Archive for the ‘Blog from Sam’ Category
ProjektList#20141012 | What does the future hold?
From Projekt Record & Black Tape For A Blue Girl’s Sam Rosenthal.
On Friday afternoon, I hung out with the people behind the electronic label Spotted Peccary Music. They release great CDs plus they’re the company that serves up Projekt’s 24/96k high res files.
We were sitting at picnic tables in the open-air back-porchy-like room of a typical Portland-styled drinking establishment. Wood-planked walls, beer signs over the steps to the bar, a food-cart belching scented smoke as it turned out Philly-styled Italian food. I’m painting a picture for you, a little setting of reality before this blog heads off and becomes cerebral. We’re sitting there, drinking our what-have-yous, having a really great brainstorming session concerning many tangents in the music industry, including physical vs. digital, will people pay for music, and the new landscape for survival.
Howard looks up and asks a question, I begin to answer, but then go off topic and start talking about how fans interact with bands. In “the old days” (the mid ’90s), Projekt could release an album from a band with no image (and a lot of mystery), mention it a few places, buy a few ads, send postcards and catalogs, and wham! We’d sell 2-3000 copies. People were itchin’ to hear new music, and Projekt was a reputable source for interesting new acts.
But that’s not how you get involved with music, these days, is it? Let’s face it, “fans” can access most music for free, if they really want to. The old model of a label releasing a faceless band, you heading to a record store to buy their CD, and then hearing their music for the first time when you get the CD home… that’s sort of over. What I find through my blogs, Facebook, and Kickstarter campaigns is that you want a connection to the artists you’re excited about. Few bands can survive, reclusively hiding in their bedroom-studio-caves. Yes, maybe a few legacy bands can get by on that, but certainly not younger bands; and certainly not older bands who never successively made the transition to the promotion-connection of social media in the modern age.
I see this problem, over and over. I speak with artists who haven’t had an album in ten or fifteen years, and they pull out absurd examples for why things should be a certain way; “Back in 1994, when we toured….” or “When the old label was placing the ad campaign for my last album in 2006.” Man, that’s a million years ago. The record industry doesn’t work like that anymore!
Well, I could shorten that sentence down to, “The record industry doesn’t work.”
This is the point where my brain shoots off onto a hundred different tangents. Try to follow me here…..What motivates us artists to keep going?
For Xmas 2009, I posted a blog concerning the topic of Success. In it, a number of Projekt (and related artists) talked about what success means to them. Hold on a minute, I am going to go back and re-read it now, with five years of perspective. …. …. ….
Yep. I still agree with what I wrote back then: “…in the end, what I really enjoy is successfully making the artistic statement I want to make. When each album is fresh and new, it is the most accurate statement of where I am, creatively. At that moment, I am complete.”
But, I would clarify that.
To me, success is having my artistic statement received by the listeners. I like when that communication is completed.
And yet, that’s not what my brain thinks about. I need to do some self-reflection, to understand why I still have a money-centric definition of success.Units and Dollars
Here’s the thing, Black Tape For A Blue Girl and Projekt was huge when the music industry measured success in units sold and dollars earned. Back in the 90s, bands like Blacktape could sell a lot of records. As mentioned last blog, at the peak Blacktape’s 1996 Remnants of a deeper purity sold around 16,000 copies.
( That was then. I don’t live in the past. I only expect a fraction of that, for the next album. )
And yet, I find that I cling to that old belief: units and dollars indicate success. I am using an outdated measuring stick.
I know there are fans of my creations; people who really connect to what I am working on (and what I have created in the past). And yet, I am still thinking that the way to measure that success is the same as it was in the mid-90s: by looking at a spreadsheet containing units and dollars.
I’ve been asking myself, “What is success to me?” or “Why did I want to make art in the first place?” The answer, as I said above, is: I want to communicate. For me, successful communication is the goal of making art. What matters is that people receive my work. They experience it. And that is not at all related to profit. In fact, I probably have more ‘success’ (by my own definition) now, then 20 years ago. Why do I say that? Because anyone can hear my work, without the barrier of having to pay for it.
So, why doesn’t that feel good to me?
Well, part is because I cling to the old paradigm about sales.
And the other part is I have this underlying belief in “fairness.” If I spend the hours doing the work of being an artist, I should get paid!
A friend wrote — when I asked him why this “getting paid” matters so much to me — “Perhaps it’s a matter of ethics, not so much the actual number but the idea of getting paid. After all, you try and pay people what you say you will pay them, on time and quite accurately; then I think you expect the same of others.”I don’t want my favorite artists to be amateurs.
I really want to live in a world where artists can focus on their art. Would I want John Cale to have to work as a viola instructor, so he can take off two weeks a year to play some shows? David Bowie, maybe he’s a graphic designer? Marc Almond, he’s probably a drag queen, or turning high-end tricks with members of the Houses of Parliament : ) . Voltaire is a bartender, the one that you visit every week because he’s so damn entertaining. Think about it! It’s a very weird world where the-average-joe expects to be paid for their labor, and yet people are generally OK with the artists they love working some other job so music can be their hobby.
That’s not really the way I want the world to be.My first job was archaeologist… My first job was computer graphics
You all know that Projekt is my day job. But that wasn’t always the situation. In the late 80s/early 90s, I created speaker-support-graphics for a living. I worked long freelance hours, creating dumb graphics that were projected at conventions for the corporate executives from the likes of Taco Bell, Denny’s, Acura, Mazda, etc. etc. (This was pre-PowerPoint, but the same general idea.) It paid really (really!) well and allowed me to fund the early CDs on Projekt.
