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from Fakezine, July 2003

Interview with John Kannenberg

[ In July 2003, Macedonian online magazine Fakezine published an extensive interview with Stasisfield founder John Kannenberg. Excerpted here are the portions of the interview dealing with Stasisfield. ]

why did u start to run a label and why exactly netlabel

I've always been interested in artist communities, ever since studying about the various historical artist movements like the Bauhaus school, Der Blaue Reiter, the Surrealists, etc. Also, in trying to promote my own music, I was having some difficulty making connections to labels that released works similar to what I was doing, since so many people are now making experimental electronic music and only so many labels can support so many artists.

So it was a combination of wanting to be a part of a community of like-minded artists and a desire to have a platform from which to release my own work, really.
I chose a net label format because logistically it was the smartest thing for me to do...I wanted to reach as many people as possible by spending the least amount of money, just to see if I could actually make a label work. Because I had been working as a web designer for almost 6 years at the time I started the label, it just made sense to me that I should use the skills I acquired in the business world and apply them to help create an online community of artists. It seemed like the most logical path to take, especially because there didn't seem to be very many experimental electronic mp3 labels at the time, although there are quite a lot of them now!


can u say that there is diference between net label and regular label in this conditions of technological development when audience that have to listen music can download release from site of netlabel and easilly burn it and print cover so the process is near to cdr label

Well, the biggest difference is that the vast majority of music I release is available for free! I can't even begin to approach the label as a money-making venture, and I don't want it to become dedicated solely to making money. Any money I've made so far has gone right back into the label, and I have yet to even come close to breaking even on it.
But since there isn't a huge investment other than web hosting (which is fairly expensive for me, but not that much compared to what many labels have to spend to create CD releases), I feel like there's a certain amount of freedom allowed to take chances with what I release. If I was paying for printing and duplication costs for every title in the catalog, I would be forced to only release things I thought would recoup my investment. I don't feel any of that kind of pressure in running a net label, so I think that's an advantage.


whats the concept of your label?

That's something I've been struggling with since before the label launched (in April 2002) and continue to struggle with presently, although I've recently made some headway. Originally, there was no concept beyond an overall interest in experimental digital minimalism. However, as I became acquainted with more artists who were producing things outside that scope, I wanted to incorporate them as well. I've always had fairly wide-ranging musical tastes, and I began to realize that the label should have a bit more of a reflection of those tastes, which extend far beyond such a narrow focus.
As I mention in the description of the label on the site itself, I like to think that Stasisfield is dedicated to releasing challenging works of art which may not have the chance to find a home elsewhere. Even now that I'm starting to attract some more well-known artists, I still think this is true, since I believe artists view my label as a place where they can be free to experiment with something that they may not otherwise have decided to release through their usual channels.

Recently I came to the conclusion, at least for the Stasisfield label and the Stasis_Space art gallery (a digital gallery also hosted on my site, http://www.stasisfield.com/space), that I would like to have more cross-pollination between the label and the online gallery. Since my academic background is in visual/fine art, I definitely would like to see the label head in a direction that deals more with cross-disciplinary artworks...melding sound, image, text, interactivity and even physicality, sculpture, etc.

Having said that, there is also now a third branch of Stasisfield, the AUX-IN sublabel (http://www.stasisfield.com/aux-in) which releases live recordings by experimental artists. This exists alongside but completely separately from Stasisfield and Stasis_Space in my opinion. AUX-IN began as an homage to live rock albums, a sort of tongue-in-cheek merging of the attitude and packaging of 1970s and 1980s rock records with the sounds of contemporary experimental music. I really just wanted to inject some much-needed subtle yet goofy humor into my label, since the majority of experimental labels never seem to deal with humor beyond a very dry, academic sarcasm or broad, sort of in-your-face anarchist humor. I don't know if I've succeeded at all, but the AUX-IN releases have been very fun for me to design!


can u say that u r releasing microsound and what is microsound as a term acording to you

I would say a portion of what I release is microsound, but definitely not all of it is, and maybe not even a majority of it as time has gone on. But I think the music Stasisfield offers very much appeals to a "microsound audience," whomever that may be.
Microsound to me connotes music that deals with subtlety, quiet, minute details, microtones, gradual shifts, and contrasting tiny and vast acoustic spaces. I have no idea if that fits the commonly-held definition of the term, but that has been my interpretation of it. I don't claim to be an expert on the subject by any means!


stasisfield has started with one cdr release. are you planing to continue releasing cdr releases in parallel with mp3 releases or maybe start with real cds in near future


Definitely. I have already planned the next CD-R compilation, which I hope to release in May of this year. It has become a project that I think will further help define the identity of the label, as it will consist of a CD-R compilation and an accompanying online art exhibition on Stasis_Space. The project will be called "the audible still-life", and will consist of artists creating still-life set-ups much like a visual artist would use to create a drawing or painting, but these still-lifes will be documented with a photograph or video, field recording, and audio composition made from the field recording. I'm very excited about it, and have gotten a great response from the artists I've invited to participate. So far, I'm expecting contributions from some great artists like Jeremy Boyle, John Hudak, Irving + Orser, Neil Jendon, koura, Mou, Lips!, Jon Mueller, Plank, Hal Rammell, Trace Reddell, Sawako and Malte Steiner, and I'm still speaking with several more artists about participating.

I would love to release "real" CDs in the future, but that will be determined by how well future CD-R releases sell. I'd also love to release a double LP (with a gatefold sleeve, of course!) compiling some of the AUX-IN releases at some point in the future as well.

 

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