End of an era: BARF WAVE hosted its final show at Club Dada

A singer on stage

Jockey singer Jonah Lancaster on stage at Club Dada for BARF WAVE’s final event. Photo: Jessica Waffles

BARF WAVE Records is a Dallas-based DIY record label that has been making waves in the local music scene for several years. Founded in 2014 in Waco before moving to Dallas in 2016, BARF WAVE was created by a group of friends who shared a love for punk and indie music and wanted to provide a platform for local artists to release their music, and also hosted events to give artists a place to perform.

“Eric [Vaughn Eisenman] and I were playing in LOAFERS, and Teenage Sexx [now called Upsetting] was just starting out,” BARF WAVE founding member Taylor Smith said. “We shared a band house in Waco and started playing shows together. When we moved to Dallas, we made it our goal to establish ourselves. Kind of the end-goal for BARF WAVE was to legitimize ourselves and have something to sell at shows.”

The label team included founders Taylor Smith (LOAFERS), Eric Vaughn Eisenman (LOAFERS), Savannah Loftin (LOAFERS), Kevin Atkins (Upsetting) and Charlie DeBolt (Upsetting).

A full band on stage

Jockey performs at the last BARF WAVE event hosted on Club Dada’s new stage. (left to right) Tanis Reed, Ethan Imhoff, Jonah Lancaster, Miguel Jasquez. Photo: Jessica Waffles

A guitarist jumping in the air

The energy was high during Jockey’s set, with every member whipping around the stage full-steam during several breakdowns. Photo: Jessica Waffles

A full band on stage

Although Jockey is a young band (all their members are 22 years old or less), they have gained a devoted local following and almost 2,000 listeners on their Spotify. Photo: Jessica Waffles

What started as something just for themselves quickly turned into a local record label that would become known for its eclectic roster of artists with an overarching punk theme, across styles like garage rock, post-punk and emo.

“It was about creating accessibility in the DIY community,” BARF WAVE member Charlie DeBolt said. “As a record label, we wanted to help local bands make physical copies of music. We wanted to start putting shows on for bands’ needs to be met. We barely knew what we were doing when we started, but we could show people who had absolutely no idea what they were doing how to do it too.”

A full band on stage in front of a crowd

Smothered on stage at Club Dada for the BARF WAVE last event. Photo: Jessica Waffles

A person singing and playing guitar on stage

Smothered lead vocalist Taylor Watt performs at Club Dada. Photo: Jessica Waffles

A drummer on stage

Smothered drummer Simon Russell throwing it down for BARF WAVE’s final show. Photo: Jessica Waffles

“We were getting in with Fort Worth and Dreamy Life [Records] bands when we first got up here,” Smith said. “We would collab with Dreamy Life on releases. They would release the cassette tapes and we would do the CDs. The general mentality was to take a chance on local bands that wouldn’t get the limelight. We were just trying to carry the torch from people before us like Lo-Life Recordings.”

Since 2015, BARF WAVE released about 25 EPs and albums under about 18-20 artists.

“We also worked with over 100 bands along the way through hosting events,” DeBolt said. “It makes me feel good to know that we have in some way been a part of their journey.”

Two people smiling on stage

Some smiles on stage with Smothered. Photo: Jessica Waffles

An art vending booth

Jaw Daw and Andrew Hammond Kendall set their art booths up in tandem at the BARF WAVE final show. Photo: Jessica Waffles

A guitarist on stage

Zach Palmer on guitar with Smothered. Photo: Jessica Waffles

The final show at Club Dada last week featured Thyroids, Pollen, Smothered, Jockey and Teal Stripe – while the house music between sets featured all BARF WAVE Records artists throughout the night.

“It makes me sad to know that I won’t be able to go to another BARF WAVE event again,” local music enthusiast Ariel Whitlock said. “I’ve been able to discover so many cool bands by going to their shows. Some of my now-best friends I met because we all showed up to see the same bands.”

A bassist on stage

Mallory Frenza on bass with Smothered. Photo: Jessica Waffles

A display with art

Some of AHK’s artistic offerings. Photo: Jessica Waffles

A full band on stage

Pollen performs at Club Dada for BARF WAVE’s final event. Photo: Jessica Waffles

Although the BARF WAVE name will not continue, there is still hope for fans to see bands they love on lineups in North Texas.

“We just realized we hadn’t released a lot of music in the past couple years,” DeBolt said. “It didn’t make sense to use BARF WAVE Records when it had fallen off a bit. We didn’t feel like we had the time to spend to curate new bands. We wanted to end things while we were still proud of the catalog, instead of just releasing things for the sake of it. Show promotion will continue under a new name, but with the same intention.”

One of the bands that played the show, Jockey, has a show on March 15 at Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studio in Denton to celebrate the release of their 8-song release and Spring Tour kickoff, which will route through the East Coast and Midwest.

A bassist on stage

Pollen bassist Nathan Fenner expresses themself on stage. Photo: Jessica Waffles

Two people on stage

Llandon Broadhead and Ava Boehme play BARF WAVE’s last event. Photo: Jessica Waffles

A drummer singing on stage

Drummer Mark Bitter often takes vocal leads in songs for Thyroids. Photo: Jessica Waffles

A singer on stage

Thyroids singer and guitarist Kenny Ramirez. Photo: Jessica Waffles

BARF WAVE made a significant impact on the Dallas music scene and beyond. With its unique sound and commitment to supporting independent music, the group has been a testament to the power of DIY culture.

“You don’t realize how cool it was when it was happening,” Smith said. “Until it’s gone.”

Farewell, BARF WAVE Records.

A full band on stage

Thyroids closed out the night on stage for the BARF WAVE final event at Club Dada. Photo: Jessica Waffles

A guitarist singing on stage

Thyroids are known for their in-your-face punk style music. Photo: Jessica Waffles

A bassist on stage

Thyroids bassist Mitch “Michelada” Burrows. Photo: Jessica Waffles

A drummer singing on stage

Thyroids have been involved with BARF WAVE since the label moved to Dallas. Photo: Jessica Waffles

Jessica Waffles is a freelance photographer/videographer and regular contributor to KXT. 

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