Interview received: January 8 and 11, 2019.
What is your name?
Alberto Caballero aka Caballo
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?
Yes. We keep a digital copy of each release.
How do you define what is and what is not a netlabel?
A label that exists thanks to the internet and mostly streams and relies almost completely on streaming would be what we consider a netlabel.
How and when did you first learn about netlabels?
We were lucky to be one of the first if not the first latino underground netlabel. We had a partnership or so with a popular blog called generation bass which gave us a platform and from there we went by our own.
What was the first netlabel you heard of?
At the time. I was into Mad Decent, generation bass, and Bersa Discos. Palenque Records was doing the transition to digitize its content.
What are some netlabels that inspired or influenced you? Or that you admire?
The ones I mentioned. Plus akwaaba, la clinica, owsla.
What made you decide to start your own netlabel?
The lack of support for latino underground music in the so called developed countries.
What were your reasons for choosing to release music for free? And why did you choose to not release physical albums?
Basically we are a platform to unveil new acts, genres, or styles that have been brewing on the streets but, because of mainstream dynamics or social prejudice, cannot or are not allowed to make revenue at first. So the easiest way is to release for free and then if people want, they can have the option to pay what they can.
We have released physical albums. But it is a tedious labor which is not worth the effort based on the numbers of orders. A good album can be downloaded around 15-20k not counting single streams; while physical copies rarely reach more than 150 copies.
What is the name of your netlabel?
Why did you choose the name you chose?
Because we are resilient.
When did you start your netlabel?
What is the focus of you netlabel?
To promote underground music from Latin America or non-latinos making an addition to the latin music diaspora.
Are your albums released under creative commons, copyleft or copyright? Why did you choose the method you chose?
Everything under creative commons. I chose that because at first we worked with LibreCommeLair which is easily the best creative commons music label and it connected us with the Free Music Archive.
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?
Depends. I am friends with most of them. Some just want to release on the label to check out what benefits bring for them. Some others are fans of what we do so they don’t really care about data, numbers, likes, shares. They just like us, to release good music.
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?
People submit. And no guidelines. We allow creative freedom. We have released from 3ball to death metal. Or roots cumbia to dubstep.
What are or were your criteria for the music you curate and release?
To see if it brings something else to the ever expanding latin music diaspora.
What genres have you never released before, that you would love to release on your label or on a future label of yours?
We are very eclectic but we haven’t released indie rock. Because our target doesn’t seem to like that type of music.
Are there any artists that you have yet to release that you would like to work with? Or that you always wished you had been able to work with?
Too many to count. But we have been lucky to drop more than 500 artists! Some very well known. And many absolutely unknown.
How many albums have you released?
We go by release. Not always full albums. So, around two thousand? We lost count.
Who are some of your most notable artists?
At one point we had Sargent Garcia, Chocquibtown, or Maite Hontele. But we also have had Erick Rincon, Happy Colors or jstr. In the harder side we have puya’s Ramon Ortiz, Here comes the Kraken, Dia de los Muertos with fear factory’s Tony Campos, or Sinergia. We have had Munchi, Beauty Brain, Bacondo, Javier Estrada, Chong X. Too many. Hard to pick and remember.
Which are some of your most significant releases?
Latino resiste presents azucah selectah.
Latino resiste present metalatino.
Latino resiste presents root a pacifica.
Latino resiste colombiafrica.
Do you release your own work on your netlabel? What do you think of that practice?
Yes. I have a good label. And people seem to like my work. So it is a good fit. Although I usually try to release on friends’ labels as well.
What do you enjoy about running your netlabel? What do you get out of it?
I enjoy being able to say we are not the most well recognized label, but we can say for sure we are the pioneers who shifted the way underground latin music sounds.
What are some difficult things about running the label? Or what are some challenges?
Time, and lack of money to engage with social media engines.
Has anything about it been disappointing or frustrating?
Frustration comes with being independent. So we personally don’t care about follow to download. If people like the music. They will download it. If they really love it they will feel like writing or sharing it. To us, that should be organic. Not forced or coerced.
What keeps or kept you motivated to continue running the netlabel when you are or were feeling frustrated?
That we are latino resiste. We are the resilient.
