Interview with Simon of Fractured Spaces Records 9/21/2008
1. Simon you've been writing for magazines for a while. What made you start FracturedSpacesRecords?
I started writing and editing a fanzine called Fractured in the early nineties, devoted entirely to the early ‘industrial music’ scene. At that time I concentrated on bands like Current 93, Nurse with Wound, Controlled Bleeding, and similar. My original intention with the ‘zine was to include a cover-mounted CD; however Fractured folded before I had a chance to put that idea into action. The present idea for the label came about through an idea I had concerning an exhibition of paintings I was looking to put together, for which I wanted a ‘soundtrack’. I got as far as talking to Jan Roger of Svartsinn about the possibility of commissioning him to produce something, but sadly, like many things, the exhibition never happened.
But out of that, the idea gradually formed of creating a label instead. And as a continuation of the original Fractured ‘zine, I decided to call it FracturedSpaces. So over the course of the last year or so, and after speaking to a few people within the industry, what was nothing more than a nebulous idea started to take on a firmer shape, until now, when it’s become a reality and I have three releases out.
2. What is the mission or goal for the label?
Simply stated, a place where experimental and underground artists both old and new, from anywhere in the world, can release quality music on a quality label and in quality packaging. I would like to see the label become a nexus for musical creativity, a place where artists can experiment freely and push boundaries. I would also like it to gain a wider reputation among the record-buying public for the same qualities.
3. You have released mostly drone and experimental titles. Is the label focused on more non-rock based music?
In all fairness, that’s only what I have been offered and have released so far. In the future, there is the possibility of releasing such material as doom metal, as well as black metal and other more structured musical forms. Essentially the label focuses on non-mainstream forms of musical expression, ranging from quiet ambient guitar pieces right up to power electronics, with everything in between. The only criterion is that it speaks to me in some way, or that it has an intangible quality that elevates it above the morass.
4. If there was one band the label could sign, "the dream project," who would it be and why?
That’s a difficult one, as there are so many acts out there that could be defined as a dream project. Merzbow is probably my favorite artist out there, so first and foremost I would love to sign him to release something. Nadja is another outfit that I would like to release something by too. A few others come to mind, such as Lustmord, Sunn O))), Nordvargr, Svartsinn, Grey Wolves… and too many others to mention.
5. I see you’re working with Daniel Menche, Aidan Baker and a few bigger names in the industrial and doom scenes - that must make you proud.
I am nothing if not ambitious, and part of that ambition is to work with good artists within the underground genres. The artists mentioned are all people whose work I particularly enjoy, so it’s even better that they consented to release something on the label and I am indeed very proud. Daniel Menche will be releasing a 12” vinyl LP and Aidan Baker I am looking to release some material of his that hasn’t been available for some time. Plus as the label grows, no doubt other artists of similar stature will start appearing on it too. However, I also think that lesser bands and artists have a valid place and should be given some exposure too.
6. How is the promotion and distribution going in this new modern digital age?
I would have to say time-consuming and expensive (haha). But one thing about the age of mass communications is that it’s a lot easier to make people aware of your existence and consequently the availability of the CDs. In that respects it’s a distinct advantage over the days when I was running the fanzine. The downside is of course that there are a great many other people doing the same thing, so it’s that much harder to get noticed. But I have a fair amount of good distribution now, which means the CD are widely available and that’s an immensely good thing. These first releases and those over the next couple of years will serve to help get me established and to underline my commitment to quality in both music and production.
7. Are there any Bands or styles of music the label would not work with?
Country and Western!! Seriously though, within the underground genres there isn’t much style-wise that I wouldn’t release – I am not that interested for instance in metal unless it’s doom, drone, or black metal. I won’t be releasing EBM or industrial dance, not because I don’t like it (in fact I do), but simply because I don’t think it quite fits in with the ethos of FracturedSpaces. The same goes for something like avant-garde jazz and similar; anything approaching new-age stupor is also out.
8. The packaging and artwork is very impressive and lavish in digipaks - is image and presentation as important as music to the label?
I think in an age where people are more sophisticated media-wise, and where expectations are that much higher as a result, plus the fact that the number of labels and releases is huge means that you have to go that little bit further to stand out. Although the first three releases were in digipaks I will also be releasing CDs in other types of packaging, but there’ll be the same attention to detail nonetheless and the same level of quality. I could have gone down the CDr route initially but somehow that just didn’t ring true for me and I just didn’t think it would help me to establish the label in the way I wanted it to. So yes, the overall production and standard of production is a very important component of the aesthetic of FSR and is a necessary adjunct to the music.
9. You have a MySpace and website now. Is Internet promotion a powerful sales tool or still just a small piece of the puzzle.
In this day and age it is an absolute necessity for promotional purposes at the very least and to keep everyone up-to-date with events and releases. However it is just one piece of many bits that go to make up the means by which the existence of FSR will be spread – I am looking to promote gigs and events soon as another means by which to get my name and face about. I am planning on having stalls at festivals and such. Plus of course there are radio stations and podcasts, all of which media will help to spread the word about FSR.
10. Would you co release or work on titles with other labels or do you want to keep all you do in-house?
I am not averse to working with other labels in principle, but it would have to be with a label who understands the ethos of FracturedSpaces and my insistence on top-notch production quality. I am not interested in just putting anything out there – there is a certain standard that I insist on keeping to and I won’t deviate from it.
11. Thank you for time - any closing thoughts here.
Closing thoughts? Only that within five years FracturedSpaces becomes an established and much-respected part of the underground musical landscape, a label where both well-known artists will find a home and new ones will find a great outlet to expose people to their music and provide greater opportunities for them. By that time I hope there will be regular FracturedSpaces events as well, plus other things as yet unthought of.
It was a pleasure to talk to Absolute Zero!!