Around the time Projekt was having success with Blacktape’s This lush garden within and the first Love Spirals Downwards release, I realized I was sacrificing the label’s potential. I wasn’t at my desk answering faxes from journalists and my overseas distributors; I was somewhere around the country doing freelance work. This was in the days before the internet; it wasn’t easy to keep in touch remotely. I’d return home and have a month off between jobs; and then I worked on music and the label. But too often, I’d leave Projekt unmanaged for two to four weeks, and that was getting to be a problem. I made the decision to stop working the freelance jobs, and focus on Projekt.
Things really took off, there was a lot of interest, and slowly Projekt ate all my time; my own art suffered. By the end of the 90s (because of all the obligations to the bands on Projekt plus the 11 employees), I rarely made time to work on my music. Then into the early 2000s, and the downsizing (mentioned last blog), and I had plenty of work to do (and I had a son!).
My best friend often reminds me that I cannot pass off responsibility for the decisions I made. And he’s right. I chose to put my energy into Projekt, rather than my art. It seemed like a wise move at the time: Projekt was getting very successful.
At any other record label, the biggest artist (Blacktape) would have been begged, cajoled, and bribed to get back into the studio. The label needed its biggest act to keep releasing music (if for nothing else, for purely profit reasons). But I was the guy at the label and in the band, there was nobody at Projekt pushing me, to get me on track. If I had a manager, he would have asked, “Do you really think it’s smart to keep putting all your energy into dayjobia, rather than into your music?” That was the thing: Projekt was a new day job and just like computer graphics, this job took lots of time away from my art.
It seemed like a wise decision at the time. However, what ended up happening was that I supported 30+ band’s careers, while letting down the most important thing: my own creativity.
I let my art go cold for years at a time.
If I had been focusing on my own work for the last 20 years, would I be surviving at it? Would I be like Steve Roach or Voltaire? Spending a huge chunk of my time making art?
(I hope this doesn’t come across as regret. That is not the intention, per se. This is me reflecting with awareness of choices I have made in my life, and contemplating whether I’ve gotten to the place I intended to go.)
It brings up the question, “Could I survive off my art?” I told myself many times over the years, “I don’t mind that Projekt is taking up so much of my time. If I had to support myself from my music, I’d have to make compromises to get by.” Yeah, sure, a guy in his early 30s can say that. But I’m older now, and I see Steve and Voltaire creating without compromise. And I ask my younger self if that argument was just an excuse, to avoid the hard work. To avoid having to lay it all on the line, and be an artist. If ‘an artist’ is what I am here to be, then was I chickening out? Hiding behind a reasonably justifiable excuse for not making more art.
Ben Franklin looks around the bar
Ok, so back to my meeting on Friday with Spotted Peccary. The smell of Italian sausages fill the air again, Howard looks up and poses another question. “What’s the future for record labels like ours?”
And I reply, “I’m sorry to say it, but there is no future. Projekt will not be able to continue as the label that discovers amazing new acts and releases them on CD. Because these CDs just don’t sell anymore. I cannot keep investing in CDs, when the demand is for less than 250 copies.”
Some will misinterpret that statement, so to be clear: Projekt is sticking around! I will keep releasing exciting music on my label. But the logic of releasing acts that barely sell? There is no logic in that at all.
I have to be realistic.
For me, personally, I want to make a transition back to being an artist who runs a record label, rather than a record label guy who has a (mostly) dormant artistic career.
I have thoughts on how to do that (which I will discuss in an upcoming blog).The intrinsic value of music
For now, I have to be aware of my old connection to dollars and units. I have to recognize that my goals as an artist are not tied up in those numbers. Yes, I definitely believe there are ways to make a living creating music. But even more than that, I believe I can foster a better connection with each of you. Many of you are fans of what I create. And you still value music. It’s the core of what matters to you. It’s your soundtrack. It’s what gets you through your days, both good and bad. And I am told over and over (via email, Facebook, and Kickstarter) that music is worth a lot to you.
You are the completion of the circle that gives what I do meaning.
Music has an intrinsic value to you. It is important in your life. The same way NPR is important, and modern dance companies, and historic art house theaters. You don’t want to see music disappear, or become the realm of amateurs.
We’re thinking the same thing. Music has value, and it’s something that’s worth supporting.
I’ll post some great new ideas about this shortly.
New Releases Now In Stock
Project Pitchfork: Blood 2-CD Book $59 Various Artists: God is Goth (2-CD) $22 $15 Staubkind: Alles Was Ich Bin (Limited 2-CD) $23 Sopor Aeternus: Mitternacht Book & CD $55 | 2-LP $90 Heimataerde: Kaltwaerts Limited 2-CD Box $85 | 2-CD $23 | CD $19October Webstore Top-5
1 Mirabilis: Here and the Hereafter (with 2 bonus CDs) 3-CDs $15 2 Dirk Serries: The Origin Reversal CD $15 3 Steve Roach: The Delicate Forever CD $14 4 Steve Roach: The Delicate Beyond CD $10 5 Steve Roach & Mark Seelig: Nightbloom ~ SALE $7 CD $7October Bandcamp Top-5
1 Dirk Serries: The Origin Reversal Download $10 2 Steve Roach / Kelly David: The Long Night Download $10 3 Steve Roach: Structures From Silence (Deluxe 30th Anniversary Remastered Edition) Download $18 4 Erik Wøllo: Tundra (ep) Download $4 5 Mirabilis: »Here and the Hereafter« Download $10
Malcolm McLaren – authenticity vs karaoke culture
To speed things up, you can skip the first 27 minutes with this summary: “Two key points to explain my struggle today, two words sum up culture: authenticity & karaoke. A karaoke world is one in which life is lived by proxy and liberated by hindsight. It is unencumbered by the messy process of creativity.”
Karaoke society = becoming famous overnight without any talent, while reveling in our stupidity.
