Boone’s newest record label, Crop Circle Club, was founded by three friends with a shared love of playing music together, hanging out on roofs and eating Taco Bell.
“Maybe sonically the label doesn’t have a unified aesthetic, but Taco Bell is our unified aesthetic,” co-founder Jib Butts said.
Butts, Dylan Evans and John Wampler often went to shows together and got along well, which influenced their decision to start Crop Circle Club. Another reason was that they were all broke, Evans said, so Crop Circle Club shows help bring in money for the label.
The idea for the label had been cooking for a while, but Crop Circle Club’s debut show was only a month ago at Black Cat, featuring all four of the label’s bands. As of right now, the bands signed to Crop Circle Club are the founders’ own bands: Evans is in LAVIER, Evans and Butts are in Boy Legs together, Butts is in Lunchbag and Wampler is in Ghost Dogs.
“We’re just getting off the ground,” Wampler said. “Signing other bands is definitely the goal eventually, but right now we’re working on building a strong home base.”
“We don’t really have our funds going completely,” Evans added. “So we could do another band’s shows and be their buds, but we’re not in a place where we can pay to have huge releases for people.”
Crop Circle Club’s bands represent a variety of genres. Evans describes LAVIER as a mix of electronic jazz and hip-hop, or “future jazz” as Wampler called it, while Ghost Dogs is beach-punk music.
“Boy Legs is like shouting-about-your-feelings rap,” Butts said. “And Lunchbag is like mumbling-about-your-feelings rap.”
Crop Circle Club isn’t looking for specific kinds of bands to sign in the future, Evans said, as long as the people are nice and their music has some defining characteristic.
“The common denominator would be that we all just happen to believe in the music,” Wampler said.
The three make label decisions together and largely handle their own bands’ recordings and bookings, Wampler said, and no one person has any set responsibilities. Evans, however, is the go-to person for visuals and graphic design.
Evans was into in recording music throughout high school, and studied music industry at Appalachian State for two semesters before leaving to focus on his music and the label. Butts and Wampler have recorded their own demos in the past, they said, but nothing professionally.
The Crop Circle Club bands will record anywhere, Wampler said, but mainly wherever Evans is staying or at a friend’s studio in Tennessee.
The bands also take advantage of low-budget and DIY solutions while recording. Evans said he records a lot on his couch.
“We had some really nice mics but no mic stands, so to record vocals one time we used shoestrings to tie the mics to a lamp,” Evans said. “But, you know, it sounded professional.”
Crop Circle Club and its music are available on most social media and streaming outlets, including Facebook, Instagram, Bandcamp and SoundCloud. The label’s first digital release, LAVIER’s EP called “Trust,” was released March 15, and Boy Legs’ EP “Pinball Museum” will be released sometime in April.
LAVIER and Boy Legs are also going on tour from April 30 to May 6, traveling to Asheville, Charlotte, Richmond, Virginia, Baltimore, possibly Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. On May 7 they will return to play a show in Boone, most likely at Black Cat.
Ghost Dogs is touring in the week before LAVIER and Boy Legs, playing shows in both North and South Carolina.
“We’re small, but we’re doing a lot,” Butts said. “We played three shows in two days last weekend.”
Other than working odd jobs, the founders of Crop Circle Club enjoy living an open, flexible life and focusing on their music.
“For me, this is what I do,” Evans said. “Make money, plan shows, do graphic design. It’s a pretty free-form lifestyle.”
Butts, who graduated from Appalachian State last year and is a substitute teacher and summer river guide, said he is living cheap and subscribing to a similar lifestyle.
They also love the music scene in Boone and are supportive of all the local bands, Wampler said.
“That’s what it’s about, believing in each other, and being nice and finding other people who believe in us,” Butts said.
Story by: Adrienne Fouts, A&E Reporter