Signing Story: Night Beds--His Choice to Sign With Dead Oceans


Date Signed: Spring 2012
Label: Dead Oceans
Type of Music: Alt-Country
Band Members: Winston Yellen
Management: Thomas Winkler / Votiv, [email protected]
Booking: Adam Voith / Billions, [email protected]
Legal: John Strohm / Loeb & Loeb, [email protected]
Publicity: Andy Silva, [email protected]
Web: http://nightbeds.org
A&R: Chris Swanson, Phil Waldorf

“Pretty much everything I can’t do, they can do,” says Winston Yellen, the man behind Night Beds, about the people he’s been working with at the Dead Oceans label. “They gave us a shot and took a risk on a bunch of lame guys. There are certain times I can’t really wrap my head around it.”

Yellen’s manager, while shopping Night Beds around before any record deal had happened, got a fair number of doors slammed in the face before Dead Oceans co-founder Chris Swanson took an interest in seeing Night Beds play.

Yellen sums it up: “We kind of threw a show together and got signed.”

The only “true” member of Night Beds, Yellen has a rotating cast of mus- icians to back him, on past records and on his debut LP with Dead Oceans, Country Sleep, released Feb. 5th. Releasing music through a label is a first for Yellen, who says, “It’s really exciting to have the instant reward of releasing your album, but the better way to go is to have people who are good at their jobs, rather than sending it to your grandma and putting it on Myspace.”

“We kind of threw a show together and got signed.”

Night Beds’ music is ambient and pensive, yet still fits within the bounds of country western and is influenced by everything from Walt Whitman to Harmony Korine films. It’s fitting that Yellen would sign with a label whose roster is brimming with off-the-beaten-pathers like John Vanderslice and Califone.

A Nashville artist, Yellen says he stood removed from the music scene, opting to “stay home with my cats, recording,” and had to take his country songs out of Music City before he ever found success through Dead Oceans.

As for the finer print of Yellen’s record deal, all he has to say on the matter is, “If they want me to do another record, I’m going to do one. I like them. It’s one of those things where we just have to wait and see how this one goes. I’m pretty sure,” he laughs, “that if Country Sleep doesn’t go well, they won’t have me back.”

––Jessica Pace