CONVERSATION: FURIOUS HOOVES

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Interview with Ryan and TJ from Furious Hooves

Conducted 11.9.2013

Standard question to begin – tell me about how Furious Hooves began.

TJ : I played in a band called Go Tigers and we did a demo with a guy, recorded an EP, and rather than having it pressed we burned the CDs ourselves. I made CD sleeves out of poster board, cut them all out with scissors, by hand. Then I really wanted to make a stamp out of rubber but I couldn’t find any rubber, so I got some of that non-slip plastic, the type that goes on top of stairs I guess? I glued layers of that together and made a stamp of a picture that I drew. I just had a really great time doing it and a lot of people were pretty stoked on it so I thought about doing it for other bands.

Ryan: That was in 2009 when TJ did that. Did you have the name then?

TJ : No.

Ryan : That was pre-Furius Hooves. Then in 2011 Furious Hooves actually started.

TJ : I got more into engineering and producing and a few of my friends started recording our own music and stuff. I had some friends who were in a band called The Naps and they wanted me to record a demo for them and so without telling them the plan was to record the demo and do the same thing I did with the Tigers CDs, kind of like a surprise. Like “thanks for letting me record you guys and I made these cool little handmade things”. That’s when I started thinking more about it and wanting to do it with other bands. I just love Ryan to death and think he’s a wonderful artist so that’s when I hit him with the idea of hey, do you want to do this with me?

And you guys live in the same town?

Ryan: We grew up in the same town, we actually rode on the same bus in middle school and high school. Then I moved away for college and I stayed in that same town

In Savannah?

R: Yeah and the same thing for TJ. In 2011 I had moved back to Virginia and that’s when we made “Without a Fight”, the first one that we did together.

And then you put our more of your own stuff?

Ryan : I’m in Mumble Dust and TJ was in Go Tigers, he played in Without A Fight.

So it seems like your label was a combination of being in bands and people wanting to have this DIY approach, the fun of putting out your own music and your friends music. It seems to be the way a lot of such labels start.

Ryan : Yeah totally

And there was also the love of 90’s basketball?

(laughter)

TJ: Absolutely. Even before Ryan and I were trying to push ourselves as musicians we lived in a nowhere town where we kind of the only people like us so we bonded really well. Back then when we were hanging out, all we’d do is play basketball. I was in eighth grade and he was in seventh and we’d just hang out at each others house and talk about skateboarding and basketball. We’ve always been huge fans of the NBA and all the players we watched when we younger.

Ryan: And 90s hoops is just cool. So now we try to include a basketball card from the 90s with every release.

TJ : It’s from our personal collection from the 90s. It’s kind of hard to give up a little bit of that piece of yourself.

Ryan: It is really hard. You come across one sometimes and you’re like “oh I really want to keep this card”.

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FH001 The Sunny Side of Northwood -Without A Fight
Edition of 50

I’m sure they’re not the best cards that you’re giving away though…

Ryan: You put a good one in recently right TJ?

TJ: A lot of the time if I have duplicates I’ll do a player that I’m really into but sometimes I want to hook people up too, because I know if I got something like that and opened it up and theres a John Stockton card I’d be so pumped.

It’s mainly tapes you’ve done so far?

Ryan: We’ve done tapes and CDs and we’ve done one vinyl release, which kind of came into our hands.

TJ: We adopted that one.

Ryan: It was the 1000 Pieces record, which is like a really cool math rock record, it’s really good. We took that one under our wing I guess you could say.

Do you have plans to put out more vinyl or do you think you’ll keep going with tapes and digital?

TJ: I’d love to put out more vinyl but it’s just like a see how it goes kind of thing.

Ryan: What we are wanting to do with everything is so hands on and limited that it makes sense to do small runs. With vinyl, unless we eventually get our own press, it’s kind of difficult to do small runs.

TJ: Yeah you can’t do like 30.

It seems to work for what you’re doing at the moment. It’s really diverse, your catalogue. Listening to that recent compilation you put out, there’s so much different stuff on there: some screamo sounding stuff, some folk, some electronic sounds. I guess the label reflects your own tastes and having two of you it makes it even more diverse?

TJ: Absolutely. Ryan, he and all of the guys who are adopted into our collective family in Savannah amaze me on a regular basis. Without the addition of Ryan being in Savannah and all the musicians in Savannah, I would have never seen Furious Hooves being where it is now. So definitely both of us having different taste and knowing different people has increased the diversity to a place where I would have never imagined.

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FH015 Stay Rad Vol​.​01 – Furious Hooves
Edition of 24

Sounds like it keeps you motivated, having two of you. Keeps you inspired.

Ryan: Definitely. I feel like we’re always texting each other or getting in touch with somebody to figure out what our next thing is going to be, like what friend do we have that wants to put something out or who can we talk to now. All of our friends are very talented people so it’s nice having that.

So that’s largely the sort of music you put out , from your friends? Family seems like a big word for you. As opposed you stumbling across something obscure on the internet and saying hey this guy’s good…

TJ: That happens as well. We also have people contacting us.

Ryan: We’ve had a few people contact us that we’ve ended up releasing. Bedroom was one, he got in touch with us…that might be the only one.

TJ: We’ve had a lot of people enquire

Ryan: Nadine Carina got in touch with us, she’s from Switzerland and lives in London right now. She’s really cool. She knew about Mumbledust and we were talking back and forth about our own projects and eventually I showed it to TJ and I said maybe we should just ask her if she has anything she wants us to put out.

TJ: I’m really stoked on her not only because her music is so awesome but she’s so collaborative with other people, such a prolific musician. She’s wonderful.

In that way there’s no rules in what you’re doing is there? A large part of it’s you representing music from Savannah and your friends but if someone does pop up from Europe you can put their music out.

TJ: It’s wonderful. The only thing that holds us back is transcontinental shipping fees.

Money’s always the thing. You mentioned collaborations, there was a collaboration you put out between Black Rune and Man Eating Sloth…

Ryan: That was part of the Halloween series that just started happening. We put out the Mumbledust and Blood Cousin one and then it came around again a year later and I thought “I wonder if Gabe (who’s Man Eating Sloth ) would want to collaborate with anybody”. Sure enough he and Paul from Blackrune just hit it off and they were able to create two separate tracks that just work so well together, back to back. It was pretty astounding.

It’s great you can bring that sort of thing together. What can you tell me about those two guys? I think they’re both really interesting artists.

Ryan: Paul lives in Savannah so I met him down here. He was doing music for years as this kind of electronic project called Magic Places. He has a tape out on that through Mirror Universe I think. We were talking and he was like I’d like to release something through you guys but not as Magic places, I want to change up my sound a lot and go into this dark shoegaze realm. That’s how Blackrune was born. Gabe is friend of ours from way back, right TJ?

TJ: Yeah I met Gabe in my freshman year of high school skateboarding. I didn’t even know that he played music back then and then Ryan played with him in a band for years.

