Daniel Davis is an enigma in Wichita, Kansas, and for the fortunate ones, the Midwest in general. For me, he’s a legend. I knew about Dan, had seen numerous incarnations of bands he was in, almost ten years before I finally met the man. His bands have ranged in dynamic, genre, and loudness over the years—from Ricky Fitts to Weather is Happening to Muscle Worship to the very excellent D/D/J/G, this dude is a born ripper, not to mention one of the most genuine humans I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. Yeah, that’s right, my disclaimer: Dan’s a friend, my neighbor, a true homie, but all that, that’s beside the point. He’s one of the most prolific artists in Wichita, maybe the Midwest, and that same ethic of constancy has been with his label from the beginning.
This Ain’t Heaven Recording Concern is a tape label Davis runs from his home in Wichita, KS. His mission, with the over 100 releases he’s put out since 2013, is a simple one: make excellent physical objects that contain wonderful music and artwork from regional musicians and around the world, but also cultivate a scene in which DIY ethics and universal appeal are one in the same thing. I like to think of him as a historian. He’s cataloguing regional greatness for future generations to appreciate.
Dan works tirelessly. He’s a husband, a father of two with another on the way, and he’s constantly churning out tapes. Every release is handmade in his living room, from dubbing, designing the artwork, cutting out inserts, etc.—and we are talking thousands of copies of the things, all while maintaining a busy family schedule, playing shows, and still having time to hang out with friends a couple hours a week.
I wanted to highlight some of my favorite releases from the label. Then after that, we’ll talk about a little not-quite-there-yet project we’ve been working toward getting together.
First off, we can’t talk about TAHRC without talking about Dreamcrusher. Dreamcrusher is the nihilistic solo project of Wichita native Luwayne Glass. Glass had numerous releases through TAHRC before moving to Brooklyn, New York a couple years back. There, Glass has found a new family in the noise scene, a more expansive one anyway. Also evident is the attention Dreamcrusher has garnered in the short time since the move. Though, don’t fool yourselves, Glass was doing this shit in Wichita for years before you all even had a chance to take a bite. Brace yourselves.
Now we’ll get into a different spectrum altogether. And Academy was an emo/psychedelic/pop/i dunno band from Wichita who were around from 1998 to 2004. They’re one of the best bands I’ve ever heard or seen live. Just listen to this shit, it’s beautiful.
How does he keep it so raw? You’ll have to ask Raw Space. This dude does this weird minimalistic/dance/electronic/beautiful/raw shit I have a hard time explaining. I’ve seen him perform twice, both times in Wichita, even though he’s from Minnesota, and he just blew me away both times. Check it.
I’m going to shut this thing down with one last song. This one is from Dan himself, when he was doing Weather is Happening, his most political (in a good way) album release to date. It is loud, it is abrasive, and it is absolutely stunning.
Drum roll: Dan has taken me in and we are, together, trying to get a print publication in the works in the form of This Ain’t Heaven Publishing Concern. We announced it a few months back, but we are still looking for work to feature. No guidelines. Send us whatever. If we like it, we like you, and it doesn’t need any work at all done to it, we’ll publish it. This is my way of saying, only send the shit you are going to still be proud of a week after publication. Send your work here.
Image:Daniel Davis of This Ain’t Heaven Recording Concern