I'll open this interview up with a long question. What is Alrealon Musique about, and what's your history? How was the label founded and why, and how'd you three find each other? Do each of you have specific duties regarding the label activities?
Philippe > I had a band called Heat From a DeadStar in London from 2005 to 2009. At the time, we were looking for a deal with a label. We couldn't find anything then. Alrealon Musique was supposed to be the management/promotion structure for HFADS. But we ended up signing a contract with Rick Harte/Ace of Hearts Records in 2008. The idea was to have Alrealon release music by other artists. The first two releases were JOHN 3:16 - s/t (ALRN001) and subduxtion - un-mxd and manipulated (ALRN002). JOHN 3:16 is my solo project and subduxtion was the project of Christopher Gilmore (now known as FluiD).
I met Christopher on MySpace 5-6 years ago. Christopher knew Robert of PAS, so it was only natural after that to welcome him into our family.
I'm dealing with the promotion and the distribution of our catalogue and the artists on a daily basis. Chris is involved into the promotion of the label and is always on the look out for new artists/bands and Robert focuses on the PAS Curated Series as well as Experi-MENTAL Festival.
For the PAS Curated Series, Robert sends us his release schedule and we have a look at it. We trust his artistic taste and we haven't argued about anything so far (LOL). Robert releases albums from artists he toured or collaborated with in the past.
"PAS is proud to announce a PAS curated music series of releases on the Alrealon Musique label. Initial artists include Blue Sausage Infant from Washington D.C., USA and Thorsten Soltau from Germany. PAS has given the opportunity to represent a limited number of artists they have either worked with or collaborated with in the past. Each release will be pressed in a limited edition in cd format and available through Alrealon Musique and various distributors."
Where did the name "Alrealon Musique" come from?
Philippe > With the Heat From a DeadStar manager, we were looking for a name for a few weeks. Alrealon is a word that I had in mind one morning when I woke up. I knew that was the name we were going to have. But I still don’t know what it really means.
How do you make the final call on which artist's work to release and whose not? It is simply up to your gut feeling on what do you initially like and what you don't? Also, how do you generally find these artists; do you contact them, or do they contact you?
Philippe > Chris and I have to agree on what we are releasing. Both of us have to get excited with the upcoming releases. Most of time, the artists we are working with are friends or friends of our friends. We have never signed anyone based on a demo or an email sent to us. For us, the live aspect is very important too. If an artist doesn't play live, there is little chance we can work with him/her. And he/she needs to be part of our family as well. It means the artists have to collaborate and spread the label name everywhere he/she can.
Does your label have an ideological or religious side, even as just some acknowledged themes that you won't accept your releasing artists to present either visually or lyrically?
Philippe > Any artist that glorifies hatred, violence, racial, sexual, or religious intolerance, we can’t possibly work with.
Are there some bands you've said no to, and later come to regret it - and have you released some material that you now regret publishing?
Philippe > We are proud of what we released so far. There are some artists we tried to collaborate with in the past and for some reasons, it just didn't work out. But we can't say we have any regrets. If things didn't happen, it's for a reason.
You've released music in such formats as CD, CD-R, and vinyl. Any tapes planned? Do you have a preferred format, and have you noticed if one's more appreciated by your audience than others?
Philippe > We are co-releasing the first album by Tashkentiqué with Orgasmatron Records (Israel). It will be released on Tape+Digital. Alrealon is taking care of the Digital version. Apart from that, we don't plan on releasing any tapes. At least not this year.
We love vinyls. It’s a format that is perfect for some of our releases, especially when a special effort has been made for the artwork (the FluiD/JOHN 3:16 split 12” for example). Vinyls are easier to sell at shows and it's definitely a format we'll be caring on over the next couple of years.
To my knowledge, all your releases have been released digitally as well. Was this your reaction to music piracy, or something you decided to do for other reasons? Regarding which, what's your opinion on music piracy?
Philippe > Music piracy is bad for business. Even for a label like Alrealon, it has prejudices. The fact that we release all our albums digitally is not connected to music piracy. Half of our audience listens only to digital. It does make sense for us to have our catalogue available in stores like iTunes, Beatport, Juno, etc.
