Interview received: November 13, 2016.
What is your name?
Evgenij V. Kharitonov (Real name: Evgeny = Evgeniy = Eugene).
Where are you located?
Do you save any materials – digital files, emails, physical materials – related to your netlabel? Are you interested in organizing or archiving them?
How and when did you first learn about netlabels?
What was the first netlabel you heard of?
I do not remember – it was long ago. It was some kind of netlabel, Dark Ambient publishing.
What made you decide to start your own netlabel?
Most people open their own label to distribute their music and the music of his friends. My first label “Microbit-Records” – I launched in 2005-2006. At this time I was very much interested in experiments with lowbit/lobit sounds. It seemed to me that this is a new musical aesthetics that has prospects. Indeed, while at the same time a lot of good musicians in different countries became interested in the same ideas, and to promote, advocate required lowbit music label – because the label is the music archive.
Microbit-Records lazily exists today, although the decline of interest in music lowbit occurred in 2012-2013.
Since 2011 I oversee the label “45 Echoes Sounds.” That’s another story. Many years I have been performing and recording music in the genre ambient (under the name EugeneKha). And I wanted to show the world the beauty and depth of ambient music. And for this it was necessary to gather in one place many talented musicians. For five years is my basic label, it is being actively developed. Under the umbrella of my label – Green Travel Fest and organized a variety of activities (concerts, DJ-mixes, etc) and, of course, published albums (digital, but sometimes on physical media).
What were the reasons you had to choose releasing music for free? And why did you choose to not release physical albums?
Today the Internet provides the best distribution of music. The edition of music on CD or cassettes became unprofitable. I don’t see a sense in collection circulations until 30-50 of copies. Though I sometimes in addition to digital release release albums on tape cassettes or CD – for collectors. Generally I distribute music for free though sometimes I establish the price – this money goes for maintenance of a label. Why it is free? Independent music is not that sphere of activity on which it is possible to earn.
What is the name of your netlabel?
I supervise group of labels, but the main now one – “45 Echoes Sounds.”
Why did you choose the name you chose?
It’s just a beautiful name. And this name is suitable for ambient music.
When did you start your netlabel?
“45 Echoes Sounds” was born at the end of 2010 on fragments of a “45RPM-Records.”
What is the focus of you netlabel?
All ambient music – from light and Dark Ambient to New Age.
Are your albums released under creative commons, copyleft or copyright? Why did you choose the method you chose?
The label of “45 Echoes Sounds” publishes music under the license Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International.
What is your relationship to the artists that you release? Do you maintain any contact once you’ve released their work? Do you help promote them outside of their release itself?
Around a label there was the international group of musicians, but we are always glad to new members of a musical family. We maintain the friendly relations. With some musicians we form the duets and we participate in collaborations. Yes, I actively advance that music which I publish on a label in information space.
How do you decide what artists you want to release? Do you approach them? Do they approach you? Do you have any specific guidelines that you follow? Do you act as a curator or is it all luck of the draw?
I consider all music which to me is sent. If it in stylistics of a label (ambient) and if this music is pleasant to me – I release it. Conditions for the publication on our label are specified on the label website (unfortunately, musicians not always read recommendations). If any musician very much is pleasant to me, then I can address him with the offer to publish his album on our label. Thus I have received in the catalog of a label of the great musician of spacebient style, A.L.O.N.E.
Of course, I act as the curator, I don’t publish everything, I try to form a label sound, his recognition.
How many albums have you released?
Over 50 (as of 2016). My schedule is one release in a month (sometimes more rare, but isn’t more often. I leave time for advance of an album)
Who are some of your most notable artists?
Jack Hertz (USA), A.L.O.N.E (Russia), West Remi (Germany-Ukraine), Mystified (USA), Symatic Star (Australia), Ari Porki (Finland), Christopher Alvarado (USA), Scott Lawlor (USA), SiJ (Russia) and others.
Which are some of your most significant releases?
It is necessary to call almost all catalog of a label (ha-ha).
Do you release your own work on your netlabel? What do you think of that practice?
Yes, of course! It is normal and correct practice. Many labels are created by musicians – first of all to advance own creativity and music of friends. Therefore and in the catalog of a label “45 Echoes Sounds” it is possible to see a quantity of albums of EugeneKha.
What do you enjoy about running your netlabel? What do you get out of it?
Ha, all of us (curators of labels) derive pleasure that our catalog is filled with many remarkable musicians. Each of us wants to be the best in this case, haha. But if it is serious, then it is difficult for me to answer this question, without risking to be banal. I just receive a high, being engaged in this case. I like to advance that music which is pleasant to me. And these activities gave start by several to collaborations with other musicians, important for me.
Can you describe what you do in order to release an album?
The active period of a label – one week of month. It is 1 – preparation of a new album for the publication (mastering of audio-files, artwork for cover, preparation of the information booklet); 2 – placement of an album on Bandcamp and Archive.org; 3 – advance of release in information space: placement of information in musical communities of various social networks – Facebook, VK.com, LiveJournal, Google +, etc. Also I do mailings to potential musical observers.
Also we organize concerts of musicians of a label, festival of ambient music “Green Travel Fest.” All these activities help a label to become more authoritative and noticeable.
Where do you share your releases? On your website? Free Music Archive? Internet Archive? Et al? A combination of these things?
Combination: Website of label, Bandcamp, Internet Archive.
Have you had success in getting people in general to listen to your releases?
It would be desirable the best results. A few years ago “the digital circulation” of each album made 5-7 thousand official downloads a month. Today this figure is significantly lower. I think, it is a common problem for all: digital labels became much.
Do you feel that the lack of a physical object – vinyl, cassette, eight track, etc. – is a hindrance to building an audience? To getting any media to pay attention? If yes, why do you think that is the case?
It causes difficulties in how perceive your label of media. Many journalists still cling to outdated habits, it seems to them that CD – it is serious, and the publication in the Internet – a nonprofessionalism sign. It is not our problem. It is a problem of these journalists: they badly imagine the real situation and have a little lagged behind the times. But lack of physical carriers doesn’t influence the number of listeners in any way.
Has the lack of a physical object been a problem for any of the artists that you have worked with? If it has how have you responded?
Musicians for whom it is valid a problem don’t cooperate with netlabels. Isn’t it? Actually one is important for the musician: how well you extend his music.
In addition to promotion, publicity and releasing albums do you organize live performances or festivals for your artists?
Yes, since 2014 I organize Green Travel Fest (Festival of ambient and experimental music). Since 2015 we hold in clubs and in creative residences night concerts “Ambient Nights.”
Do you think netlabels are sustainable? If yes, what do you think the future is for them? Should there be more?
I think that with development of such hostings as Bandcamp, influence of digital labels will decrease. Any musician himself can extend and sell the music now. Only those digital labels which are engaged in real advance of the releases will survive. Unfortunately, many fondly call themselves by abrupt netlabers only on the ground that they have placed an album on Archive.org. But they don’t do for further promoting of this album. Such netlabers are necessary to nobody, they will disappear! And it is correct.
Does your netlabel align with any political or philosophical positions or thoughts? Do you get involved with politics at all as a netlabel?
Our only philosophy is a pure art, music for the sake of music. Music and musicians shouldn’t be connected with policy. 45 Echoes sounds – is out of idiotic games of politicians.