Ryan: The cool story about Gabe is that he learned music just by one day deciding that the entire summer he was going to stay at home and learn guitar. He did that and he’s a phenomenal musician now, after that happened.

That’s great. How did International Tape Day go? You did something at Graveface, can you tell me about your relationship with Ryan?

Ryan: When I moved back to Savannah I met up with Ryan and we became friends. Eventually I started working for him, doing graphic design. We formed a relationship as friends a few years ago and he now he does our digital distribution. He’s a good guys who’s helped us. He has a store and thats what we did the tapes for. He asked if we could throw something together for an extremely limited Graveface release, which was compilation that he put together of Graveface bands, obscure stuff that he had. So that was the limited five tapes that we did with him.

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Furious Hooves and Graveface 2013 Cassette Day limited edition compilation

How do you produce your tapes?

TJ: We do it all ourselves. Be it running an RCA cable from an iPod to a tape deck, or burning a side A and a side B on separate CDs and dubbing it that way. So its all very homemade. Mix tape style I guess.

Has that been something you’ve always done or is it something you’ve gotten back into recently with the resurgence of tapes?

TJ: A little bit of both. I was never really as technologically advanced as most kids my age growing up. I remember I got this shitty little car from my parents and all it had was tape deck so I remember sitting in my room for hours going through my CDs making mix tapes. Even before that, when I was young, my dad was a guitar player and always have like a little mini recorder thing and he’d always record himself playing Neil Young covers and stuff. The idea that you record things and put them on something else and have them with you wherever you go, it’s always been interesting to me.

Ryan: I always remember you having a car that had a tape deck, you’d be cruisng around blasting it.

TJ: You bet.

That seems to be very central to the tape movement, tape decks in cars. Whenever I hear people talk enthusiastically about tapes they talk about listening in their cars.

TJ: It’s bittersweet when thats all you had when you were young.

Ryan: I had a friend who I was talking to recently who doesn’t have a tape deck and he said he was seriously thinking of hooking up a tape deck via the auxiliary cable.

So what’s next for you guys – you don’t seem to be hugely ambitious. You’re just working from one project to the next?

TJ: I’m going to school and working full time so it’s hard to be overly ambitious to do new things. Currently I’m trying to pick up a release that we kind of dropped the ball on, just to make everything right with that and not have a hole our catalogue.

Ryan: Basically we were being too ambitious at one point and thats how we dropped the ball. We’re very busy in our outside lives so we just kind of do it as we go along. If we’re feeling like making a tape or making a CD or something, we’ll do it. We usually give it about a month notice.

So you can put something together in that time? Within a month?

Ryan: It depends on what’s going into it. Sometimes if we’re looking for a certain feel we’ll do a lot of looking around for materials that we think fits whatever project we’re working on.

R Like that first Bedroom EP. It’s all recycled filing folders..

TJ: Yeah it’s just dark green folders from a filing cabinet.

Ryan: Then we found this old, old toy catalogue from the 60s and collaged a bunch of stuff, because the Bedrooms EP was called Toys so I thought it was pretty fitting.

TJ: That was really fun too because didn’t we order the toy catalogue off eBay and we were expecting to be a lot bigger than it really was? It arrives in the mail and Ryan sends me a picture on his phone and it like fits in the palm of his hand. I was expecting like a Sears wishbook.

Ryan: It was two inches by three inches!

TJ: There’s always things like that that happen, when we have to get something online and it ends up not being how we expected. I like that one because we made it work.

I’m looking at the page now – twenty four you managed to put together.

Ryan: Yeah we can’t do a repress of that, because there’s no more toy catalogues.

That’s great though, so super rare and so nice for people to have such a limited edition.

TJ: Definitely and that’s what inspires me the most I guess. This release especially, the Toys EP. The reach that Noah (Bedroom) has. The fact that someone from Japan bought this tape blew my mind. Here I am in Dublin, Virginia, which no one fucking knows about, and we send this cassette tape to a kid in Japan. I remember his comment on it when we posted it and he was like “I cherish this tape”. It meant so much at that point.

Ryan: That was the moment where we went, whoa, this is kind of doing something.

TJ: Really cool. It blew my mind.

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FH005 Toys EP – Bedroom
Limited edition of 24

Wonderful. I guess that could have happened 20 years ago before the internet, but it would have been harder to make it happen and harder to get that feedback and support, to know it reached someone.

Ryan: I’d like to take this time to thank the internet, from Furious Hooves.

Bandcamp is a large part of what you do.

TJ: I love Bandcamp. I think it’s a wonderful interface and…I just love it.

I hear mixed things about it, that some artists and labels don’t like using it.

TJ: I don’t get that, I’ve never heard a real valid argument as to why people dislike it.

Ryan: I agree. I think they take the gains from every tenth item sold. I think that’s completely fair. It’s such a user friendly site.

TJ: It’s so simple and still looks so great.

Ryan: You spend countless hours on Bandcamp..

I do. I think a lot of the reason its so good is it’s run by music fans. You read about how they wanted to start it and they wanted to give music a strong digital platform, and I think that still really motivates them to make music easier to discover for fans, to make the interface strong, to give artists options. So yeah, I really love it as well. It’s been great to be involved with it and great to discover all this music and all of these labels. What do you guys see as the function of a record label?

Ryan: For us, it’s really family oriented. Our goal is to help out the artist as much as possible. We want to create something with our hands to give their fans but we also want to give them exposure to new fans, that may not be into that sort of music. Someone listening to Go Tigers may come across Nadine Carina – typically that would never happen.

TJ: I don’t know…

Ryan: You’re right, I won’t naysay

But it’s a great way to discover music, I know what you’re saying.

Ryan: I feel like we’re also trying to make sure the artists get what they deserve. So a lot of times we let the downloads on Bandcamp go directly to them. For instance Nadine Carina, Bedroom – you can’t download their album from us unless you buy the tape. We redirect their downloads to their own Bandcamp pages so they can get the full profit from that.

TJ: The biggest part is exposure. I feel like its like that with every label too. I mean I’m definitely no expert in the field of record labels. I have a couple of friends who run another label around here called Flannel Gurl so I catch a little bit of what goes on with it from them – Flannel Gurl Records are great, throwing it out there real quick.

Labels, in my opinion, in addition to the exposure, should give the music another face. Give the artist another face and hopefully in our case a more positive face. I hope that for us, especially, people see that these guys are nice and they suggested this so hopefully, this music will be good.

I definitely get that impression from your online presence and stable of artists, that positivity is a big part of it. That comes across. I think we’re almost done here…maybe to close – can you tell me about the name?

TJ: Honestly thats just a product of imagination running wild. I really enjoy wildebeests, just as an animal. I was starting to throw around names and we do a lot of this in our group friends – we like to think of the most terrible band names possible and share it with one another, we have specific group on Facebook where we do this. In the mix of thinking up terrible band names and song names you come across some really neat ones too, ones we think would be awesome.