Jump in 27 minutes; he’s talking about art school in the 60s: http://youtu.be/E-wtmV0fAAg?t=27m27s
Flamboyant Failure vs. benign success
Please share your thoughts below. If you are signed in, your comment appears immediately. Otherwise, it will appear when I get on-line to approved it. If you want to share this blog on your pages, here’s the shortcode: https://www.projekt.com/store/?p=6477. Thanks. Sam
ProjektList #20141007 | How did Projekt survive the 90s?
the dust it settles all around and through the fire comes better days and all these memories burn away – Lycia, “The Burning Circle”
From Projekt Records’ Sam Rosenthal.
Over the last 20 years, Projekt has brought in over $7,000,000 ! Color me impressed (sort of an aquamarine, a little on the green side). But don’t make the mistaken assumption that I lined my pockets with cash. Projekt was a very effective money churning-machine, moving cash around the economy. Nearly all of that money went right out the door.
Keep in mind that Projekt was really expensive to run back in the peak era (1995-1999): * Projekt bought full page ads in Alternative Press * Projekt had massive bills at the pressing plants. Those deluxe-packaged CDs were pricey to manufacture, I would have to order 5000+ CDs at a time, and often 3 big releases at once. Furthermore, while the option was there to press-for-cheap in China or the Czech Republic, I chose to press in the USA. It was the right thing to do, to keep the money in the “local” economy. * Projekt artists were paid their royalties * It cost $1000 to make a poster (film + printing). * Each release had it’s own postcard * At the peak of our time with Ryko Distribution, they got 400 – 600 promotional CDs for stores, and we sent another 200+ to press, radio, etc. For Lycia, that number was much higher, as they were touring a lot, and Pat was working on local press pieces. * In that 1994-1998 time frame, Projekt was distributing tons of Hyperium and Tess and Cold Meat Industry CDs; after I moved to Chicago, the label had 11 employees with two key employees earning more than I earned, plus they got health care.
Yes, I took a salary, but nothing extravagant. Pretty much all of that seven mil was consumed by the business.
Now wait! Actually, come to think of it, Projekt consumed way more than what it earned. Projekt was building up debt on my credit cards.
Of course, fans in the late 90s had this perception that Projekt was much larger than we were. All those ads, and postcards, and catalogs helped build the mystique. I remember talking with Mike of Lycia about how fans on the road made guesses like, “You guys must sell 20,000 CDs!” “30,000 CDs!” Oh, if only!
A few releases did some lofty numbers, but these were the best-sellers, not the typical sales numbers. Black tape for a blue girl’s 1996 Remnants of a deeper purity was the biggest selling non-compilation release, with around 16,000 sold. Love Spirals Downwards first two albums were each not that far behind. Three compilations did extremely well; the two we released exclusively with Hot Topic: 2002’s Projekt: Gothic (27,000) and 2003’s The New Face of Goth (25,600); and the first Christmas CD, 1995’s Excelsis: a dark noel (15,000).
Projekt was really busy, and bands were getting out to their fans, but by early 2000, Projekt was in considerable debt. In fact, $180,000 in credit card debt, and the future looked like a downward slope. Yikes! That was the time when – if I had a business degree – I might have cut my losses and gone bankrupt. But that thought only flickered by in passing. I left Chicago for NYC; I downsized, huddled, got caught up on royalties due to Projekt’s artists, and slowly paid down the debt. In a way, I downsized Projekt at the perfect time. Most of America waited for the fall-out from the dotcom bust, and 9/11, to tighten their belts. Because of the excesses of the ’90s, Projekt was a year or two ahead of the crowd.
For a while there in NYC, it was only Lisa and I at Projekt. I kept releasing great music and finding new bands to work with. My budget was very sober and close to the bone.
At that time, people were still buying CDs, yet the music industry was changing. Napster existed from June 1999 to July 2001. On January 9, 2001, iTunes 1.0 was released, though it took a while to take off. Projekt’s sales were slipping (like every label in the music business); yet I was bailing out the waters of debt; the ship was righting itself (have I tortured enough metaphors?) When Lisa got pregnant in late 2001, I brought Shea on staff to handle the mail-order.
2002 was the year things really shifted in the industry; it was the year when Projekt’s key releases stopped selling in the 5-10,000 range (except for those aforementioned Hot Topic comps, which sold amazingly.)
Fast forward twelve years, I’ve been adapting and learning every since. Gone are the days when we’d regularly ship out 5000 units of a new release to stores. No more big tours, nor ad budgets, and a lot less cash flowing in and out the door. Projekt is lean. The staff hours are about the same as in the early 90s. I don’t work 60 hour weeks anymore.
When people say to me, “Projekt’s problem is you don’t know how to adapt to the times,” I shake my head and sarcastically mumble, “Yeah, right. THAT’s the reason records aren’t selling! It’s because Projekt haven’t changed since the heyday of 1997.” Not at all, my friends. Projekt is small but alive, and I’m enjoying my life. And things are good, thanks!
Coming in a future post: Mixing Lycia’s Ionia and A Day in the Stark Corner with Mike.Link-a-doodle-doo * It’s Portland, so of course you have a coffee shop / bar / laundromatte. Great concept! * “Legendary Artists Show Support for Turtles Victory.” This is why I like Sound Exchange. * Steve Roach’s The Delicate Forever reviewed at textura.org/. “Classic Roach, The Delicate Forever reflects his current obsession with tonality and colour, and is as refined an example of his time-suspending ambient-electronic artistry as one might hope to find.” Purchase the CD at Projekt for $14 or the download at Bandcamp for $10. * Dirk Serries’ “The Origin Reversal reviewed at touchingextremes. Dirk Serries’ “The Origin Reversalconveys the awareness of a serene approach to the act of existing which is emblematic of the best contemporary ambient. The soundtrack of a slightly sorrowful recollection that, at the end, bends the lips upwards in a smile of affection for people and memories that have defined our earlier life.” Projekt for $14 or the download at Bandcamp for $10. Dirk Serries live in concert:
October 25 Synagoge, Groningen (The Netherlands) : Facebook Event Page November 19 Effenaar, Eindhoven (The Netherlands) : Facebook Event Page November 23 Le guess who? festival, Utrecht (The Netherlands) : Facebook Event Page November 27 AB, Brussels (Belgium) : Facebook Event Page December 5 Cinépalace, Kortrijk (Belgium) : Facebook Event Page
Mirabilis: Here and the Hereafter with 2 Bonus CDs | $15
Late September. Submerse yourself in the third ethereal/darkwave foray from Mirabilis featuring Dru Allen and Summer Bowman, two of the genres most-celebrated vocalists. As Mirabilis, these women go beyond the rock-hued sounds of their respective bands (This Ascension/Mercurys Antennae and the Machine in the Garden) to create beautiful, vocal-centered originals alongside reinterpreted pieces ranging from medieval to pop.
