CONVERSATION : PATIENT SOUNDS

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Interview with Matthew Sage of Patient Sounds


To begin with could you tell me about the various musical projects that you’re associated with?

I primarily just record and perform sound collage and ambient music as my first initial (M. Sage). Currently I am playing live with The Continent Strings — Allison Sheldon plays cello, Chris Jusell plays violin. They are featured on my new record, a 2xLP coming this winter. I also do Wellington Downs, which is my studio rock band hobby. I love multitracking rock tunes in the basement with little intention of playing said tunes live. That is fun for me. I have played in tons of projects and stuff throughout the years, but I am kinda keeping it simple these days with just these two things.

I also love recording, and pitch in on a lot of friends recordings when possible. I tracked parts on and engineered on the latest Nate Henricks tape Horseradish, and the Wylee Zephyr tape with my old roommate Alex Runge (he wrote those tunes). Both of those tapes came out on Patient Sounds.

 

How did Patient Sounds get started?

It started as a few friends working together to self-release the music we were working on in various groups and stuff. Basically it was just like me and roommates making tunes. I have always kind of driven the project and organized things, but it was more like a collective at first. Now, four years later, it is just me in a home office…me and a dachshund and a sheep dog. My fiance helps me on really hairy packing and shipping days (we share an office, she is a designer at Bonnie & Caprice) and she has a great eye for design, so she offers advice on printing and layouts. She’s the best.

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PS043 The Kevin Costner Suicide Pact – Container Ship
Limited edition of 50 double cassettes

You’re based in Fort Collins right? It seems like there’s a very strong experimental scene in Colorado, can you tell me a bit about your experience with this scene and it’s growth?

Fort Collins is secretly like a little punk rock / bar rock coven. A lot of classic 90s pop punk music was recorded here at this revered studio, The Blasting Room. There is a lot of like alt. country punk here. I made Karl Alvarez (of Black Flag, All, Descendants…) americanos when I was a barista. So, I had a lot of that influence growing up. That whole punk thing effected the ethos for sure.

Now a lot of that fuels the experimental scene, at least that’s how it feels here. There was a space in Colorado for music like this, and it naturally kind of unfolded in its own way here. I mean…I live a few-hundred yards from the high school that Aaron Warren from Black Dice went to. Goldrush Festival is kind of the long-awaited realization for the rest of the world that Colorado has good weird stuff happening, and has for a while.

The label has been around since 2009, in which time Bandcamp and Soundcloud have become very popular. Can you tell me about your experiences with these platforms?

We started primarily using Myspace, so the social media aspect has always kind of been present. I am a huge advocate for both platforms because they make sharing sounds, and hearing sounds, incredibly easy. Having said that, we are NOT a digital label. We oblige our customers for buying our limited edition tapes by providing mp3s and streaming sounds, because we know not everyone has access to cassette players or turn tables.

The digital thing is convenient, but making the objects is what matters most to us. We are glad that the artists whose work we publish can share and profit from using platforms like these to share their sounds after our editions run out. Soundcloud and Bandcamp are great, but physical media is priority to me.

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PS010 Kites Sail High – Motivated / Unmovitated

Any thoughts on how streaming sites such as this affect listeners relationship with music?

I know personally it has affected how I listen to music, and not necessarily in a good way. I think it wouldn’t hurt people to reconsider their physical relationships to the media they consume. Listening to a tape, putting on an LP, those sensory experiences are treasurable, fleeting. Alternatively, digging up some obscure mp3 and looping it on your phone for a day and then never listening to it again has a value too. It just seems like two very different ways to encounter music to me. Patient Sounds longs to provide quality physical media, which is available on the internet to facilitate awareness.

On your site you’re very clear about your label not being heavily into PR and not being all about signing and pushing bands. As someone who runs a blog and is constantly being sent lengthy, overly descriptive emails about bands I find this refreshing. Could you expand on this, perhaps by offering some insight into how you run the label and manage releases?

We are a label focused on facilitating a relationship between our artists–most of which are home recording young people with interests in both folk-way and experimentation–and our listeners. The internet’s reception of our work is pretty secondary to how we work at this point. I feel a lot of labels in this current “indie” scene are unknowingly generating content for the blogs/websites that profit from “discovering” something new every ten minutes.

Also, there are countless labels out there that are claiming DIY, or “indie” or whatever, but pay press agents to do their PR. Sorry, but you aren’t DIY or “indie” if you pay a press agent to propagate your work for you, filling email inboxes world wide with junk. We don’t want to ask blogs to write about something they don’t connect with personally… Not to say we haven’t done this; we have never payed for press, but we used to send out your typical email press release bombs, up until a year ago. But we no longer do this, because ultimately, we make things, that is what we do. If you want to write about the things we make, contact us and we will gladly and cordially facilitate a dialog. We are friendly and slightly hermetic. Email us.

 

What would you say the Patient Sounds philosophy is?

Renegade Spirit. Wonder. Anxiety.

You’ve been primarily a tape label with your first vinyl release on it’s way. What appeals to you about tapes? / Do you produce all your tapes yourself? If so can you tell me about this process?

Ultimately, making tapes is cheap, and being a believer in utility, that makes the most sense to me. I am willing to put the time in for tapes, especially when you take the labor intensive approach like I do. I order blanks, and print all our liners and j-cards at a local print shop. I cut and fold all the inserts and dub all the tapes in the office on my tweaked pile of dubbers. Every tape is a hand-crafted object in this way. That is better than a CDr and more cost-effective than a vinyl record. That benefits everyone, including me, because I get the satisfaction of pursuing my craft.

We are excited to move into vinyl…it is ultimately the medium we envisioned working with, and have waited years to manifest. This winter is the winter for records. We will of course continue to do tapes, because they are fun, and cheap, and those things are important in when the world is half-toast how it is.

You touched on the “weird” music to come out of Colorado – what do you think fosters this creativity? Cold climate? Drugs? Community? All of the above?

