Dan Prothero founded Fog City Records in 1996. Fog City Records is an independent music label in San Francisco. Fog City can be described as an indie label that brings music from the good times and sweet roots of American culture. It doesn’t matter what kind of music you like; Fog City brings you musicians that are so talented and brilliant, you can’t help but take a listen. Fog City ‘s goal is to provide great musicians with a forum for music as a substance and to explore the boundaries outside of the pop culture. Fog City’s method is to capture the spirit that can only come from real human beings playing actual three-dimensional instruments in a live atmosphere. (Fog City)
Dan Prothero, the owner of Fog City, is simply brilliant. Not only is he a successful indie label owner, but also he is a music producer, graphic designer, recording engineer and a record collector. Dan oversees every aspect of the label, from A&R to recording, concept to finished product. Prior to starting his own label, Dan helped develop the look and sound of Bay Area label Unique Recordings. Dan creates all of the graphic designs for each CD that is released by Fog City. Fog City Records is now cultivating a growing roster of artists, diversifying beyond the limitations of a single genre while developing a distinct sound and a loyal following. Currently, Fog City has done albums for MOFRO, Etienne de Rocher, Tim Bluhm, Robert Walter, Papa Mali, Garage A Trois, Stanton Moore, and Galactic. Also, Fog City has worked with many musicians worldwide.
The first release on Fog City Records was the Coolin’ Off album from a New Orleans funk band called Galactic. The project was collaboration between the band and Dan. Galactic has a unique sound as a result of its influences, including hip hop, electronic, world music, rock, blues and jazz. Another aspect of the album that got a lot of attention was that it’s an Enhanced CD. The disc contained almost an hour of music plus what remains one of the most extensive multimedia on any enhanced CD Coolin’ Off includes bonus tracks, videos, interviews, and an incredible portfolio of photos. With such a big spotlight after Coolin’ Off, Capricorn/Polygram then picked up the record along with Galactic’s follow up, Crazyhorse Mongoose, which Dan also recorded and produced.
” Galactic, from New Orleans, is up to its eyeballs in groove sauce 24-7. So when these youngsters (Robert Mercurio on bass, Stanton Moore on drums, Jeff Raines on guitar and Rich Vogel on keyboards) lock into a beat, you know they’re not faking it. Coolin’ Off contains bows to their Crescent City forefathers (like the Meters-influenced ‘Funky Bird’) and other languid, strolling grooves. Vogel carries most of the solo space — check ‘On The One’ — and some compositions are fleshed out by some welcome guest stars. The disc-opening ‘Go Go’ features Erik Jakobson on trumpet, Mark Mullins on trombone and Eric Traub on sax. Vocalist Theryl deClouet adds some weatherbeaten soul to the Stax-influenced neck-snapper ‘Something’s Wrong With This Picture’. (FOUR STAR RATING) ” – Tony Greene, JazzTimes
After Coolin Off with Galactic, Stanton Moore decided to go ahead and drop his solo album All Kooked Out. Stanton Moore is best known as the drummer for Galactic. All Kooked Out remains one of the most in-demand records. (Fog City) All of the recordings on the album were made completely in the studio in New Orleans right after Mardi Gras. Moore continues to perform with the co-founded Garage A. Trois with Skenik, Mike Dillion and Marco Benevento. Since Hurricane Katrina, Moore has helped start the Tipitina’s Foundation workshop for students. This provided young people an early opportunity to learn, play and perform with professional musicians. Recently, at the 2009 Show in CA, Stanton Moore introduced a signature model snare drum under his own brand, The Stanton Moore Drum Company of New Orleans. Stanton worked closely with drum designer Ronn Dunnett to create a drum “embodying” the sound of a classic vintage snare drum that Stanton had once owned.
In 1999, Fog City records came out with the debut album from Garage A Trois, Mysteryfunk. Garage a Trois isn’t your typical rock band. Without vocals or a guitar, they create instrumentally different elements to their jazz/rock music. The band consists of 4 brilliant and amazing musicians, Stanton Moore, saxophonist Skerik, vibraphone and percussionist Mike Dillion and Marco Benvento. This album, as well as Stanton Moore’s solo album was both produced by Dan Prothero. Recently, in October 2009, Garage A Trois released their first studio CD called Power Patriot. “Power Patriot,” a fast-paced voyage through spacey funk, catchy jazz ditties, full-bore rockers and sample-worthy beats. (Jake Ten Pas)
” With this disk, [Stanton] truly establishes himself as one of the forces to be reckoned with in the new school of jazz. Do whatever you have to do to get your hands on this record. (4 out of 4 star rating)” — The Drinkin’ Buddy Magazine
Malcolm “Papa Mali” Welbourne is a slide guitarist, singer, and songwriter who grew up in Shreveport, Louisiana and is based in Austin, Texas. His debut recording Thunder Chicken, produced by Dan Prothero, has been referred to as “one of the few truly wild and unruly records to come from the rock & roll tradition in the 21st century”. In 2007 Papi Mali dropped his second album Do Your Thing with Fog City. Dan Prothero also produced this album. This album has some of the most talented musicians you could ask for. Some of the musicians that were on the album were Kirk Joseph (founding member of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band), Big Chief Monk Boudreaux, Henry Butler (no less than the singular New Orleans piano giant of his generation), Victoria William, and Chuck Prophet who is one of the best guitar slingers around.
