AVONDALE — After nearly a decade of operating out of apartments and DIY event spaces, FeelTrip Records is getting a home of its own.
Dressed in a tan Dickies jumpsuit, David Beltran worked this week on building new shelves at what will become the small label’s first brick-and-mortar shop in a storefront at 3358 N. Karlov Ave. in Avondale. NBA, the FeelTrip shop dog, chilled on the floor as Beltran worked.
It’s not much to look at now, with power tools scattered and the smell of freshly cut wood in the air, but Beltran and co-owner Diana Bowden have a vision and are hoping to have the place up and running this spring.
“It feels like so much has happened. I mean, I quit my part time job last October and it feels like there’s been so much happening to get ready to open the space,” Bowden said.
In 2010, Beltran and his bandmates in the group Yawn were trying to figure out how to get their first record, “Open Season,” released. After looking at their options, he and the band decided to launch FeelTrip.
“We decided to start a label and start a music venue back then,” Beltran said. “We recorded a lot but only put out three or four releases over that time because we were also doing shows at the same time.”
The goal of the storefront is to support the city’s DIY community and showcase music from other local, independent record labels that FeelTrip admires.
The space will have a studio and office in the back of the storefront, and retail in the front, Bowden said.
“It’ll have records, vintage audio equipment, handmade items, apparel and zines,” he said of the retail store.
The label previously hosted shows in a loft-turned-DIY collective based in the South Loop.
“Lots of bands, DJs and art installations came through there,” Beltran said.
But an epic New Year’s Eve party led to a police bust in 2012.
“We ended up losing that spot because it got bought out …and turned it into hotels,” Beltran said. “So this is actually the first public space that we’re going to have since then, outside of doing pop-ups and festival events.”
The upside to losing the South Loop spot was that it freed up the label to focus on signing artists and releasing music. When FeelTrip was also managing a venue, it was tricky balancing live shows alongside recording new music.
Since then, the label has signed artists like Sister Crystals, Paul Cherry, Wingtips and most recently Pixel Grips.
“Our lineup is a range from yacht rock to some more electronic, darkwave synth bass stuff,” Bowden said. “We don’t really stick to one thing. It’s really about if we enjoy it and you want to work with us, then yeah.”
FeelTrip launched a crowdfunding campaign at the end of last year to help fund their buildout in Avondale, raising $5,124 of their $10,000 goal.
“We want this to be a space for Chicago culture and arts,” Bowden said. “And focus more on releasing music.”
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