We got in touch with Max Gruzin, label administrator of the Silent Flow Netlabel, based out of Moldova. A country between Romania and Ukraine who became independent from USSR in 1991.
Who are the people behind Silent Flow? Where are you from? What do you do for a living?
I’m the founder and label administrator, Max Gruzin. Bogdan Bondar helps me with social networks and Kirill Kirillov with cover art. I’m from Kishinev, Moldova. I work as a senior programmer in a charter aviation company.
Where did the idea of setting up a netlabel come from?
I wasn’t planning to start a netlabel. I was fond of netlabelism and released some compilations of netlabel music. In a month or so I’ve started receiving submissions from the artists. I’m still releasing both: artist submissions (SLNT) and compilations (BRE).
Did you follow other labels as rolemodels or inspiration to create Silent Flow? Can you drop us some names?
Yes, there were netlabels that I’ve got my inspiration from. It’s a pitty that some of them are defunct. Groovecaffe, Zymogen, Cism, Clinical Archives and of course my favorite: Resting Bell. I must have listened to all of their releases.
I’m still following a lot of other netlabels and artists as well.
Is your artist roster focused locally or worldwide?
We’ve got releases from artists all over the world. And only one of them is local.
You seem to have special concern with the artwork of the releases. Do you have a group of graphic designer or photographers helping out?
Our policy is simple: artist can use his own artwork or we can help with that. We prefer colorful nature pictures. Photographer Kirill Kirillov suplies us with most of the photos, also we use some creative commons images which can be found on the internet.
You also seem to follow a specific genre / aesthetic line. Can you express it in words? Why this specific genre/style? Is it just your preferred type of music?
Ambient, Experimental, Soundscape – that is our main aesthetic line. But we are open to different genres. I think it’s because these genres need much more attention and publicity. True “gems” can be found among these genres.
Can you tell us about your latest release?
“Sozu Project – Introspection [SLNT064]” is one of the latest releases. I’ve got the submission from Paolo in February together with “Requiem” [SLNT059]. We’ve decided to release “Requiem” first and “Introspection” as its continuation. I really love this EP, especially the last track “Elevation and Return”. It’s so close to what I want Silent Flow to be. I really recommend listening this one.
Do you have any connections with local event organizers?
Unfortunately not. Ambient isn’t popular here at all. We are pioneers here. Most downloads and listens come from abroad.
The boom of the netlabels seems to be dying out, with many artists opting for the 100% indie stand of previewing tracks on soundcloud and monetizing them on bandcamp, cdbaby or similar services. How is Silent Flow adapting to these changes?
I’ve noticed this trend some time ago and you’re probably right that netlabelism isn’t what it used to be. Netlabel boom ended, a lot of them disappeared, but some are still functioning and new ones appear. Soundcloud and bandcamp are digital markets distributing and streaming all what users upload. You can simply imagine how much “bad stuff” is there. Netlabels are closer to the listener, we have quality standards which help filter music. We reward loyal listeners by releasing music listener expects us to release. Surely these families become smaller, but they become more loyal as well. We also have our “strongholds” on the enemy side – profiles on soundcloud, facebook, vk and other social networks.
Some netlabels are hybrid with physical releases, have you tried anything in that department or have plans to do so in the future?
We make free digital releases only. We’re still experimenting with different forms of presentation like internet radio streaming, listening directly from the website, subscriptions and more. We’re not planning to give up or stop releasing. And why should we? We’ve never received this much submissions as we do now. Here’s a simple advice to new netlabels: release quality music only, be sincere with your artists and listeners.
It was a pleasure answering your questing and thank you for the opportunity to share my opinion.