The Rural We: Daniel Seward
Daniel “Dan Bunny” Seward, the central and only permanent member of the amorphous and prolific noise/punk/performance group Bunnybrains (New EP now available on Bandcamp) has run some incarnation of a record/vintage shop for 20 years. He’s been in 10 different locations, most of them called John Doe Records and located somewhere in Hudson, New York. His most memorable was probably the beautiful heap at 347 Warren Street in the late 2000s. Now, surrounded by the posh and polish of a new Warren Street, John Doe Records at 434 Warren is a remnant as rare and well aged as its wares. It’s the type of place that won’t last forever.
I came to Hudson because it was super cheap in 2001. We had a shop in Tivoli before that. It was a red barn. It had no heat, no electricity, no water, no toilet, no windows and we sold stuff out of there. Then we just had to get out of there. It was just weird. Tivoli is cool but you don’t want to stay there too long. I’d overstayed my welcome. So I moved here, started the store. It’s hard to stop once you start it. It starts to snowball.
The old store at 347 Warren Street.
Records are back. I’m so psyched people want to see what I saw back when they didn’t want to see it. I think people need things that reconnect them to actual feelings and not in a sentimental, nostalgic way but so they go, “woah, I’m sad because of that sound I heard.”
I have so much outlet here to do what I want. I have slowed down a little bit because it’s tiresome to constantly be creating little things, little blips, little blurbs, little shows, little concerts, the sleepover, the dinners. Promotion and booking is part of this business, sort of. We used to do a lot of it but it’s gotta be more special now.
I always thought that (because I’m an optimist) Hudson was always going to go the way I want it to go. Then I realized the raggedy version of retail only works for so many people.
Any time you inject money into a geographical location you’re erasing a lot of funk. Like I wouldn’t be allowed to have furniture strewn through an entire parking lot 24/7, all year round, like I did at 347 Warren Street. But I wanted it to be that spectacle. On a visual level I wanted that to reflect everything else about what commerce meant. Like, is this stuff so important? If it’s so important why are you letting it rot in the rain? I was trying to suck the importance out of objects by letting them deteriorate and saying, “how important is that now?”
I’m just hanging on but I’m having fun hanging on. You can’t stop doing stuff just because everything around you is changing.