So I was throwing ideas around and was torn between “furious hooves” or “gilded hooves”. I thought of furious hooves being a wildebeest destroying a pursuing lion or something like that, and then gilded hooves being a bronzed wildebeest statue – both of those are really cool in my opinion. I asked some people – furious or gilded hooves? and they were all “furious hooves is good”. I like the feel of that a lot better. There’s no true sentiment behind it rather than just enjoying the name and trying to come up with something cool.

Ryan: And without Furious Hooves we wouldn’t have furhoof (the labels catalogue title).

TJ: Fact. I’ve had several people comment about it – “I mean, furious hooves man!” And I’m like – “yeah I know!” I really just like the mental image you get whenever you hear it. It makes a lot of mixed impressions I guess, and most of them are positive.

Furious Hooves on Bandcamp

Furious Hooves on Tumblr

FOUND MUSIC : BANDCAMP 25.9.2013

Good old Bandcamp hey? It’s become a major part of my waking (and sometimes sleeping) life since deciding to post bands that I find on there, day in, day out. Im not sick of it yet, not even close. There’s too much great stuff out there to be found. It’s awesome to see the site continue to improve – the recent addition of the music feed has enhanced my music discovering experience even more (you can follow me and my Bandcamp buys here).

Soon I’ll be posting a new mixtape for the first time since I recommenced Bandcamp Hunter back in July, below are a few tracks that may well make an appearance. You can browse the BCH mixtape back catalogue right here.
Pickle Jar – Beta Blocker And The Body Clock

I fell for this track from the extremely well named Beta Blocker And The Body Clock real hard, and indeed the whole EP it’s drawn from is excellent . Released on the consistently great Reeks of Effort, the UK band have a great take on noisy art rock,  reminding me a little of Broken Social Scene at the height of their powers.

Guitar music is dismissed in many quarters as being a derivative practice – as somewhat unimaginative – but these 7:27 minute state otherwise. It’s smart rock and roll, moving from the heavy distorted opening to the clever, infectious verses to the glorious closing that sees the band slowing those opening riffs right down to an exultant, lingering conclusion.
*lights cigarette*
Was it as good for you as it was for me?

 

Cast off and let go – Adnan and The Whale

I saw Adnan and The Whale perform a few years ago at a little show in Fitzroy and it was very memorable. A band with a remarkable ability to improvise, I thought at the time. I look forward to seeing them again, I thought at the time. Alas, since then their shows have been few and far between, so I was thrilled to see they had breached the surface once again with the beautiful Saw Tooth Shed EP. “Cast off and let go” cannot be a more apt title in capturing the floating nature of this pristine song, music of such delicate beauty that it feels as though it may crumble all around you.

I always regard describing music a futile practice, though attempting to describe sounds as graceful as this with words is particularly inane. Like describing a sunset. Like articulating the ocean. Press play, become untethered, be taken by the currents.

 

Rain In My Head – Keep On Dancin’s

I saw Brisbane band Keep On Dancin’s down at Melbourne’s The Old Bar on a recent spring evening and came away very impressed, they’re a super talented band with a stack of great songs that sound even better live. Released on the no-bullshit Long Gone Records, “Rain In My Head” is probably the best representation of their sound with its immersive reverb and sugary sweet/sinister vocals. It takes the quiet/loud dynamic to soaring heights,  Jacinta Walker’s superb voice shining through the billowing sonic storm created by the band. You could almost say it should be a radio hit, if radio wasn’t so fucking awful. Too good.

 

Cherry Pie – Mirror Parties

Probably the band that has intrigued me most since recommencing blogging, Mirror Parties are a Scottish four piece dabbling in druggy noise rock delivered with Velvets swagger. I called it the definition of outsider pop at the time and I’ll stick by that. The tape this song is taken from is patchy but the rough edges are a big part of the bands charm. In the context of the other tunes on “Bear Vomit”, “Cherry Pie” only stands out more, a shimmering gem amongst droning noise and melted ballads. I like that stuff too, but this song is special. Three rather perfect minutes of fractured,  blissed out guitar pop.

 

Ceiling Sway – Special Costello

You could call Special Costello something of a chimaera of a band, if a chimaera were a conjoining of, like, six animals rather than three. In reality they are two non-conjoined humans (occasionally expanding to a chimaera-esque three) though this is a shape shifting band, wholly unpredictable from one track (or one bar) to the next, transforming from noise to krautrock to meandering psychedelia before your very ears. I like it best when they unfurl a slowly building heart melter, as we have here with”Ceiling Sway” (see also the incredible “Music and Image“). It resembles a long drunken reflection, a sweet, affected gaze into the sky, and into the past.

Remember that time?
We set ourselves up on the roof
and watched the sun explode
and the grass grow to the sky
but that was enough for us
we crawled back in our window and
we stayed in bed and watched the ceiling sway

The words are slurred and impassioned, not raging against anything at all, but taking on that yearning tone that comes after the second and a half bottle of red wine while you’re swaying with the ceiling, swaying with distorted memories. It ends abruptly with a transition to a chopped up sample of a yearning female vocal and the effect is sobering, an instant removal from the coloured fog this song casts. I think Special Costello are very special. They’re the intoxicant and the cold, cold water.

CONVERSATION : TWICE REMOVED

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Interview with Gavin Catling of Twice Removed Records

Thanks for talking with me Gavin, it sounds like a busy time at Twice Removed. Can you tell me a bit about what’s happening with the label right now?

It’s been a busy year. I had planned for it to be quiet, but a combination of great demos and enthusiasm has led me to working on the 16th, 17th and 18th releases for the year right now. I am just about to release the Be My Friend In Exile “The Silence, The Darkness” and Sima Kim & Saito Koji “Light and Gravity” discs in a weeks time, while working on the forthcoming The Ashes of Piemonte “Datura Notes” double CD. After that there comes releases from Grzegorz Bojanek (of ETA label), Solipsism, Le Berger,Matthew Barlow, Andrei Machado, Andreas Brandal, Berber Ox and a few other possibilities.


Can you tell me about the beginnings of Twice Removed? What motivated you to start a label?

The label came as an extension of the blog I was doing called Twice
Remembered Twice Removed (hence the long Bandcamp address). The blog was an outlet for me to share legal links to music, artists and labels
I like. I’ve wanted to do a label since my mid teens (a long time
ago). I was inspired early on by labels such as Hibernate and Home
Normal (still am) and by smaller CD-R style labels and artists.

When I started I didn’t have that many artists in mind, but it has grown
from the initial release. At first I contacted some known artists who
had their starts on either netlabels or CD-R for a debut release on
the label, but got knocked back by them. Craig McElhinney was always
planned as the first local artist, so I went with him for the label’s
first release. Early on I picked up releases from Ourobonic Plague, K
Wilson, Cycle~440 (all locals) and then once I had done some
International releases from Ryonkt and Listening Mirror the demos
started coming in. Right now there has been around 38 releases.


Your label releases many obscure and experimental sounds from around the globe. Can you tell me a bit about your interest in this strand of music, why it appeals to you?