I definitely think the kind of ruggedness of Colorado–the weather, the landscape, the geographic isolation–has an effect on people’s psyche, and that comes through in our art. The recent legal cannabis situation has played into the image I’m sure, but I think people anywhere do the same drugs Coloradoans do, so I wouldn’t really say that is a factor in what really makes Colorado “weird.” I mean, Boulder is a weird place. The kind of detoxified hippy aura, as funded by largely wealthy upper-class consumer cesspool. BMW yoga moms. That is a huge part of what our markedly “weird” culture is. Existential confusion in the face of privilege and wilderness.

I am a proud citizen of Colorado, but ultimately most of my community for my work exists on the internet. Some of those people on the internet live in Colorado, so there is a bond there, but some live in Japan, or wherever. That idea of a community, an international and largely digital one (focused on the sharing of tangible media), is where I think “weird” music thrives. Just GO and let place be an influence, but not a defining feature.

Are there any obscure local artists (past or present) we may not have heard of that you can recommend?

Erik Wangsvick, whom I played with in Kick Majestic, is an off the map musical wonder that I think the world of weirdos is really missing out on. Erik’s music would be perfectly at home in the online noise scene, but he doesn’t have a Facebook, and only had an email address through the university here because he had to. He makes music as Wrecked, and performs in several other groups, as well as creating visual art. I put out pretty much any Wrecked material he passes to me because it is so fascinating and bizarre to me. He is an analog sound collage master. He uses hand-wired PAs and all sorts of broken electronics and stuff to generate sounds, then he makes these massive performance pieces using recordings of all this source material, as well as field recordings. When he performs them live, he plays percussion (ERIK IS A REMARKABLE DRUMMER). It is really hard to explain, and I think that suits the work. It is complicated.

Another of my favourites is Christina the Hun. She is no longer performing, but she was kind of a local legend here in Fort Collins for a few years. She was a singer-songwriter that played drums and yelped and hollered. I saw my high school physics teacher at a show of hers once and he leaned over to me and said, “She’s like Patti Smith with drum sticks!” He nailed it.

Lastly, there is this shadowy group of avant-garde folk musicians, a collective kind of, called Biota. They are based here in the Fort Collins area. I don’t really know a enough about this band to explain, but just google “biota” and learn about this group and listen. Their latest record, “Cape Flyaway” really floored me. Seriously, heads out there, just google and explore Biota stuff. I can’t vouch for all of it, but they are certainly obscure and fascinating.

 

Can you talk a little about the process of organising a release with an artist – from the initial of contact through to working with them on the release?

It is kind of different with every release. Sometimes I will pester a friend for months, in a few cases years, to release something. Other times I will just surf Bandcamp. This is a hobby of mine, surfing Bandcamp and kind of scouting for tunes, then finding something and asking the artist to make something in the future. We have only released maybe five tapes that were unsolicited demo material. It happens, but it isn’t our primary way to find material. Once we start a project with someone, I kind of outline our platform to the artist if they haven’t heard of the label. I remind them they need to have balanced side lengths on their cassette, I send them a link to a page to pick the color of their cassette shell, I ask them for album art, and then I wait for it all to pour back in. Basically, I pick an artist and kind of assign them the homework of making a release for me. Generally tons of emailing and Google chat ensues, and within anywhere from a few weeks to a few months the tape will be out.

The Kevin Costner Suicide Pact release is amazing, certainly one of my favourite albums of the year. Can you tell me a bit more about that release and your experience with the band?

I know the guys from KCSP pretty well just from being fellow Coloradoans. We spoke at Goldrush, and they informed me they had an album on the shelf at home they wanted me to listen to. We had talked about it working together before, but I could tell right away this was the one I was gonna put out. They told me it was designed as a double LP, but understood if the format was too expensive, so, I listened to it, and loved it. I felt it was really well-constructed as a 4-sided thing, so that is why we went with the double c44. They are really great guys to work with because it is just working with friends. They had it all recorded, so we just worked with the visual artist, George Ferris, to make the artwork and got it ready to release. The album is just so great, such a huge space to explore. I was really glad to add it to the canon.

 

What about the Foothills tape? I really like the music Chase Hudson makes music with 2PPM, I think he’s a really interesting musician. How did the release come about?

I started talking with Chase via a demo submission actually. I really love both the fundamentals of the Foothills project, the concerns of the project, and also the recordings are just so lush and beautiful, so it was a natural fit. Chase leads a very incredibly enriched lifestyle, and works hard for it, and I am so happy to be able to present artists’ like Chase. Melodically I think NEW WORLD is one of the most accomplished PS tapes. It is so tactile, so easy to listen to, but the compositions are challenging! I am pleased to share that there will definitely be a Foothills LP on Patient Sounds in the 2014 future.

 

Can you tell me more about Goldrush Festival? Will it be on in 2014 and if so when? I’ll need to book flights. The lineup this year was incredible.

Goldrush has really evolved. 2014 is probably definitely happening. I wasn’t involved in the first year, but 2012 was great, and this past year was really incredible. The atmosphere was really great, so friendly, really open. Ridiculous merch booth scenarios. Crawford is the man, and does so much work to make it something truly special. Lake Mary was my personal highlight this year. Also, Giant Claw was insane.

 

It seems like there’s a really strong community between many independent labels – what are some of the labels that you admire?

I feel like I find out about a new label every day, but here is a list of what I have been into lately

BATHETIC – EARN – Hell on Earth
ORANGE MILK – JERRY PAPER – International Man of Misery
SCISSOR TAIL – Bruce Langhorne – Music from ‘The Hired Hand’
CONSTELLATION TATSU – FLUORESCENT HEIGHTS – Tidal Motion
UNKNOWN TONE – DYLAN GOLDEN AYCOCK – The Blindfold

 

So more vinyl to come – what else is on the horizon for Patient Sounds?

