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EveryDeJaVu: The Last Indie Label in Somerville Speaks

Despite boasting the highest concentration of artists per capita in the Northeast (second only to New York), being home to hundreds (if not thousands) of bands, and serving as a breakout city for students from nearby Boston music schools, Somerville has just one local record label: EveryDeJaVu Records

With the help of a few friends, Ryan Magnole founded EveryDeJaVu in 2012 as a music blog. Enraptured by the underground hip hop scene, he wanted a site to share lesser-known tunes and to comment on major releases. He named the site “EveryDeJaVu,” the title of a song from his favorite artist, Blu, who partially inspired him to start the blog.

“I didn’t know what to call what Blu was doing,” Magnole said. “It was a whole new range of tunes for me. It felt fresh, like a renaissance of rediscovering this music, and I knew I wanted to interview him."

That feeling propelled Magnole to continue searching for underground music and publishing regularly. Eventually, the blog put out its first casette mixtape: 25 instrumentals from producers Magnole and his friends reviewed.

After graduating from school in Florida, Magnole moved to Boston, and began pursuing EveryDeJaVu as a true platform for artists.

“Things got a bit more serious after I moved,” Magnole said. “I spent a lot of my time just trying to find artists to work with. I tried to listen locally and stay in tune. 

Rhode Island artist Borboleta was one of the first to work with Magnole. The two would go to a studio in Allston and book shows in Somerville. Magnole began to learn the area, working with artists both online and in-person. 

With every effort to build relationships with artists and to assist them with releases, EveryDeJaVu was growing into a record label. 

“It went from helping out friends to realizing we could provide guidance for artists,” Magnole said. “We’re here to fill the gaps [artists] need help with. Every artist who comes to me comes with something different.”

Over the years, Magnole has helped connect artists with studios, promoters, studio musicians, and even opened up his home for artists to record demos. The label has put out almost 30 releases. About a quarter are truly local, Magnole estimated.

Small labels like EveryDeJaVu occupy a unique niche in today’s market. It’s easier than ever for artists to self-record, -produce, and -promote, but as the gap between the top and bottom of the music economy widens, community becomes key to growth. And labels can play a key part in nurturing that sense of local connection.

This past month, EveryDeJaVu held its first community showcase event called PIECES featuring a lineup of the label's artists and affiliates, at the Cantab Lounge in Cambridge. Magnole said he hopes to make the event recurring, providing local artists with a way to stay connected and to help each other grow.

“My goal is to provide that kind of space. Just something that artists and music fans can look forward to on a monthly basis," Magnole said.

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