I have for the last fiften or so years had a preference for either
Instrumental or non traditional music. I am not a fan of singing and
singers. Sometimes they just get in the way. Plus, I enjoy reading
while listening to music and the vocals just become distracting.
Listening to Instrumental music can be open to many different styles such
as Ambient, Drone, Modern Classical, Glitch, IDM, etc… some of these
I have covered on Twice Removed, although the label tends to get
thought of as an Ambient/Drone label.

I am just a fan of soundscapes, in fact my wife describes the music on Twice Removed as “not music, just sounds”. It’s more about the sounds, whether it’s a long form Drone piece of different textures or a beautiful piece of Modern Classical. I have had an interest in music from other parts of the world as you don’t get what I like a lot in Australia, that’s probably
why releases on Twice Removed have come from countries such as
Ukraine, Poland, Argentina, Norway, South Korea, Japan, Belarus,
Italy, etc… which is great as I have had a soft spot for music from
say Ukraine for the last six or so years and I get to indulge in that.

I’ve found there’s a thriving “experimental” world of music online – has the increased proliferation of digital music affected the way you run your label? If so how?

There is a LOT of music out their whether it’s via Bandcamp, netlabels, Soundcloud, etc… I don’t really concentrate on the digital
side as I have a personal preference for the physical object over
files. I have done releases that came out originally as free downloads
(Endless Melancholy “Before, After” and Vitaly Beskrovny “Highway”)
and have worked with artists that want the digital versions of their
releases to be Pay What You Want as a means of exposure. I have
noticed there is some great stuff out there that deserves a physical
release, while others are fine as a digital only release. I see it that
Twice Removed is a a physical label with the option of digital for
those that like that format.

 

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De Lieux – Monolyth & Cobalt
Twice Removed Records

Your physical releases have a strong emphasis on design and packaging, they really are very beautiful. Can you tell me a bit about the process of working on a design for a release? Do you collaborate with the musicians?

I am a fan of diverse packaging, be it as jaw dropping as Colin
Herrick’s Time Released Sound releases through to something as simple
as Perth band Frozen Ocean who put out a disc in folded corrugated
cardboard that was hand spray painted and stenciled. I just like
seeing something different and hand done which lends itself to being
more personal. With Twice Removed I have done Arigatto Pack, Oyster
Shell, Hand Stitched Card, Postcard and Digipaks to name a few. It
doesn’t lend an overall aesthetic to the label, but that’s ok as it
let’s me indulge in that passion.

Releases tend to be a collaborative effort between myself and the artists, suggesting a type of packaging and if they don’t have an idea in mind or want to work with people like Grace Wood  who has done some work for me over the last year and a bit . With Fescal’s “Moods and Views” release that was predominantly organised by David as he has a definite vision for his releases.

 

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Moods and Views – Fescal. Joint release by Fescal and Twice Removed Records. “Each album has been fashioned and tailored by Fescal, and manufactured by hand using traditional Korean paper, Chinese string, handmade flowers coloured: red, purple, white and yellow, which have been dipped in aromatic oils to create a burst of nature when opening the package. All flowers are fixed onto two green leaves made out of a local synthetic textile. To add to the uniqueness of the product, each unit comes with two special landscape portraits printed onto gold leaf paper, an album introduction, a personal note from Fescal about the album.”

It must be quite time consuming and labor intensive to produce this packaging in addition to running the label. Why is packaging important to you?

I must have amnesia as I swore myself off from doing hand stamped
releases and then did the recent Sima Kim & Saito Koji release as a
hand stamped release (Insert, envelope and cover all hand stamped). It
can be time consuming also as most of all the discs with exception to
about five releases I have burnt one at a time at home. Packaging is
important when you are a small label doing little known artists as it
can encourage people to purchase the releases. Putting out releases
that have a matching visual look to the music is a nice combination.

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Light and Gravity – Sima Kim & Saito Koji
Twice Removed Records

I imagine that one of the more satisfying parts of running a label like yours is meeting people from around the world and forming relationships with these artists. Have you had the opportunity to meet many of the artists from your label in person, or is the communication mostly digital?

Early on the releases where a mixture of local and international
artists so I met all the Perth based ones with the exception of Nathan
from These Ship Wrecks who was in Berlin at the time of organising the
release. In fact I will be seeing both Craig McElhinney and Michael
Terren later this week as they are supporting Mark McGuire (formerly
of Emeralds). Other than the Perth people I have met Andrew Tuttle
(formerly known as Anonymeye) who was on board with the label months
before it began. All the other artists are spread all over the world,
from Argentina to Ukraine, Japan to Scotland so I have been in contact
with via email, social media, Whatsapp and other forms of digital
contact.

Some relationships have been short and sweet, while others
have been more intense in communication – whether it’s working on
getting the release to the attention of as many people as possible or
coming up with ideas for the release – Joe from Bengalfuel was very
good at this. It wasn’t just a artist/label situation, he had a strong
collaborative approach. There’s also been artists that months after we
are still in contact which is great.

Many of your releases are very subtle and sonically complex, the sort of music that requires devoted listening to fully appreciate. What is the main way that you listen to music and has that changed over the years?

My ways of listening to music has changed over the years as my life has changed. Being a parent means I can’t exactly lock myself away in a room with a stack of music to listen to like I used to. I’ve changed to more digital listening, purely because it’s the most convenient way to hear things. This could be via Ipod or say the Soundcloud app on my smart phone. I guess also via listening digitally with headphones and not being restricted to where I can hear the music opens up the possibility to ‘get into it more’.
One thing about the releases on Twice Removed is that it’s not just verse – chorus – verse music and it can have variance. I have no set track lengths or amount of tracks that the releases must have and I think that’s evident in the long tracks that have come out on Twice Removed. A release like Fescal’s “Moods and Views” is one that requires more than a casual listen to appreciate the subtle changes over 44 or so  minutes. The forthcoming The Ashes of Piemonte “Datura Notes” is a four track double CD-R clocking in around 104 minutes. The length of time gives the artists the ability to fully explore their ideas.

What are your favourite record labels, past or present? Is this purely based on the music that the label releases or is it something more?

Home Normal and Hibernate where the labels that first influenced me to
do the label. I came across them via of all places a Swedish sharity
blog so my first appreciation was their music and once I got my hands
on their releases the whole package hooked me in. Since then I have
been collecting similarly small run releases from either labels or
artists so you can add in names like Cathedral Transmissions, Rural
Colours, Hidden Vibes, Preserved Sound, ETAlabel, Envelope Collective,
Dronarivm, Wist Rec,…Txt, Kvitnu, SEM. Add Flaming Pines, Time Released
Sound to the list, as well as self releases from the likes of Lights
Dim and Linear Bells whose packaging and music are just stunning.

The music can cover various genres, but as noted before, when people are
trying something new with packaging I’m interested. That said running
a label reduces the amount of cash available to purchase for myself,
but I look forward to checking out releases from labels such as
Tesselate, Unknown Tone, Soft Corridor, Analogpath and others in the
future.

