accomplish?
It was definitely a group effort and we were all in the room. It started with the clothing; then we began to contact artists on soundcloud. Hati was one of the producers on board early on, as well as NAPKN and the boys from Drill Drill, Yunis and Grapes. Our initial style of bass music doesn’t have a huge outlet here in the states, so we had to cross borders to find people we felt were really onto something with their music. It’s all about experimenting with new sounds and samples to really stand out and electrify a set. Everything keeps getting recycled in music so you have to go big or go home.
What came first, the music or clothing?
The clothing came first because we liked the artwork so much. It was based on the everyday objects and iconography that run your life – like your email inbox or the battery life on your phone – and meant to serve as a constant reminder to stay inspired and not burn out. Since then the shirts get a lot of love when you’re out at shows. There’s the ever popular “Dont Die” design which has a pretty straight forward message, and we’re playing around with some new designs and pieces for next year.
With countless collectives, what makes you guys stand apart?
I think it’s our aesthetic and message that sets us apart. “It’s not about your 9-5, it’s about your 5-9.” People are attracted to the philosophy and symbols, then they discover the music and fall in love. Everyone we know is out there hustling, so we can all get behind that. Instead of going for exclusivity we’re trying to include people which is a different approach from the music industry.
In terms of roster, what do you look for in an artist?
We look for creativity, sound design, and diversity, but mostly passion. We don’t want Dont Die to confine any artist we want it to be where they can get crazy or try an idea that might not go over well with certain groups. We’re willing to push it if the artist is willing to go there. Artists like Limaru and 5AM trying really experimental shit are great examples. If you’re not sure if it works, we see you.. it does. Please, submit your tracks and join the crew!
Will there be more compilations later this year? Shows as a collective? Any beyond LA?
Yes! We will most definitely be releasing more compilations, hopefully 2, and feature great tunes – some from artists we haven’t even heard yet. We’re also looking into a possible July show in Los Angeles to bring some of our artists and fans together for the first time since Dont Die was formed. In terms of beyond LA, we haven’t given any thought to it yet but we’re on it.
What challenges have you faced up until now?
We had another company before this and always had trouble unifying our message. This is the first time we really feel like the brand has a clear message and mission. We know what we’re looking for and people our feeling it, so other doors start to open. This time, we’re meeting people through music rather than common business interests and it makes a huge difference.
Anything you’d like to add?
Please stay in the loop and follow our artists. We picked these guys because they stood out and will continue to be groundbreaking. Thank you so much for listening and sharing. We promise to keep being weird and making you shake.