Plus Timbre

Interview received: February 22, 2017

What is your name?

Chris.

Where are you located?

Athens, Greece.

Do you save any materials – digital files, emails, physical materials – related to your netlabel? Are you interested in organizing or archiving them?

Organization is necessary in what has to do with netlabel and in general I would say that we love to have everything organized.

How and when did you first learn about netlabels?

Through the Internet. Because of my need to get in touch with musicians from around the world, to exchange opinions, even collaborate with them musically, so I met friends who had some netlabels and I got in the process of exploration, this began around 2009.

What was the first netlabel you heard of?

Ozky e-sound by Massimo Croce.

What are some netlabels that inspired or influenced you? Or that you admire?

Each and every netlabel deserves our attention; there is no need to mention any particular one. Every one of them has something to offer, in the way it can.

What made you decide to start your own netlabel?

Our wish to promote artists whose music moves us and who deserve our respect.

What were the reasons you had to choose releasing music for free? And why did you choose to not release physical albums?

This is something Nick and I discussed from the beginning and we decided our releases to be mainly free, so that they can be more directly and easily accessible to those who would be interested in them. However, that doesn’t mean that we haven’t thought of releasing some physical albums along the way, never aiming at profit, though. So, if we release something in physical form, we will distribute it at its cost, without any profit; this is our philosophy.

What is the name of your netlabel?

Plus Timbre.

Why did you choose the name you chose?

We wanted to emphasize the coordination, musical but also mental, between all of us in something that makes us feel good.

When did you start your netlabel?

Around the end of 2014, 16th November 2014 to be exact, with Mauro Sambo as a first release.

What is the focus of you netlabel?

Plus Timbre is a netlabel dedicated to experimental and improvisational music, aiming to foster and promote material in the widest possible variety of relevant musical styles.

Are your albums released under creative commons, copyleft or copyright? Why did you choose the method you chose?

Yes, Attribution NonCommercial  NoDerivatives, I think it is understandable why.

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?

All the artists who honored us with their trust and offered their brilliant work to us, are our friends; we have always had close contact, we have always been exchanging opinions, and it goes without saying that we always promote their work in every way possible.

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 would say both. There are definitely some artists whose work we would like to release from here, so we contact them, but there are also many who come to us themselves and give us the chance to listen to their brilliant work and release it. Anyway, in the end of the day nothing happens by chance; we say YES to emotion, but NO to luck (I mean without organization and planning).

How many albums have you released?

Almost 50.

Who are some of your most notable artists?

Easy question, ALL of them!

Which are some of your most significant releases?

Another easy question, ALL of them!

Do you release your own work on your netlabel? What do you think of that practice?

I would definitely like to, but they probably do not enjoy my work! Anyway, jokes aside, when you have so many remarkable artists to release their work, the last thing you care about is releasing something of your own; on the other hand, I have many good friends from other netlabels where I can have my personal work released, and I thank them about that!

What do you enjoy about running your netlabel? What do you get out of it?

The whole procedure, the cooperation and the beautiful feelings that really fulfill me as a person.

What are some difficult things about running the label? Or what are some challenges?

If you want to get involved in something serious, you have to face it as work, so you will definitely face some difficulties, it won’t always be fun.

Has anything about it been disappointing or frustrating?

Fortunately not.

How much time do you put into running the label? Approximate hours per day, week or month?

About two hours a day for sure, maybe more at weekends.

Can you describe all the work that you do on a regular basis in order to run your label?

Nick and I have managed to have a specific way of work, and that is necessary for the label to work right. It is something simple but in the end of the day it works; I only have to do with the sound part, that is, after I have been in contact with the artists, I listen to their sound files, which is essential for a release. I do not only mean whether I like a work or not; I also check the quality of the sound of any particular project (for example, sometimes we needed to edit the music files in our studio in order to improve the sound quality). After that Nick takes care of the design, layout, album covers, setup of the release on the site, and generally whatever has to do with the presentation of the release. Finally I take over again for the promo of the release. This is what happens in general, anything else we keep it secret, hahaha!

Where do you share your releases? On your website? Free Music Archive? Internet Archive? Et al? A combination of these things?

Mainly on our site.

What do you do to promote your label?

Whatever we can, however we can, although we believe that in the end the very artists themselves actually promote a label, with the quality of their work.

Do you send releases out for review? If yes, is it traditional media – review sites, magazines, blogs, etc. Or are there non-traditional methods?

This is about how we started, in the traditional way of promotion, but we finally came to understand that if someone is really interested, even if we do not know or have not notified them, they will eventually listen to the release and will respect the artist. Well, now we are not that traditional, with press releases, etc.

How much success have you had in getting people to review your releases in magazines, blogs or websites? Any frustrations regarding this?

Success?

Have you had success in getting people in general to listen to your releases?

Success? We do only what we really feel, we do not care about success.

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?

We do not think there is such a problem, maybe in the beginning, but now – after a certain number of releases – no, no, whoever is really interested now knows our concept.

In addition to promotion, publicity and releasing albums do you organize live performances or festivals for your artists?

That would be really great, we have it in mind. It would be terrific, not now, but this would be something ideal.

How do you finance your netlabel, including the labor you put into it?

We should not talk finances, please.

What do you think about Bandcamp and any similar music hosting sites?

I cannot say anything about Bandcamp, since we use its space and player, but in general, even though we are harsh on spam and whatever is relevant (it is something we hate), whenever we needed their help they gave it to us, so I do not think I would be objective enough to this question; please, let’s move on to the next one.

Do you think netlabels are sustainable? If yes, what do you think the future is for them? Should there be more?

Definitely, simply because, for example, when one netlabel ceases to exist, another one is born, so I think that there is some need for this to happen. Consequently, isn’t it necessary for them to be there? As for how many should exist, I don’t know what to say, the more the better.

Does your netlabel align with any political or philosophical positions or thoughts? Do you get involved with politics at all as a netlabel?

Although I am generally a politically aware person, no; the netlabel has nothing to do with that, we have agreed upon this with Nick from the beginning: our only ideology and philosophy will be the sound. Of course, luckily, in the field we are involved in, we have never faced any problem of this kind.

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?

I apologize if I have not completely got the meaning of the question, but I do not believe that a netlabel claims anything more than what an artist can do to promote his/her work; the netlabel may simply help too, however it can from its part. I repeat, I am not sure I have completely understood the meaning of your question, thank you.

Are you aware of a chronological history of netlabels? If yes, what is it?

This is something that I haven’t thought about, for now I would probably say no.

Is there anything else you would like to write about that wasn’t included here?

Well, no, I think the questions have been more than enough to cover the whole spectrum of what netlabel is.

What questions would you ask other people who run netlabels?

No more questions, just to keep doing what suits them, always with respect to the artists.

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