Dirk Serries: The Origin Reversal with Bonus CD | $15
Dirk Serries returns to Projekt Records with The Origin Reversal, a re-boot of his classic vidnaObmana sound. This is ambient music that flows from its discreet origins: sonic purity, washes of harmony, and organic textures which slow time to a phase of transcendence. Steve Roach: The Delicate Beyond | $10
Steve has created a second edition with a subtle remix of the 74-minute piece, an extension of the opening track from The Delicate Forever. Howard Givens at Spotted Peccary added an audiophile mastering job.
Black Tape For A Blue Girl: The Collection
Darkwave, goth rock & ethereal pop from Black Tape For A Blue Girl. A 10-track collection that includes their “hits” as well as atmospheric album tracks.
The Birthday Massacre: Violet LP Limited Ediition purple vinyl. $19 Cocksure: TVMALSV Bridging the gap between waxtrax! era industrial and future sounds of mass corruption. $14 KMFDM: We Are Live album features favorites new and old. $14 Prude: The Dark Age of Consent Wild mix of 70s NYC punk/glam with a harsh, damaged electronic edge. $14 Sequential Access: Sex Addict Anonymous 13 tracks of pure golden era electro-industrial. $14 Various Artists: Projekt Ambient / Electronic Clearance Box A grab bag of fantastic Projekt music. 10 CDs for $30.
Quiet Friends: A 30th Anniversary Tribute to Steve Roach’s Structures From Silence. Free download at Bandcamp
Reflection on Quiet Friends, from Steve Roach
This gathering of quiet friends — this experience of hearing the mutual resonation to a sound and space we each, in our own way, connect to—-stirs so many complex and wonderful emotions for me.
In every piece, I can sense that inexplicable yearning and desire to enter into the limitless space, wonder, and quiet depth of just being. This was the seed for Structures From Silence.
The authenticity of connecting to the present moment is so alive here. This collection is living proof of an omni-present soundcurrent, one these quiet friends here have tapped into in their own powerful way to create a multi-faceted jewel of a release. I am deeply honored and moved beyond by your efforts.
Respect and gratitude for this gift to you all!
Projektlist#20140929 the 3-panel flyer is back
From Projekt Records’ Sam Rosenthal…
Back in the old days, I mailed tons of Projekt catalogs. I was telling my son about the early 90s, when I’d have 10,000 catalogs spread across my entire living room, as I sorted them by zipcode for bulk mailing. It was like rows of crops, waiting to be harvested and bagged and driven to the post office in South Central Los Angeles (This was after the 1992 L.A. riots; honestly, I always felt a bit nervous about driving down to South Central).
Before I got into printing those large 24+ page catalogs, I’d print 3-panel flyers at the local P.I.P.
A few of you messaged to tell me you really liked the paper catalogs, and I agree: it’s fun to hold something in your hand when you’re listening to your new Projekt order. So, while they last, when you order at projekt.com, you’ll get a limited edition Astrobright Lunar Blue 3-panel flyer, featuring Dirk Serries’ The Origin Reversal on the cover.
Of course, if you’ve moved on from physical objects, yet still want a catalog, I’ll take care of you. For the first 20 people who contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, I’ll give you details to paypal me a buck (for USA postage, more for overseas), and I’ll throw two of these in an envelope to you.
I only made 246 of these 3-panel flyers. When they’re gone, they’ll be gone (and then I will make a new one with a different design).Link-a-doodle-doo
* Dirk Serries interviewed on a Norwegian radio station about his ambient history and The Origin Reversal release on Projekt.
* Erik Wollo’s Timeline reviewed at hypnagogue.net: “Emotional and filled with sonic imagery, it absolutely demands repeat listens. Superb work from a true master of the craft.”
* You might know that artist cannot copyright song or album titles. But there’s an interesting fact, that we can trademark our titles. I discovered this, when reading about The Red Hot Chili Pepper’s lawsuit against Californication at out-law.com. And here’s what I found even more interesting:
A quick search on Rolling Stone’s Top 10 Greatest Albums of All Time at the trade mark registries of the US and UK shows that none of the album titles are protected by the artists or their record companies. An individual applied to register Highway 61 Revisited, the Bob Dylan album that appears at number 4 in Rolling Stone’s list; but that application was abandoned. Rubber Soul, ranked number 5, is registered as a mark, but not to The Beatles. And Sgt. Pepper’s, the top-ranked album, is registered as a footwear brand by a company in Spain and as a pepper spray brand in the US. David Bowie appears to be more savvy than most of his counterparts, though: he has registered Ziggy Stardust as a trade mark for music and entertainment services. The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars is ranked at number 35 in Rolling Stone’s list.
Huzzah to Bowie for being savvy enough to trademaqrk Ziggy!
* Nick Eakins sent me this message on Facebook: “I just got back from our local coffee house. I played a couple of Mors Syphalitica tunes for them and they played some death metal. Ethereal Goth is like floating on a cloud making love to angels. Death Metal is like getting hit upside the head with a shovel and being sodomized by a gorilla.” To which I replied: “Um, Both good options! : )”
* Please insert your own joke here: Sex toys to be auctioned to pay business’s delinquent Kansas taxes.
