for a long tym indeed, i have been captivated, sated & elated by th incredible treats & beats belting out of this extraordinary & unpredictable diamond vein Low-Res records from Detroit, merging 4 me th best in miscellaneous IDM, Electronic melange & really fucking cool sleeve & graphix on chunky 180gram 4 track LP’s (mostly). th fool in charge (Justin) also tips owt th most wondrous Electronic shit with his project Adjust (an probably sum others), an dat kids is who we are talking wit…
LOW RES BLEG 1:
aryt Jus? so, LowRes. quite a label & quite an out-put. ok’ so why not just kick us down with derivation & motive for LR. but also can you expand on this – i have just four of your records all of which are fantastic with superb graphix. but what i love is the sound, i diverges wildly from most IDM stuff. are yu deliberately aberrating here? is Low Res a specialist label that makes an exigent effort at distinction or genre expansion? i thought perhaps it’s jus’ a Detroyt thing heh… but then comes yur Tarmvred 12″ by some dude from an ex-Soviet enclave over in Europe with some of the most heterodox & unconventional camouflaged Breakcore i have heard. tell em’ !!!
I had been producing electro/techno tracks for the detroit label V-max in the mid 90’s under a different alias, but had always been a huge hardcore techno/gabber fan since ever since, presumably as result of my evil past in the grindcore and thrash scene as a teenager and then eventually my initial exposure into the rave scene through early uk hardcore and the darker side of detroit techno like jeff mills waveform vol.1, mills vs. the subjects collaboration on undertow and of course early underground resistance. anyway, having some experience releasing on an electro label I knew i wanted to start a hardcore label to release my own material. That was the original intent, i hadn’t even really fathomed the idea of releasing other producers music. at the time there were only two other labels in the states doing hardcore, drop bass network and industrial strength, and i basically jumped in and figured there was room for one more, especially from detroit where there was nothing of that nature going on like that at all. a little later on there was all this killer hardcore from unheard of producers starting to surface in the midwest stateside as a residual of the phenomenal parties drop bass network was throwing. They were really putting in the effort and exposing people to the proper stuff… summer of 1998 the year i launched the label, midwest hardcore stalwart and future brother from another mother dj fishead came to town when we booked what was arguably the first hardcore party detroit had ever seen at a small dive bar, and he came with the news that freakshow records were launching right around the same time and then doormouse and unibomber were kicking off distort records as well. so dj fishead also came with the connections and a couple of demos by some producers called davros and bombardier, and the decision to start releasing this music was instant. there was an uprising of hardcore in the midwest and really it was all just coincidental that i was starting my thing with low res and fishead kept coming with all these amazing demos. heh, he really does deserve all the credit! anyway the purpose became to just release great music. we were all doing different styles of hardcore, mine was more gabber/techno influenced, davros was tracker based splatterbreak amigacore and bombardier was doing dark and brooding atmospheric industrial influenced breaks. it was a dj’s nightmare, there was no consistency from release to release, but the fundamental drive was to just release great untapped music that no one else was sacking up and releasing yet. gabber had become really formula based and jungle was doing the same, and we ended up just sort of ending up in the middle as a bunch of disgruntled Midwest 20-somethings making what we felt was natural. no real intention of defying genres but it just started to come together and venture into uncharted territory. ironically it was a real struggle to tie in Detroit at the beginning, aside from myself there was no support at the time in the motor city, in fact pretty much universally the techno purists locally hated what we were doing because it threatened their institution and they apparently fundamentally hated change, hence the outreach to the rest of the midwest to help support and bolster the cause. The reinforcement from the likes of delien didn’t come until a good five years into the picture as they were crossing over from the industrial scene, and the kero record really symbolized the fact that we weren’t just a breakcore or hardcore label and just kept venturing into the experimental styles and messing with our own boundaries. as with most of the producers that ended up on low res, there was usually some sort of referral and jason (bombardier) hooked me up with a cd-r with the word tarmvred scribbled on it, and the moment i heard it i knew that was the sound i wanted to be a part of low res and it’s future direction. seriously, tarmvred is one of the greatest and most underrated producers of all time. the guy is simply amazing. i’ve never heard one beat from him that didn’t make me want to throw my gear out the window and jump out after it. just some of the most advanced and freakishly mental stuff in existence…
LOW RES BLEG 2:
the 1st LR joint i got was the Adjust, 4 track “your bad luck” 12″LP, what? over 5 years ago now. it’s a motherfucking miracle of sedulous massively mercurial, unpredictable & wildly inventive but consistently dope as shit Electornic/Fusion/Farrago that i guess would roam at least in loose definition in th IDM idiom? i wanted to coerce a description of Adjust from you directly as it’s pretty genre-evasive which is def a merit. & secondly, why have we had to wait so long for more Adjust as a second EP is only just about to be issued?