Well, there is a move in my future (I am applying for grad schools right now, to get an MFA in creative writing & poetry). So there will be a lot of work going into that, but I plan on letting work in the grad school program influence what the label is doing, so we are expecting more poetry books, more printed matter. Of course more tapes, always tapes.

The big thing on the PS horizon; we have 3 LPs locked and on their way this winter, and 3 more to follow in the spring. Without divulging too much, the first release is a double LP of material I have been working on with the string duo. There is a huge list of collaborators on this record too, it was kind of a group project. I built all the arrangements with electronics, and then invited friends to contribute parts to songs. They sent me pieces and I edited it back together and re-arranged it into the album. There will be a deluxe version of the record that comes with a beautiful book of printed collage (by Nathaniel Whitcomb) and poetry (by Grant Souders). These editions will truly be something to behold.

 

Patient Sounds home

Patient Sounds Bandcamp

Patient Sounds Soundcloud

CONVERSATION : LITTLE LEAGUE RECORDS

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Interview with Callum Browne of Little League Records.

Tell me about the birth of Little League.

I started Little League Records in June of this year. The bands I had been playing in weren’t doing much, so I had a lot of free time and I wanted to try my hand at something a little different. My friend Timmy had started making some noise rock music, under the moniker of Kopori Tombo and I wanted more people to hear it, it was something unique, so I decided to release it. From there it started as just friends’ releases and I eventually started contacting acquaintances and bands or artists that I just liked a lot and we’ve ended up here.



What made you want to start a label?

I had been interested in independent record labels casually, I liked how they seemed to operate and the cool, usually handmade releases they did. It all seemed really personal and DIY and I liked that fact. When it came to starting LLR, I noticed a lot of music with lots of potential was coming out of Ireland, in particular my home town of Carlow, where LLR is based, but a lot of it just wasn’t getting heard. I wanted people to hear music that needed to be heard, but maybe hadn’t had many opportunities and that became one of our main aims.

You were telling me you plan to post two albums a week – does this make you a purely digital label? Do you have plans to release music physically?

We’ve been mainly doing digital releases at the moment, but we’re in the process of distributing a few band’s CDs soon. The only current physical release we have up on our Bandcamp is a DVD-R of experimental videos accompanying the music by Drolle from his album “It’s raining in your Room”. They’re handmade by Drolle himself and they look very nice, I’m expecting to get them soon in the post and there’s already been a few pre-orders.

For larger runs though, I’m intending on doing a cassette or CD soon for some of our releases. Myself and my girlfriend, Mikaela have been practicing dubbing cassettes and I’m hoping to make a sampler this year, or leading into the next, due to how hectic everything has gotten, of artists on LLR.

You’ve got a really strong diversity of sounds on your label, can you tell me about your interest in experimental music and when it began?

I grew up around music a lot, my dad was a radio DJ and he’d watch a lot of music TV shows and play a lot of music around the house. I started listening to stuff like Queen and Meat Loaf when I was three years old or so and then I started getting in to more and more stuff the older I got. I eventually stumbled across stuff like Monster Machismo, Camel, Battles and Time Columns and it was around that time I found Bandcamp, so I started searching with artist tags and found some of my favourite artists through that. From then on I looked further into music I had heard of, which has brought me to what I listen to now.

I really like the Nesey Gallons release, what can you tell me about that artist?

Nesey Gallons is a musician from Maine, he makes a lot of experimental music with lots of folky lo-fi elements. He’s released a lot of albums, which I really liked, so I contacted him and we ended up releasing an EP called “BOSTON, 1999”. Nesey works with a lot of the Elephant 6 collective guys. He’s played with The Circulatory System and The Music Tapes as a member, but he’s also produced and engineered on albums by Julian Koster of Neutral Milk Hotel and The Music Tapes.

What do you think the function of a record label is today?

I personally think that the function of a record label today is to get their artist’s name out there and spread their music to the best of their ability, through distribution and promotion. I think a label should give the artists their say and make it their mission to find them the following that they should and deserve to have.

You release music from all around the world – how do you go about selecting your releases and working with the artists?

How I find artists is usually through Bandcamp, via the recommendation of friends or the artists will come to me. If I like what I hear and I think it’d fit nicely into the label, I’ll get talking to the artist about releasing it and we’ll arrange everything from there. We’re really open to what we release, I love diversity in a label. I kind of made it a little personal thing to release from as many countries as I can, I want the people who follow the label to find hear music from all over the world.

You’re located in Ireland – what’s the music scene like where you live? Is there a strong music community?

Ireland has a pretty nice music scene. I live in the small town of Carlow, with a population of just over, 23,000. Despite Carlow being small there’s a few cool bands and producers here. Jack Sheehan, who releases as Shriekin’ Specialist and James Strain, who releases as Auxiliary Phoenix and Supernormal Prophets are from Carlow.

Most of the scene is up in Dublin or in bigger cities around the country. Bands like Princess, Facing and Adebisi Shank are getting good recognition around the country, and world. There’s also some cool record labels starting up in Ireland. A lot of cassette based labels here. The cool thing about the Irish music community though is it’s all very close. You always tend to know someone, who knows someone, who knows someone.

What has been your experience with Bandcamp?

I’ve had a really great experience with Bandcamp. It’s always been so artist, listener and label friendly, and I’ve used it as all three. It’s such a handy site, it gives artists and labels a means to distribute, and a voice and for that I’m grateful.

Tell me a little about your favourite labels and why you love them. Is it purely the music they put out? Or something more?

Some of my favourite labels are Beer on The Rug, Elephant 6, Long Lost Records and Sargent House. I like Beer on The Rug’s whole image and the kind of music they release. The cassettes from them look really cool. Long Lost Records are a cool independent label based in Dublin, they do a lot of cassettes and they tend to bundle with zines and cool quirky stuff. I also like Chrondritic Sound.

