Our netlabel interview tour continues, this time focusing on France with Zorch Factory Records. A netlabel focusing on alternative / dark / goth / punk music genres.
Can you please introduce the people who run Zorch Factory Records? What are their backgrounds and how long have they been involved with promoting music?
Well in fact there is only me, Manu, running the label, for the greater part of our existence since our founding back in 2008. Two months ago I started cooperating with a writer that helps me with record reviews and summaries. He’s American, thus a native English writer, and it gave a new dimension to the label.
About me, I would say that I have been into music since 2003. I played in a couple of bands, including my own project, Camp Z, created in 2006, went on stage a few times, met a lot of other bands and people within the scene (promoters, djs, writers of fanzines and webzines).
I read from your website that you started the label in 2008. Why did you feel the need to start Zorch Factory Records?
I created my own musical band/project in 2006. In 2007/2008 I was signed by a wonderful dark indie label. But soon after it was clear that I would not sell much. After 2005 it began to be hard for traditional labels to sell CDs and I wasn’t doing much gigs with this band… So I decided to release the next records of Camp Z online, as free download so that a maximum number of people could be reached. I was a webmaster, web programmer and designer… That’s how it all started.
Did your motivation or objectives change since then? If so, in what way? If not, hasn’t the music world been changing since then?
No, my motivation or objective are the same. Surely the music world has been changing since, digital music taking over more and more. But the idea of an independent netlabel, a place where people could discover and grab good underground music for free is the same. I just added a little commercial dimension. I signed a partnership with another dark indie netlabel, afmusic that distributes some ZFR releases on all major digital music stores.
Zorch Factory focuses on the so called alternative and goth genres: deathrock, post punk, batcave, industrial. There aren’t that many netlabels focused on these niche genres. Compared to the number of netlabels releasing techno for example. Can you share your opinion on why that might be?
I think the reason is quite simple. These genres are closer to “rock” music attitude rather than electro. So they remained away from the computer longer than the techno or electro musicians. They were still focused on the classic aspects of the genre like, rehearsals, gigs, recording full length albums in studio, and making “discs” whether it was vinyl or CD. At the same time electro people were already very active on the net, sharing music, recording on their laptop, producing music on the net, etc.
Rock musicians became familiar with releasing their music online later, through services like last.fm, jamendo, myspace, etc. And for niche genres, dedicated labels like Zorch Factory was a good way of being visible. That’s why I received so many demos & applications.
Can you tell us a little about the netaudio scene in France? Are you in touch with other netlabels? Are there many active netlabels?
I am not really aware of the netaudio scene in France. Not at all in fact, except for these niche genres. And in France there are no other netlabels like ZFR. Yet some traditional labels in the scene are starting to release things as digital, like free samplers of their artists. And some other netlabels appear from time to time. And there are some bands which are very active on their own. I mostly cooperate with my big partner afmusic, which is really a leader of the genre in Europe at least.
Your deal with afmusic from Germany enables you to publish CD releases. Do you feel physical releases still carry a certain importance? We all know they reach less people, but do they generate more reviews and specialized attention?
Well the deal with afmusic only covers commercial digital releases. Meaning these releases will appear on iTunes, Amazon, Deezer, Spotify… Still I agree with you regarding physical releases. These are still generating more attention from traditional magazines for example, while reaching far less people…
Do you collaborate with local promoters to organize events for your artists? If so, can you tell us in what form? If not, why not?
No, simply because I do not have the time for this. I’d love too, but I have a job, a family, and not enough time or energy for more than the label!
Why the restriction of no derivatives on your standard creative commons license? Are you against the remix culture? Wouldn’t it make sense to let the people who are inspired from your releases to create and share their work? You don’t lose anything from it, only stand to gain more publicity. Or are you concerned with protecting your image?
Well it’s more something related to the “rock” music culture which is not that familiar with remixes, we expect that the band asks for such remixes and provides the remix kit for it, or if someone does a remix they let the original musician know about it before releasing it. So it was more a choice to have a license model that fits the label band’s culture in general. But each band is free to ask for a more flexible creative commons license model.
Thank you for your time, and good luck with your future efforts.