I initially started New York Night Train as a webzine to focus on underground music history. I wanted something more personal, more in-depth, and less fashionable and publicist-driven than the others. At the time I'd been interviewing early rap music scene participants for graduate school. It soon hit me that how little in-depth work has been done on the American post-punk underground – and how little we recognize the importance of the music of our subculture because of its/our self-deprecating nature. And there are so many indie rock musicians with so many amazing stories. Why don't more people try to write them down? Does an artist need a new record, a tour, and a publicist to get someone to look at their life and music? I next went about getting the rocker with the most prolific, diverse, and geographically expansive history that I could think of - Kid Congo Powers - and had him tell me his story. We recorded everything and I edited it down to four hours and offered it on the site in MP3 form along with transcriptions, an in-depth look at his discography, and a number of other features. .

Because of the work Kid and I did together, we wound up releasing the audio material stateside, Kid's personal career-spanning compilation, Solo Cholo. NYNT has since grown into a real label with more releases by Kid Congo and the Pink Monkey Birds, Grand Mal, Viva l'American Death Ray Music, MC Trachiotomy featuring Quintron (which is currently stranded in legal hell), and S-S-S-Spectres. Thusfar I've only been working to help my friends get their recordings out there but am not opposed to releasing something from outside of my circle if it blows me away.

The zine worked out just fine but was more work than was humanly possible for a single individual to regularly perform. So I trimmed it down a bit, shifting the focus away from history and recommending bands, finding news , reviewing records, posting audio files and photo galleries, and making show lists. Though a bit more mindless, this turned out to be much more popular, utilitarian, community-oriented, and far less time consuming.

In March 2006 New York Night Train organized and promoted its first shows - record release parties for Kid Congo Powers and Grand Mal at Tonic plus three South by Southwest parties. The success of these events, which included everone from GoGoGo Airheart to Vietnam to Julee Cruise, led to more show promotion. When Ian Svenonius and Calvin Johnson contacted me about putting together a couple of DJ nights in September 2006, the Train began also promoting DJ parties and, after Motor City approached me about taking over Wednesdays, I began pulling my records out of storage - both promoting and DJ-ing weekly parties. Thus far my guests have included members of the Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, TV on the Radio, and many others. I also began DJ-ing and putting on parties random public and private parties elsewhere (mostly on either side of the Williamsburgh Bridge).

Getting bogged down with work (as a freelance journalist, web designer, web producer, etc), musical obligations, DJ-ing, the label, the parties, and other obligations, the zine again became too much to handle. So, along with Marc from S-S-S-Spectres, I'm currentl developing a pHp site that will organize and archive itself. It will be in the simpler bloggier chronological format and include more contributors - primarily from the local music scene. Hopefully we'll be up and running April 1.

Thanks for waiting,
Jonathan Toubin
Soul Proprietor


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© New York Night Train , 2006