The next netlabel interview in our monthly rotation is with the guys behind This Side Music, a duo based out of Greece, focusing their netlabel on electronic music (house/techno). They have been running it since 2007 and have had 18 releases so far.
Could you please introduce us to the people behind This Side Music? Who are you? What is your background? What do you do for a living? How did you get connected with music and netaudio?
The netlabel started in Crete island, Greece, by Lee Fraged and Linny Berret and it was a product of a years-long friendship and musical companionship. Lee currently has an office job, he has worked in record sales for many years. Linny is a computer engineer. We have both been spinnin’ records (house/techno) and serving the local scene since the late 90’s – the club is where we met. What brought us even closer was a common taste in music and, of course, living in the same house for many years.
We also consider Dimitri Barnias (aka Dok) the third member of the family. Dimitri has contributed a great deal with his music, his spirit and his studio equipment and time to what we do.
When and how did you feel the need to start a netlabel?
Back in 2006, when the idea was first conceived, we had already experimented with various methods of electronic music production along with friends in the local scene. We tried to find ways to express ourselves independently, outside the music industry rules and commercial mindset, and the technology was available to help us achieve our goal. Several other existing netlabels inspired us (such as Thinner/Autoplate, Deepindub, Tropic et al.) so when we had enough material to justify the creation of a new one we decided to set it up – that was in 2007. One of our main goals was to share and promote music of our personal taste with a focus on great sound, as close as possible to the traditional labels. We wanted This Side Music to be a musical commonplace for like-minded people, rather than just an outlet of random sounds.
Do you feel the premises that made you start are still present nowadays or has the world changed and your objectives along with it?
This Side Music is still a resource for good electronic music, under a Creative Commons license, so our main goal is still alive. Items are available for sale from time to time – we’ve had a DIY CD release that fared quite well in terms of sales and there is also a release available on Bandcamp. It’s important to keep in mind that this is a non-profit situation, so we have to cover all expenses such as server & mastering costs ourselves – actual income from donations or sales is minimal. Kudos to Dimitri’s Diapason Studio for serving us for free when we need it!
The world changes of course; we relocate from time to time (Lee has lived in Berlin for 2 years, Linny currently lives in Athens), we get busier in our personal and professional lives, and this translates to a slower release cycle. We believe that having 3-5 releases per year is good enough if we want to keep the spirit alive. We also have other projects we plan to associate with This Side Music, such as a traditional vinyl release.
How do you measure the success of your netlabel?
It’s been more than five years since the first release, and we have a nice roster of artists that support us and have become our friends, some of our releases were really successful, in terms of downloads and feedback (while some others not so much), but most importantly we have enjoyed some fine music. It is an ongoing ride and we plan to keep a steady, albeit slow, pace.
You divide your catalogue into 2 sections, can you tell us a little more about that? Why does that division make sense?
We indulge ourselves in a wide spectrum of electronic music, so in the sense of “releasing good music”, we decided that we should release more than one specific style. The division in 2 sections was the simplest that could be, one “Up” section for mostly uptempo, driving stuff and one “Down” section as a space for home listening, ambient or esoteric music. Every listener can choose to follow the activity on the “sublabel” that interests them most; someone interested in dance music might want to filter out the experimental sounds of This Side Down, for example, and vice versa. Each section seems to have its own fan base, the “Up” being more popular as expected. Moreover, the ‘This Side Up/This Side Down’ juxtaposition sounds nice.
Can you tell us a little about the situation in Greece and how it affects your personal life and also the label?
The financial crisis has affected friends and people around us deeply – increased unemployment and depression – and it’s hard to overlook such a situation. We try to counterbalance this with good music and engagement in creative activities on a personal level as well as through the netlabel.
Are you connected with local promoters to organize local gigs for your artists?
We prefer to organize our own gigs and events in local venues – including Healthy Summer, an annual summer event in southern Crete. Local artists get more exposure – covering travel expenses to the southernmost point in Europe is not cheap – but sometimes artists from the label come on vacation here, so we hook them up with a gig or two if possible. Other promoters in the area are mostly all about money and cheesy commercial music so smaller or specialist venues are our targets.
How do you see the world of music evolving in the next couple of years?
The fact is that music gets recycled as time goes on, while technology evolves and production values and techniques change. We expect to hear fascinating and unexpected new sounds, as well as some of the same, modernized probably, yet actually tried and tested formulas.
Can you tell us a little more about your next upcoming release?
Currently we are working on a new Dok release for This Side Down, a conceptual mini LP with manipulated ambient recordings from his DAT tapes.
Thanks for your time. Any last words of wisdom for our readers?
If you really believe in something, do it yourself. Don’t expect others to do it for you.
Link to the Label Page.