Two labels I admire, ran by friends, are Summer/Winter Records, ran by my friend Ilai (who plays in the band Bonjour Machines) and Bellcurve Records. Summer/Winter focus on the local Israeli scene and have some cool bands. Bellcurve are still getting started, they’re doing cassettes for Bonjour Machine’s first EP right now.

Do you make your own tapes?

We do make our own. To commemorate our first release, Kopori Tombo’s Nothing E.P. we’ve made an initial run of 10 cassettes, with a possible repress. We’re aiming to reissue alot of the LLR back catalogue on cassette with a possible new compilation of our music on cassettes too. For me cassettes are going to be big, around Dublin city a lot of labels and artists are finding them cost-effective and fun and a lot of people going to see a show would rather spend €4 on a cassette than €10 on a CD, it seems.

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LLR-001 Nothing E​.​P. – Kopori Tombo

We’re also doing some cassette distribution of some of our releases. The ever-awesome Sorry Girls Records made some Panucci’s Pizza cassettes which we’ll have some of soon. They’re a really cool twinkly emo band from Philadelphia. We’ll also have some cassettes from American Haiku, from Denver and a few other artists in the future.

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LLR-024 Don’t Tip The Delivery Boy – Panucci’s Pizza

How do you manage the packaging of releases? Why is it important to you?

A lot of the artists have done their own packaging for their releases, which has definitely lead to some quirky and interesting stuff. One of our artists Drolle did an issue of twenty two DVDs, to accompany his album “It’s Raining In Your Room”, which incorporated a lot rain samples and themes of isolation. He made a short video to accompany the music and reflect his feelings during the period he made it.

They look so awesome, he even included a hand written note, time stamp or poem extract in each. It’s things like this that I love about the independent music scene, everything is so personal and you can see time has been put into the finished product. Artists want to make something truly special for the people they share their music with.

What’s coming up for Little League?

We have our own radio show now on an online radio station called Raid Radio. It’s called Little League Records Showcase, where we play new music from our artists and also interview artists on the label, giving more insight into their music and upcoming news. We also started our own zine, a means of getting news to people before even our Facebook page and it has interviews and features.

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Little League Records Zine

We’ve got pre-orders up for CDs from Vasudeva and Wiltz, and we’ll have a few cassettes of American Haiku’s EP available to pre-order in conjunction with the release.

You’re a busy boy. It’s really inspiring. Thanks for your time Callum.

Little League Records on Bandcamp

CONVERSATION : PRESERVATION

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Interview with Andrew Khedoori of Preservation

Tell me about how Preservation started. 

When I started the label it was a whole sort of cross-sectioning of different things. I had become friends with Mark Gowing, who still is our graphic designer, and he had been working for places like a Rolling Stone and so forth, but he had recently branched out on his own and that’s when I really got to know him. We started going to the same gigs and we found that we had similar interests in music and that our music tastes were developing a little differently along the lines of what we were seeing. We were seeing a lot of indie rock bands and enjoying that, and still do, but our tastes were going a little further out. I guess we had a little bit of meeting of the minds there.

I really appreciate Mark’s approach to design and I was working on a project for Spunk Records called “Live and Direct”, which was a compilation of live recordings that I had done at 2SER where I work. I had asked Mark to do the artwork for it because I really enjoy what he does, and he wanted to make it special and I wanted the project to be special. At the same time we’d also been chatting about the idea that a lot of major labels who he’d been working for providing design and album art work were just moving in such a direction that was a lot less satisfying than what we had grown up with. We had grown up listening to records on the 4AD label or Subpop and they had a particular art aesthetic that we always enjoyed and we felt that that was starting to be lost over time. We’d always look back at a particular records and record labels where we enjoyed the design aesthetic as much as the music.

At the same time Oren Ambarchi was working on a pop project with a guy called Chris Towend who had been in plenty of bands in Sydney but had also been working quite a lot in his own studios, which were called Bigjesusburger back then and then became known as the BJB. He ran that studio on his own for quite some time and was engineering a lot of records. He was working with Oren quite a lot over the years and they discovered this love for warm, interesting 70s pop music and they decided to work on a record together bringing up those elements that they really enjoyed.

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Sun: Sun

They were shopping it around and they weren’t really having much luck but I have been kept up and stayed with the tracks. They worked slowly on it, they made one track and I kept up to speed with it. I was trying to suggest to Oren where he could potentially send the record and I think he was getting a little bit frustrated because Oren is quite well known in the experimental music world of course and when he makes a record in the more experimental style he found it very easy to find a label who would release it, but this was proving to be a different story.

One day I think we were just having a talk and he said “I don’t know why you haven’t started a label. It’s the kind of thing that you probably would be really good at, so you should start a label and put this record out.”  I thought about it and I thought about this sort of stuff that I’d been talking about with Mark. I spoke to Mark and said “look we have talked a lot about design and music and how we would like to merge the two and now we’ve got an opportunity to release a really good record and start something off. Do you want to give it a go?” And so we did.  So that is pretty much how we started.  So there was that kind of cross-sectioning and there was a connection between our interest in design and music and the need for someone to put a record out.

So it sounds like it was a very much an opportunistic thing and also something that built up for a while, with your interest in design especially…

Yeah, it was serendipity, I don’t really know if we would have started at a particular point in time had there not been a record on the table to do it.  We really enjoyed the record, and it was a really great way to start something off because we weren’t necessarily looking for anything and we were sort of gifted this release if you like.

How they did it develop from there, in terms of connections that you already had and your relationships with people from around the world?

In those early days, the second release that we had was a project that had come out of the Bigjesusburger as well. That was a project that Oren was working on with Chris Townend as well as the Rand and Holland record, their first album. That was just I wouldn’t say a logical progression so much as just meeting Brett from Rand and Holland at a party, and he told me that he had a record as well and I really enjoyed the aesthetic. I think Oren and Chris were bringing some of the sensibilities that they had with Sun into the Rand and Holland project. They are two quite different records but we were exploring the song-based medium and they were quite integral to that project as well.