How much time do you put into running the label? Approximate hours per day, week or month?
A part time job. So around 20 hours a week.
Can you describe all the work that you do on a regular basis in order to run your label?
Art. Upload. Write. Blog. Share.
In what audio format and bitrate do you release your albums?
Mostly wav and/or aiff. 320kbps for soundcloud.
Why did you choose that format?
Bandcamp chose it.
Do you zip your files into a package? Or are the albums uploaded as individual files?
Zip all the way.
Aside from the audio files, do you include any other types of files or information with the album?
Art. Credits. Depends on the release.
What software programs do you use to run your netlabel? For converting and encoding audio, for metadata, for ftp, for making cover art, etc..
FL and decent internet.
Where do you share your releases? On your website? Free Music Archive? Internet Archive? Et al? A combination of these things?
Our own website.
What do you do to promote your label?
We don’t promote crazily. We post a few things. Fans come because they know the label’s criteria.
Do you send releases out for review? If yes, is it traditional media – review sites, magazines, blogs, etc. Or are there non-traditional methods?
No. Usually people reach to us. And we reach back asap.
How much success have you had in getting people to review your releases in magazines, blogs or websites? Any frustrations regarding this?
All positive because we are not chasing anyone to write about us anymore. We used to but we stopped years ago.
Why did you decide to stop sending releases out for review?
The main reason is because blogs were a thing of the past. And audiences shifted for a fast way to check stuff. And we are about content. So we realized whoever wants to grab stuff from the label is actually a person who is around the niche we aim. Therefore our target audience would not necessarily read the ones writing the reviews. And the ones reading the reviews might like that particular release but because we are so eclectic they might get the impression that our label is a hit n miss when in reality we are curators of underground movements.
Have you had success in getting people in general to listen to your releases?
Somewhat. It is relative. One time we had one ep that only had like 30 downloads. But 1 of those was jillionaire from Major Lazer who put the song to thousands on their dj sets. So, yo can choose 1000 kids with music on their hard drive/cellphone or 45 downloads most of them djs playing it live for 3000 people.
Do you keep track of your download numbers and, if yes, how have they changed over the years?
We used to. We stopped caring because it is not relevant to what music is.
How important are download numbers and number of listeners to you?
On scale 1 to 10. A solid 5.
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?
No. We are not into that type of music. Nobody wants to grab the obscure tribal bass first release from “skrillex” before he becomes skrillex. And we are lucky to have so many “skrillex” that it is not our call to see who makes it and who doesn’t.
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?
In addition to promotion, publicity and releasing albums do you organize live performances or festivals for your artists?
We used to. Not anymore.
How do you finance your netlabel, including the labor you put into it?
My own pocket money.
What do you think your legacy might be?
We shifted the way latino underground music was. We were part of a movement. We were not alone. But from all of those we still stand strong.
Do you feel that you are or were filling a niche that other labels were not?
We are a 10,000% a niche label. Only the people who look for us will find us.
What do you think about Bandcamp and any similar music hosting sites?
The best option we have so far.
Do you think netlabels are sustainable? If yes, what do you think the future is for them? Should there be more?
Some of them are, I don’t have an unbiased opinion, so it is not my call on what to do with us. Our future is more of the same.
Are there too many netlabels?
What makes you think there are too many netlabels? How can you tell?
Because to be able to get revenue or even to appear on Spotify/itunes etc. producers need a label. Which becomes easier to set one up and by default one creates a netlabel.
Will netlabels be obsolete before 2025?
They will just morph into something else. But still netlabel at heart.
Does your netlabel align with any political or philosophical positions or thoughts? Do you get involved with politics at all as a netlabel?
Some releases are political. We support obviously if we end up releasing it.
How do you feel that netlabels as a phenomenon overlap with any other artist practices – cassette trading, mail art, etc? Is there any overlap with podcasts, podfiction/netfiction, or any other art that is distributed for free?
Well, some people are crazy about anime. Some about porn. Some about music. And so on. Therefore people will always download what they want or like the most.
Are you aware of a chronological history of netlabels? If yes, what is it?
Is there anything else you would like to write about that wasn’t included here?
Make sure to google latino resiste.
What questions would you ask other people who run netlabels?
Have you checked out latino resiste?