Hi, my name is Gavin Catling and I run the Perth, Western Australia based label Twice Removed. The label has been around since November, 2011 and has released some 39 physical releases, 2 digital only compilations and 7 releases on the Twice Removed Editions sub label.
FTY : What is the history behind the label name Twice Removed?
The name comes from the Australian Post Punk band called Tactics that where around from ’77-’90 . They had a song called “Twice Remembered/Twice Removed”, which has been a favourite of mine (in particular a live version that was recorded at an Anarchist bookshop that was about to be raided). I used the name for a blog that I was doing about the labels and artists I liked (which is still available at http://www.twicerememberedtwiceremoved.blogspot.com, hence the bandcamp address) and decided to use it for the label that took over where the blog finished off.
FTY : What genres of music is the label best known for?
For Better or worse, I guess the label is an Ambient/Drone label, though I have put out more genres like Post Rock (These Ship Wrecks), Witch House (Ourobonic Plague), Modern Classical (Vitaly Beskrovny, Endless Melancholy, Mote, Andrei Machado), Electroacoustic (Sindre Bjerga and micromelancolie`) to name a few. I have a varied taste of underground tastes from Ambient to Noise as well as the Hardcore Punk of my formative years. I prefer music that is instrumental, so anything electronic can fit in within that framework.
FTY : I hear record label and net label tags being used all the time but you are tagged as a micro label, what is micro about your label? Surely a record label is a record label?
I just called the label a micro-label as I am predominantly releasing editions of around 100 copies, with a decent number in the range of 50 with the sub label being limited to 30 copies. I guess micro label was just to differentiate the label from others and to set out what the label was. I have no allusion to being the next Constellation or whatever, it was more a statement of the size of the label.
FTY : A lot of your packaging is handmade with a small run of physical releases. Is that more a labour of love than a money making venture? (I personally love small run handmade releases)
Simply, I am a sucker for releases that are either handmade or have a different type of sleeve. Typically there are labels that have an aesthetic style or uniform look that comes across in their releases which I am a fan of, but I really like trying out every type of packaging I can get my hands on. The sub label is where I really get to play with the packaging. Each copy of the cd is in a recycled magazine paper sleeve with an antique post card and no 2 copies are the same. A good example is the second Nacht Plank “Notes from An Open Window” which musically had a space theme so the sleeves where made from NASA material and the postcards came from a 1977 Close Encounters of The Third Kind postcard book that had remained intact til I got my hands on it. Everything about Twice Removed is a labour of love rather than a money making venture.
FTY : Tell me a bit about the process you go through to release a single, EP or an album?
The process is pretty straight forward. I listen to all demo’s that get sent and once I have decided I like the music and want to put it I get in contact with the artists and we go from there. A lot have ideas of how they want the release to look and also are quite adept at art. Once I have got the artwork and the music it’s a case of working out the format or style of packaging and get working on it straight away. I’m not a big fan of sitting on something for a long period of time and things don’t tend to take a long time to come to fruition. I wouldn’t be able to say sit on a release for 4 months and work out some sort of marketing strategy.
FTY : You have released quite a few albums since the labels inception. Tell me about some of the artists who have released music on your label.
Without picking favourites (as I like all the TR artists and some have gone on too longstanding friendships) these four are artists I think people should hear more of:
Sima Kim is a South Korean artist that has gone on to other labels such as Inner Ocean, Unknown Tone, Chemical Tapes, Umor Rex and Blwbck to name a few. I have a soft spot for his “Songs” release on TR.
Mote is a young Italian called Marco Caricola living in England studying Audio Engineering. “Frames” is his debut release and deserves to be on other labels radars.
Endless Melancholy is Oleksiy Sakevych from Ukraine who has also been on Preserved Sound and his own Hidden Vibes label and makes stunning piano based Modern Classical. Much like Mote I would get great satisfaction of seeing other labels pick him up.
Andrei Machado sent me his third release “Catarse” after 2 net label releases and I was more than happy putting it out. He like the above deserves to be better known.
FTY : Is all the music submissions or do you go seek out artists to release music from?
Early on I contacted artists that I liked in view to doing a release on TR and got knocked back from each of them. The plan originally (inspired by the late Australian label Sound & Fury) was to mix better known names with lesser/unknown names . After doing the Craig McElhinney release (he was always going to be the first local I was going to release), Ryo had put post on Facebook about seeking a label for a release, so I put my hand up. At a local show I got a demo from K Wilson, Sam Gillies from Cycle~ 440 approached me about doing their second album and Ourobonic Plague played and I had just done his “Post Human Possibilities” release. A few months later with some local releases under my belt, Sima Kim posted about looking for a label and I picked up “Songs”. After this demo’s started coming in. As I have not been successful in the pursuit of artists I have gone with picking and filtering what has been sent to me and I think I’ve done a pretty good job this way. I don’t go and contact people anymore.
