Below is an interview with me done by Blackout Musique. As the Canadian Blackout Musiqe webzine publishes in French only and I got several requests to have this interview available in English here it is:
- We don’t often receive Dutch music here in Canada. What can you tell us about the local music scene? Is there a strong opposition between mainstream and independent production channels?
Well… I have been active in the music industry here for many years and worked for and with various organizations next to handling my own activities. Even though there are of course different worlds which you could define as mainstream and independent I do not like to talk about it in that way… simply as I do not care much about a large part of the so called music industry… either what you could call mainstream or independent.
For me there are very few interesting people, venues and organizations here. Only very few concerts I like to attend are organized and only few magazines write about music I am interested in.
On the other hand there are some people who like me have a normal day job and are active in bands, or run a small label, or organize a concert from time to time… all of this takes place in a world of its own… as what you call mainstream channels ignore the music given attention by these individual people and small organizations. Or maybe these mainstream channels as you call them do not ignore it.. they simply they do not know and don’t want to know about this music… or are not capable of hearing and seeing the brilliance of the music I and some others work with.
In my opinion there are only few people with good taste and guts and that work to promote music instead of themselves.
- Enfant Terrible has specialized in the last few years in discovering numerous new talents through its various compilations. How do you proceed to find them?
This is like asking a cook his recipe. Anyway… I have been searching for new music to listen to as long as I can remember. Next to that I have been writing about music for many years. At some point I came across music I felt other people should also hear. That is how I started and is essentially still the reason why I am active with Enfant Terrible. I discover music I like and in some cases I like to give this music / these artists a platform to present itself.
Even though my focus has changed the last year a bit in sounds and I also incorporate visual art more and more in my activities. Also I have expanded my activities into other areas such as a radio show (called Radio Resistencia) together with Andreas (Lesbian Mouseclicks) and Peter (Sololust) whom I am involved with in a foundation and a paper magazine (called Traces) I do in collaboration with Johan from Seja.
This way I have more options to promote the music I come across in my endless searches… and in this way Enfant Terrible has become a platform, or a source for information, instead of “just” a label.
- Not only does your label publish underground artists, but it also does so almost exclusively on vinyl. How did you come to this decision and is it viable economically?
A cd isn’t anything in my opinion. While I consider digital music as in download mp3’s absolutely as a non-product, a cd is only a step away from that. When I started my label the idea of doing cd’s did not even cross my mind. This as I like a real product and also as I am a collector of vinyl records myself since a very long time.
I did one cd to prove to myself a cd could be a good product if taken care of… this was for me only partly a success… even though the I still like the compilation in question, “Radio Resistencia”, a lot… only the format was not satisfying in the end. A double vinyl would have been better… Well… you learn from mistakes… it is an ongoing process to continuously improve what I do…
It is not just that I release vinyl records… I release limited editions of vinyl records. And really limited editions. Not like some labels who say they do limited editions and re-press when the edition is sold out. When you buy an Enfant Terrible release you know that when it is gone it is really gone.
The way I distribute my records through a network or independent shops also makes it harder for a regular and broader audience to get hold of them, or even to know these records exist. That is done on purpose. I want people to take action and need to get involved to get hold of these sounds and products. You cannot walk into any shop and get these records. It is a specific product with specific content for a specific audience. You have to know… you have to be a illuminati… but I try to promote my artists as well as I can… so my platform is open for all to get involved… it is not a closed cult or anything.
Still I have no interest in serving a regular consumption minded audience. But I do care a lot about my audience, the people who follow my label and the people who truly are music enthusiasts. Also I am happy to have the support of this network of independent shops who help to get the music to the right people.
And… economically viable? No, but that is also not the aim of Enfant Terrible. All my activities are about creating cultural value not economical value… that is why I decided to have, and continue, with my normal day job and keep Enfant Terrible as a sort of full time hobby next to my full time job…
- There has been lately a “revival” of sorts for minimal & DIY electronic music styles from the early 1980s. Labels hunt down rarities for reissues and new artists adopt this musical language in a fashion often undistinguishable in sound from the original productions. What is your opinion on this?
To be honest I think a lot of irrelevant music from the 1980’s is being released right now. That is also the reason I do not sell all these re-issues in my webshop. Even though I know there are quite some people who buy all of these records. I select the few I think are really nice as a document, as a collector piece and are interesting to listen to because of the music.
For me every record has to have a cultural value. Sorry to mention this again but it a core value of my activities. That is also why I now focus on contemporary artists with Enfant Terrible, and move away from what I call the “sure center” of minimal synth sounds. I will keep releasing some more or less typical minimal synth sounds, but mostly I will release more daring music. Like the original pioneers played… these musicians did not play minimal synth music… they simply played music that was made by simple means as with equipment with limited functions. They created interesting soundscapes not just catchy dance tunes.
Contemporary bands who are just copycats of the 80’s sounds I have no interest in. I look for musicians I feel are working in the tradition on the pioneers of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s BUT who are also adding their own touches… often touches very clearly inspired by the world around us today or defined by ways of producing and thinking about music today.
- And finally, what are your plans for the label in 2011?
I will release the last 1980’s re-issue for some time on my label. For some time I have already been doing mostly contemporary music next to focusing on local Dutch talents. But I want to close an important chapter for Enfant Terrible. This chapter is the releases I did as a collaboration with Trumpett. Enfant20 will be a second Doxa Sinistra record. This is the re-issue on vinyl of the first tape “Via Del Latte’. Also it will mean the end of releasing their archive material. All relevant music from this Dutch 80’s tape label has been released through Enfant Terrible after this last vinyl LP.
Maybe I will release some other 80’s music in the near future, like continue the Spleen and Radionome sessions series, but for now I will continue with releasing contemporary music. Also I will continue to release new Dutch talents. And I will continue to broaden the sound spectrum for Enfant Terrible. So expect both some more experimental sounds as also some more poppy sounds.
And… I am working on some more projects that go beyond music as plain music… like I already do with the collaboration with Renée van Trier and the Kelly Correll Brown artifact for example.
Here is the Blackout Musique webzine...