1. Ryckholt 2 (cred Isaac Vallentin)

We support what we think is fresh, exciting and has potential.


2010: Pop Drone begins as an email address, at first, and it’s used by its founders for promoting new music to journalists, blogs, radio producers and concert promoters. The idea being that an email from some sort of arts organisation might be read more often than an email from the band’s bassist. It’s a front. The experiment is a success. An early release is written up in The Globe & Mail, by ChartAttack, and by local and international media. Next the email address is being used to promote new releases by a handful of young Ottawa bands.

2011: This winter we receive a cheque for a few hundred dollars. It is significant for other reasons. One of the Pop Drone musicians, also a freelance videographer, borrows the email address to write some new clients. One of those clients makes a cheque out to Pop Drone. We must register the business name to be able to this deposit this cheque.

2013: Pop Drone Records is founded with the single purpose of releasing ‘Florestan’ and ‘Eusebius,’ a pair of concept albums by Ryckholt as well as ‘Show Me Your Fears,’ the first record made by Pony Girl and ‘Glass/Batteries’ by Dutch duo Dialoog. The records are a success in Canada and a new indie label is born.

2014: It seems every musician on the label has two friends with new albums to share. The Ottawa/Rotterdam label grows to include artists based in Brooklyn, Boston, and New Orleans. Despite geography, each of these artists is connected by one, at most two degrees of separation. Key releases include ‘After Church’ by Ondine and a collection of beat tapes by Javi Santiago.

2015: Canadian labelmates create So Sorry Records, an imprint designed to promote Ottawa-based and Canadian artists. ‘Mystic’ by Owen Davies is the new imprint’s inaugural release and in three months So Sorry release three more records. ‘Veldbrand’ by Bosveld, ‘Foreign Life’ by Pony Girl, and ‘Goodnight Mara’ by High Waters. Pop Drone is a part of the group which founds Chit-Chat Distro, a radio distribution service for Ottawa/Montreal labels & independents. Pop Drone produces Take 5, a pop-up concert series on Rideau Street for the TD Ottawa Jazz Festival.

2016: ‘Veldbrand’ by Bosveld earns a Polaris Prize vote (see: 2016 Longer List) in the same summer Pony Girl receive an emerging artist award at Le Festival d’été de Québec (Les Prix FEQ). American labelmates create One Label, an imprint for live hip hop and jazz being made in Chicago/New York. Key releases include ‘One Label Live at The Delancey’ by Ajani feat. POES and ‘Motors’ by Moon Mullins. Again, Pop Drone produces Take 5, a pop-up concert series on Rideau Street for the TD Ottawa Jazz Festival.

2017: Our team goes national, joining Music Yukon to promote From The North, a northern arts showcase which in 2017 brought together musicians, artists, storytellers, dancers and Dene and Inuit athletes on a tour of Canada’s northern capital cities—Whitehorse, Yellowknife and Iqaluit—followed by dates in Ottawa, Montréal and Vancouver. Pony Girl passes a milestone of 100 concerts. So Sorry Records introduces Raveen and mal/aimé with debut album releases.

2018: Pop Drone is invited to be the in-house communication team for The Gladstone Theatre’s 10th Anniversary Season since a collective of indie companies took over, renovated, and revitalized the 230-seat venue. Out of town, Pop Drone provides the communication strategy and social media production for Trophy, a living art and storytelling installation which tours in Canada, Europe and the United Kingdom.

2019: So Sorry Records has its biggest year, releasing new albums by Merganzer, Saxsyndrum, Michael C. Duguay, Corey Isenor, and Owen Davies. The TD Ottawa Jazz Festival asks Pop Drone to consult on a communication strategy that has nothing to do with ticket sales (read more here). Jeremy Ajani Jordan assembles a supergroup of New York jazz artists who record For Flint. All profits from the album, including Bandcamp’s share, go to help the victims of the Flint Water Crisis. We start a new partnership in Canada’s north: Dubbed Beneath the Broadcastthe project is aimed at capturing the experience of living and creating art in the Yukon. Shot in the basement of the CBC North studios in Whitehorse, the live music series created by Yukon-based organizations Something Shows, Big Boat Records, local filmmaker Brendan Preston and a variety of music acts, works both as a feature-length film and nine standalone videos.

2020: Watch this space…