What is OJ?

Plenty of songwriters come to New York City looking for a close-knit community of peers to inspire and support them. Few find what they're looking for. But the acts scheduled to perform at OJ ALL DAY are the lucky ones. For nearly eight years, Olive Juice Music has been a hub for D.I.Y. rock and indie-folk - as a recording studio, a record label, a distribution catalog and even a community message board.

Centered around the apartment and home recording studio of de-facto president Major Matt Mason, Olive Juice Music has done more than just help musicians produce and sell their work - it has created a sense of community and belonging for a tight network of diverse artists, both established and emerging. Here, you have seasoned folksingers like Jeffrey Lewis (Rough Trade Records) and newbies like Dave End all together in the same pot. In a big, often cynical town, where many lose their way, a sanctuary and breeding ground like the OJ community is a life-saver.

"I come from LA, where there is absolutely no community or real friendships between performers or songwriters," says Frank Hoier, a relative newcomer to the scene. Nan Turner, who plays in Schwervon! with Major Matt Mason (and co-habitates Olive Juice Studios), echoes the sentiment, "When people come to record in our apartment it's sometimes a social hang-out as well. I like that our place is a headquarters/community center of sorts."

While the OJ community brings its artists together socially, it also inspires them to work on their own. "Many people have kindly offered to record me," says Betsy Cohen, of the one-woman band The Best, but she is inspired by the D.I.Y. self-recordings of her peers, like Huggabroomstik singer Dashan Coram. Betsy says, "I feel it must happen on my own time, in my own way."

That D.I.Y. impulse is central to the ethos of OJ, but it's a double-edged sword. "I don't think D.I.Y. is necessarily always the most healthy way to go about things," says Major Matt, "Sometimes when I think about everything involved with being a real working artist, I get really depressed. But in the end, I think knowing all the details makes me appreciate things more."

It's the details, after all, that make the music appealing. The artists on the OJ ALL DAY roster are known for their gritty, intimate portrayals of urban life - from the diary-like wordiness of Dream Bitches to the minimal , lofi bucket-stomps of Prewar Yardsale. It's the realism that keeps audiences listening, and it's the real feeling of artistic satisfaction that keeps these songwriters, as it were, doing it themselves.