“a thing of aural beauty… a fascinating glimpse into Papa Mali’s visceral vision and spell-casting.” (Austin Chronicle)
One of the best jazz players on Fog City records is Robert Walter. He is a founding member of The Greyboy Allstars, and has since led his own band, Robert Walter’s 20th Congress. He built a reputation as one of America’s heaviest jazz-funk musicians. (Robert Walter) In 2000, the 20th Congress released their full-length album Money Shot on Fog City records. Robert’s own songwriting may have a harmonic complexity that is found more often in mid-70s fusion than in most of today’s “funk bands” Walter cultivates a vibe from an earlier, sweatier jazz tradition. (Wiki) Money Shot is also an enhanced CD, which includes a “hands on” mixing board, bonus audio tracks, live performance video and press kits. Also, Robert Walter released In A Holiday Groove in 2004 under Fog City Records. You can only order this CD from Fog City’s website. Recently, Walter can be seen in the 2007 Columbia Pictures release “Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story”, for which he helped write one of the soundtrack’s more audacious numbers, “(Mama) You Got To Love Your Negro Man”.
The classic soul-jazz organ combo is alive and well. Live audiences would have to be on their feet dancing within seconds. powerful music with swirling changes in mood… music that’s both thought provoking and physical. (AllAboutJazz.com)
JJ Grey & MOFRO (formerly billed just as Mofro) is a soul/funk/R&B/blues/southern rock band from Jacksonville, Florida. Singing with a passion and fervor directly influenced by the classic soul heroes, JJ Grey has written and recorded five albums of original songs steeped in the rhythm & blues, rock, and country soul of his native backwoods home outside Jacksonville, Florida. Grey comes from a long tradition of Southern storytellers and, in that spirit, he fills his songs with details that are at once vivid, personal and universal. (Wiki) Blackwater MOFRO’s debut release on Fog City Records maintains the label’s focus on musicianship, fat tones and good times, and a real sense of place. Blackwater is now one of Fog City’s best selling releases, and a document of a major artist in the earliest stages. Also this is an enhanced CD with full screen video, ‘hands on” interactive mixer, virtual reality studio tour and bonus tracks. The last CD released by MOFRO on Fog City Records is Lochloosa.
“One of the 10 Best Releases Of The Year: Bringing a bit of the Florida swampland to your town, MOFRO’s second studio release is nothing less than a perfect groove. Down home, dirty soul.” — Andrew Strickman, Rolling Stone
Tim Bluhm has earned a reputation as the quintessential California musician. Born and raised in the Golden State, as the singer/guitarist and primary songwriter of rock band The Mother Hips, Bluhm has spent the last two decades performing, writing, collaborating on, and producing music. As the front man to The Mother Hips, Bluhm toured for years with the band on the road. While Tim was recording California Way, Dan Prothero came into the studio to take a listen. After listening to Tim album, Dan decided to release the CD under Fog City Records. Backed only by his guitar, Bluhm recorded California Way in two days. California Way also came as an enhanced CD.
“The spare acoustic recording is witness to the fact that Tim Bluhm is one of the best (and most underrated) songwriters of his generation.” — John Baccigaluppi, TapeOp Magazine
Etienner de Rocher is a California based singer songwriter who playa a unique style of indie rock. Rocher for the longest time was looking for a producer that he could work with. “I’d been approached by several producers,” de Rocher says. “I worked very hard on what my stuff sounded like, the vibe. They all wanted to do their thing on my music. Dan liked what I’d done and wanted to work with that.” (Fog City) Prothero wanted to make something different but wanted something very honest. He wanted something that was unique and yet be true to the person.
“a brilliantly crafted album of original music, almost as perfectly realized as its auteur could hope — and strived so hard — to make. This longtime local secret may have to endure all the comparisons with pop geniuses I dare not mention here.”
– Derk Richardson, sfgate.com
Fog City Records has a unique sound with all of the artists signed to the label. If you want to listen to live instruments with a funky groove you need to check out Fog City Records. You can check out all the artists’ tour dates on the site. Their website is fully functional with biographies of all the artists and the records they have released. You can buy any of their albums from the website. Each of its artists has a hyper link directing you to their page. What makes Fog City different from other indie labels is that they give you enhanced CD’s on their releases. No only do you get the full album but also you get videos, bonus tracks, virtual mixers you can use, pictures, and artist interviews. They all keep the fans well informed of what is coming up for their careers.