Interview with HAZE

Continuing our series of interviews with different netlabels we came across HAZE netlabel and ended up asking its curator Dzmitry Ladzes a few questions by email:

Who are the people behind Haze? When was it formed?
It was formed in 2007. I had an idea to create some kind of web resource that would represent the Belarusian experimental and avant-garde scene abroad. Local musician and DJ, as well as my friend, Vladislav Buben proposed to use the format of a netlabel for this purpose. That’s how it all started.

I read from your website that you are based in Belarus, can you tell us more about the netaudio scene there and music in general?
Yes, we are based in Belarus. Belarus is a very strange country, which is located in the geographical center of Europe between Poland and Russia. It’s a strange country with a strange history. And the music scene in this country has its oddities. When I started HAZE, the aggressive experimental stage dominated Belarus. Electro industrial, harsh noise, etc. Can you imagine a noise party in a gay club? At that time the country did not have enough good clubs, there were no professional club promoters. But the experimental stage was very active nonetheless. Parties and festivals were held in very strange places.
Today there are many clubs and venues in Belarus. But they haven’t formulated concepts or orientation. For certain clubs, yesterday could have seen a reggae party, a retro party might be held there today and tomorrow they could even host a children’s party. The experimental scene has also changed. While some individuals are still active, young musicians are not so interesting as they do not yet have their own unique vision and sound. Of course, there are exceptions.

Are most of your release artists from Belarus or other countries?
In the beginning I published only Belarusian musicians. But then it grew into an international netlabel. Currently Belarusian musicians are organically merged into a huge global context of experimental music.

Why the focus on experimental, avant-guard and eclectic music?
Because it is the music I like.

You are a musician yourself right? Care to tell us a little more about your personal project?
My project is called Aortha. I do not use instruments, synthesizers or samples banks in my music, only what I have recorded. I like to record the sounds of the street. Then I create samples of these records and processes them through a variety of effects. This is creating collages from the sounds of urban transport, supermarkets, voices of the crowd. I like this method. It’s like hearing an “angel’s song” in the humming of the fridge or finding interconnections in ordinary things.

Are you involved in organizing local events?
Oh… Previously, I was organizing parties and festivals. For example, together with Vladislav Buben we organized the Belarusian part of the Unsound festival. Later, together with the guys from the Foundamental Network and local promo-group Intelligent Punks we organized the experimental music festival InTouch.
Being an ‘artwork manager’ doesn’t just bring one satisfaction from the activities and participation of musicians and audiences. It is very hard work that requires a lot of effort, time and money. Therefore, I decided to quit organizing cultural events, for the time being, at least.

Can you tell us a little more about your literary series?
The literary series was an experiment. Musician had to rethink the literary heritage of the great writers of the 20th century. It was an attempt to translate a literary text into the language of sound and rhythm. We published a total of 12 releases for 2012–2013. Each release was dedicated to a single writer.
I, as a curator of the project, loved this series. Musicians really immersed themselves in the texts of writers and passed on their ideas. However, it seems to me that the series failed.
Today we launched a new series of compilations. HAZE comrade and my wife Anna Rodina suggested a cool idea. Musicians dedicate their works to the cities. Cities in which they were, which they never visited, the city they love, fear or avoid. You know, every city has its own smell, its air. But other than that every city has its own sound, rhythm and musical mood. These features we strive to convey in the new series. This is a sonic journey through various cities. The first compilation from this series will be dedicated to Minsk.

Have you considered other means of distribution? Physical media, paid digital downloads?
Today HAZE publishes music in digital form only for free under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
It is possible that we will soon start selling selected releases on CDs. But it will be an additional opportunity for collectors and connoisseurs. I’m not going to abandon the free distribution of music. It’s part of my values.

What other labels influenced your work? Can you drop us some names?
Variety is one of the features of netaudio. Therefore I find it difficult to identify some leaders. Nevertheless, there are netlabels which draw my attention more often, e.g. Clinical Archives, headphonica and Brusio netlabel. I try to monitor Belarusian netlabels as well. Foundamental Network released very good quality music.

What process do you have to announce a new release? What platforms do you cover?
Mainly I use social networks to promote the releases. Unfortunately, many resources that were dedicated to the promotion of netaudio no longer exist today…

Care to tell us a little more about your latest and upcoming releases?
Heh. It is very difficult to identify a particular release. Just today I published an album with the collaboration of four musicians. This is freejazz. The album is interesting in that it was recorded at a distance. Usually jazz musicians come together in one place and play their improvisation. But there was no visual contact. It was a cool experiment. Recommend listening.

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