About music piracy again, people that buy our music aren't the same than the one who steals it. We have a dedicated audience and we don't really care if people think they can just get our stuff for free.
How do you handle the promotion of your works?
Philippe > We take care of the promotion ourselves and we are becoming pretty good at it. We tried to work with a few PR agencies, but we found out we are doing a better job at Alrealon. And we have a special promotion plan for each release. The webzines and magazines we approach will not be the same for Philippe Petit or Black Saturn for example.
We are now working very closely with people in the music media. For example, Sylvain of Obskure Magazine, Mark Barton of Losing Today/The Sunday Experience, Richard Allen of A Closer Listen, Norbert of Glasklinge and Raphael of Kulturterrorismus have very supportive over the years. Thanks to them, we managed to grow and expand our audience.
I understand if you'd like to keep these things between you and your artists, but I'll ask you anyway just in case. What kind of services do you offer to your rostered artists, for example regarding the mixing and mastering, the visual side, distribution and advertisement, and how do you share the necessary evil of releasing music: the money?
Philippe > Most of our artists handle the mix in their studios. If it’s needed, we can do the mastering over here at Alrealon Studio/Laboratory(76). It is a DIY studio, but the last mastering jobs we did include the Philippe Petit’s Eugénie (10”), the FluiD/JOHN 3:16 split release (12”) and the JOHN 3:16 album (CD). Alrealon takes care of all the production and promo costs including artwork, pressing, adds, etc. After splitting the money between the artist and the label, what we got from the sales is spend for the production and the promotion of the upcoming releases.
In general, how big of an audience does your label have - as in, what kind of amounts do your releases sell or how much are they being downloaded?
Philippe > An average of a few hundreds – between 300 and 400 – an album (CD’s/Vinyls and downloads).
Have you ever considered releasing other kinds of art as well, such as visual or written works?
Philippe > Yes, we thought of that. We talked about releasing a poem book by Ned Jackon aka Black Saturn and we’d love to release a compilation art book of William Schaff’s designs.
You release music from such genres as drone, dub, ambient, electro and industrial. Are your releases generally more appreciated locally, either in UK or USA, or in foreign countries?
Philippe > We are doing good in France, the UK, the US, but also in Germany, Belgium and Holland. Thanks to the digital distribution, we have been able to get an audience in places like Mexico or Russia.
How is the live-scene in your country regarding these genres?
Philippe > I played a lot in the UK with Heat From a DeadStar. Now, it’s mostly pay to play in London or you have to be ready to play with 6 other acts. Getting shows in France or in Switzerland is tough for us, but other countries like Belgium, Germany or Holland are great places for Alrealon. In the US, Robert/PAS Musique has developed useful contacts for live shows. He’s doing great there.
What've been the highlights of the label's history for you so far?
Chris > The first thing that comes to mind is our first vinyl release, FluiD / John 3:16 - The Pursuit of Salvation (ALRN024). Going from releasing digital only or CD to vinyl was a big step for us. We're now planning more vinyl releases. Secondly, being able to release music by Philippe Petit and Asva, two artists that Phil and I both like and respect was also significant. Maybe the biggest highlight, happened in April of 2013 as Alrealon Musique turned 5 years old. Reaching 5 years is a real milestone for us and we're commemorating it with a very special mix from Steve Harris of Cloaks/3by3 Records fame.
I've understood you arrange shows to your artists as well. What was it that drew you into arranging these live-evenings, and how have they succeeded this far? How about the "Experi-MENTAL Festival"? I read that you've arranged it four times now, so at least it seems it attracted a crowd big enough.
