Sunday, 7 August 2011

Outtake by Mistake: Interview with Michael Kasparis (Nightschool Rec/Please/The Lowest Form)

Basically my mistake; I sent an old version of the interview to Diana who was in charge of the printing. See it as a complement/teaser to the print.


Do you think you will release some of your project (Please, The Lowest Form, your solo stuff) on your label or do you feel embarrassed by this kind of attitude?

Um, its a weird one. The Lowest Form probably not as we started our label to release stuff (LOW Recordings). One of my favourite things about doing a label is mouthing of about other people's music. It's the ultimate fandom. Even though I love my own music I can never tell anyone else how great it is. Please as a band are the worst self-promoters I've ever come across. So anything I'd write about a Please release is gonna sound really humble and it'll probably defeat the object. So I'll say "no" and probably release a please thing in a couple of months.


Over 10 years, I had the impression major labels (Warner, Universal, etc) signed/promoted less and less of rock-ish inspired act (even succeful act like Franz Ferdinand or Animal Collective) for more and more hip hop/R'nB group, leaving big indie labels acting as major (Mute, Rough Trade, Domino, 4AD) and label like yours or Upset The rhythm becoming the next indie.

Do you think it's a side-effect of 'illegal' downloading or because of rock scene is becoming a niche-market like jazz or classical can be?

Well firstly I don't really know what goes on in the charts really. I know that majors still sign rock acts and make money off them: kings of leon, glasvegas, vaccines etc. These acts still appeal to a demographic that buys things. The bigger indie labels act exactly in the same way as majors for the most part and it can be boiled down to trying to sell as many records as they can. UTR or NS aren't any different really, we're just releasing less popular music!! We'd all like to think that the indies care about the artists more than the "nasty majors" but who knows? I've met people who work for major labels that are lovely, enthusiastic people. I've met people who work for big indies or who run labels the size of night school who are absolute wankers. Personally I don't stigmatize anything because its on a major or whatever but I know people who do and that's totally understandable. To actually answer your question I think cd revenues are fucked because of downloads yes. This is a problem for the majors and big indies. I'm not going to be blowing any minds to suggest that the 'market' is splitting up like how you're suggesting. Majors will have to find new ways of making money because people just aren't consuming the most popular music the same way they were 15 years ago. The indie labels, like NS, are different because we produce things which a niche market desire and that shows no sign of stopping.

What are the chance of survival for small indie label in what becoming a collector market?

By their nature a lot of indie labels do small runs and if they're desirable then the price will go up, once you can't get them from the label. The collector's market is really volatile and not something indie labels themselves are particularly aggressive about, to my knowledge. I think as long as the industry exists in its current form there will always be collectors and ebayers picking at the remains. I'm not sure anyone will ever pay 1000s of pounds for an indie release from the last 10 years the way they do for 70s prog private presses or whatever. Maybe I'm wrong... If anyone buys the Outside single for a 1000 quid in 10 years I won't complain.

Do you have to turn to CDR (like Disaro or Phantasma Disques) and tape (like Night People) to be able to survive the cost and keep going?What is the financial strategy of Nightschool Records (the first release pay for the second, and etc)?

Its a balancing act. Certain things are more profitable for sure, like CDrs and tapes. It costs a lot money to release a 7" in relation to how much you can expect back. This is why the APPEAL comp will be a tape, to make the most money for charity. The "bottom line" for me and I'm sure a lot of other labels is that if you sell out you've recouped and you go towards paying for the next release. Personally I've stopped accounting for the first two releases as the initial costs were so numerous and large it just got depressing haha. I don't regret a bit of it tho. When I saw the finished 7"s and thought of the money and time and effort from me and Gina Baber, who helped with the screening and designed the Terror Bird sleeve, I realised it was all worth it a thousand times over. Sorry if that sounds cheese-ball!

Some years ago, I saw one of the first gig of Please before a Trans Am gig. By then, you were sounding like a cross between out-of-rhythm epic heavy metal (think Rhapsody rather than Iron Maiden) and crashing pop post punk (somewhat Fire Engines)

I always wander what was intentional in that and what was pure "luck"

Haha yeah, that was our third gig. When we started Keeby and I were into a lot of noise, underground metal and prog. Rowland was the sole voice preventing us from turning into Orthrelm or something. We weren't that confident in ourselves so we did stuff that was more, uh, numbskull or something. Instead of doing something interesting we'd just turn the guitars up and throw our hair about. We didn't have a real idea of what we wanted. I suppose we still don't but we've grown a balanced chemistry, if I can sound pretentious for a minute. We all like different things and now it feels what we do is a total convergence of what we all like. Personally I don't think there was anything 'intentional' about sounding like a cross between Rhapsody and Fire Engines (good god!) nor anything particularly 'lucky.' Unlucky maybe. My one thing I took from that show was that a member of a well-known noise-pop group really laid into us on a forum about the shirt I was wearing. I'd only lived in London for two years and that was the sort of attitude I had expected from the real trend-lord types. The guy said something like the music was like my shirt, gaudy and disgusting. I've never recovered from this and still judge all my dress and music decisions on what that one guy said on a forum in 2007.



No comments:

Post a Comment