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Photographer Tim Soter Chronicles DFA’s Heyday In New Book

'DFA Records: The Early Years' includes nearly 150 rare images of LCD Soundsystem, the Rapture, and more
LCD Soundsystem at New York's Bowery Ballroom on Oct. 9, 2003 (photo: Tim Soter).

Tim Soter had a bird’s eye view of the rise of beloved New York dance/rock label DFA in the early 2000s, and his photographs from the era have now been compiled in the aptly titled book DFA Records: The Early Years, which is available for pre-order ahead of a Dec. 8 ship date.

Packed with 111 color and 35 black-and-white photos, the 160-page volume chronicles the influential DFA, which was founded in 2001 by LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy, Mo’ Wax co-founder Tim Goldsworthy, and Jonathan Galkin. Among the acts associated with the label were the Rapture, whose members sat for a new interview for The Early Years, Black Dice, the Juan Maclean, and, of course, LCD Soundsystem, which dominated the New York music scene for the better part of the 2000s.

Currently a photography professor at Fashion Institute of Technology, Soter was the house photographer for New York nightlife spot Twilo, and in 2003 reached out to Galkin via Hotmail to ask about shooting the DFA roster. For the next several years, he was omnipresent at DFA shows in venues such as Bowery Ballroom, Roseland, Tonic, and Volume Club, as well as private lofts across the five boroughs.

“It was a different era back then,” Soter tells SPIN. “People were approachable, New York felt intimate, and everyone had a unique role to play. Many times I found myself as the sole photographer in the room. Looking back, it was a luxury to stop by the DFA office/studio, drop off some film, stay for an espresso, and listen to tracks. Now that I make books, I was excited to pull together all of those photos I shot and recount the vibe of that turn of the century downtown NYC music scene, either for the newer fans, those who were there, or even the most devoted LCD or Rapture fans and enthusiasts of the label.”

The Rapture at New York’s Roseland Ballroom on Oct. 24, 2003 (photo: Tim Soter).

All book orders placed before Jan. 1 will include a free 4×6” print of Murphy and Goldsworthy. And although The Early Years is a look back in time, there’s new DFA-related music on the horizon. SPIN can confirm that LCD Soundsystem is hard at work on its first studio album since its 2017 comeback project American Dream, which itself was the band’s first release in seven years.

Murphy and company are in the midst of their annual New York residency, which this year expanded from its regular home at Brooklyn Steel to include shows at Terminal 5 in Manhattan and Knockdown Center in Queens. LCD has been featuring a cover of Harry Nilsson’s “Jump Into the Fire” at the gigs after initially reviving it for the first time in 11 years at DFA’s 20th anniversary party on March 26, 2022.