yeah the genre busting is kind of by design. partially due to the notion that i just didn’t fundamentally make music to template that fit with what other people were doing, and other in part to the fact that my range of musical influence is too wide to try and nail down to a monochromatic theme. i would always start out trying to stick to a specific style within a track, and it would still end up roaming over the map a bit before it settled into a finished piece. the vast majority of my influence draws from industrial, electro and hip-hop on the electronic side and a bunch of metal and grindcore on the other side. i listened to a lot of techno along the way but tried to not be overtly driven by it, largely due to the fact that it wasn’t an indigenous form to my nature and i didn’t want to come off as something forced. it was more natural to just kind of sit at the controls and let the forces flow and see what happened. the only fundamental rule i tried to stick to was some degree of quality in execution because i’d have to be committed to listening to it once it was done, and the other was keeping some sort of hook in it to keep your head moving. and that definitely does not mean pussifying it for peoples palatability. nothing wrong with flexing the funk if you can stay sick with it. in the early days i always kind of epitomized it as meat beat manifesto through a distortion pedal. to a certain degree that still rings true, jack dangers is a huge influence, probably one of the biggest. i’ve heard my tracks referred to as industrial funk before and i guess that didn’t totally put me off, but if i had to i’d, i’d probably just call it heavy. i suppose its a bit of a cop out, but just calling it heavy encapsulates the primary points and doesn’t limit the boundaries by pure definition. simple as shit and keeps from getting stuck in a genre mash of adjectives that end up sounding fruitier than a bowl of dickweed. More times than not it’s just a mess of nomenclature garbage. as far as the delays between releases, part of it has to do with running the label, it’s a torrid relationship that requires a large grip of attention which unfortunately keeps me away from the mixing desk on occasion. the other part is i do a bit of work under different aliases, so it sometimes slips the rotation while other material gets finished. really though, i wish i could blame it on both of those things, but the reality is i’m a bit of bitch ass perfectionist and am notorious for finishing releases and then trashing them before they hit public domain. i’ve got a large stock of unreleased tracks that have been shelved for various reasons, most of which not making the grade under personal critical review. i suppose the good news is parts of those unreleased bits sometimes surface in newer tracks, the even better news in theory is new stuff is always on the way. for once, i’m actually quite pleased with the new adjust record coming out (release the sharks), but i suppose that will all change over time. we’ll see…
LOW RES BLEG 3:
muchos reverence 2 th Low-logix! but not towing-the-line can get dat ass in lights!!! i kno that exclusion along with th deliberate trammeling & suppression can befall fiercely independent or maverick labels by industry nabobs & media or banishment to the most extreme outer-ground peripherals which are beyond th stomping-grounds of trepid convenience culture coddled fake under-grounders that constitute th majority, making sustentation an epic struggle as exposure & permeation are staunched & obstructed. as yu have asserted that Low Res has not conformed to th typical commodities & customs (Break, IDM, Dub Step, D&B, homogeneity) & seems to actively nurture new/obscure/alternative, or what yu will, projex/bands, have yu had difficulty integrating/utilizing or effectively circumventing the scene or system? how are yu running promotional tannoys? dissemination of releases etc? also has the download revolution along with th recession affected operations or conduct? almost the entire Low Res back cat is on 12″ wax, which puts yu at a disadvantage postage wise as motherfuckers have 2 pay a premium on shipping, esp abroad. is vinyl still valued in th MP3 era?
at this point in the game we depend almost entirely on word of mouth and the internets to promote and deploy our releases, this works as the communication layer on top of our long running relationship with our distributor praxis who handles the majority of the heavy lifting when it comes to getting the records into actual shops. we’ve been around long enough to see plenty of distributors, some shady – some with the best of intentions, come and go due to the classic laws of supply and demand. it’s the mother of all crapshoots working with distributors and can quickly sink your label. we’re not big on the facebook and myspace scene, mostly due to time constraints and the bizarre fickle behavior of collecting “friends”, so we really depend on our website and mailing list and then subsequently the advocates of our product to take it to the internet streets via the message boards and various social web 2.0-isms. we used to throw a bit of parties and events to keep the visibility of our output head above water, but our friends at from the gut (mind stunningly awesome detroit crew, completely legit and fully dedicated) came on the scene and were doing a far better job of it. after years of intense greatness they’ve recently spread out across the states and have slowed the pace taking the focus to the west coast for the time being. so we are making a slight return to the events, most recently with our last release party. it’s a great avenue for promotion, but is a shit-ton of headaches and freakish problem solving, generally consuming large portions of time from the other efforts. it’s the sort of bipolar co-dependency that after every event i always swear it’s the last event i’m ever involved with, but always come back looking for more abuse!