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Rand and Holland: Tomorrow Will be Like Today

So it happened from there and there was also in the early days I think the second or third release was the Motion Double CD compilation which was a collection of experimental and electronic artists we found all over the country. We wanted to create this kind of picture of a sound that was a really getting a lot of press and coverage from overseas at the time somewhere around the late 90s and early 2000s but a lot of Australian artists weren’t necessarily being a part of that picture so we wanted to contribute that way and put out a document that we would be able to align with what was going on overseas.
So it was that kind of scenario for us going on this way, and things have developed and we have always followed our noses. I think we just had a mix of bravado or naivety, we just asked people if they wanted to do things for us and some things stuck and some things didn’t and I think that’s just the way it goes. It’s the same thing  today – you follow up things and see whether somebody might be interested recording for you, they either might be too busy or they are uninterested, sometimes they don’t even get back to you at all, but sometimes they stick. You follow things through and you get a record out of it at the end of the day and it’s a really nice fulfilling scenario to be involved with.

You’ve focused on doing series of releases as well and putting collaborations together, more recently with the Contrasts series. How as a label do you organise those collaborations? Do the artists suggest people that they would like to collaborate with or it is just something that develops more organically?

Well the Contrast series was less of a collaborative scenario between artists and more pairing artists together for split releases. So what happened essentially was it grew into a series because initially the tape idea was spawned out of a Deep Magic/Pimmon show. Deep Magic was touring with Sun Araw through Australia and I wanted to set up a show with Deep Magic and wanted Pimmon to be on the bill whom I had worked with before.
They’d enjoyed each other in music and I said, “maybe, we should to a split release to celebrate this show,” and those guys were really keen on it, but they were just a bit too slow in getting me there tracks in time for the show but one thing I was really very keen was on was them doing long pieces, just something a little bit different and something that would suit the tape medium.They eventually did deliver their pieces and I thought about it and I thought here was a possibility to create a series because of the economics of doing tapes. Doing them in batches is probably a little smarter as well.


So I decided to look at the idea of paring a more veteran artist, or long-standing artist of a particular style, with a younger more upcoming artist and that’s how we came up with that series. There were a laptop oriented works from Deep Magic and Pimmon and then this guitar oriented work from Loren Conners and Chris Forsyth and then there is the synth oriented work from J.D  Emmanuel and Evan from Barn Owl, who originally touted as being someone who could do the guitar side  but he mentioned his interest in synth and provided me with a piece that I just could not resist. So, that’s how that series worked.


The Circa series was something that was practically born out of necessity and I really wanted to work out a way to keep lesser known artists on the catalogue for Preservation, but in a declining market place putting out records by unknown artists has proven to be a lot more difficult over the recent years. What I really wanted to was provide a model where we could have a consistent series of artists that we would bond them together, provide connections between those artists and also provide a really sensible economic model by which to realise these records and release them without basically losing a lot of money hand over fist, which was starting to happen.

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Contrast series : Panabrite – The Baroque Atrium and Sparkling Wide Pressure: Grandfather Harmonic

So with those records Mark Gowing and I devised a model of printing covers themselves and designing a particular abstract model by which every cover would be generated and we were able to produce these records and make them a little bit special, make them a little bit handcrafted and be able to put those records there in a limited fashion that would expose those artists and give them a little bit more exposure than maybe what they had through a cassette run of fifty or something like that, and hopefully just give them a little bit more exposure and also not leave the label without the funds to make another one.

I think that’s very innovative and I suppose that’s how things are in the current state of labels. With digital distribution you can change and adapt to the artist needs as opposed to having to adhere to a certain model. Things aren’t as limited now as they once were.

I think when you’re running a label you have to find a model that you can work with. If that means that a tape label releases an edition of fifty because it is incredibly manageable, that’s really great, that’s fantastic. I also really like those types of labels because they are largely run by artists and they become a lot like an artist exchange and it is really great as a listener to a privy of those kinds of exchanges, you just hear the music that you probably won’t here otherwise. Those labels are really, really valuable, and they are releasing them in small editions so the label owner can move on quickly and also the artist can move on quickly and keep developing their sound and keep working on different things without having to work on a full album. It is a pretty exciting medium.

It is, and it seems particularly good for experimental music where there is a higher output of music, possibly more so than a full band producing an album and going through the whole studio procedure and things like that, whereas experimental artists are only one person or two people.

Yeah, that’s right.  For a lot of independent labels, that scenario, the latter that you just mentioned is a lot more manageable really and it is a different scenario altogether essentially. It’s just dealing with one or two people and the kind of music that they make, there is a certain reach and it makes it a lot easier to work with and communicate. I’ve got a full-time job so I have got to keep a lid on things to a certain extent and that is probably the most organic and sensible way to do it plus generally I think it’s music that I not only really appreciate but I can probably have some kind of impact on.

Panabrite and Sparkling Wide Pressure are two artists who I’ve really got into in the last 12 months.  Can you talk about how you got into touch with those guys and their releases?

The Panabrite story is an interesting one. When you approach an artist to release a record sometimes I think it is a little like asking them out on a date, and the other thing is that you don’t know whether they’re taken or not, there are some of artist that have got their next set of recordings committed and so forth and all that kind of stuff.

Norm (Chambers – Panabrite) was someone that I basically added on Facebook and never really spoken to. I think I dropped him a line and just told him how about I much I would like one particular tape of his and in particular one kind of track. When I hear an artist, I start to really delve into their sound and I start to explore the different music that they make and all the different releases that represent that different music. With Norm I really heard a lot of different stuff going on in his work, I heard a bit of a pop sensibility and I heard some sort of baroque kind of 70 style-prog style thing.

