Wylie Cable, the proprietor of Los Angeles-based label Dome of Doom, isn’t sure how Meagan Rodriguez, the Brooklyn-based DJ and producer better known as QRTR, first came to his attention. It could have been Soundcloud or Spotify or some social network. Regardless, when he first messaged her, they were strangers, and Cable had never seen her play. “I was really inspired by her artistic output and reached out to her and said, hey, have you ever thought about working with a label? Have you thought about a full length album?” Cable recalls on a recent phone call.
That was in 2019. Just last month, QRTR released her second album for Dome of Doom. Her debut full-length, Drenched, was a meditation on depression and mental health that dropped at the dawn of the COVID-19 pandemic. Her latest release, Infina Ad Nausea, is a play on the Latin infinitum ad nauseam. “I was trying to describe the sensation of living in a never-ending loop because that’s kind of what it felt like in lockdown,” says Rodriguez. She wrote the album over the course of 2020 and into early 2021.
For Dome of Doom, which celebrates its 10th anniversary on September 21 with the release of compilation Decade of Doom, albums are the secret to the label’s success. “It’s not a business decision,” says Cable. “It’s probably easier and faster and more effective to just put out singles.”
Instead, albums are important because of what they represent creatively. “I feel like they are time-markers in artist’s lives,” says Cable, who is an artist himself. “I’ve put out eight solo records. Certain ones I like listening back to still and I’m very grateful that I took the time to get my ideas down on a record at a specific point in my life.”
“The ideas change. As a creative person, you get older and have more experiences,” he continues. “If you don’t get the ideas down and save them, they can just disappear or they can change.”
Cable founded Dome of Doom during a stint in San Francisco as a means to release the music that he and his friends made. After moving back to Los Angeles, he landed a gig doing visuals at the influential club night Low End Theory. Through that, Cable connected with a slew of artists who would go on to release albums on Dome of Doom, like Daedelus, and Huxley Anne, both of whom are set to play the label’s 10th anniversary party at 1720 in Los Angeles on September 23.
Huxley Anne was releasing her music on Soundcloud when she first got to know Cable via Low End Theory (the two had met previously at a gig back in 2016, a testament to the closeness of the scene). She ultimately released her debut album, Ilium, on the label in 2017. “It was a really organic process. I don’t even think back of it being a label-based process,” says Huxley Anne via Zoom. In the midst of that process, she scrapped the material she had and rewrote it after a visit to L.A. museum The Broad, where she saw “Ilium (One Morning 10 Years Later)” by artist Cy Twombly. “It literally brought tears to my eyes because the sketch was so amateur compared to the other work and it was an example of the beginning of an artist’s career, yet it was still housed in this museum,” Huxley Anne recalls. Since Ilium is another name for Troy, she used the Trojan War as a basis for the album. “I structured and rewrote my whole record based on a reinterpretation, reimagining of Helen of Troy going through the war,” says Huxley Anne.
The debut proved to be a success. “I never thought an experimental record like that would be received as well as it was, and would lead to such a strong touring career for the next few years,” says Huxley Anne.
Maybe that’s also a testament to the power of the full-length album. Now with two albums under her belt, QRTR’s star is on the rise. She’s set to play Firefly Music Festival at the end of September, the four-day event in Delaware that also features performances from Billie Eilish, Tame Impala, Lizzo and Megan Thee Stallion.
“It really encapsulates a feeling of certain point in their life,” says Cable of albums. “Doing that is important for artists and doing that process is really what I’ve seen help people grow into more talented, more open and aware and sensitive and creative people, because it is a big undertaking.”
That’s something Cable says is worth the effort to create. “It is difficult and it is challenging and it comes with a lot of fucking mental ups and downs,” says Cable. But, he adds, “It’s the most fundamental and valuable thing as a musical artist that you can do.”