FTY : With small record labels I am guessing it’s all about the passion for the label and artists alike. Does the label operate more like a non-profit business. Is the record label more of a hobby than a full time venture?
I think about it full time, but as a stay home dad and part time worker, the time I spend on it is not as much as I would prefer to, but that’s part of responsibilities in life. It’s more like a non-profit business. I release what I like and the artists I like. I haven’t gone for artists with large profiles and never released anything purely on whether it will sell or not. I think going down that road would be a bad decision. It’s better to be true to what you like than predicting what other people will like.
FTY :How do you keep up with all the releases? Do you have a dedicated bunch of helpers or is it just a solo effort?
TR is a one man show with a lot of passion, but limited time and funds. Weekends tend to be my time where I can construct releases. My go to man for mastering is Wil Bolton and Grace Wood is the person I go to for art. She did her boyfriend Tim Bass’ cover and has worked on a bunch since then and is currently working on the Grzegorz Bojanek and Richard Ginns releases.
FTY : What or who influenced you to start the label?
Labels like Hibernate and Home Normal are the big signposts for me. I grab as much as I can from each label and am still influenced by them including Ian’s other labels like KOMU. Other labels like Under the Spire, Heat Death and Dead Pilot Recordings were/are inspirational. I also took lessons from those that are not around any more like Basses Frequencies and made sure not to do the same things that caused their demises.
FTY : How does the label promote itself, are you finding social media is a good avenue for this?
This is the hardest part of doing a label, getting the music out there. I send to a good dozen of blogs/sites and some cover the releases. I probably don’t make it easy by doing so many releases and don’t really do the marketing game. There are sites that I have sent stuff to and been ignored, so I tend to focus more on relationships with the people that buy the releases. Social media is ok as long as you realise that the # of people that like or follow you does not equal an increase of sales, especially with maybe a quarter or less seeing your post on their Facebook feeds.
FTY : If you could work with any artist or band, who would it be and why?
I’m pretty content with who I work with already. I wouldn’t mind doing more releases with the likes of Sima Kim and Endless Melancholy. That said, I do have a soft spot for Ian Hawgood.
FTY : What advice would you give to any artists looking to get a start today and trying to get their music released on a label?
Try it yourself first. Nothing impresses me more than someone who does it themselves than just goes here is my first recording can you release it. If you put your time and money into something that you love people will notice it. Knowing something about the label helps. Getting emails where you see everyone else they sent to is a no-no. I just send them to the trash. There are a bunch of labels out there so knowing what they do and their demographic, for want of a better word, helps. People tend to do releases on one label will contact another label of the similar scene.
FTY : Last piece of music you listened to, apart from anything on your label
I honestly don’t get a lot of time where I can lock myself away with music and I do tend to listen to a lot of TR stuff and stuff that is sent to me. That said releases like “Building Nothing, Laying Bricks” by evolve and “Piano Works” by Ian Hawgood have been recent favourites.
FTY : If I was an artist, how would I go about getting my music released on the Twice Removed record label?
A friendly email with information about yourself and your music and a download link. I’m not a big fan of streaming , although a bunch of stuff has come my way via Soundcloud like Ben Steed, Sima Kim, Given, Mote, etc… I prefer to listen where I am not tied to a phone, lap top or IPad. It also depends on how many releases I have planned. I am always accepting or biting off more than I can chew.
FTY : Would you say that labels like yourself are turning the music industry on its head? I mean you don’t have to be a big music corporation to go get signed to a label and get music released, or do you?
I think we are creating more of a niche cottage industry and a network that people appreciate. I’m not sure how other labels operate, but I think we tend to have more of a spirit of support than competition. I have aligned with the Polish label Preserved Sound and Ukraine label Hidden Vibes as I love their music and think them and their artists should be better known. I came from the Hardcore Punk scene and the whole DIY feel I think is still relevant. You hear something that you feel people should hear and then you do it, rather than waiting for someone else to.
FTY : What does the future hold for Twice Removed
Up next are releases from Italy’s Andrea Ricci (“Blend” 3”) and Greece’s Zenjungle (“Leaving Stations) and then a bunch of releases from: Richard Ginns, Grzegorz Bojanek, Le Berger, Matt Barlow, Cestine, Emil Klotzsch, Post Global Trio, Snoqualmie Falls, Pleq & Guilio Aldinucci and Solipsism in no particular order. I can imagine them in a bunch of different packaging as well!
Twice Removed Records are the man feature of an accompanying podcast over here at Fade To Yellow