Twice Removed shop

Twice Removed on Bandcamp

Twice Removed on Soundcloud

LOWER SPECTRUM AND THE NEW NOCTURNAL

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“Little Appeal”, the latest release from Melbourne’s Lower Spectrum, is a night album. It was created at night and is best experienced at night. In the dark hours there’s less movement. Fewer people. The city is lit so dramatically, so…cinematically. I’ve taken a greater interest in such music over the last year, especially in the work of artists like Ensemble Enconomique, the blacker-than-black sounds of the UK’s Blackhoods, and local artist Angel Eyes.

Then of course there’s the music Alex Zhang Hungtai creates as Dirty Beaches. This years  “Drifters/Love Is The Devil” is by far my favourite album of 2013, and this has a lot to do with it being a night music tour de force, a brilliant evocation of the nocturnal urban landscape .

To my senses, the sounds these musicians are creating share some relation to the strange and often violent undercurrents that exist in the films of Lynch and Winding Refn. The violence in this music is perhaps not as graphic as say, the scene in “Only God Forgives” where a man has skewers rammed into his ears (and many other body parts), but there is an inferred sinisterness in this music, a similar sort of tension that dominates such a film. A subtle sense of dread pulses through the electronic dominated soundscapes these artists create, contrasted with moments of disarming beauty. It’s music that may incorporate elements of drone, modern classical and ambient, though the important aspect is the creation of a certain atmosphere. Listen to the opening track of Ensemble Enconmique’s latest release – a split with Italian outfit Heroin and Tahiti – listen to it in the dark.

These are sounds to be experienced with only secretive night cats and indifferent street lights for company. With your breath billowing before you in a street shaped by shadows. Such music enhances the night and gives everything an intangible sense of cool. It may also make you feel like you’re on your way to some sort of illicit deal (and hey, maybe you are).

I recently had a drink with Ned Beckley of Lower Spectrum at Clifton Hill bar Some Velvet Morning (not at night but during bleary Melbourne daylight hours) and we talked about his new album, amongst other things. The creation of “Little Appeal” is a unique tale. It was conceived during a six month globe spanning trip that covered Asia, Europe and the USA. Equipped with a laptop, a zoom mic and two midi controllers, Beckley would take in his surroundings during the day and create music at night, drawing on inspiration from what he had seen that day. The album was then fleshed out upon return to Australia in rural Victoria. At night.

Ned Beckley

Ned Beckley

“Little Appeal” is an accomplished expression of self and place. We talk about the “pure creativity” that comes with travel, something that many experience but are unable to translate to actual art as successfully as Beckley does on this album. While the bustle of cities inspired elements of his compositions, he tells me how the landscape provided a greater amount of creative fuel – the sonic shapes of Little Appeal are borne more from “rolling deserts and deep forests” than from teeming cities. The contrasting and at times bizarre experiences also provided inspiration, from witnessing the peculiarity of Arab Idol, to playing a baby grand piano in a Tuscan castle, to the cultural cacophony of San Francisco and New York. Ned documented his experiences on Tumblr during the trip, pairing images of French vineyards and Berlin street art with these gestating musical creations that were posted to Soundcloud.

“It was such a good thing to do, being able to listen to the sounds and look at the images – it’s a nice sort of memory that’s concrete. You don’t often look at you memories and hear them too. Like the way you’d look at a video, or a moving image…it’s a special thing.”

A wholly different recording process, one that makes studio production look positively stale and, well, uncreative. The results are one of the finest electronic releases of the year. Each piece is lush with atmospheric layers of sound, mining deep sonic ideas that stretch beyond the time frame in which they exist. “Sanctity” is a fine example of this. Skittering beats are gradually introduced over layers of slowly building brass and piano and a strange tension develops, one that is both serenely cool and disconcerting. Make your way down that checkered hallway and close those red curtains behind you sir, there’s someone here to see you.

Elsewhere the manic rhythms of “Hollow” remind me of my own adventures through South East Asia though Ned points out that Little Appeal is not a travelogue. The dense rhythms and dark sonic terrain of “Little Appeal” are designed to evoke a feeling of night. This is reflected in the artwork for the album, a blackened scene of a service station that is reminiscent of the work of American photographer Will Govus. Says Beckley – “It is how I imagined people would perceive what the music would look like.”

It’s an interesting notion and something many musicians seem to neglect, the close connection between vision and sound. It’s a concept that many of these smaller labels that I’m interested in realise, providing the artists they represent with carefully crafted packaging that captures their sound and identity. Though interested in working with labels in the future, this has been very much an independent release for Beckley.

While Lower Spectrum did perform live as a duo for sometime, the project is now very much a solo endeavour and this independence informs the choices Ned makes in distributing his music online. A record label was interested in the new album after it was uploaded to Bandcamp, asking him to remove the album and organise a single launch rather than an album launch. Beckley declined, preferring to retain full control over how the music was released into the world.

“I don’t really like the conventions of doing a single and teasing it out. With this album I perceived it as a whole piece. I didn’t want to break it apart…I like the DIY approach.”

There’s no rules in online music, only what works best for you. Beckley is not fiercely independent, but merely independent – clear minded and aware of how he wants his music to exist in the digital space (loves Bandcamp, Soundcloud – not so much). Already he has seen decent returns on the pay-what-you want system of Bandcamp after just one week of activity. We sip our beers and concur that good music will find a way to be heard and that good people will pay money for it. It’s comforting to find affirmation of this notion as I sometimes fear I am becoming idealistic in my attitudes towards digital music. Clear eyes and open minds, friends.

Beckley brings up catching Nils Frahm while in New York and we discuss his interest in the modern classical movement. He describes his own music as sitting somewhere between this genre and the term “experimental”. “Erasing Form” is perhaps the best indication of the straddling of styles, with lilting piano giving way to what sounds like a futuristic factory, busy with laser driven machinery and pulsing neon light.

It’s music that exists within an exciting realm of sonic creativity, where artists conjure music that is not solely concerned with the act of listening, but also of seeing and experiencing. Perhaps this realm is “cinematic”. Or maybe it’s “nocturnal”.

Since I met with Ned he’s relocated to Perth to work on new ventures and be inspired by new surroundings. Not only do I identify with the music of Lower Spectrum as being part of this “new nocturnal” but in talking with Ned I get a strong sense of someone who is very much a modern musician, an artist who is revelling in the current state of music. He sees this as an exciting time to be an artist : not complaining about what digital music takes away but rejoicing in what it provides, seeking out new creative approaches, and moving forward, always moving forward. It will be exciting to follow his output while in Western Australia. I hear the night skies out there are incredible.

Lower Spectrum on Tumblr

Lower Spectrum on Bandcamp

CONVERSATION : VINCENT FUGÈRE

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Interview with Vincent Fugère of Camomille and Trembl
Conducted late August/early September 2013

Thanks for speaking with me Vincent. I’m very interested to talk with you as you’ve been involved with digital music for so long. Can you tell me about the beginning of Camomille in 2002 and the web Tracker Scene?

