So why set up your own
record label, anyway?
It costs an arm and a leg, and quite
possibly an elbow as well, if you excuse the inane pun; you're constantly trying to prove why your own material and artists
are the exception rather than the norm to an established media that can't see quality material if it's shoved up its own arse,
and then some.
And I can say that - I'm a hack journalist too.
And then you run up against the biggest
foe: indifferent people who just can't be bothered tuning-in, let alone spend some of their party money on local kids' heart-and-soul
Sound like fun?
Then here's what you do - think up a funky name, hack together
a dodgy logo, approach someone who makes music who you really believe in (and who hopefully is consistent and can be trusted
to support you back), work like hell in a day-job or three, save money, rustle up a graphic artist who'll do cover artwork
for free, find someone to master up the beast... and, va va voom... you're on the way to your first CD or vinyl.
That's basically the origin of IF? in a nutshell.
The expanded, yawn-inspiring version? ...read on.
IF? (the label) was dreamed up at one of the now-legendary
Every Picture Tells A Story warehouse rave parties in Melbourne, on NYE 1994/95, by myself and and my erstwhile beer-drinking
mate Brian Huber, with a helluva lot of manic assistance from our crazy friend Mateusz Sikora.
The name of the label came from my floundering attempt
at film-making (I had no money, no equipment, and a poor range of friends-turned-reluctant-actors as my repertoire).
The pseudo production-house was called Industrial Films,
or "IF" for short, just to be silly; for the record label we just added a question mark because we were being very completely
At the time I had my own radio program called Cyberdada on
Melbourne station 3PBS-FM and was getting in a helluvalot of talented local electronic musicians like Voiteck Anderson, Dave
Beattie (Q-Kontrol), Peter Harren (Tedium/TDM), and Derek Shiel and Dan Woodman from TR-Storm. I'd also just interviewed
Steve Law, aka Zen Paradox, who turned out to be one of the nicest, most humble producers I've ever met.
Their common problem? Lack of an ability to get their music
released through quality avenues in Australia, let alone the rest of the world.
We're talking 1994, when the only decent Melbourne labels
were Dorobo and Psy-Harmonics.
Brian and I had also started bouncing around the traps catching
live electronic artists, and I think our frustration at the lack of appreciation peaked at a gig at the Tote in Collingwood
where Zen Paradox played a scintillating set to what was basically an empty, underappreciative room.
Rather than complain profusely, we got tanked-up that
NYE and decided to do something about it.
A few months later we released IF001 - "Zeitgeist"
- a compilation of the people we thought were at the cutting edge of the Melbourne electronic muzak scene.
Boy, did that set back our wallets.