Mirabilis: Here and the Hereafter
Mirabilis: Here and the Hereafter Pre-Order CD $15 Extremely limited to 300 copies. | Stream & download for $10 Bandcamp.
While supplies last, your purchase of Mirabilis’ »Here and the Hereafter« includes their first two albums for free! To save on shipping costs, the two additional CDs will not be in jewel boxes. Their barcode will be struck.
Submerse yourself in the third ethereal/darkwave foray from Mirabilis featuring Dru Allen and Summer Bowman, two of the genre’s most-celebrated vocalists. As Mirabilis, these women go beyond the rock-hued sounds of their respective bands (This Ascension/Mercury’s Antennae and the Machine in the Garden) to create beautiful, vocal-centered originals alongside reinterpreted pieces ranging from medieval to pop.
As on their previous Projekt releases, 2004’s Pleiades and 2008’s Sub Rosa, Allen and Bowman weave their signature heavenly voices into a lush bed of dream-like harmonies amidst understated electronics, acoustic instruments, and majestic percussive elements. Their most diverse work to date, Here and the Hereafter transcends genres from cinematic, orchestral pieces to traditional folk and chant to spoken word. Accompanied by instruments including hammered dulcimer and recorder, these 16 tracks — with roots as diverse as Bulgaria, India and Japan — span ages and cultures, reality and dream.
The album marks the band’s first composition with long-time inspiration Monica Richards (Faith and the Muse), who writes and sings on the piece “Here and Hereafter.”
Though brimming with musical styles and instrumentations, ultimately it is the exquisite interplay between the two vocalists that serves as the driving force on Here and the Hereafter. The vocals serve not just as conveyer of lyrics but also as a distinct instrument unto itself. This is a spellbinding, affirming work that transports the listener on a sweeping, emotional journey.
Mercury’s Antennae: A Waking Ghost Inside CD $14 Extremely limited to 300 copies.| Stream & Download for $10 Bandcamp. Ethereal, hypnotic, dizzying, gripping, lush, oceanic, driving, cinematic, haunting. The debut release from San Francisco-based Mercury’s Antennae. Comprised of vocalist Dru Allen (This Ascension, Mirabilis) and multi-instrumentalist Erick R. Scheid (Translucia), the band’s sound is distinctly reminiscent of ‘90s-era Projekt acts. Ranging from the heavy moodiness and guitar drone of Lycia to the unadorned acoustic beauty of Love Spirals Downwards to the passionate rock of This Ascension, the duo also draws on ambient and tribal influences, contemporary electronica, the sweet melodic pop of 4AD, and the blissful guitar noise of bands like Curve.
10 cds for $30 — Electronic Clearance Box — limited offer
Hi. This offer is limited to 60 copies, order your box today! Shipping within the USA + international.
• 10 CDs in the box. This is an ambient/electronic box: all 10 CDs are ambient / electronic. • These boxes are pre-made from overstock CDs. We cannot put specific titles in for you. We pick the albums you receive. • All barcodes are struck. • Most CDs are in digipaks or ecoWallets. CDs will be removed from jewel boxes where applicable (this saves you postage). • If you purchase two boxes, you will receive the same titles twice • No refunds or replacements except if you receive a defective title. Then you will be issued a $3 refund.
dirk serries – the origin reversal
dirk serries – the origin reversal (Pre-Order, shipping early-September) CD $15 | Stream & Download for $10 Bandcamp. Extremely limited to 300 copies. Early Bird Bonus: The first 50 buyers receive a free copy of vidnaObmana’s 1998 CD Crossing the Trail.
Dirk has three performances to kick-off the release of The Origin Reversal::
September 19 Trondheim (Norway) : Facebook Event Page September 20 Trondheim (Norway) : Facebook Event Page October 25 The Netherlands : TBA December 5 Kortrijk (Belgium) : Facebook Event Page Dirk Serries returns to Projekt Records with The Origin Reversal, a re-boot of his classic vidnaObmana sound. This is ambient music that flows from its discreet origins: sonic purity, washes of harmony, and organic textures which slow time to a phase of transcendence.
Picking up on the 1988 – 1996 vidnaObmana ambient period (mostly released on Projekt), The Origin Reversal‘s six tracks are informed with a subtlety that only comes from Serries’ decades of musical growth exploring his craft. After the understated, meditative 2012 collaboration with Steve Roach, Low Volume Music (on sale for $10 this month), Serries reestablished himself as the ambient artist known worldwide for minimal, warm and introspective sonic atmospheres. Performed in real-time directly to a stereo 2-track, Serries created these six tracks armed only with a Gibson Les Paul custom guitar and a few pedals. Despite the use of different tools from his electronic heritage,The Origin Reversal shows a refinement and maturity achieved through extensive touring, intriguing side-projects, recordings and collaborations.
The Belgium-based Serries has experimented with ambient music for over 30 years. His earliest work came out under the vidnaObmana pseudonym, until he closed the book on that project in 2007. In the ensuing seven years, he released over twenty albums under various monikers before returning to a refined stream of ambient works. October 2013 saw three solo albums on limited edition 180-gram vinyl. Unedited live performances meant to run the length of a side of a vinyl record, they were published on the boutique Tonefloat:Ikon imprint. These three LPs were followed by a few digital-only albums.
The hypnotic nature of Serries’ music comes with time and restrained anticipation. It’s all about a delicate touch that never disturbs the continuum between sound and silence.