Robert > I started doing 'Experi-MENTAL nights' as well as 'Ambient-Chaos' to start and build a community in New York. Then traveling acts started to contact me about playing those nights. Having the community of locals with an out of town act worked rather well. New York is also full of small isolated scenes, so I started to try and bring them together by inviting people from other scenes to play our nights. Making any music these days is only successful when you build a community and support each other. I wanted to take the nights to the next level so I started doing the yearly 'Experi-MENTAL Festival.' I did that for two years and it was great. I had a mix of out of town acts as well as locals. People started to mix together and I realized the out of town acts were reciprocating shows with the locals. I loved seeing that. After two years I wanted the festival to grow again. At that time I was getting involved with Alrealon Musique and we teamed up for 'Experi-MENTAL Festival 3'. It expanded the promotion of the festival and made it become bigger, so we did 4 and now we are up to 5!
You've collaborated on some releases with PAS Musique. I'm not musically familiar with PAS, but based on what I've read about them their concept seems really intriquing. What can you tell us about this collaboration and the involved releases?
Robert > PAS Musique is an outlet for pure creativity and originality. We like to merge and create art with every different form of art. We aren't afraid to put together two combinations that normally shouldn't be by normal creative terms. That is what makes originality. You have to always try something new. I liked Alrealon Musique because they had a similar approach. To me all of their titles were based on pure creativity. The music came naturally from the artists souls or internal drive. There was and is no conforming to a certain genre of click. To me it's about starting a relationship with each other by expression and building on a community on that.
What do you have coming up in the label's future?
Robert > Reinventing Polish Polka. :)
Chris > A new release from Philippe Petit - Needles in Pain (ALRN036). This is a limited edition (300) picture disc. We're really excited about the forthcoming releases from [ówt krì] and Rasplyn. Two very exciting artists making really unique music. [ówt krì] hails from Finland and Rasplyn is from the U.S. A planned joint release with Orgasmatron Records of the Israeli artist Tashkentique. As well as few surprises, we can't disclose, just yet.
I've understood that at least some of you are musicians as well. Would you like to tell us something about your projects and their future?
Robert > I think in general our projects will keep going. I think the ultimate goal is finding other dedicated people to build the community with.
Philippe > Robert has so much projects going on, it’s hard for him to talk about any of them! (LOL). Robert plays as PAS Musique and he’s a member of the JazzFakers who just released the excellent album Here Is Now (ALRN043 – produced by Martin Bisi).
Chris > FluiD is the name of my solo project, I began using that name in 2007. Since that time, I have performed across North America as well as several U.S. music festivals, including Experi-MENTAL Festival. In 2011, I released my first CD as FluiD, entitled 'Envisioning Abstraction: the Duality of FluiD' (ALRN008). I followed that release with 'The Pursuit of Salvation' (ALRN024) a split vinyl release with JOHN 3:16. I contributed sound-design and music to the video installations, 'Paramnesia I' (Heejoo Kim, 2010) and 'The Gift Project Chicago (Samantha Hill, 2011) as well as the art installation, 'Hybridity' (Gwenn Ael Lynn, 2013). Currently I am working on music for my next Alrealon Musique release, which is tentatively planned for late 2013 or early 2014. I'm also collaborating with conceptual artist/painter Tina Warren on a multidisciplinary art installation which focuses on the nexus between sound and visual movement. www.soundcloud.com/fluidemusique
Philippe > JOHN 3:16 is a solo project I started in 2007 while I was still playing with Heat From a DeadStar. When HFADS disbanded in 2010, JOHN 3:16 became my official project. I released the first album ‘Visions of The Hereafter – Visions of Heaven, Hell and Purgatory’ (ALRN033) in October last year. I just came back from a tour in Israel where I played with Tashkentiqué and Magnolia. In Fall, I’ll be touring in Europe (Germany, Belgium, France and maybe Holland) with Dana Schecter/Insect Ark (http://insectark.com) and I’ll be playing at the Experi-MENTAL Festival 5 at the end of September. And I’m working on my next release, probably another split, to be released in 2014. www.soundcloud.com/john316john
The final words are yours. Anything you'd like to add, discuss further, advertise or ask, goes here.
Philippe, Robert & Chris > Thank you for your time! Feel free to get in touch with us (alrealon(at) hotmail.co.uk) and have a taste of our music here: www.alrealonmusique.bandcamp.com