Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Interview - Posh Isolation

[Q] Posh Isolation is a fairly new label, with your first release in 2009. You cover a lot of ground from Minimalistic and droning Noise to harsh Power Electronics to Black Metal and back. What do you feel are the defining elements of the label and how do you view the progression of the label over the past year?

Running posh isolation, and probably any label, you learn a lot. and it should be that way, every new release should be a new standard to how good you can do. Many ideas are changed along the way, some are thrown away.
There is no point in debating a strict concept, because there never was one. The defining element could be that we do what we like and nothing else, that has been the guideline from the beginning, but that must be obvious.
Posh Isolation when it started, and Posh Isolation today is in many ways much alike, but the demand for releases has made running the operation a much bigger task. There is a very big difference from releasing 100 tapes in a batch to releasing 500 and from sending 10 packages to sending a 100.
It is wonderful of course that the demand is growing and that people are interested in the releases, but it is alot of work as well and adjustments are being made all the time to make the label run as smoothly as possible.

[Q] What inspired you to start the label; to go from "just a fan" to having your own label?

The label started when there was an obvious need for it. The main goal was, and still is, to have a platform from where it was possible to document what was happening here, around us, in Copenhagen.
In honesty we did not know at the time, how big a task that would be. Copenhagen and the rest of Denmark has had a massive growth in the last few years and good or at least interesting projects are everywhere. The idea was to document the best, since there was no one else doing it. It has showed to be more than enough to base a label on. That being said, projects does not have to be from Denmark, but Denmark will continue to be the main focus, it feels very natural that the focus is here. If one was to document what was going on in lets say California, the most natural would be that it was one who knew California,
knew the palm trees, and the heat. He or she would be in a much better position to do so, compared to someone who only knew the palms from the Botanic Gardens and some travelling here and there.
We know Copenhagen, we always lived here and most likely we always will, not saying its fantastic, but there is something about this place, if you can stand the rain.

[Q] What does "Posh Isolation" mean?

Hopefully it will at some point mean; the best label in the world. Until then, less will do..

[Q] Posh Isolation has some of the most interesting artwork right now and each release looks like it may be under the watchful eye of possibly the same artist. Who creates the art and layouts? How important is the artwork for each release?

We create not all, but alot of the artwork for the releases. Estetics is a very important factor for the label and has been from the beginning. It is about finding a balance, where artist and label can agree, we dont force anything but we don’t accept everything either. If not both parts are happy, its not good enough. Posh Isolation is a very personal project, and nothing is put out if it does not fit. Something can be good and still not be Posh Isolation, and something can be less good and be Posh Isolation. It can be difficult to explain, there is no dogma and not very many rules but it is a feeling. Every posh isolation release should be looked at seperately but at the same time they are released because they fit as a brick in the monument we are trying to build. If you are building a monument, your bricks has to have roughly the same shape and at least similar colours otherwise it will not be very pretty to look at when finished. But the bricks can come from many places and all tell different stories, and then the monument will be even more interesting.

[Q] What formats do you feel suit Noise and Power Electronics best? How about Black Metal?

Posh Isolation has to this point only done Audio releases on vinyl and tape, and even though there is no rule as such for what formats can be released, these will continue to hold a very important role for the label. They seem generally more suitable for the kind of sounds we focus on. In this manner one can talk generally for both, Industrial, Punk, Black Metal, noise, drone. For everything that could be considered demanding music, a demanding format makes sense.
Analogue formats have their strength in their demanding and impractical nature. The above mentioned genres all have one thing in common; they only make sense if the listener is aware. To understand and appreciate this kind of music the listener has to play along to an extent in order to get the full experience.
With analogue formats you force the listener to act and even though putting a record on, or putting a tape in your tape deck is a relatively small and easy motion, it still counts. The listener gets to hear only half the work and then has to decide whether or not they bother to get up, turn it and listen to the other side.
You don not listen to just your favourite song, you listen to the whole thing, as it was intended, that is the ideal.
Of course it is possible to focus properly with digital formats, and of course still the music should be what is in focus and the format secondary, but mp3s for instance can be problematic. There is too much of the experience that is lost.
That does not mean that one should ban mp3s, and ripping hard to get vinyl and tapes with approval of the artists and labels can be very useful when researching new and unheard stuff. However with mp3s available everywhere the process is in danger of becoming too easy, at least the process is speeded up, and that is not suitable for this kind of music, it is not "ipod shuffle music".
You can download a whole discography of an artist within minutes, then listen to a few tracks here and there and decide if it is good or bad. But experience tells that some of the most beautiful musical releases take many listens to sink in, some music releases needs you to sit down and read the lyrics for each song carefully, needs you to feel the quality of the cover and print, exanimate the artwork in detail, for it to make sense. Then if you like it, you spend half a year, some times many years, tracking down other releases of the artist and every time you get one, you do the same and it makes you feel like you just found a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. That part of the experience is in danger of being lost with mp3s and when access becomes too easy. At the same time we feel distanced from labels that explore this ebay mentality. As with many things it is about founding a reasonable balance.

