The History of Business Casual (feat MiddleClassComfort)
Late last month I started messing with the idea of putting together a special video to celebrate 6 years of Business Casual the Vaporwave sub-genre label. Then I started talking to MiddleClassComfort about it and to really make this idea a reality we decided to collaborate to create this excited anthology based on one of the biggest labels in our scene, Business Casual.
The video is an accompaniment to a multiple part series we both will release regarding some of the artists on the label. So as this project was so large, we are releasing the headline video “The History of Business Casual” on both of our channels. Below will be a more detailed written out show notes for the above youtube video.
In the following weeks, MiddleClassComfort and I will be releasing some deep dives on some of the artists of Business Casual on our own separate channels. So go subscribe to MiddleClassComfort or myself on youtube to stay up to date.
The History of Business Casual
Business Casual was started by John Zobele May 10th, 2013. He had been working on music in the vaporwave scene but had no luck getting on the few labels that existed. Out of fustration after no hearing back from Fortune 500, a debunked vaporwave label since 2015, he decided to start his own label.
Over the past 6 years he was able to release his own music on Business Casual under the various aliases; Christtt, Cordless Soul Machine, stab something, and Bye-Product.
Even supporting some of the songs originally sent to Fortune 500 that ultimately become his most popular album Frasierwave. but that’s only a small part of the Business Casual history, the artists, the cassette releases and ability to form such a rooted label starts with one release, Digital Office One.
Digital Office One was digitally released on Business Casual on May 10, 2013 the founding date of the label. What makes the release interesting was the idea of releasing a compilation of various artists Zobele knew, “I wanted to start off the label with something big that i could get a bunch of people interested in the label at the same time, I had some friends on soundcloud and asked them to contribute a track and the rest is history.”
And the friends he had? Turns out would be some of the most influential in the scene, names still known today; b o d y l i n e, DeLorean.88, architecture in tokyo, Miami Vice and others. The release worked and soon enough we started seeing new releases from various artists throughout the year. Some including マクロスMACROSS 82-99, bl00dwave, Windows 96 and Ursula’s Cartridges. Leading to not only sticking to traditional Vaporwave but turning the label into Future Funk, Nu Disco, Mallsoft, and other sub genres.
These days we are all too familiar with the idea that every Friday at noon a new artists and new album will come out of Business Casual, usually on cassette. But that didn’t occur until the second anniversary, with the release of Anniversary Vol.2, then the start of weekly cassettes become a fan favorite. Then the idea of BizBoxs, themed monthly releases of 3 cassettes, posters and more. Year after Year, Months after Months John Zobele was releasing cassettes made from his hands.
From 2013 to 2016 over 2100 cassettes were made by hand and delivered to Business Casual fans. Now a days, the cassettes are made professionally which makes since because in total over 11,000 cassettes have been released with over 220 albums in total, with so many more to come.
So when asked what the future is looking like for Business Casual, it looks like it is business as usual. We can always expect to see a new release on Fridays. These days vinyl is becoming more popular so I’m going to guess we’ll be seeing more vinyl and cassette next to each other on bandcamp.
The label did announce a bunch of repressing and vinyl releases to celebrate their one year, even announcing a Anniversary Vol.6 (which I was luckily enough to grab). If you’re new to Business Casual, you can easily pick up all 220 (5/13/2019) albums for 1 USD. Or if you want to pick up cassettes a 10% discount for 5$ a month (again on bandcamp) you can become part of their club, get insider releases and more.
So go out listen to some Business Casual and support this awesome label with us for it’s 6th year of promoting and providing such amazing artists for our scene to listen to.
Business Casual Interview
While prepping for the video, we noticed there was a lot of questions we needed answered to complete a coherent outline, so we reached out to John (BC for Business Casual) in text form and that raw email based interview can be viewed below (for history sake)
Questions to ask about Business Casual
MTHU: The reason behind the change from Business Casual 87 to Business Casual. What does the 87 represent originally?
BC: The name was always supposed to be just ‘Business Casual’ but the online domain name for it was taken so with this being the early days of the genre and everything was 80’s influenced, i just picked out a year that sounded the coolest. The name changed because i had finally gotten my hands on the businesscasual.biz domain name on a lucky chance and that was that.
MTHU: What was the decision to start releasing physical media for the artists when Fortune 500 (the biggest label at the time) wasn’t even doing anything like that?
BC: I used to make cdr mixes to share with friends and stuff and always liked having a physical version of things but cds aren’t cool, (at least not anymore) and other contemporaries like Memory No. 36 Recordings and Illuminated Paths were just starting to put out tapes and just got me inspired to make some for Business Casual.
MTHU: What was the album that turned Business Casual into the label it is known for in the scene? Or was it a collective amount of releases that put the label there?
BC: I’d say a good handful of releases we put out year one is what put us on the map, classics from childhood, whitewoods, virtual 420, architecture in tokyo, and lindsheaven virtual plaza were huge for us.
MTHU: How many Cassettes have been made as of 2019?
BC: Since September 2013, i’ve made around 2,100 cassette tapes by hand, and after i stopped hand making them, another 11,000+ tapes were made
MTHU: Why did bizbox end?
BC: BIZBOX did not end, it’s in an ‘hibernation’ for now, since we started putting just about everything on tape day one, we’re starting to run out of tapes worth printing and don’t want to blow our load too early.
MHTU: The first release by Business Casual was a compilation album, Digital Office One, why start was a compilation and how did you get those artists together?
BC: As you may know, Business Casual was not my first label and after those failed i learned a thing or two from them. I wanted to start off the label with something big that i could get a bunch of people interested in the label at the same time, I had some friends on soundcloud and asked them to contribute a track and the rest is history.
MTHU: Any news on a Digital Office 5 or future compilation?
BC: Not at the moment, it’s difficult getting everything situated for a compilation, plus Business Casual’s sound has developed so far that to make a cohesive compilation has become increasingly difficult
MTHU: How will Business Casual improve over 2019 any new type release like Bizbox, posters or the like again?
BC: I’ve got somethings in the back of my head planed for this year, I want to continue to put out more vinyl since more and more people seem to be clamoring for it, just been taking it slow since i’m still new to that.
MTHU: When will Business Casual get a Business Vacation?
BC: When I need one.
MTHU: Is Business Casual still a one man show or are there behind the scene helpers with these releases?
BC: Still just me running the show.
MTHU: Why do you think everyone prefers releasing on BizCas vs other labels (MPF, NC, DMT Rec.)?
BC: Not sure I believe that, MPF and NC have been picking up the slack as of late and I think we’re pretty comparable, if they aren’t bigger. And DMT i think is on a whole other wavelength.
Thanks for taking the time to respond to these questions John, it made for a great detailed experience regarding the history of your awesome label.
Here’s to another 6 years~
– Audio Editing: MiddleClassComfort
– Video Editing: KITE0080 / Musics the Hang Up
– Music: Thanks to all the artists who allowed us to use their music on this video with permission. (we always ask permission).