Camomille was born in a very personal way out of what was one of the most musically exciting times for me, in the early 2000s. If we go a bit further back to 1995-96 when the internet was a term more akin to today’s .onion as it was more of a social myth with it’s own tales of strange lore. Before “hacking the internet” through the terminal application, me and my friends used to connect to local B.B.Ses or Bulletin Board Systems, which were local software that was modem-accessible, where you could host files, chat, play very basic games, and upload and download. This is where we discovered that through a very local and physical limitation, people would share files from area code to area code, distribution of these files only insured by the few people who could afford long distance to connect to the next city’s BBS systems. I stumbled, there, upon module files, a MIDI type file ( except it contained samples as MIDI files only contain notes) that you could play through certain module playing software.

These files were presented often by groups or crews and I would start following their progress all the way from those BBS years to even now ( Kahvi being one of the only ones still standing ).As a 14 year old kid listening to alternative rock and hip-hop, the sounds and styles found within these modules were mesmerising and highly enticing to me. It was as if they were creating totally new styles of music (which they were). All this made me want to create music as well as give it away like the groups I liked were doing. That’s one part of where the need to have a groupe / netlabel / label comes from.  Just hoping that somehow someone would get the same experience and excitement that I had discovering new styles of music. The latter part is a more personal one.

Back in 2001-2002, I was a very anxious 18 year old kid, fighting with depression and panic attacks. It was a pretty painful time for me and my social circle kind of fell apart around me as a result of being high maintenance. One day I finally decided to go to the doctors and he gave me a couple of prescriptions for pills and some advice : tonight, go home, when you feel anxious, drink some camomille tea, it really helps. I was a pretty spiritual person back then, and i remember a very precise moment : I felt at the bottom of the lake with not enough air to come back and only saw death in front of me. I put on Chimera’s A long way from heaven ( he was on my favorite tracker group, Hellven) and drank my first camomille tea and somehow everything became better.

The 18 year old melodramatic version of me felt that these two things : ambient music and camomille tea, saved my life. So I decided to try and offer that “chance” by releasing ambient and emotional music through a tracker group called Camomille.
I had made friends online and we would all chat on mIRC at night till the wee hours, and as my real life circle of friends got thinner, these guys (Mistrial/echion/blisaed/seethasky, /Slash (Surasshu), MV, Kaneel, Shiftless) became the people I wanted to create something with. It was very special, to me. We were all refining our skills, learning about music everyday and being very passionate about bass lines, composition and sound design. Eventually the first “tracker group” version of Camomille became more of an mp3 netlabel and we put 105 releases up from 2002 to 2009. We later came back as the current version in 2010 and started from zero.

A broad question perhaps – what are some of the ways you’ve seen online music change over the last ten years?

I’ve seen many ups and downs and a lot of people come and go. Back in 1999-2003, when the tracker groups were multiplying and growing like crazy, the effervescence of the scene was positive. Nobody was thinking about making money, it was a self-proclaimed amateur community and that made it fun and not too serious. Back then, marginal music was harder to find in record stores and innovation was happening every day in the tracker scene. There was a very distinct excitement to do your weekly website roundabout when you’d download a 1.3 MB zip file. It was like a little digital box of goodies.

As the internet connections became faster and faster, there was a logical progression in the tracker group scene as you began to see more and more mp3s and .oggs pop up (because module files are smaller than mp3s), first as a second rate download option which then became more and more prevalent as the artists could now afford ( both in bandwidth and effort ) to do post production on their very hard to mix tracker files. The .it, .xm and other popular module files disappeared and we entered in the reboot of the scene into what came to be the netlabel era.

Also a very interesting time as labels took it one step forward in professionalism (better websites, better content) with a slew of supporting sites (scene.orgarchive.org, united-trackers, traxinspace, nectarine radio, noerror, traxernews, and much more) showing up and really pushing the community forward. The scene completely changed and so did their principal actors. It was a volatile time for online music as the Napsters of the world were starting to piss off the big labels, the mp3.coms of the world were hustling the musicians and Myspace reared it’s big ugly head with a word that would probably fragment and thin out the net label scene forever after : social media. This is when Camomille jumped in the pool.

I’m not sure how online music is today. There is certainly no more scene or community. That has all gone away with the advent of self-promotion and social media. It’s understandable though. At a certain point there were so many net labels and daily releases that I think the output overcompensated and kind of gave in on itself. Our own little community black hole. All the net labels closed down one by one and without any trusted output, listeners went back to “commercial” or rather, music from a record label, which by the way, had become pretty awesome in the mid 2000s.

Ambient, experimental and electronic music was also all of a sudden much easier to create with software like Fruity Loops and was popping up everywhere. Not to say that there weren’t some awesome endeavours in the later 2000s with netlabels such as Thinner, Aerotone, Starvingbuthappy and others. There was still a lot of great music to be heard, but the model of the netlabel needed some change. I mean Kanye West did his own netlabel thing for a while. Musicians started to give away their music for free on Soundcloud and the netlabel kind of seemed like an unnecessary third party.

I now think that a label should be viewed as platform of trust, like a podcast or a radio show. I might have a negative tone, but I actually think that it’s pretty exciting right now also. I think it’s finally possible to make some pocket change out of your bedroom-made record and do small local shows again. The entire online music thing is feeling a bit like an early punk or hip-hop scene. Sell your mix tape to your friends for a few bucks and hustle on.

Your label has a strong visual identity and you use a lot of your own photography in the artwork. Has this always been the case and can you talk a bit about how you design the packaging for a release?

I’ve always been passionate about visual arts and that’s one of the reasons why I think Camomille has been such a great experience for me. It’s helped me so much with my graphic design, illustration and photography skills. At first I think the covers were pretty eclectic and kind of bad, but as time went by i was also very much influenced by what the “commercial” experimental/ambient labels were putting out and was really inspired by the consistency of their visuals. Today, photography is part of my daily life and creating covers was kind of an excuse for a lot of the shoots I’ve done.

muhr_image

Much like my music, designing and creating visuals is a super organic and kind of chaotic affair for me. There’s not a whole lot of thought behind it, just a lot in on the moment inspiration.

You focus largely on electronic, electro acoustic and ambient music – music often described as experimental. Can you tell me about your interest in this music and your own work as Muhr?

It’s a funny thing really, because I listen to a lot of pop, hip-hop, rock and less and less to the more experimental side of things. I was reeled in by the emergence of the IDM scene and all that it entailed as well as the Kranky ambient like Stars of the Lid, Dead Texan, Pan American, Eluvium, etc. There was something deep and melodramatic. Something that spoke to me like nothing that played on the radio or on my friend’s sound systems would. But like all ageing aficionados, I have a hard time finding that special something again. It was a golden age of sorts. I guess all my labels are ways for me to find something that would make me resonate like they did. Which I often did. Shiftless’ “Triumph” is definitely still one of the better things I’ve ever heard.

