12 Years of DFA: Music, Memories, Hey Dude, and James Murphy on a Boat

If you lived in New York City around the midway point of the last decade and liked drinking, late at night, in dark places, you probably have some fond feelings toward DFA Records. As the story goes, the label — launched, in 2001, by then-DJs James Murphy and Tim Goldsworthy, along with Jonathan Galkin, (best known, at that point, for a stint on Hey Dude) — made indie-rock fun and made dancing cool. And then they birthed some classics. Best known was the work of Murphy’s own LCD Soundsystem, which would go on to become something like an unassailable cultural touchstone, but the big joints — whether from the Rapture or Hercules and Love Affair or Hot Chip or whoever — came steadily and sweetly. You might have assumed that LCD Soundsystem’s own swan song, that epic finale concert at Madison Square Garden in 2011, would have put a tidy bow on the lifespan of DFA. But the truth is, the label, tiny as ever, is still plugging away.

Which brings us to 12 Years of DFA: Too Old to Be New, Too New to Be Classic, a documentary short presented by the Red Bull Music Academy and narrated by Marc Maron, and featuring Galkin (and crucial footage from Hey Dude), Murphy (on a cruise ship), and a bunch of DFA bands making fun of everyone. (Missing in action is Goldsworthy, which makes sense as he split with DFA, acrimoniously, in 2010. Earlier this year, Murphy actually sued him for $93,899, for “improperly using the company credit card and making unauthorised withdrawals from bank accounts.”) It’s embedded here, and it’s quite a nice walk down memory lane. Check it out.

And now for one last bit of information. The guy who directed this thing? Max Joseph, from Catfish. Yeah! The guy who’s not Nev! Who just stands there with the camera! Mind-blowing, I know.

Filed Under: Documentaries, James Murphy

Amos Barshad has written for New York Magazine, Spin, GQ, XXL, and the Arkansas Times. He is a staff writer for Grantland.

Archive @ AmosBarshad