I think I just started chatting to Norm about different music that we like.  We found that we actually enjoyed a quite a lot of different music that you may not necessarily associate with Panabrite’s sound. I said to him – “I’d really enjoy hearing you attempt an album in this particular vein where there’s guitar, some kind of string sounds” and he said he was really interested in that and it seems it would be something that he had been thinking was the next step for him anyway.  So we started discussing all that kind of stuff, and I said, “Would you be interested in making that kind of record for Preservation,” and he was really interested and I think it just gave him some fire to get working that way.

I know that he is a really pleased with that record and I told him this afternoon that I’ve just been listening to that record two days ago, and I was just sitting back listening and feeling a little bit pleased that the sounds were representing what we kind of aimed for, what we had talked about. It’s a nice feeling to hear that.  It’s really great that record,  it goes through so much in such a neat concise way, it never sort of outstays it welcome, and I think Norm just got the rhythm and the flow and the pace and the dynamic right. It’s a really wonderful and evocative record. It’s evocative of a different time but I think that it’s totally now as well.
Sparkling Wide Pressure is someone that had been introduced to me by my good friend Paul Gough who also works under the name of the Pimmon and has a really fantastic radio show that you probably know on Radio National called The Quite Space. Quite Space is a really great avenue for discovering all sorts of new music in this vein and he’s a really really big fan of Frank Baugh’s work, who is Sparkling Wide Pressure.

I think I similarly contacted Frank at one point and asked him what kind of record he was making. I felt that there was a particular record that he put out which I just thought was absolutely incredible. He just released it himself. I have to look up the title.

He has got a lot of releases.

Yeah, he has got a lot of releases but this one is actually the really the crown jewel for me, it’s called “Fragments of a Sound I Can Not Erase”. It’s an absolutely wonderful record and that really marked a turning point for me in his sound. One of the things that I really noted was that he seemed to be getting more interested in the collision between more song-like structures and abstraction, which is something in a way like a Preservation corner stone. There’s something about his work that I really enjoy where he intersects a lot of different styles in a very rough way, but he just has his own style that is quite compelling and magnetic.

I just asked him if he was recording anything that was going to be a long those lines and he basically said he was, and like Norm from Panabrite he just kept on sending me pieces and we just sort of eventually pieced together the best work that we thought was right for the album at the time. I think it has got the kind of ambient modular synth thing going on but also a really rough post-punk sound going on as well, it’s a very extraordinary mix of styles that he is able to put together in an almost seamless way. I like the fact that it is almost seamless and it is just a bit rough and ragged along the edges, but I find it quite stark and compelling as well.

Yeah it’s very engaging. I found his music really rewards constant listening and gives more and more with each listen.

I think that’s definitely something that you could say about a lot of instrumental music, people find that when they start getting into it. Vocals really are a signal carrier and once you attach yourself to that signal and what that signal is you kind of define it quite quickly. We’re never going to be short of a great pop song and hopefully we’ll always have good pop songs or rock songs or folk songs or anything that is lyric-based, but it’s a different thing when you listen to instrumental music because there is just the different vibe, the way things move, the way things can move, the air between the notes, it just offers something – not different every time but it is a very movable feast, it’s a very malleable thing that I find with instrumental music and I keep going back to those records quite often. I was actually just listening to the Quiet Evenings release from 2011 just before you called. I find that I get something out of it each time.

And these sort of artists, these two guys that we are talking about, have put up so much music that I really feel like that even though I don’t know them myself, you sort of form a relationship in terms of each release that they put out is a progression and you get an impression of their personality from the music more than you would perhaps lyrically-based music.

It’s great to be able to follow those people. If you go to Frank’s Bandcamp I he’s offering a lot of records and he’s offering a lot of records free so you can really dive in and have a good listen and really develop a sense of his progression as an artist and all the different things that he’s interested in.  Frank is someone who I think is by and large is pretty much going to expose publicly everything that he records.

I think Norm is probably a little bit more particular. I think that he is probably got a lot in the bank that we might not have heard yet, and we might never hear, but I think that is a definitely a lot to be said for both approaches. I think the thing about Frank’s stuff is that he is just going to keep releasing it, he’s just going to keep doing it, and I think if he gets a nice offer from someone he is really happy to give them a record I think.

You’ve already touched on it but I’d be interested in hearing more of your thoughts on Sydney and Australian experimental music. I think your label and the work that New Weird Australia are doing are pretty central to local experimental music.

Yeah, I mean I will be honest and suggest to you that Preservation isn’t necessarily at the forefront of Australian experimental music. I sort of follow the music more than anything else. I’m really happy to see such an ever evolving scene, not only in Sydney but Australia.  To hear some of the things that come out – the Manhunter release from Rushford and Talia earlier this year was just an incredible record. There’s so much fantastic music coming out of Australia on a regular basis. Things like Sky Needle or Blank Realm from Brisbane, the things that Thomas William is doing in Sydney, Pimmon is always a great go to.

Seaworthy is another artist that I’ve worked with, I’ve been really fortunate enough to be able to release a record from him. That’s someone who actually also had his origins in indie pop and sort of migrated to a particular different sound as well which is a little bit more atmospheric and ambient in its nature. I was always a really pleased to hear the first Seaworthy album and just how Cameron just moved into that realm so well. I’ve always been a longtime admirer and Cameron really loves the label as well so it was really nice to have the opportunity to do something with him because I think he’s one of the good guys.

At the same and there’s a lot of younger people who are doing a lot of really fantastic things in music at the moment, like the guys that are running the Sound Summit Festival. In 2013 it’s going to be in Sydney, I’m pretty excited about the lineup that they’ve put together for that. It’s pretty mind boggling. There’s  a lot of great stuff going on and it’s not necessarily reflected in the Preservation catalogue but one of the things that I really liked about what’s going on, especially in Sydney, is that these guys have just worked it up from themselves. They don’t necessarily need Preservation to do it. They’re really contributing to a great diversity by doing things their way and putting it out themselves and I really love that.

