"Who’s your favorite punk band?” is a classic interview question when one applies to Dare To Care. And the reason for that is not just to tally points for the universal survey opposing the scenes of New York in 1975, Washington in the Reagan era, and California in the 1990s. This question embodies the culture and the distinctive do-it-yourself vision that has shaped the work ethic of the company.
Naked N’Happy And Friends Live At L’X, Dare To Care Records first release in April 2001, documented both former trumpeter Eli Bissonnette’s band and the community that evolved around l’X, the all ages punk venue. This desire to do things among friends remains the independent record label’s mainstay to this day, although Eli is now less of a trumpeter and more of a president.
The company initially only consisted of Eli and Hugo Mudie, then singer for The Sainte Catherines. Today, around 20 employees work for the label, some of whom have been members of the team for almost a decade. In its beginnings, Dare To Care Records donated one dollar for each record sold to humanitarian causes, a stance echoed in the very name of the company. Time has not spoiled this philosophy, and the company keeps making significant charitable donations every year.
The aforementioned success first began in the hardcore punk scenes of Montreal and America, with leading bands such as The Sainte Catherines, Fall Out Project, La descente du coude, and Suck La Marde. Despite all opposition, the latter sang in French, and this greatly inspired Malajube to do the same on their first album, Le compte complet, released in February 2004. Critically acclaimed internationally, this album not only marked a diversification of genres for the label, which then promptly signed We Are Wolves and Pawa Up First, but it was also its first commercial success.
Thanks to Malajube, many other artists decided to sing in French, and this led the people of Dare To Care to create a second label, Grosse Boîte, in 2007. Grosse Boîte signed talented artists from all genres, from Tricot machine’s post-chanson and Avec pas d’casque’s cosmic folk to Bernard Adamus and Canailles’ dirty folk, through Jimmy Hunt’s gentleman rock in solo and psyché garage with its band Chocolat as well as Fanny Bloom and Les sœurs Boulay’s soft pop.
The label’s hard work was recognized once again with the worldwide success of Cœur de pirate, but also with the success gained through the years by Dare To Care’s extended family of around 55 artists who are regularly celebrated by the industry, as evidenced by 30 Félix Awards, 22 GAMIQ Awards, as well as a number of Polaris Prize and SOCAN’s ECHO Prize nominations. A lot to display on the office’s fireplace, if there was one.
Always at the forefront, Dare To Care launched in 2013 its digital record label, Sainte Cécile, which promotes quality independent artists such as Carl-Éric Hudon, Nicolet, Jesuslesfilles, Maybe Watson, Li’l Andy, and Orkestar Kriminal, among several others.
In 2016, we celebrate 15 years of Dare To Care Records. This is their punk rock.