As Muhr, it’s really of a stylistic trainwreck! I used to be really anxious about that, but now i’m pretty happy that I feel comfortable doing whatever I feel like. Improvisations? sure. Hip-hop? Why not. I want to do it all.

What is your relationship to the artists on your label, do you know them personally?

It’s always been a pretty global thing with the artists on my label. Some I became friends with, even though I’ve never met. I probably talked more to Kaneel and Blisaed between 2000 and 2010 than all the people that surrounded me in real life. Today I’m fortunate that a lot of the artists I have the pleasure to work with are people that I’ve learned to know over the years and develop relationships with, where we can just share music and whine about the state of things together on Facebook. I’ve met and shot Lyndsie Alguire a good couple of times, though and it was awesome to have someone sitting in front of you that understands the little things of our ways of life that our families and friends rarely do (that’s if Lyndsie actually understands the words I say with my french accent ).

It seems Montreal has a strong experimental community, do these artists perform live often? What are some of your favourite Canadian experimental artists?

Something happened in the 2000s, I’m not too sure what, but the musical culture in Montreal kind of exploded and became this self-sufficient scene that was far from the grasps of the more bland and commercial music Quebec was used to be putting out. My favourite band of all time is from here, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, and I feel like artists are still kind of dipping their toes in all the creativity that’s come forth from their music.

I’m a huge fan of Arcade Fire, Silver Mt. Zion, Bernard Adamus, Clues, and hip-hop acts like K6A, Alaclair Ensemble and Dead Obies. I’ve recently been listening to a lot of Exist Strategy and Purity Ring also. Right now there’s a lot of hype surrounding our own little hip-hop variant called Piu Piu, so it’s really exciting again for Montreal music.

What were artists that influenced you musically or otherwise?

I think a good place to start is really from the tracker scene and the sounds of early tracker groups like N.O.I.S.E. and the murky trip-hop of Tokyo Dawn Records. I’ve mentioned before Dead Texan and Godspeed you ! black emperor but we can add World’s End Girlfriend, Aphex Twin, Massive Attack and Bjork to the list as well when it comes to my more pop and beated sensibilities.

I’ve also been very attracted by Darkhalo’s music, he really understands how to portray a certain concept within his music while still exploring many different styles.

Hip-hop has also been a very predominant presence in my life, as well as it’s culture. I have an affinity with raw, simple music and art which is something I always try to create.

What are some of your favourite record labels, past or present? What appeals to you about them?

In the tracker group / netlabel world, I really, really miss N.O.I.S.E., the trackerscene variant of Tokyo Dawn Records (not really into their new funk revival ), Hellven and Starvingbuthappy. I was also always looking forward to the releases on Ogredung, Mono and Inpuj. I think that, historically, the record labels that would put out the stuff that I would consistently buy or download were Kranky and Constellation. They really opened me up to a whole other side of listening and consuming music that was involving and lucid. Recently, I’ve had a lot of fun listening to Type Records‘ output and I’ve been interested in the whole limited edition ambient/post-modern scene : Heat Death, Miasmah, Sonic Pieces, Home Normal and others. That’s a scene all on it’s own and I’ve been staring at it from afar for the last few years as it grew.

Tell me about what’s happening with Camomille now and your new project, Trembl.

Camomille has actually fell into deep slumber. I’m sort of pulling the plug on it. I’ve had a lot of great fun operating a project like that for the last 12 years but I felt I was at a certain point where me and my listenership needed a change. All my physical label endeavours have also put me back quite a lot money-wise and I have to be honest, I really suck at sending the records people buy. It was a chore much more than something I was viscerally happy to do. I’ve spent the last twelve years kind of trying to catch up to the people I admired but always feeling like I’m falling short of some measure of success. Most probably because I was trying to emulate rather than trust myself completely.

Also, the last twelve years, I’ve been releasing with a lot of the same artists and I love their music. I’m myself a starving artist, contributing to the free music culture for more than fifteen years, and you know what, I think what we do is good enough to at least pay a meal or two from time to time.
From these realisations, I dreamt up a place that would retain that tracker scene heritage of weekly goodies that didn’t need to be full length albums, as well as provide the artists that I love for a place to release music and maybe make a buck or two. On top, it would be a place that would follow my vision stylistically as I’ve been too often stuck between filtering my output to fit in a certain style guideline, afraid “of what people might think”. You know what? I love ambient music and experimental music, but I also deeply want to put out some hip-hop, some dub, some techno, some pop.

So with that in mind and seeing the next stage of my life being one that is more serious and feeling that i’ve gained sufficient experience to at least try this, I’m opening a digital label called Trembl. The premise is quite simple : one release every Tuesday (Trembl tuesdays sounds cool! ) that’ll either be a beat (TRBxxx) or a texture (TRTxxx). It will also be either a single, a split or an EP ( no full lengths ). I will herald the artistic direction, as usual, and will follow some of the latest releases on Camomille (like Emil Klotzsch’s “4” ) but this time all releases will have a cover and accompanying gallery of sensuous, mysterious ladies. So basically, Music and Girls.

It’s out now with its first release which is actually a beat EP by me. I have a lot of great artists coming up, so stay tuned for new stuff on our Facebook or Twitter.

Trembl on Bandcamp

Camomille on Bandcamp

CONVERSATION : LOST RACE RECORDS

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Interview with Danny Vezin from Lost Race Records

Conducted in late August, 2013

Photos courtesy of Glen SchenauBlanket Canvassing

How did Lost Race begin?

I’d been thinking about it for a while. Most of it had to do with my disdain towards the “sun-kissed indie-pop” and all of that slacker stuff that’s been representing Brisbane for the past few years. I mean it has its place but it’s not the only thing happening here, then when it came time to release some Nite Fields stuff, we were talking to a label and I just realised how much bullshit I could avoid by doing it myself.



Your label seems to be a capturing of a “scene”, of experimental and psychedelic bands in Brisbane. I think this is a great function of a record label. Is this something you’re conscious of?

Oh it’s purely a means of putting music out from people in my own social group. It’s very exclusive. Buy me a drink and you’re in the club.

Are there plans to expand outside of Brisbane?

No.

How is the overall music scene in Brisbane, in terms of venues and the community? It seems pretty good from where I’m sitting.

I think it has its pros and cons. Generally the community aspect is good because there actually is one. I lived in Melbourne for a while and there I missed the cross-pollination of music and even art scenes. I never like seeing the same band four times in one bill. The size of ‘the scene’ and the general conservatism of music listeners in Brisbane is what makes things pretty dire though. We have this one B.Y.O venue called The Waiting Room, where most people play their first real show, and it’s easy to fill, but I mean you can only play to your friends so many times. We’ve got Trainspotters now putting on good bills but past that there’s nowhere really to play unless you are JJJ friendly or can pull a couple of hundred people to a show. On the plus side, probably the reason you get to hear more Brisbane bands is that because we don’t get to play every weekend, we do spend more time writing and recording.

