When Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz launched his label Decaydance back in 2005, it seemed like just another rock-star novelty project, but after signing acts that would go on to multiplatinum success, including Panic! at the Disco, Gym Class Heroes (and its frontman Travie McCoy), and Tyga, it became clear that it was more than a vanity imprint.
After taking a few years off from the label during Fall Out Boy’s hiatus, Wentz is relaunching it under a new name, DCD2 Records, and a roster that includes recent signees LOLO and New Politics.
He got on the phone with EW this week to talk about why he’s doing it and where it’s all heading.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Why did you decide to relaunch Decaydance? What’s different about it this time around?
PETE WENTZ: I kind of needed to reorganize my brain and reorganize my life, and at the time I was taking time off from Fall Out Boy. Stepping back really allowed me to see the plane that music is on. I realized that it was something that I did enjoy doing, like embracing new artists and helping them navigate their way, and being able to take a chance on things that were a little bit different was really interesting to me. And the idea to rebrand the label was like, after taking three years off, we wanted to come back with new energy and new music and have it be a different vibe.
It’s a different landscape in terms of how people consume music compared to the label’s first run. Are there any different approaches that you’re taking now to get music out to an audience?
Yeah, for sure. For the past two years we’ve built up our social media, we have a really good new media department, and we have different ideas for getting music out. For Fall Out Boy, we created a version of Flappy Bird that was called Fall Out Bird and we were able to use that game to get the song some attention. And brand-based Snapchatting, that kind of thing. I think we were also pretty early in adopting Tumblr and stuff like that.
Reaching kids is one of the most important aspects of DCD2. Those are the people who are not only gatekeepers for new music but are the people who really live, breathe, and follow all the music out there. I’m not really the person who worries about monetizing that, but there are ways to get people to become passionate about bands and songs. You just have to use different methods to reach them.
Tell me a little bit about the first batch of artists that you’re relaunching with. I really like that LOLO song.
Yeah, LOLO’s awesome. She started out kicking around in the U.K. and is now back over in Brooklyn. I think she’s doing something that’s really cutting edge, but at the same time her voice is reminiscent of some really great Americana artists. The sheer talent of it is what drew me in. She has really good pipes on her. The video being really cool is an added element.
She did that on her own, and it makes me excited for the things we’ll do together. When someone’s doing that stuff organically, it’s really easy to magnify it.
New Politics is a band that we toured with for a really long time and I’ve always wished that we’d had the chance to do some label stuff with them.
It just happened to be that they became free agents right at the time when we were gearing up to launch, and I really wanted them to be a part of it. I feel like they’re really kindred spirits to my band in the way that I could see us being in a band like this. They’re a band that I really wanted to look out for.
What is it that you get out of running the label that keeps you coming back?
I think that what’s interesting about it to me is that maybe I wish that Fall Out Boy had had someone who’d done it all before on their own who we could get on the phone and talk to. And there’s an honest-to-goodness good feeling, like when you see your kid hit a triple at their Little League game, there’s that feeling when you see a band that you knew had that pure talent, when the rest of the world sees it you get that feeling of pride in being a part of their narrative.
Honestly I started the label as a hobby and then it went crazy. Towards the end we reached out and tried some things that were outside of the genres we were usually working with, but I feel like we were onto something when we signed Tyga and Cassadee Pope. I think that with the way people consume music now that genre matters a little less, and to me that’s exciting.