One of the reasons why I’d never really spoken to Cameron previously about doing the record, I think it just came up in casual conversation, was because he was always doing his own thing until the 12k label came along. I really like the fact that he was putting out his own record, devising his own packaging and putting it out in his own way. I think that is a really healthy and wonderful thing. I really appreciate that about what’s going on in Australia. It seems to be going one just as much in Australia as it does anywhere else in the world.

It sounds like there is a very strong community up there. Does this sort of music in Sydney have much of a live avenue?

I think it largely has a live avenue and the release just might be a byproduct of that. I think that in the recent years there’s been younger people who from basically taken it upon themselves to create spaces for gigs,and that’s happened in cycles as well.  There were a lot of people who were doing things when Preservation began, putting on gigs and stuff like that but then there was a lull and now people are finding spaces or creating spaces in which to put on shows again. I think that kind of thing comes in cycles and at the moment I think we are going through a really healthy cycle of music making in this realm and to some extent there are releases coming out as well.

Some people are just opting to put stuff out on a Bandcamp or put stuff out for free whether it be by themselves or through New Weird Australia so there’s definitely lots of avenues going on and there is definitely a pretty healthy live scenario going on as well.

You touched on a running a label and I’m considering dipping into this field myself, what sort of advice would you give to someone looking to start a label?

The first thing I would suggest is that you have to set it up in such a way that it is not only manageable but really pleasurable. You have to work out what you feel you can realistically do. You have to sort of sit down and say okay what kind of run can I do, what kind of format do I like…all that sort of stuff I think is really crucial. I think you’ve got to set yourself up that way and it if it evolves in a particular way then great. If you told me ten years ago that Preservation would release a cassette I probably wouldn’t have believed you but that’s just the way it has happened.

More than that I think it is got to be a real pleasure for you to do. One of the things about Preservation is the way it looks, the visual aesthetic is very important. It’s always been really important and so I am real stickler when it comes to the design – by and large Marc Gowen has done pretty much all the designs for the label and he has really kept that vision, kept a particular aesthetic. I think he has created a certain kind of recognition for the label as a result.

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Sophie Hutchings: Night Sky

That’s actually really, really important for me. I think it’s a very strong part of the label and it makes me really happy and pleased, I really enjoy working with Mark. To be honest sometimes that hasn’t suited some artists like they have their own vision for their artwork but they are very much put in the know straight away, we’re very upfront about how the label is run and 9.9 times out of 10 you have a happy artist. There are certain artists that haven’t been happy or they don’t like that and they decide to move on and that’s totally fine as well.  As I said, I like the diversity of things but when you run a label it has to be your thing. I think it just has to be one hundred percent your thing.

When Mark and I started Preservation we didn’t want to it be a mere conduit, we didn’t want to just slap everything together and put it out.  We really wanted to have something that was ours as well, not just release the record. That’s been a very important part of it for us, and I think the labels are a lot better for it. I think that’s what probably makes it a real pleasure. You have to just decide what is right and what is wrong for you when you work with someone or when you just basically work in general on your label.

How did the relationship with distributors develop for Preservation? You’ve got distributors all over the world now.

Well the first distributor was Inertia. That was a sort of thing where we had friends that were working at Inertia and they were interested in taking us on, and they have kept us on which is really good. In the UK we used to be through a distributor that basically went out of business and that actually came about through a lovely bloke by the name of John Twellis who runs the Type label.

I was doing a radio show at 2SER where I work, and he was sending me records and we’d never actually spoken. I don’t know how he actually did start sending me records, he must’ve heard of the show from overseas. I just sent an email to the generic label contact and mentioned that I had a label myself. He said, “Oh I’ve got quite a few of your records, I’m a fan”. He said that he was working for the distributor at the time and hooked me up with that, and then when that all fell through I approached another UK distributor and by that time we had quite a few releases up our sleeve. Those guys seemed to enjoy those releases so they were happy to take us on and that was really fantastic and that’s continuing today, that’s Forte. It took a little longer for them to take us on board but I think that they saw our catalogue of releases and a consistency there and they eventually took us on and that’s been a few years now. In Japan we just started selling individual releases to a distributor in Japan then they just developed a more consistent relationship with us.

BEC

Black Eagle Child: Lobelia

I think we have to be a little bit persistent and you have keep sending records to people. Things don’t happen overnight with any label.  Maybe with some they do but they certainly didn’t with Preservation. You have to just keep sticking stuff out and you have to back it, you have to believe in its quality and hopefully people will get to know you. It’s important to have a good relationship with distributors and it is important to find the right ones who understand and care for the music as well.  We’ve been pretty fortunate.
Well let’s wind up with me asking you about what’s next on the cards for Preservation?

In a couple of weeks we’ll have the new Olan Mill record out, I’m really excited about that. That’s one of the great things about the Circa series is that you can do a nice limited run and provide some exposure for a newish artist or an unknown artist and you can see what the response is like. We’re really happy to be able to put out another record from Alex Smalley, who basically is Olan Mill. The response to that record was so strong that it was a really nice thing to be able to take that leap with Alex into another record that I think is really a nice step as well for him. It’s a bigger, bolder, more expansive record and it is a really nice to be able to have that out shortly because I think it’s really a super record.

We’re looking at doing another Circa series.  We’ve got another one in the can for that and there are some other things bubbling.  One of the first things that would be out of the Circa series will be from a guy called Dylan Aycock who not only records under his own name but records as Talk West. It’s a really lovely understated set of guitar explorations and it’s nothing revolutionary in terms of sound but to me he just nails it and anyone who has heard that record so far has just really been drawn into and they get quite lost in it. It seems you just put it on again and again so I’m hoping that response is mimicked by a lot more people when it comes out.

I was just listening to Talk West the other day actually.  I really love his sound. It’s a very rustic sort of drone, a primitive sound that’s really nice.

