Introducing Driftless Recordings

Joel Ford of Tigercity, Airbird, and Ford & Lopatin fame is starting a label with Patrick McDermott aka North Americans; read our short interview with the founders inside.


Joel Ford – of Tigercity, Airbird and Ford & Lopatin fame – is launching a new record label with Patrick McDermott aka North Americans, named Driftless Recordings.

The label’s roster is already quite robust, comprising of Megafortress (who provided us with a Dummy Mix last year), Ejecta, Bruce Smear, Jeff Gitelman, North Americans, Noah Wall, Airbird and Andrew Brady. Phew.

The label promises diversity, not just in its open-eared music policy, but also in its projects. Besides standard record releases, Driftess promises to cover “mediums including short film, fiction, and mixed media installation”, according to a press release from the label.

Driftless have put together a handy primer on their upcoming releases, which can be streamed below. We spoke to Ford and McDermott to find out a little bit more about the label.

Where did the decision to start a label come from?

Ford: It’s hard to sum this up in a few sentences, but since Software started moving away from its ‘production imprint’ roots I’ve been wanting to create another outlet for my music and collaboration. Driftless aims to be much more than a production imprint or a record label. Cross-pollination and collaboration between our friends and contributing artists is paramount!

McDermott: I met Joel this past August via a mutual friend. We started working on a record in a barn up in rural Maine. We quickly hit it off and the following month I ended up moving to Brooklyn. A few months later I found myself living literally across the street from him. After collaborating musically and placing nearly dead-last in his fantasy basketball league, I think we both realized we shared an artistic vision and approach. It was only natural to find an avenue to channel that, and a record label focused on collaboration and multiple art forms was what materialized.

You already seem to have a pretty large roster and a solid set of releases lined up. What’s the ambition for the label?

Ford & McDermott: We’ve been curating the Driftless project for almost a year now and are super excited to get these releases into the world. Singles / tapes from Ejecta, Jeff Gitelman, North Americans, and Bruce Smear will be surfacing throughout the summer, with Ejecta and Megafortress vinyl/CD LPs to follow. We’re also planning a few additional A/V collaborations, as well as Driftless installation events and parties. We’ve also been working with our friend Kyle Triplett (rare books librarian and college instructor) who plans to help us launch a division of Driftless that will focus on publishing new and reissued literary works.