August’s Top-5 sellers at the Projekt webstore #1 Erik Wøllo: Tundra EP | CD $10 #2 Steve Roach: The Delicate Forever| CD $14 #3 Mirabilis: Here and the Hereafter (with 2 bonus CDs)| CD $15 #4 Various Artists: 10 Projekt CDs for $25 | 10-CD $25 #5 Steve Roach: Structures From Silence (30th Anniversary Remastered Edition) | 3-CD $18
Non-attachment & writing & not over-laboring
From Projekt Record’s Sam Rosenthal…
Hello to everyone on this day of non-laboring.
My novel, Rye, was published nearly two years ago (Nov 5, 2012). It’s an erotic novel; however for myself, many of the reviewers and people who’ve read the book, it’s more than that. Ultimately, it’s about characters and the lives they are trying to build together.
Underneath all the androgyny and fluctuation, the book’s about human connection. Rosenthal’s use of sex and gender identities to illustrate how we reach toward and away from relationships is merely a new approach to an old idea: We all need intimacy with others to deepen our understanding of ourselves.”— Time Out Chicago.
One of the subtexts of Rye comes from a nugget I found in Buddhism’s Diamond Sutra text. As in the Kierkegaard quote above, it’s the idea that most of the time we don’t see things for what they are, because we are misled by our perception of the thing. Once we categorize or describe something, we expect it to behave like the label we have ascribed to it.
In this bit, Matt (the narrator) relays to his partner Rye (a science teacher) a few quotes from a monk he interviewed for a documentary he’s working on:
“ ‘Where there is a description there is a deception.’ And something about ‘we’re all part of the continuity of things changing their form, because the real nature of things is that there’s no definable single state.’” “I was with you there at first. But that second half…?” Rye sounds doubtful. “Rye, the world changes under the weight of our perceptions.” “That’s crazy-talk, Matt! Things are what they are. Don’t taunt me.” I picture his wrinkled nose and frown. “I respect Buddhism, but it can be a bit out there. Science is absolute.”
Later in the story, without really noticing it, Rye has a more understanding view of the topic. This is an exchange between Rye, and Mischa (Matt’s 12 year old son), as they walk home from Misha’s Summer Camp.
“It’s different from what you’re usually taught,” Rye says. “Dad reads to me about something like that. About illusions and not being stuck in how we describe things. The words that are just a story.” I smile at Mischa, proud that he made the connection. “Yeah, you got it, kiddo,” Rye says, standing slowly and patting his shoulder. “They’re all a bunch of words. I’m just me. You see who I am.” “…and the words don’t really matter,” Mischa says, finishing Rye’s thought. “You two are great,” I say, taking one in each arm. “I think I’m gonna keep you both.” Rye smiles and kisses my cheek.
Since concluding Rye in 2012, I’ve been thinking about the follow-up novel; my plan is to pick up where the story left off.
I’d like to report that I’ve been doing more than “thinking about” it and actually “working on” it. But that wouldn’t be true. I’ve been unable to begin, as often happens after finishing a creative work. Some artists go right back to work; they use their head of steam to get down to business. I’m different. I always feel the need to delay and collect new ideas; to let the sail deflate, and wait for the next breeze.
I’ve had vague ideas about what would happen with the characters; I’ve been preparing for an idea to show up, another Buddhist theme to serve as a subtext for the next novel. [ Yes, I know. As an aside one could ask, “Who writes an erotic novel, based around Buddhist ideas?!” ]
Reading Thich Nhat Hahn’s book, The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching, I came upon this line:
“In The Discourse on the Many Realms, the Buddha taught that all of our anxieties and difficulties come from our inability to see the true face, or true sign of things, which means that although we see their appearance, we fail to recognize their impermanent and interbeing nature.” (Page 77)
Oh, I like that.
I like that this builds upon Rye‘s thread about failing to see things as they are. My brain quickly connected that with other ideas concerning relationships, and the pain we feel when they crumble. I wrote this in my journal:
Part of suffering comes from our attachment; our inability to accept that everything is transient. We fall in love, and we want it to stay that way forever. We take it for granted when we have it. And we don’t want it to end when we have already lost it. How can you enjoy love to it’s fullest while it’s happening, yet let it go when it’s over? Can we say, “That was nice, and now it’s gone”? Because that’s going to be true of everything in life: there is nothing we will take with us, at the end. How can we enjoy it to its fullest and then smile and let it go?
This got me quite excited.
It seems that one of the hardest things to do is to live with this sort of non-attachment.
Many assume ‘non-attachment’ means to not care for things. Rather, it means to care deeply, yet also to allow things to be free; to not hold too tightly. “Overcoming attachment does not mean becoming cold and indifferent. On the contrary, it means learning to have relaxed control over our mind through understanding the real causes of happiness and fulfillment, and this enables us to enjoy life more and suffer less.” – Kathleen McDonald, How to Meditate
Thich Nhat Hahn says there are three essential elements: Non-attachment, impermanence and bliss. I think a thorough understanding of the first two leads to the third; Hahn would also say that they all inter-are. That you cannot have any one of them without the other.
Much to think about.
SamNew in the store
Ataraxia: Wind At Mount Elo | CD $18 The Moon and the Nightspirit: Holdrejtek | CD $23 The Moon and the Nightspirit: Rego Rejtem Re-issue | CD $22 The Moon and the Nightspirit: Of Dreams Forgotten and Fables Untold Re-issue | CD $22 The Moon and the Nightspirit: Mohalepte Re-issue | 2-CD $25 Spiritual Front: Vladimir Central 12″ (Extremely Limited, Only A Few Copies Available!) | Vinyl $35Link-a-doodle-doo
Listen to Gavin Bryars’ Sinking of the Titanic performed in an aquatic center. This is a pretty great live rendition of this piece. Video at youTube.
Maybe Raccoons are the new goats which were the new cats. Oy! These things change so quickly! Raccoon dentist at youTube.
Cats say, “Wait, we’re not done with our reign just yet!” An oldie goldie, Olympic Cat Curling.