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Cobwebbs at The Waiting Room, Brisbane
22.09.2012

You release music digitally and on vinyl. How time/labour intensive is releasing vinyl and is it becoming easier with the formats increased popularity?

Harder! Going to the post office all of the time is the worst part about having a label. Tapes or CDs I could just put in the postbox.

Tell me a little bit about your experience with Bandcamp and other digital music platforms in relation to Lost Race.

I guess it’s been said before, but I think the internet is really fantastic for artists but terrible for labels. I recently got Bandcamp Pro which is pretty disheartening. You’ll get to see that 1 person has payed for an mp3s for every 1,000 person that has streamed or downloaded. And all in a nice little chart to put in your wall. It makes Lost Race a labour of love but hey, love is the drug.

What’s the main way that you personally listen to music?

Spotify. Bad right?

Ha I don’t know! I actually haven’t used Spotify at all, it’s a bit of a mystery to me. Maybe for this new blog I’ll use it for a month and document my experience. I’m curious as to how people use it – what sort of music do you listen to with it? New or older music?

Yeah my girlfriend recently got me into it. I particularly like some of the compilations you find on there that always leads you in other directions. Especially cool for remixes and the music that doesn’t get as much mainstream attention, like EPs and singles from older bands. Last night I was listening to some Soviet marching bands just by clicking through stuff. I would never be bothered to download or buy stuff that.

Much local stuff on there?

More and more so. Local bands should look into Tunecore. It makes online distro pretty easy but once again you’re probably going to lose money.

Interesting to hear of your experiences with Bandcamp. I guess Spotify has received a lot of criticism for similar issues, for the ratio between amount of plays and payment being very unequal. It seems to me that we’re still at a point with digital music where we’re trying to find the best “models” for distributing the actual music – it’s great to have all this access but streaming everything means less purchasing of the music. It’s something of a double edged sword huh?

You said it.



I’ve noticed some musicians and labels use the strategy of only making a few tracks available for streaming, providing greater incentive for full album purchase. Then there’s Itunes but that’s a whole other can of worms. Getting all futurist – what do you see being the dominant online distribution service in, say 10, years?

Big question. I don’t know, I guess all of this talk of music and distribution isn’t really something I think of much (sorry Lost Race artists). Maybe I’m too much of an idealist. I guess I romanticise about the days when societies put more value on culture and that when things were “good” they just had a way of finding a way to people. You know like when some rich Indian Mughal would support some guy for twenty years while he learnt to play sitar because he just knew that there was more value in that than in a Mercedes Benz. And well you couldn’t buy a Mercedes Benz in 1600. These days I guess that’s the role of the government but I don’t really see the validity someone like Sarah Blasko getting $20,000 while the rest of us make coffee.

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Lost Race at the inaugural Lost Race Records festival event, Cooparoo Bowls Club, Brisbane
17.11.2012

Any other futurist thoughts on music? What the heck will become of radio, for instance?

I love community radio. It’s my third favourite medium after Spotify only because I have a tape player in my car and cassettes talk far less.

I’ve found the resurgence of cassettes pretty fascinating to observe. The Caterpillar Hood release was perfectly suited to cassette. How do you decide what format a release will be produced on?

That one worked because it had to be listened to in it’s entirety. Then again I think everything I put out would work on tape. Old music is great to listen to on vinyl but cassette to me sounds far better than music recorded digitally then pressed on vinyl. Plus tapes are just so cheap and you can buy one at a show and still keep drinking.



So why not become a tape label? Is the medium something the artist pushes?

Oh vinyl is just far more superior in quality. The point of Lost Race is to document music rather than make a profit. That’s why I don’t press a million copies of anything.

I suppose the digital aspect of your label is only one component. You distribute your music physically to record stores, I saw one of your releases in Hobart recently actually. Can you tell me a bit about the process of getting your vinyl produced (where’s it done, what’s the turnaround) and the design and production of packaging? Do you collaborate with the bands on design?

Distro I do independently. I’ll generally e-mail most of the independent stores in Australia giving them a heads up that something is coming out and they’ll tell me what they want to stock. I’m lucky to have Permanent Records in the U.S. really getting behind everything I’ve put out so that’s a major help in shifting numbers. Vinyl production I have tried a few places but I’ll generally shop around while anything art related is totally up to the band. So far I’ve never had to turn anything back.

Which labels do you admire, past or present, and why?

Bedroom Suck, Sensory Projects, R.I.P. Society and Mistletone are the main local labels I pay attention to. Then I’ve always been a big Kranky fan in terms of overseas stuff, and more recently Blackest Ever Black. As for the past, I’d live happily ever after with an 80s 4AD and 90s Creation discography.

What’s coming up for Lost Race?

That’s a surprise.

Lost Race on Bandcamp

Lost Race on Soundcloud

FOUND MUSIC : SOUNDCLOUD 4.9.2013

Soundcloud is a platform that I’ve become really fond of over the past year. They’ve made some nice improvements to their interface while also making the continuous streaming of tracks a prime function of the site. Follow a few artists, blogs, labels and fellow fans (who repost favourite tracks) and you’ve got yourself a wonderful way to discover music. In this way it’s quite different to Bandcamp, with that site being more concerned with streaming whole albums on one page and the sale of music. The two sites coexist nicely at the moment – between them they’re the main way I listen to music.

I’ve been compiling favourite Soundcloud tracks for a while now and below are some of the standouts. Updating my favourite finds on Soundcloud will be a regular feature on Formless Fields.

A stunning work of cathartic beauty from William Ryan Fritch, an Oakland musician who creates a unique strain of cinematic noise folk . This track is taken from a full length due on Lost tribe Sound sometime real soon.

Listening to digital mixes has become another of the main ways I discover music, whether it be through Mixcloud, Secret 13 or selections like this from the brilliant Experimedia. Anyone that has followed my blogs for any period of time will know I’m a big Lee Noble fan so I loved this mix. It’s always a thrill to learn more about the music that influences a favourite artist.

The music of Tennessee’s Frank Baugh AKA Sparkling Wide Pressure has soundtracked much of my 2013. I find his sonic constructions to be fascinating – rich aural tapestries that reveal more with each listen and somehow enhance your surroundings. I recommend listening to his sounds on half-drunk night walks (that was almost the name of this blog) or on sleepy bus rides through the Tasmanian countryside.

Totally Mild has been a name I’ve seen on many gig lineups around Melbourne but never actually seen perform so it was pleasure to become acquainted with Elizabeth Mitchell’s fractured dream folk through her Soundcloud. This track is a favourite, effortlessly changing gears between between dark introspection and hand clapping glee.

Japan’s The Paellas are a band I’m keeping a close eye on, I’ve loved everything they’ve done so far. Dirty Beaches are an influence, sure, and hey, that’s a real good thing. Swooning noise pop for the neo-medicated generation.

Via Sweden’s Lugnet Records comes this enchanting pair of psychedelic tunes from the mysterious VED. First track “Spectra” is all slow building heavy menace, while the second one “Starokorokas” has more of a mystical Popol Vuh feel. I want to know more about VED.