Yeah, definitely, I mean he’s a guy who is really interested in folk tradition and blues tradition but also that very sort of extended long form almost droney kind of style. He just seems to have a really nice sensibility about his way,  it seems to just unfurl in a really beautiful natural way. He’s a really beautiful player and quite intuitive about his compositions so I hope the people enjoy something more full length from him. I don’t think he has done a full length album as yet.  He has had a few low key cassette releases and they’ve just kind of hinted to what I think this album is to me, anyway.

There’ll be another Grand Salvo record and I know that Paddy Man who lives in Melbourne has being recording quite steadily and that’s usually a reasonably long process for Paddy. He involves a lot of musicians and it takes a lot of time for him to put together the works that are inside his head. They’re quite full orchestral works and it takes a while to take the right people together and get them together in one room. That’s something that will eventually come and we’ll put that out. He’s someone who has really grown over a number of years and he’s just seemingly unstoppable in the amount of music that he puts out. 

There are a few things bubbling under, I have a set of demos from Nuojuva. I was just recently overseas in Europe and I spent some time with Ous Mal – who is Noujuva – in Finland, and he gave me a whole a lot of demos and he new stuff is a lot more rhythmic.


So that could prove to be something really interesting when it finally gets done, it’s a long way off but yeah there are plenty of things bubbling away. I’m looking forward to seeing how it all develops.

Great. I look forward to listening to it all. Thanks for your time Andrew.

Preservation home
Preservation on Soundcloud

CONVERSATION : MELTED ICE CREAM

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Conversation with Joe Sampson of Melted Ice Cream

How did Melted Ice Cream begin?

Melted Ice Cream began when I came up with the idea for the logo sometime in 2011. My friend Leo drafted it up for me and I started up a Bandcamp to host a couple local live releases. It stayed much the same until April this year when I put out a free digital compilation of Christchurch punk and alternative music (Sickest Smashes from Arson City). Not long after then I started putting out cassette releases (a few reissues to begin with and then some fresh stuff).

Did you have a long term plan or a vision for the label?

I haven’t got a long term plan as such but I’d like to continue releasing cassettes for the next while and another compilation sometime in the next six months. I’ve got a couple of collaborations with other labels/magazines/websites in the drafting stage, nothing confirmed yet though. I would like to be releasing vinyl at some point, although the costs of doing such a thing from New Zealand is ridiculously expensive.

Tell me a bit about the initial process involved in releasing an album or EP, from talking with a band to deciding that it’s right for the label.

Basically if I think it’s decent then I’m keen to put it out. There’s some fantastic stuff out there that no one knows about. I’m not a record label in the traditional way, if that even still exists. I’m short on time between my own bands, so I like to make any band or artist involved well aware that I can’t really function as a proper label. MIC is more about consolidating the bands that I like and the bands I think deserve more attention, safety in numbers.

 

You’re based in Christchurch right? What’s the music scene like there at the moment?

I am based in Christchurch as I have been most of my life. Not trying to be pretentious or cryptic but I don’t actually know what a music scene is all about to be frank. If it’s anything like it is in movies or books then we don’t have one here. We’re a city of 400,000 or less. Music scenes only seem to exist in hindsight.

If I take a year like 2007 for example there was probably a dozen or so regularly gigging bands in the guitar genre that I was aware of, but there was probably many more. If I look back over the last 7-8 years of local music there’d be about a dozen bands, acts and projects that I’ve been fond of that I would still listen to on a regular basis.

So it sounds like you keep focused on local music fairly strongly. What sort of music did you grow up listening to?

Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, REM, White Stripes, David Bowie, QOTSA, Neil Young, Marcy Playground, Green Day – fairly mainstream alternative stuff, which I love. I ventured off to the underground/avant in my later teens but I still listen to the important bands in my life on a regular basis and I often revisit past love affairs.

What are some of your favourite NZ bands, past and present?

Pretty much all of the Flying Nun from the 80s and 90s – there are a lot of bands in that canon but Verlaines, 3Ds (David Mitchell), Chris Knox and David Kilgour’s many groups are particular favourites. Semi recent – Mint Chicks (probably the best band out of NZ in the last 20 years), Onanon from Dunedin, and many local bands current and past which I won’t list out of fear of missing anyone out.

Can you tell me a bit more about a couple of your artists – Salad Boys and X-Ray Charles?

Salad Boys is my current main song writing outlet, we’ve been a band since mid 2012, we’ve released a self titled mini album on MIC and have been on tour around NZ pretty much constantly over the last year. We’re currently recording our first full length which will hopefully be out on cassette by Christmas, and we’re planning a trip to the USA in about 6 months.

X-Ray Charles is the current main song writing outlet of my friend/ex-house mate Brian Feary with James Sullivan (Salad Boys) on drums. They’ve been together for roughly as long as the Salads and have so far released a “selph titled” mini album through MIC and have been up and down the country in past months performing their sick brand of turbo geek trash. Plans wise I’m not sure but I imagine another mini album or full length in the next six months.

 

You’ve put out a few tapes – how do you produce these? Who does the design for your releases?

We’ve had a good run with the cassettes, some people out there really dig them! I make my masters on a Fostex 4 track and we run them off on our recently acquired Sony cassette duplicator – that thing runs at 16x regular speed and hauls ass! It’s been a great addition to our capital. We typically do small runs of 20 to begin with and then go from there if they sell quick. The designs vary from release to release, usually a member of the respective band, but our “in house designer” role has pretty much been Brian Feary.

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MIC0011 Salad Boys – Salad Boys
Edition of 130

What’s next for Melted Ice Cream?

We’ve got another compilation in the works – aiming for a release around January combined with a national tour in support – we may even make it to Australia this time, money permitting. Various cassette releases in the coming months, at least half a dozen in the planning stages right now. We’re also putting out a VHS of the soon to be released film documenting the recent Christian Rock and Salad Boys tour, once we figure out how to do VHS runs haha.

 

Melted Ice Cream on Bandcamp

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

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.

TR_envelope

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

CONVERSATION : VINCENT FUGÈRE

vincent_interviewheader

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