Michael Bond is a man of many hats. In fact, he might just have invented additional hats for himself to wear somewhere along the way. Along with Tim Heyl and Matt Dennewitz, he's one of the main minds behind local record label datawaslost. He fronts his band Coltrane Motion and is in the sometimes-live band, sometimes-laptop-DJ, sometimes-both group Compiler with Dennewitz. He's an ad hoc member of Abiyah's band and has performed with Clabbergirl. He's a multi-instrumentalist. He designs Web sites and does original artwork for promotional posters and CDs. He's a producer for several artists (including Heyl's SwissFarlo and singer/songwriter Tristen Shields), and he remixes tracks for several others. He is writing a novel that he hopes to publish this summer. He's done video work, including some charming music videos for his former band, The Mitchells.
On the cusp of releasing the fourth datawaslost compilation titled Beep Click Strum Sing ( "Because that's what it sounds like," says Heyl), what can't Bond do?
Better yet, what does he really want to do?
"I want to be the Dr. Dre of Indie Rock," Bond says, "I want to raise the role of producer in this weird little genre by making the songwriting process more like Electronica or Hip Hop."
And Cincinnati let him get away. Bond moved to Chicago last year, but his heart and mind are still in the Queen City.
Datawaslost began in 1999 as a Web site to showcase Bond and Dennewitz's artwork and writing ("Bond needed an excuse to exercise his fledgling Flash skills and I just needed an excuse," cracks Dennewitz). DWL evolved into its present incarnation around 2000 when Bond was attending DAAP along with Heyl.
In May of 2000, datawaslost released the first Coltrane Motion CD, Supa Lo-fi! And followed in June of the same year with the release of the first, self-titled Swissfarlo EP, a Compiler EP (Nothing Ever Fits Like It Should) and something from Dennewitz's other band, Protein Summer (The Depressing EP).
"A lot of our collaborations and bands just started as solo projects that needed help, and we're all friends," Bond further says on the origins of DWL.
From their smaller circle, they moved outward to do work on and with other bands' recordings, and then releasing them. Starting in 2000, they began to release compilation CDs of local artists under the datawaslost banner. Last year saw the release of the highly acclaimed DWL comp, One. Two. Three. In late 2002, they began releasing a series of CD split singles, which feature two local bands on one CD. They're gearing up to release Beep Click Strum Sing. So, with all of this highly motivated and successful activity here in town, why did Bond move to Chicago?
"I wouldn't be comfortable at all being accepted in Cincinnati, especially in the music scene," says Bond about his decision to move. "Just the attention we got for One. Two. Three made me very uncomfortable. We (DWL) started out as outsiders, as far outside as you can get ... and maybe that's just where we belong. Not to bag on Cincy, but look at the track record — Anticon, The Greenhornes ... no one cares until you've been validated by an outside source. We (in Cincinnati) have been told by our East and West coast national media that our opinion doesn't count, and for the most part, we believed it. We bought the lie that everything good comes from New York City and Los Angeles, and now we wait for them to tell us what to enjoy.
"I moved to Chicago because my lease was up, my roommates were moving out, and I couldn't find a neighborhood I wanted to move to in Cincy," he adds. "For the first time in my life, I wasn't tied down by school or other commitments. I actually could do it."
"And I told you to do it," adds Dennewitz.
"Yes, Matt said, 'Move to Chicago,' and I couldn't think of a good reason not to. After five years in Cincy, I was ready for a change. I still love Cincy, but there's no neighborhood there like where I live now," sums up Bond.
Bond's view of the Cincinnati music scene is eclectic in scope, and he seems to love it. "It's both better and worse than we all think and ... everybody's focused on the wrong goals, it seems," he says of the scene. "Maybe not wrong goals, but different than mine. That so many bands never leave town isn't an indicator of how bad our scene is, but how good it is."
After all, "datawaslost World HQ" is still here in Cincinnati with Heyl and Dennewitz running the more "hands on" matters.
"(There's) lots of talent, lots of venues, lots of help when you need it," Bond says of the good aspects on the local front. "It's still a small scene for the most part, everyone knows each other. I mean, when you think the scene sucks, and you view yourself as an underdog, you're more likely to band together and help each other out. And I think it's that sort of mentality that determines whether the scene actually does suck or not. But, I don't know. I don't have any amazing insights."
But now he does have the perspective that comes with a little bit of distance.
DATAWASLOST (datawaslost.net) presents the "South By Southgate" showcase at the Southgate House on Saturday. Beep Click Strum Sing is set for a late April release.