[Q] Do you think that both Noise/P.E. and Black Metal can co-exist together and thrive? In what ways are they connected, if at all?

Black metal and noise are different in nature and most projects trying to connect the two do not seem to be very successful. It seems that in the last couple of years using "black metal" as a branding for non black metal is the best selling tactic for alternative releases, maybe even not so alternative releases.. and it seems that if people can draw a vague link from their noise project to some occult, satanic or ritual atmosphere they don’t hesitate to do so, in many cases it seems that this is done more for the sake of doing it than it is in fact what the music is about. Honesty is really what is important, and its important in all forms of art, it has a tendency to always show through the work if it is not done with the needed amount of honesty.
Posh Isolation releases a broad variety of music and we release black metal when not being strictly a "Black Metal label". We don’t feel it is a problem to release black metal along with other kinds of music if each release is treated with the needed care.

[Q] What projects, if any, are you involved in?

We are both involved in projects on the label, but it should not be the focus, who does what. It does not feel so important. Sometimes the artists name is included sometimes it is not, when absent, it is done so for a reason.

[Q] Are there any books or videos that have had a major influence on you, your music and the label?

Inspiration comes in many forms and from many places, some obvious, some less obvious. Sometimes the skies or a facial expression can be more inspiring than the masterworks of the great painters, musicians and writers. Here is a list, most in terrible spelling. Of course there are many forgotten and left out but this was a few that came to mind.

Mies van der Rohe, Michel de Certeau, Edvard Munch, Francoise Hardy, Disclose, DAF, Tom Kristensen, Hans Sahl, Depeche Mode, Sisters of Mercy, Johan Sebastian Bach, Sods, Magritte, Mikko Aspa, GISM, Pan Sonic, Sortsind, Blue Movie, Solmania, Lady Gaga, ULM school, Einar Jonsson, Casio, Tapeline, PJB, Broken Flag, Inger Christensen, Paul Celan, Smittekilde, Xenakis, Joy division, Crass, Virginia Woolf, Søren Kierkegaard.

[Q] What are some bands that are not on your label who you have been listening to lately? Any new bands or labels that you really enjoy?

Gothenburg in Sweden is producing so many great things lately; of course there is the fantastic as ever Sewer Election but also newer projects like Ättestupa, Lust for Youth, Street Drinkers, White, Källarbarnen and many more. Utmarken and Release the Bats are doing a very good job in documenting the acts and what is going on there. It’s rare that so much good and diverse quality comes out of such a small place.
Pan Records in Berlin, run by Bill of Family Battle Snake has been releasing great vinyls over the last year.
Nordisk Klub is a new Copenhagen label and we have much hope and faith in it to grow worthy of its potential.
Second sleeps new releases are all amazing!
There are many more doing an impressive job, some old some new.
Generally the ground is booming with labels, new acts to a point where it is difficult to keep track of it all.

[Q] What can be expected in the near future from Posh Isolation?

We recently got a space/office in the heart of Copenhagen, which we share with two of our good friends. Having a place from where we can run the operation will hopefully make it easier to keep up. There is so much stuff that needs to be done.
We just did the first two, non audio, releases on the label and there will be more, hopefully with English translations as well. There will be a lot of vinyl and a lot of tapes and hopefully a few surprises.

[Q] Thanks for doing the interview. This last spot is for you to say anything you want...

Thank you.

-Loke Rahbek & Christian Stadsgaard.


København, Denmark

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