A Decade Under the Dome of Doom with Wylie Cable
A Decade Under the Dome of Doom with Wylie CableSeptember 22, 2021
Few American cities have changed the face of modern music like Los Angeles. Known for its earth-shaking hip hop, pioneering punk, and overproduced pop, every genre under the sun has carved out its own little niche in LA, helping these subcultures to go global.
In terms of electronic music, the LA beat scene stands above the rest. It has hatched artists like Flying Lotus, Nosaj Thing, TOKiMONSTA, Ras G, Shlohmo, and many more. The scene’s distinctive sound is experimental, neck-bending, and bass-driven, encompassing everything from dance music to IDM, rap, ambient, jazz, trap, electronica, trip-hop, and much more.
Following the explosive growth of these artists in the early 2010s and the closing of Low End Theory (a weekly beat scene event at Lincoln Heights venue, The Airliner), a void in the underground opened up. Still, the potent creative energy it inspired remained.
Enter Wylie Cable, a young and sonically ravenous LA native and DJ/producer whose penchant for the beat scene and the range of genres it adopts knows no bounds. Founded in 2011, Cable’s label, Dome of Doom, has become one of the beat scene’s brightest beacons with its “loose by design” outlook and community approach.
Releasing music by the likes of Huxley Anne, Kenny Segal, QRTR, Bleep Bloop, DMVU, Holly, Jon Casey, Daedelus, PENNYWILD, Dabow and many more, Dome of Doom has excelled in pushing the LA beat scene forward with its very own sonic twist and vision.
Having just hit its 10-year-anniversary with the release of a celebratory compilation, Decade Of Doom, we caught up with Wylie Cable to learn more about how he first founded the label, his time working at Low End Theory, the overall ethos of his imprint, and more.
Photo: Wylie Cable
Congratulations on ten years of Dome of Doom, Wylie! How are you feeling now that your label has reached this milestone?
Totally insane, like what am I doing? How has this crazy obsession gone this far? I started the label when I was a 23-year-old punk kid dubbing tapes in the garage of my band’s house. Then I blink my eyes, and suddenly we’ve released over 150 albums, EP’s, and singles totaling some 1500 some odd songs that have been pressed onto Vinyl, Cassette, CD’s and streamed into infinity through space on radio waves? Like, I must be high or something; this can’t actually be right.
Tell us more about how you founded the label in San Fransisco and why you eventually moved down to Los Angeles?
I was born and raised in LA, but my whole family, besides my Mom and Dad, all lived in the Bay Area, so it was a sort of natural progression for me to move up there after I was done with college and needed to escape the paternal nest. So I did what any aspiring 20 something does, started a punk band with my friends, moved to San Francisco, and started playing shows, working some bullshit coffee shop jobs, and growing weed in our backyard. The initial phases of the label were really just a DIY punk ethos of us wanting to release our music but not having any real connections or idea what to even do beyond dubbing some tapes in our garage and selling them at shows.
It was a very fly by the seat of our pants approach for the first few years, but eventually, I started releasing more music for other artists outside of my immediate circle. I was always very adamant about having our tapes and records in actual record shops and would go to all the classic spots in the Bay Area and LA to try and get them to buy our tapes for like $3 a pop. So to summarize a very long story, tech plutocracy slowly pushed all the artists out of SF. Eventually, I started working at Low End Theory doing visuals, and bit by bit, my life transitioned from being sewn into the SF grunge scene and more back into my native city and its burgeoning beat scene.
Photo: Huxley Anne
Who is one artist from the beat scene that really helped inform your love of the sound and your label’s initial direction?
Growing up in Los Angeles, I had always been aware of the underground music scenes in the city, and one of the first artists I was really obsessed with was Daedelus. I frequented their shows in my late teens and early 20’s and still have a burned mix CD ‘Party Favor’ that was a gift at a warehouse show that I attended over a decade ago now. Daedalus was also one of the first artists I looked up to as an aspiring beatmaker who replied to one of my early Soundcloud demos.
How did Dome Of Doom first get linked up with Alpha Pup? What are some of the lessons you learned on running a label from Alpha Pup founder Daddy Kev?
Kev and I struck up a distribution agreement for the Dome of Doom catalogue after I started working at Low End Theory as a VJ with the Teaching Machine crew, now Strangeloop Studios. So I really owe a lot to Strangeloop for making that initial introduction to Kev and being an early fan of the label and the music we were releasing. If I had to summarize what I’ve learned from working with Alpha Pup for over the last five years and change, I would say that as a family of independent artists, our strength is our authenticity and an unfiltered creative expression that is often not allowed to exist in the music ‘business’ at large. If I was concerned primarily with first-week sales or who the big names on the track were going to be, I would go try and get a job working for UMG or whoever. Instead, I feel very fortunate to have the full belief and support of Alpha Pup and Kevin Moo to the point where I can release literally whatever I am inspired by, from traditional boleros de yucateca to brutal technical metal, and a shotgun spray of bizarre electronic genre abnormalities that would cause a major label boardroom member to have a panic attack.
