We recently talked with Lionel Valdelion, the person behind the QED Records, the first Philippines netlabel, active online since June 2004.
Did you have any netlabel references when founding QED? Are they still active today?
I was looking at a bunch of netlabels when I started, such as Thinnerism and No Type, and the rest of the regulars over at the Internet Archive Netlabels collection. Sadly many of those first few netlabels are no longer in existence, or have stopped releasing anything new.
The motivation to start my own netlabel really grew when I started subscribing to the netlabel release mailing lists on Yahoogroups. Seeing all this amazing material released out of bedrooms in the farthest reaches of the globe inspired me.
Your website claims QED was the first Philippines netlabel, are there others active nowdays? Can you tell us a little more about the scene there?
There are now at least three more netlabels that I know of, plus a whole lot of individual artists who are packaging their releases on Mediafire and acting as self labels. While netlabelism isn’t something that ever took off here as more of a movement or a scene, it is something that indie artists understand the need for.
Are you connected with the Indonesians Netlabels Union in any way? I know it’s another country, but somewhat close geographically. Maybe you can tell us a little more about it than what we can translate off their website?
No connection at all. That’s been the one thing lacking in my management of the netlabel: any form of organized networking.
What are the predominant type of sounds we can find at QED?
Predominantly chillout and downtempo, but also a lot of breakbeat and DnB, plus everything in between. It never had a real sound because it is held together more by a geographical home base rather than a sonic one.
I read you relocated to the US? Not wanting to pry on your personal life, but can you share with us the reason why? Do you still keep in touch with the Philippines netaudio scene?
My wife and I migrated here to the US to start a family and grab the chance for a better quality of life. So far, it’s working. But I do still keep in touch with Philippine musicians via social media.
You have a very long catalogue for a netlabel, to this date over 4000 releases. My question is: aren’t you afraid that your higher quality releases get hidden under the quantity?
That number is actually deceiving. I started the netlabel with release number qd-4200. So there are only 72 releases thus far. Not very much actually, compared to other, more active netlabels.
But yes, having a large catalog poses a challenge. How do you give equal time to promoting new and old releases? The answer, I think lies in analytics. Look at what people are downloading more of, and promote more of the same sound/genre. Then look at the under-promoted releases you believe in yourself and promote those.
Do you treat all releases the same in terms of promotion? Especially when dealing with different genres it can be difficult to remain in touch with different target audiences, how do you deal with that?
I do promote everything the same way: blasting it out on social media. And to be honest, it never really worked. Or I was never able to optimize the process. I never was able to put enough effort behind it to do it in a way needed for more people to discover us.
I tried video and Youtube for a while, but again, not enough time to do so properly.
Can you share with us your typical promotion of a new release? What websites do you contact? Mailing lists?
I started out promoting the releases using yahoogroups. Today, it’s really only via archive.org’s Netlabel page, Twitter, Facebook, and a few forums. If there’s a manual out there that lists the best ways to promote independent netlabels, I would gladly download it.
Do you have any contact with local scenes organizing or promoting concerts?
I did for a while. But since the majority of electronic musicians QED Records works with are bedroom musicians, there was never enough of a motivation to create events for the releases.
Please share with us a couple of your releases and why any new listeners should listen to them.
I picked these releases based on reader reviews posted on Archive.org:
[qd-4255] Araknidus & aLJar3d – Disturbanz
Kick ass drum n bass by two indie producers who started out producing tracks in the bedroom and parlayed it into gigs at venues.
[qd-4246] Demolee – A World in Slow Motion
Smoothest of smooth chillout and downtempo by a master of sublime groove.
[qd-4214] Makkina – Blissful
Downtempo drum n bass by a reclusive producer whose tracks have been featured on Cafe Del Mar.
[qd-4209] Acid42 – Downtampuhan
Chill house, acid jazz, ambient and a little world/ethnic flavor.
Thanks for your time! Do you have any question you would have liked me to have ask you? Also, any last words of wisdom for the readers?
Support your favorite netlabel by promoting them or buying their products (if they have any for sale).