anyway, you bring up a huge point that most people see as somewhat transparent, the shipping conundrum. shipping is brutal. it’s a necessary evil to supplying some real heads some fresh options. it’s something we’ve always struggled with fundamentally, it’s the achilles heel of running a mail order, i’ve always sort of looked at it as some sort of cosmic tax for people who are seeking out the unconventional and unorthodox by not complying with the convenience of mainstream consumerism. i suppose the reward is something awesome rolls up on your doorstep days or weeks later and you forget all about it when you drop the wax. it’s just not an economically efficient concept in the modularized postal world, that’s usually why you know the people doing it are beyond dedicated – or just plain daft. throw in the international factor and it gets even more challenging, distribution alliances become pretty much mandatory. Luckily we’ve got great friends over at praxis in berlin who handle our exclusive distribution and get the wax out at a better cost in europe and abroad where there’s exponentially greater support.
as far as integrating our artists and their releases, it seems like almost all of them get met with some degree of apprehension, even after being around for over twelve years. as soon as we accomplish something we don’t waste anytime shooting ourselves in the foot by trying something different. it’s the mixed bag of emotions when you’re constantly looking for something new and are trying to set yourself apart from even your own previous work, people aren’t always sure at first and it usually takes time to get heads on board. there’s been a handful of our releases that people were more skeptical about than others along the way, but going back to the beginning it took at least the third record to come out before stores and distributors got to some sort of comfort level carrying our stuff on some sort of consistent basis. there’s definitely a vicious cycle where the next release is always mopping up the previous release financially, and if you’re constantly putting square pegs into round holes, you have to be prepared to take a bit of outcry and wait it out until either people get on with it or take a pass and jump to the next release. it’s all part of the dynamics that keep it oddly entertaining I suppose…
regarding the mp3 era, i’ve had plenty of discussion with christoph at praxis about the future of vinyl and the imminent digital download society, and we are both in agreement that it’s even more important than ever that the dedicated labels continue to stay true and offer an alternative to the so called alternatives. it’s never been about quantity obviously or we would have quit a long time ago and saved the pointless cash roll into oblivion, this is definitely a labor of love on a lot of levels. but i liken it to any artist and their canvas of choice, you put yourself into it at all costs to exercise the creative right to expression. as long as you enjoy and mildly believe in what you’re doing, it all seems to make perfect sense at the time being. but as far as relevancy, vinyl is still completely relevant and really even more “artistic” than ever really. because everybody knows about it, but it’s really only the people that are mad about it that commit to it, which usually makes the filesharers of the world wildly envious, because for as much as those archetypes like to collect, vinyl is the mothership of the musical mediums and the keystone of collector trophies. the metal scene has had a total resurgence in the last decade over the vinyl and from where i’m sitting seem to have a pretty good balance on the demand.
LOW RES BLEG 4:
Detroit! now, a year ago i heard that Detroit was fukd! that it’s industry had collapsed almost entirely, that it was lapsing in2 a state of complete labefaction & dereliction. that yu can get a whole house for a single dollar as there value is void all but completely & property owners want to annul their mortgages. the council or civil services have rescinded responsibility & massive sections of Detroit are being overrun by a virid encroachment of trees & weeds. people are knocking down houses & planting giant vegetable patches that communities just help themselves to & a murrain of bird life is exploding as they have new habitat to roost & forage in. the police are really low-profile & a massive eutrophication of artists are migrating as space is either hella cheap or free entirely. Detroit was being hailed as “th first post american dream city”…then th reports waned! so what th fux been happening Jus? is it that good? yu must be going ayp-shit doon there?!?!
heh! you know that scene in blade runner where holden is talking about the tortoise and takes the replicant sherlock device to leon and says tell me about your mother? detroit is complicated and conflicted but it’s home. the answer is “yes” to pretty much everything you mentioned, except it’s hardly a dream city. the thing detroit has going for, and against, it, is the people. industry is dead, cities are corrupt, segregation is large, but people keep comin back here for somethin. there’s lots of love here…and even more to hate.