End the Tyranny of 24/7 Email
I posted a Facebook link to this New York Times article. As a boss, I totally endorse what it says; I think it’s CRAZY that many of my friends are expected to answer their work email 24 hours a day. Screw that! You’re not slaves; employers don’t have the rights to expect replies when you are off the clock.
My friend, Sam Saia, replied: I’ve always refused linking my business email to my cell phone for this very reason. My shift begins at 8:30am and ends at 5pm Mon-Fri. End of story!
This blog by Tim Ferriss talks about making more time for your own work, by spending less time taking in other people’s work. To that end, he suggest checking your email only twice a day! “The real hard part, of course, is keeping yourself away from that damn inbox. Get on a strict low-information diet and focus on output instead of input; your wallet and weekends will thank you for it.”
ProjektList#140825, Sam’s thoughts about music, Projekt, Q&A
From Projekt Record’s Sam Rosenthal…
It’s become obvious to me: over the last few years Projekt has become a (primarily) electronic/ambient label.
For clarity, I do not mean the EDM/dance style of electronic & ambient music. I mean floating, drifting meditative ambient, or adventurous drone / space-music electronics. For simplicity, I will refer to this side of Projekt’s sound as “electronic.”
I began Projekt 31 years ago, releasing a few compilation cassettes, and a whole bunch of my own solo-electronic music. In 1986, I released the first album from my band, Black Tape For A Blue Girl; the label’s sound began an evolution toward a goth / ethereal / darkwave perspective. Projekt really came to people’s attention in the early 90s, with the success of the rock-side-of-the-label acts Black Tape For A Blue Girl, Lycia, and Love Spirals Downwards. Fans and writers called Projekt “the American 4AD.” But I wasn’t soley focused on one sound; at the same time as the darkwave heyday, I was releasing electronic music. In fact, the fourth band on the label was O Yuki Conjugate, with their tribal ambient masterpiece, Peyote. In late 1995, I released the first Steve Roach album on Projekt, his double-CD collaboration with vidnaObmana, Well of Souls. Parallel to the darkwave sound, the electronic side continued to grow.
I dug into the numbers, to see if my hunch was right about the direction the label has taken. I tallied up the last 12 month’s royalty payments, and sorted the artists into electronic or darkwave.
On royalties paid to the label’s top-25 acts, 69% went to the electronic artists, 31% to the darkwave artists. Yes, 69%! A big chunk of the 69% goes to Steve Roach, while on the darkwave side much of that 31% goes to Voltaire. If you pull those two artists, and compare the rest of the acts, the ratio skews slightly more darkwave, yet remains nearly the same: 64% electronic / 36% darkwave.
My hunch was correct.
Now, part of this shift can be attributed to the lack of releases from my band, Black Tape For A Blue Girl. We were a big part of those sales in the 90s, but as the label grew busier I’ve taken less and less time to work on my own music. With Lycia and Love Spirals Downwards and Mira gone, the bands that contributed the bulk of the rest of the darkwave side are no longer here to keep up the tradition.
You might have noticed that Projekt’s CD output reflects this switch, with many more electronic releases in the last two years. I still love the darkwave bands, of course. But I want to focus on what you are interested in.
Various Artists: 10 Projekt CDs for $25 Projekt has tons of overstock CDs in our storage space: wonderful music that longs to be heard! Help us clean up the place, and receive hours of enjoyment at the same time! $25 gets you 10 random Projekt CDs focussed more on the darkwave genre: a surprise selection of amazing Projekt music.Questions and Answers
I asked people on Facebook to post questions for me. If you have a question, email email@example.com, and I’ll get to it.
Chris Zubryd asked: Is being in a band AND running the label like directing a film in which you have a main role?
Sam: I put your question first, Chris, because the answer is a good seque from the section above. As I said, as the label devoured more of my time, I spent less time on Black Tape For A Blue Girl. This is one of the reasons it’s been five years since the last album. At any other label, if the #2 band wasn’t making music, the label owner would beg, plead, and blackmail them to get off their rear-end and make new music. Wearing both hats, I find it hard to get out of the Projekt chair, and into the studio. I feel an urgency with other artists’ work. They contact me, and ask, “What’s up with my album release?” While the guy at Blacktape never sends me an email. : )
Scott M. Neth: Are you still running Darkwave distribution? The reason I asked is because I used to buy from Darkwave for a record store I ran back in the 90’s and I’d be kind of curious how you think think the distribution industry has changed since then. Back then, distribution used to kill our small store because for major labels we could only buy direct (from Warner, BMG, etc) and we couldn’t compete with the Best Buy’s and Walmart (they’d force us to buy a large inventory of ¢rap we couldn’t sell to get the stuff we could) so we totally shifted our focus to buying from small(er) indie companies like Darkwave, a few little punk distribution companies and Saddle Creek Records (and it saved our store).
Sam: Yeah, that was one of the many STUPID things the record industry did: co-op. Basically, us labels had to bribe the stores (Tower, Borders, Best Buy – but also indies) to stock our CDs. Discounts at places like Best Buy were so deep that they could sell for less than what a small store like Scott’s paid to buy the CD. It was idiotic. There were other kinds of co-op besides discounts. A Borders’ listening station was effective in the 1997-2001 period. We introduced a lot of people to Projekt’s music that way. But buying a 1/4 page ad in the Village Voice so Virgin-Union Square would do a Mira instore? That probably wasn’t the best use of Projekt’s money. Still, it was the game we all had to play back then.
