We all know the feeling of falling asleep; that blissful state of semi-consciousness where you can hear things, but everything still seems like a dream. Right when the magic moment is about to strike, have you ever tried solving complex problems, like say, ones having to do with computer code? I’m guessing no.
About a year ago Brad DerManouelian and his partner, Marc, were at their SF home. Brad was relaxed, entering the stages of sleep while Marc sat on the bed, fumbling his attempts to pair his Bluetooth device with his cell phone. Frustrated, Marc (also Brad’s band mate in Tied To the Branches) handed it over to Brad, despite his weariness. Brad was able to sync the two devices to Marc’s surprise and was asked how he achieved the feat. “I’m a sleep genius,” he retorted. Fast forward to today, and his new record label, Sleep Genius, now bares that very nickname.
But the inception of the Sleep Genius label has been long in the works. “Starting a label is something I always wanted to do, but I didn’t know if I could.” Not only is his partner in grad school, but DerManouelian had the obstacle of juggling kids and a job in order to realize his dreams. Once the kids became older, part of that realization was a newfound belief in his own abilities.
“I could do it. Record, mix, master, and design jackets,” the professed self-learner said. Hailing from Providence, Rhode Island, he was inspired by indie labels like Bulb and Load in the late 1990s, when duos such as Lightning Bolt, Black Dice and the lesser-recognized Fat Day were fashionable.
The album cover of Sleep Genius's first release, Chasms' "Bad Evolution" single.
He didn’t go to college, but worked at print shops in his early 20s. “Music has always been an important part of my life.” It was around this time that he actually managed to work with two different guys from a couple of labels. He absorbed his surroundings, and would eventually use that knowledge for his own advantage–though one would suspect it was more of an unconscious process rather than an intentional one.
He partly chalks up his latest endeavor to a mid-life crisis, (he also rides a Honda CB750k motorcycle) but more seriously attributes his focus to being at a good point in life where now he can give back to music what he got out of it. He’s taken a keen interest in SF’s dark duo Chasms, a band he considers to be on the same wavelength with. "They’re amazing. I can talk to them like peers,” he said, despite their difference in age. DerManouelian has chosen them to be his label’s first release with their upcoming 12” single “Bad Evolution.”
“I like finding young people to work with. I want to help them with what they’re doing. I want to be a part of what they’re doing.” He gushes about their black-metal guitars, dark bass lines and the fact that they use an Alesis drum machine. “They're the drums Godflesh used!”
His second release should be by Concrete Island, another duo consisting of Scott Moore (Limp Wrist) and Dave Coen (Whitehorse, a hardcore band from Melbourne, AU). Their recording is done and he hopes to have it out at the latest by early spring 2013. Though he’s starting things small, DerManouelian aims to get a few more bands on the label.
If you want to help the Sleep Genius realize his dreams, you’ll have to check out his label launch (and Chasms 12” release party) Thursday, December 13th at the Knockout as Mashi Mashi presents: Whirr, Chasms, Some Ember, DJ’s Mashi Mashi and Scott Moore. $6, 8 pm.