aaahh records : free and charming people (Interview with Christian Grasse)
Posted on 18 April 2011
First of all, one thank you to Christian Grasse for his kindness… and to all the aaahhs for the happiness they bring to us !
1) About the team’s life. Is each member given a particular task to carry out ? Do you meet regularly ? Are you friends ? Did it start as an adventure between friends ?
Yes, we all know each other from uni and during that time (May 2008) we started aaahh records. After we graduated we all moved to different cities and since then we don’t see each other that often. But we try to meet as often as possible. At least online we meet quite regularly via skype and talk about aaahh stuff. And yes, we share the work that has to be done for a release. I mostly take care of building the website, while Henning, Jochen and Judith mostly write the press releases. Patrick is doing the artwork and all of us try to promote the release by sending promo emails to a selected group of blogs, magazines, radio stations etc. When it comes to label philosophy issues and the music itself, for example to decide whether we contact an artist or answer a demo submission, we decide all together of course.
||2) About the artists. Do you only keep in touch on Internet or do you meet sometimes ? Do you have some private relationship with some of them?
Well, we would like to meet them more often, but we meet some of them once in a while. Jochen and me joined ne:o and Keyboard Rebel on their tour in 2009 and we went to England for a wedding of a Keyboard Rebel couple. That was great. Julia (Entertainment For The Braindead) we meet quite often, because she is touring a lot. Whenever she plays near to one of the places we live, we see her. When The Wind Whistles were touring Europe they stayed with us, the boys from ne:o we see once in a while and Bryyn (f.k.a. Pinkle) we met once. Henning has also met Emily Lund once or twice in Sweden. The only band that we have not met yet is Uniform Motion. We will hopefully meet them on their tour this year. Also Nicolas Falcon will be on tour this year and we hope to meet him aswell. But we also try to keep in touch via email and skype. Until now we have been really lucky because all of them are really wonderful people !
3) About your manager role. How to develop it ? Do you have enough time and energy for that?
We don’t manage artists, really. All we do is offering them a platform to release their music. And we try to promote it. Because we love their music and we want as many people as possible to listen to their music. If we can, we try to give them advice but we don’t to talk them into another direction are something like that. They are the artists, they make art. We make their art public.
4) About financing. According to your interview on FlattrChattr and some Twitter pics about donations, you don’t seem to roll in money . Do you sometimes have to add personnal cash to finance some plans ?
Yes, we do put our own money into the project. Because we see this as a hobby, not as work. While other people go fishing, snorkling or climbing, we run this little label. And to be honest, it does not cost much money to run a netlabel. Its about 100 Euros a year for the server (we share a big server with other projects). We like to be able to do everything on our own. It is great to see such a project flourish. And if some people want to support this with a donation, it’s even better.
5) About fans. You begin to be known on Internet but your good reputation seems to bring you only a few incomes. Do you think people are not used yet to give some money for something they can have for free?
First of all, some people give money. Of course it is not much, but it is something. And again, we are not planning to make a living with aaahh records. And most of our artists also make their music as a hobby. All the money on the internet thing is just very confusing, I guess. If you offer something for free, you automatically communicate that you do not want any money for this, unless you ask for donations. If people see the music as a gift, why should they pay for it? But I still think that there is a great potential if you find the right balance to communicate: “Look, we offer this for free, but please consider to support us and the artists. With your help the artists could do so much more.”
6) About Creative Commons licenses. Something to tell about that ? You seem to prefer the CC-BY-NC license. People from free software don’t consider it as free because of the NC restriction… but i like it too because I can see clearly the artist saying « Hey don’t use my music for commercial purpose, but here are the sources, and you can do what you want with them… »… and THIS is Freedom ! How is the license of an album chosen ? Do you advise your artists ? I suppose you don’t really like the ND restriction, as you really encourage mixing…
In case an artist does not know about CC, we try to tell them everything we know and we prefer the BY-NC, thats right. Sometimes an artists already has a licence chosen, like Nicolas Falcon the attribution only licence. We really like the idea of a remix. We just want the people to get involved.
7) About the future. A great new website, the fantastic plan of the danish house… What else could we expect for the months to come (except the come-back of Entertainment for the Braindead, fingers crossed)?
Puh, well, there will be a new release for sure some time soon. We definetly have to work out a way to improve our promotion. We want more people to get to know our artists. But there are no concrete plans but the ones you mentioned for the near future.
8) A little word for your french friends ? No show planned in France in order to be able to finally appreciate your wonderful artists in live ? (if I only had enough money to do organize such a festival…)
If anybody knows a nice booking agency that would like to support us and work with our artists… contact us.
PS : if you liked the remixes and downloaded them, here is a cover !
Thanks to Ade for second reading and corrections…