I recently got in touch with Edu Comelles, the main person behind the Spanish netlabel Audiotalaia.
Hello Edu, can you tell us a little more about who is behind Audiotalaia?
Audiotalaia was founded in 2007. Since then I have managed the label by myself with punctual collaborations. Right now I work with Óscar Palou who’s in charge of developing the site. Also with Jaume Muntsant, we are usually in touch to work out collaborations or when he releases his podcast Nuvol de Fum. Also Carla Ariza designed the logo and a few guidelines about Audiotalaia’s aesthetic imagery.
But yes, basically it’s me coordinating the whole thing. In a few months we will start new projects in which more people will join me in a new endeavor involving physical releases. And yes, even though I’m by myself I always speak in plural when Audiotalaia is in the conversation: it sounds better :)
Can you tell us a little more about your artists and your aesthetic vision for the label?
At the beginning our main target was to release works of experimental music or sound compositions closer to an ambient approach. With time, the interests of Audiotalaia has widened the range of styles and genres. Nowadays we focus on various styles and we don’t close the door to proposals ranging from field recordings to circuit bending.
During the past three years the label has focused the interest on works and artists composing in Spain, we have discovered a very vivid and active scene (especially in Valencia) and we are focusing on spreading and disseminating works made in our country (at least we have something worth-exporting). So in the end, Audiotalaia has taken the responsibility of promoting and producing works by local and national artists. Even though we don’t close the door to foreign artists, not at all, but our primary goal is to contribute to this growing community of artists, living (or leaving) Spain.
Can you tell us about one of your recent releases and why we should check it out?
Our latest release by Basque Artist Lauki is a very nice release. He’s been collaborating for a while with Polish artist Pleq and this is his first solo album since 2010. We are happy to release his work because it captures the essence of the aesthetic philosophy of Audiotalaia. A very beautiful work based on recordings of string instruments processed and re-arranged by Lauki himself. After releasing his work we will receive him in Valencia as a guest artist at Off_Hz and this is something we rather like in Audiotalaia to meet the artists we are working with.
I know you organize a few events now and again, especially in Valencia. Can you tell us a little more about your experience organizing local events and dealing with local promoters?
The experience in Valencia has been absolutely stunning so far. After my arrival (almost four years ago) I have discovered amazing artists working on a daily basis and producing a lot of good stuff. Avelino Saavedra, Jean Montag, Jorge Marredo, Martí Guillem, Alozeau, Josué Moreno, Víctor Trescolí or Josep Lluís Galiana are a few examples… But I could be writing names for a while. We can say that nowadays we have a very active local scene that is seen from the rest of Spain as a surprising outburst of creativity, events and culture in a political and socio-economical moment like this one.
We have an average of 3-4 concerts per month in a city not bigger than 800.000 inhabitants, a few self-catered festivals and a monthly based sound art event called Off_Hz curated by me and Carlos Flores. Off_Hz is presenting every month a double concert on different art gallery every time. Each concert counts with a local artist and some other artist we bring from the rest of Spain.
Off_Hz is having a tremendous success in the city. In this small world of experimental music or sound art or whatever you want to call it, there is only a very small amount of people you may reach, still with this disadvantage Off_hz is filling art galleries with people listening to weird music. This is just an example but the case is that Valencia (I don’t know why) is very eager to listen to new music, after three years of continuous work and a lot of pedagogy and didactics we have managed to attract new public and every time more people get interested in that.
We have always been against the inherited elitism of some festivals where you play in front of a few sound artists and composers, you deal with each other and nothing really happens. We are always avoiding this, we take the risk of confronting a non-literate audience, and see how they react, the feedback you get at the end of the concert is richer than any literate comment by some Electroacustic Music legend, something that, make no mistake, we also respect, but… sometimes a fresh and clean approach by someone with “clear ears” is a nice slap in the face.
In regards to the question about the local promoters, we in fact are some sort of local promoters, we work on a self-cattered, DIY philosophy and it has been working nicely so far. Valencia is a city that allows an easy way to organize things, the law is flexible and the rents are low. Also the underground scene in Valencia is quite a vivid one. There a lot of locals and venues where to organize a concerts is quite easy, some of them have even amazing sound equipment such as Plutón.cc a venue we collaborate with often and a epicenter of a part of this scene. In the past, places like La Clínica Mundana (currently closed) functioned in similar ways.
What is your standard procedure when promoting a new release? Do you have regular contact with album reviewers or certain preferred platforms to announce your releases?
We promote basically through social networks such as facebook and twitter. Also we have a very strong mailing list with local and international media reviewers, radio programmers and so on. One of our targets is to be very present on radio in a Spanish basis also we keep promoting the latest release until the next one pops up after (more or less) one month. We like to give time the album to widespread and become sometimes viral. Of course we send personal emails to concrete reviewers that are eager to talk about our releases. This part of the promoting machinery is focused on international media blogs or review platforms, as said before our main target is to show things done in Spain abroad.
The music world is always changing and labels need to adapt and try new models. Can you tell us more about your plans with Audition Records that are described in your homepage?
Audition Records is now in full control of Julián Bonequi. Nowadays the label has stopped production for a while. Bonequi has done amazing work recollecting and preserving a very complex and rich scene based in Berlin, after this hard work I think he deserves a break and a lot of applause.
With Audiotalaia the path leads to another adventure. We are going to open a new catalogue for physical editions that will come to fruition in the following months with new and very promising projects. Also and this is still too early we are starting to think about vinyl editions. For now we will start with CD and limited editions and as this works out we’ll see if we go further. Still with this new addition we won’t leave the free download catalogue, this will continue as always.
What are your plans for the future?
Well I guess I have answered a bit of this in the previous question but the future (as uncertain as it is) will lead us to expand our activities, we want to place a special effort on exporting our model of work to other cities and to start moving artists around the country in new projects we are already working on. So the future, I think is gonna be tough but exciting.
Any last words or a question you would have liked me to have asked?
Just to thank you Filipe for the opportunity to share with you guys what we are working on here in Valencia and Audiotalaia. Thanks very much and congratulations for the work done so far at Netlabelism.