Fire Talk Records has launched a new digital singles label called Open Tab. The idea behind the label is discovery and bringing community and human curation back into world that is becoming increasingly reliant on algorithms. All of their singles are previously unreleased songs, each one comes with a mix made by the artist with an emphasis on new music, and there's a Q&A with the bands.

Open Tab launched today with three singles from Oakland-based indie rock band Fake Fruit, San Francisco ambient folk artist Maria BC, and Brooklyn synthpop stylist Shallowhalo. After that, Open Tap will be releasing a new single every month. You can listen to their singles, and their Open Tab mixes, below.

Open Tab is throwing a launch party on August 5 at Purgatory (675 Central Ave in Bushwick) at with performances by Shallowhalo, Turlenecked, and Slic. Tickets are on sale.

To learn more about Open Tab, we chatted to label founders Ruby Hoffman and Trevor Peterson via email about the inspiration behind the label, the influence of MySpace and '00-era blog culture, and what's next for them. Read that below.


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Where did the idea for Open Tab come from? Was there a specific moment, song or artist that inspired it?

Ruby Hoffman: We've found some of our favorite artists through reading interviews who have shouted out others in their community. Much like catching the opening band at a show, or sifting through Soundcloud likes and reposts, it's nice to connect the dots between people who are all part of something greater. During the pandemic especially, I was missing that. I was still constantly coming across new music on the internet though, and it felt like the right time to cultivate a new space for it.

The discovery aspect to Open Tab is cool, have any of the recommendations from the artists releasing singles on the label led to a new Open Tab single?

RH: Not yet, but I actually found Allyson (Shallowhalo) through our mutual friend Harrison (Turtlenecked) Instagram stories, and now they're both playing the launch party together next week alongside our other friend Cami (Slic). Just another example of internet friends and worlds coming together into something tangible :)

Trevor Peterson: The mixes have provided some really fun exploration & it's certainly put some artists on our radar.

The label reminds me a little of the Myspace days when you might discover new music through a band's Top 8. Do you have a fondness for that mid-'00s era of music (and music blogs)? Was that an inspiration at all?

RH: I talked a little about this above, but I definitely feel like there's a lot of nostalgia recently for the "blog era" and relating music discovery to your own personal experiences. I'm hoping that by providing a little more context to each release, people are able to really get more of an understanding of the meaning behind the track itself. Also, it never gets old feeling like you've discovered something before anybody else!

TP: I feel this for sure, the Myspace Top 8 and early blog era was a huge part of what shaped my discovery as a younger person so it's certainly an idea that has stuck with me for years. When I played in bands in the mid -'00s those online spaces were the outward projection of our music community, it was like, here's the artists that are closest to us for whatever reason, we play shows together etc. and I think that helped add context to a "scene". It's a really fun idea to play with and I think we're just scratching the surface with Open Tab at this point.

What is the most exciting part of the new label for you?

RH: Giving a platform for talented musicians we believe in has always been such a rewarding job, and it's been great to be able to grow a relationship and give a platform to artists we admire and help tell their story.

What are your goals for Open Tab?

TP: I think as Ruby mentioned, helping shine a light on artists we admire and giving a little bit more context for the work while doing so. For the immediate future we're focused on curating a really diverse stable of artists that are making music we are inspired by and looking ahead we hope the platform can serve as a part of folks' music discovery routines.

Open Tab has started with tracks from Fake Fruit, Maria BC and Shalowhalo. How many more artists do you already have lined up?

RH: After the initial launch, we'll be doing one new track a month, and we have a few in the works spanning a variety of different genres & places. If you're an artist reading this, feel free to get in touch ;)

Open Tab is a digital singles label, but is there a possibility of physical releases? Maybe a best-of compilation?

RH: We've talked about doing a compilation of the year's releases, keeping with that sort of mixtape inspiration, down the line. As everybody in the industry knows, vinyl production has been so crazy that for us this was another reason to work to create something a little more accessible that can come out in real time, and again have that sense of a specific moment, but it's definitely possible in the future - stay tuned!

TP: That's right, Fire Talk is always interested in releasing music physically so it's in the cards for sure, how that actually plays out is TBD but the idea of trimming down the lead time for a release has been fun for us since timelines are ever expanding due to the production obstacles at the moment.

How many open tabs do you have currently on your browser?

RH: I always have weather.com, a notes tab with links to new music, & whatever else I'm working on over the course of the day. Much like my closet I try to keep it to a minimum, but it never happens!

TP: 17 tabs lol