What’s one of your favorite memories from your time working at Low End Theory?
Gotta be the time people literally tried to climb over the walls and roof of the airliner to get into an over-capacity show. I don’t even remember which lineup it was for, to be honest, because it was at a peak time for Low End when basically every Wednesday, the whole club was packed to the gills no matter who was playing. Anyways, I have a distinct memory of the security guards flashing their flashlights up on the roof by the Airliner smoking patio while I was taking a break, and we all saw like three fools on the fucking roof who had literally scaled the side of the building trying to get into the show. If that’s not a testament to what that club night meant to the music community in LA. I don’t know what other example I could show you.
Photo: Jon Cassey
Photo: Kenny Segal
Photo: Odd Nosdam
Photo: Bleep Bloop
What is the most crucial thing you look for in an artist before signing them to Dome of Doom?
A divine creative spark. I know that may sound dramatic or cliche to some, but it’s really the truest thing I can say here.
What are three tracks on Dome Of Doom’s catalogue that hold a special significance for you, and why?
I am so mad you are asking me to just pick three haha, but I will try. The first one that immediately comes to mind is is ‘p9 24’ off of Odd Nosdam‘s Plan 9… Meat Your Hypnotis, released initially on Mush Record, which we did the 10-year-anniversary reissue of on Dome of Doom recently. There is just something special about this track, and when it was made. This predates pretty much everything we know of as ‘the beat scene’ and was made on a Roland sp-202, long before we had the convenience of Ableton and modern DAW’s. This beat contains all other beats that have come after it, within itself.
By the way, I have to say this is like making me pick my favorite child, except I have like 1500 children and love them all. Ok anyways, the second track would have to be “Rhinestones” by DMVU off of his Praise Be Delusion or, The Ripple album we dropped earlier this year. This is hands down my personal favorite song that DMVU has released in his recent forays into more melodic and downtempo soundscapes. I just feel like this should be in a damn movie. It’s so perfect and beautiful beyond what I can describe in words.
OK, I could keep listing songs and writing about why they are awesome basically forever, but I will stop with this third one since it is all I’ve been requested. Throwing a curveball here with “Nossa (interlude)” off of QRTR‘s recent release infina ad nausea. I have noticed QRTR, and I have a shared habit of including one beautiful, almost ambient and formless sound piece on all our records. The album itself is full of danceable electronica, but this song, in particular, evokes some deep emotions for me, and if I remember correctly, uses source material recorded in the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris on QRTR’s phone mic the year before it burned down…
You’ve built the label from being a bastion of the West Coast beat scene into an international imprint with artists from South Africa, Hong Kong, Japan, Europe, Turkey, Canada, South America, and beyond. Who are some of these acts from abroad that you are most excited about, and how do you hope to continue DOD’s global reach?
Well, most recently, on the international side of things, we just did two back-to-back releases from Dabow and Jon Casey, from Argentina and South Africa, respectively. Last year we brought Jon Casey out for his first-ever US tour. I see an incredible amount of potential in both of these artists, and I’m working with their booking agent and manager about getting them both out here for a proper run of shows. I also just want to say I’m grateful the label has grown to a point where international artists are aware of the music we release. I usually take an annual trip out to Europe and the UK to play gigs and do radio appearances, which has sadly been kiboshed this year with covid travel stuff being so complicated. Still, I just did a guest mix for Tom Ravenscroft on BBC6, and I hope to get back out there in real life next year.
How has Dome of Doom helped move the beat scene forward following the closing down of Low End Theory?
I don’t think anything will really ever recapture the specific feeling that existed in Lincoln Heights during Low End’s undisputed reign over the LA beat scene. I feel comparing anything to the heyday of the beat scene feels more like looking backward into history versus looking forwards into all the incredible and expanding potential that has become the worldwide electronic music community.
Being primarily a label, I think what Dome of Doom has done is help bridge a generational gap between what was once a very LA-centric and decidedly undiscovered music scene, into this new era of electronic music we are in now that truly has a global community of artists and fans. I have thrown countless shows and even helped produce festivals and tours for artists we release music from on the label, but my primary focus has always been and continues to be the records themselves and working with artists to help draw out their authentic creative vision into the releases we share on the label.
Do you have any showcases on the horizon?
I am producing a big blowout 10-year-anniversary party planned for Thursday, September 23rd at 1720 in Los Angeles that will be Daedelus’ homecoming LA show after more than a year away, and has what I believe to be a pretty insane lineup of artists with releases on Dome of Doom including DMVU, Kenny Segal, QRTR, PENNYWILD, Huxley Anne, Gangus, and AHEE. All these artists also have tracks featured on the Decade of Doom compilation vinyl that was just announced, and I’m just generally awestruck at the amount of talented and inspired individuals I get to work with within my day-to-day life.
Grab tickets to Dome of Doom’s 10-year-anniversary party here.
The label’s 30-track 10-year-anniversary compilation, Decade of Doom, is out now. Listen below.