[PURESTENCH: When did Untergeschoss as a label begin? Looking at Discogs.com it seems as though the first 2 release were put out in 2008 (Snuff and the Gelsomina/Bizarre Uproar split tape). Why did it take another 3 years to begin releasing more material through the label? ]
You can say the label started “officially” with the first tape releases in January 2011. I helped to finance the Snuff LP and BU / Gelsomina tape and wanted to have some kind of imprint. It wasn't meant to be a label at all, until I got enthusiastic about releasing activities again. Untergeschoss was a good name so I kept it.
[PURESTENCH: What does the name, Untergeschoss, mean, and why did you choose it for the name of your label? ]
It's German for underground, basement, cellar. It's suitable for underground music activities and also very industrial-sounding name. A place where hidden and obscure things take place. I picked it from Einstürzende Neubauten's “Haus der Lüge” album.
[PURESTENCH: You've been an artist in the Noise/Power Electronics genre for quite some time. What was it that made you decide to start running a label as well? ]
I ran another label called Musically Incorrect Records from 2001 to 2006. It released mostly CD-Rs but also a few CDs in the end. I got completely fed up with it towards the end and vowed to never run a label again but the old urge came back... MIR released more varied stuff but Untergeschoss is at least at the moment quite strictly noise, power electronics and noisecore label. I see running a label as working for and supporting the music underground I'm interested in and as a means of communication with like-minded people.
(piece by Si Clark)
[PURESTENCH: What's the process for who you choose to put out on your label? Is there consideration, a reasoning and planning type of phase behind each and every release you put out, or are there some which may be seen as more impulsive and spontaneous? ]
It's both really. With my own projects I usually go through consideration and planning that can take months, whereas with other people's stuff it's more like “wow, this is good, I want to release this now.”
[PURESTENCH: I remember reading in Exoteric that you find sickness in general an interest for you with Sick Seed. Is there anything you consistently draw inspiration from for your others projects like SSRI?]
SSRI means, as you might or might not know, Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor, so there's also sickness/medicine/mental health connection. But it can also be Sick Seed Recycling Industries, which means that almost all sounds used are recycled either from Sick Seed or from my other recordings or from other places. So SSRI is mostly about the sound itself, reworking and recycling sounds and seeing what happens. Dissection and analysis of sound. Decay, distortions, surprising combinations. Sound Alchemy, if that doesn't sound too pretentious. It's very free-flowing, even playful work while Sick Seed is very much composed and controlled. SSRI tracks may have some loose theme but that usually comes spontaneously after the music is finished and reflects my interests and state of mind at the moment.
[PURESTENCH: Is an audience important to your work? Do they have any influence on what you do? ]
All my releases out there are for audience to hear. Hopefully they reach the kind of people who are interested in what I do. A release I do has to please me first and foremost, and if it does that, I'm sure there are others who like it. When working on sounds, I'm not thinking if others like it or to what audience it's directed. I'm not doing this to please anyone but myself, but as said, I'm sure there are people with similar enough taste to enjoy my works.
[PURESTENCH: Could you ever invest a large amount of time into a piece of music, or any other form of art you enjoy, and not share it with anyone else? ]
I've done some paintings, collage art and writing that no one else has seen except maybe my wife. I've never (for as long as I've been doing this seriously) done that with music and most likely never will. All the sounds that I have worked with have almost always found their way on a release one way or another. It may have taken years, but they've found their places, often very different from their original form and/or intent.
[PURESTENCH: Besides Snuff, everything you have put out on the label has been on cassette. Is this on purpose or does it make more sense financially? Do you limit your releases to a predefined number?]
Again, it's both. I think cassette is the ultimate underground music format, whether for noise and related or extreme metal or punk. And also the most affordable, there's no denying that. My releases are limited in the sense that I have certain amount of them made (they're done at a dubbing plant, I don't actually even have a working dubbing deck at the moment) and when they're gone they're gone. I don't number them and I don't make a big deal out of the amount made. I think they'll reach most if not all who are interested in them straight from me or via a distributor.
Cassette will be my main format in the future as well, but I have a couple of 7”s and CDs planned at the moment. Format is chosen to suit the nature of the sound material.
[PURESTENCH: Between both Sick Seed and SSRI what is your favorite item/instrument to use when creating music? ]
It changes all the time. At the moment I'm very much into junk metal percussion and all kinds of found and modified everyday items that can be used as instruments (mainly percussive) one way or another. I've also been playing guitar more actively lately, mostly trying out open tunings for slide playing. I want to use more guitar and bass in future Sick Seed recordings, in the vein of early Neubauten and DNA. Many will be surprised and disappointed... With SSRI my most important though not necessarily favorite instrument is editing software (Cockos Reaper – highly recommended!!!) on computer with my crap four-track recorded coming in close.
[PURESTENCH: How many live shows have you played? Do you prefer playing live shows or recording? ]
With Sick Seed more than five but less than ten shows, not sure of the exact number, with SSRI three shows. Something between 10-15 shows with Gelsomina back in the day. Peenemünde (a collaboration of Umpio and me) has played two shows. With other bands and projects maybe a couple of dozens or bit more. I'm not generally very enthusiastic about playing live, meaning that I don't actively look for gigs. When I'm asked, I'll do it if the circumstances are good, meaning an organizer who knows his/her business, good venue, good other performers or otherwise interesting event, some catering and covered expenses. So, I suppose you can say I prefer recording. I like to try different things and take all the time I need to get the sounds I want and like. I now have enough experience on noise recording to make the sounds quite easily when I have a clear idea of what I need, but I like to keep experimenting and finding new methods.
[PURESTENCH: What do you have planned in the near future for Untergeschoss? ]
I'm just about to send Unclean, The Streetcleaner and Amph / SSRI tapes to dubbing plant after a shameful delay on my part. So those will be out next, hopefully in the end of June. Untergeschoss Compilation tape vol.1 should be ready soon and Umpio / Concrete Mascara / Sick Seed split/collaboration triple-tape set hopefully too. A couple of 7”s as well later this year, but I don't want to announce what they are just yet.
[PURESTENCH: Thanks for doing this interview. Any final comments for the readers? ]
Thank you for your interest and support!! Hail Eris, Ganesha and Suur-Nikkuri!!