people outside of detroit looking at the back of it’s baseball card are calling it a statistical industrial artists wet dream. cheap and dirty. but it’s still fundamentally a vicious place that i’ve seen ruin people’s lives. literally. true, at this point it’s (still, has been for eons) a blank canvas and is there for the taking, but it’s like a classic megaman video game you have to endure twelve levels of teeth gnashing annoyances constantly setting you back to the beginning, wash, rinse, repeat. And if you’re wily enough and dedicated enough, and you actually make it to the final boss at the end, chances are you’re going to get killed, run out of guys, and be forced to start over at the beginning. at which point most people freakout, start breaking shit and throwing Nintendo controllers, and then resign to straight up flame throwing. violence ensues, suburbs line the ring like a fight scene, music is the weird weave that draws the moths to the light. i could spout statistics but there’s the internet for that. generally speaking, take the holistic idea of all the bad stuff google says about detroit and dial it back about 60-65%, and then take all the good stuff google says about detroit and multiply it by a thousand. the choice is yours. you know what we do. detroit. trust.
LOW RES BLEG 5:
ok cuddles, so lets crawl right in2 th very nexus of this spew-tube…..
now yu been around & yu seen no doubt a lot of fringe movements/genres transmute in2 blatant “inc.” that desecrate a lot of their initial principles & provenance in general n all dat, but what about th fans, punters, record enthusiasts, collectors specifically? th mechanics of modern-day mind mutilation have us dealing with in my view a completely corrupted gudgeon that is basically programmed to respond to a certain wave-length/dialect. consumer practices & pop-culture aside, in short, th corrigendum imposes the insanity of the working week along with a surplus of unpaid stealth subtractions & extra efforts like commuting etc then try’s to offer time saving conveniences for all the cardinal time devouring inconvenience it inflicts… th junkies become infatuated with “convenience culture” (if not engineered & impaired so they can only interact with this feature) along with of course it’s congeries of commercial concomitance & perversely expect it’s presence, assistance & authority in the underground. risk, individualism, independent transaction, fiduciary beyond a procedure that is not insured & arbitrated by some massive commercial monolith (eBay, paypal, & all/any of th monstrosities of mercantile modernity) & experimentation are drastically curtailed/effaced. if it’s not on my super-market, or available at the click of a mouse with a barcode & a trillion assurances from verified sections of the mainstream matrix with security corporation insulation i wont check it out.
i honestly feel today that iym dealing with a subspecies only credulous 2 th most flagrant pop bollox who wont come out without th presence of permanent inflatable safety buffers & ridiculously, like this REALLY should never ever have happened & it’s beyond me how, it was extrapolated in2 th ostensibly “underground” arena, a dereliction that is mostly responsible by the major labels & th “mega distro’s”. now every body has to follow this template or face seclusion. hyper underground cdr/cassette labels dont need 2 bother, but they dont invest in their music like pressing wax so it’s easy for them 2 say who gives a fuck because so little effort goes in & requires almost no pecuniary provender.
we’re dealing with an epidemic of commercial mutants, basically in a realm that the #*^&’s or at least their stupid surface dwelling practices should never be! i suppose it’s th same as selling anti-establishment through th establishment, & 2 me th alleged underground has basically become an extension of this practice pretty much as a whole. i wont even use the expression underground now as it’s been completely compromised. it just isn’t th underground cos yu can’t pull shit like this under th banner of underground without completely forfeiting/contradicting it’s most salient principles.
uh, LowRes is a real exception in a myriad of manners & not just sonically, you have always stayed away from Myspace,ebay & Facebook, makes total sense 2 me, but for a major label thats really like a radical derivation. Furthermore your label mostly releases obscure artists without some sprawling anfractuous pleonasm of previous releases collabs & work with prominent scenester/label emissaries (something very exciting)…these contemporary commerce cataracted clueless klutz seem 2 need 2 be adjured by some large accepted body/lobby , mag/website,distro, dog-shit journalist prelate or whatever before they will take a bite. opinions are formed by others & inserted before punters even experience a record for themselves. motherfuckers have become so unadventurous & incapable of personal inspection. Lowres’s presentation also, it does not follow the usual catch-phrases & office speak that seems necessary to inveigle the lurdans into a purchase & approval. WUT TH FUK IS UP JUS?
yeh’ an lastly, is their any element of tradition in this for yu? perhaps even ritual dare i fucking say? post-boxing & wax-working?! ..
SHIT! madra always told me 2 be gentle with em. i think i scrambled our goons circuits kuz i never heard back after this!? hopefully not confirmation of cowardice, or our boys corpse composting a Detroit wild garden after getting bladed for his vinyl bag & late 80’s sneakers!? Robocop was set in Detroyt…gotta be dope…dont get me on2 Khane & ED-209. further LowRes foray next month as we kneed their back-cat 2 tha 8 track!!!