These days, chains like Newbury’s in the Boston area want a massive discount. They want something unreasonable like a $4 discount per CD (a store usually pays between $10 – $12 per unit); the discount is not so they can stock it in their stores, but so they can undercut everyone else in the Amazon marketplace. Apparently many labels give them this deal, we do not. I don’t need Newbury to sell at Amazon. I need them to stock Projekt CDs in their stores. Which they do not. So screw them, basically! : )
Back to Scott’s question. No, we don’t really sell directly to retail stores anymore. eOne Distribution and the one-stops do that for us. If you run a store, and you want to talk about whatever, drop me a line. firstname.lastname@example.org
Brian John Mitchell: Would you rather be remembered as the ‘Projekt guy’ or the ‘black tape for a blue girl guy’ or something else?
Sam: BJM – I’d rather be remembered as a good dad. By my son. : )
Brian John Mitchell: Also… is the blog more for your personal use to document things or to give fans insight to what you do or to hopefully generate additional traffic & sales (essentially an advertisement in a way) or a mix of all these?
Sam: A mix of the second two, definitely. There’s a movement to take the internet back from Facebook: a return to using your own site to host your thoughts. I think that this blog also serves as “therapy” to get myself through Facebook-withdrawl. I spend time writing these blogs, instead of looking at cats scratching bob marley vinyl on Facebook. (ha!)
Also, I’m sick of arguing with people / pirates on Facebook. They tell me how the music business works, when they don’t know what they’re talking about! Running a label is what I do. I’ve been doing this a long time. It’s not just a “hunch” when I say sales are down, and people getting music for free has hurt sales. I have a good deal of experience in the music business!
Ooops. Sorry, I got onto a Facebook rant. I have a lot of experience running a label, and it’s fun to share what Projekt has been through. So, yes, it serves a combination of your 2nd and 3rd suggestions. And yes, I hope it encourages people to support Projekt’s music.
Alisa InCupcakeland: Why did you decide to start with Projekt Records?
Sam: The label began 31 years ago, and I’ve been running Projekt as my full-time job for over 20 years! When I started, I was making a fanzine in Florida, called Alternative Rhythms. In 1783… oh, I mean 1983… I released a cassette of some of the bands I was writing about, called Projekt Electronic South Florida vol. 1. You can see a list of out-of-print Projekt releases from that era.
Nils Inge Graven: I would like to know how I can get the South Florida compilations!
Sam: I suggest eBay. I don’t have contracts with any of those artists anymore. I don’t even know where to find most of them. I couldn’t ethically re-release those cassettes at this point. Those early cassettes are really rare, I made perhaps 100 – 150 of each of them.
James Hopkins: More about distribution would be interesting. How you set it up and kept it going all these years. That’d be great to read.
Sam: When Projekt started, I was in College, living in Florida. I would put cassettes on consignment at a few local record stores and also sell them mail-order via little ads in magazines like Option and Sound Choice. As I moved into LPs and then CDs, I worked with a variety of distributors that sold to stores. In the 1991-1997 period, Projekt didn’t have an exclusive distributor, to get CDs to stores we sold through Cargo, Silent, Rough Trade, Caroline, etc. etc. I sold to everyone, and it was a mess getting paid.
Here’s a story.
One of the companies that bought from Projekt was Tower Records. In around 1994 (I believe), Tower owed Projekt $50,000 for Blacktape, Love Spirals Downwards and Lycia CDs they ordered and sold through the stores. Like almost every vendor back then, they were late at paying. Or just flat out refused to pay. I put Tower on hold and kept nagging them, but they wouldn’t pay up; they knew Projekt needed them more than they needed me. $50,000 not paid for 6 months would have put most little labels out of business. Fortunately for me, I had cash flow from other distributors, including overseas. Hyperium sold a lot of Projekt CDs, at that time. Eventually, Projekt had new albums from a few of the bigger bands, and I remember talking on a pay phone while visiting New York City, I was telling the finance person at Tower that they’d have to pay up to get these new titles. I guess they wanted the releases because they agreed and sent me a check. After I cashed it, I told them to screw themselves. I wasn’t going to send them any more CDs unless they paid me up front; I didn’t want to find myself stuck in the same situation with them, in six months. They were REALLY pissed off and told me Projekt will never be stocked in Tower again. Maybe it was stupid of me to make that choice, however I don’t like working with partners who dick me around.
In 1997 when Projekt went exclusive with Ryko Distribution, Tower stocked our CDs again. So, it ended well. For Projekt, at least. My label is still in business. A few bankruptcies later, Tower is gone.
Alisa InCupcakeland: This is kind of off topic but.. do you have a book recommendation?
Sam: Sure. My book recommendation is my erotic novel RYE; a good option if you’d like a fun, silly, serious love story. With lots of non-mainstream sex…. : ) Get it for Kindle at Amazon or buy the signed physical book from me!
Frost V. Insomnium: I also miss printed catalogs, I could meditate on what to buy while lying on my bed, watching tv, using the bathroom. Instead of spending time tied to a computer .
Sam: But Frost, you can do all those things with a laptop: “lying on my bed, watching tv, using the bathroom” : ) But yes, I have ideas about a new printed thingie! I am thinking of making a paper-catalog again; perhaps starting with the 3-fold sheet of paper, like in the early days. I think that would be very cool.
Ok, we have time for one more question. Over there in the back, Yeah, the guy raising his hand… : )
Steve Baldwin: Well, was it worth it?
Sam: I support myself from Projekt. I haven’t had “a real job” in 20 years. So hell yeah, it’s worth it! All of you make it possible for me to do this. I support myself and my son from your interest in Projekt and the artists I work with. That’s really worth it!Back in stock
Voltaire: Hate Lives In A Small Town CD $14 Android Lust: The Dividing (10th Anniversary edition Vinyl) 2xLP $25Some recent review excerpts Steve Roach’s Structures From Silence (3-CD reissue) reviewed in Yoga Journal
“Each track arises from silence, coming to full volume like a film slowly coming into focus. From there, listeners waft along a gentle current of majestic bass swells, chimes, and soft-focus clouds of billowing sound.” – Yoga Journal September 2014. Purchase the CD for $18 at the Projekt site / Stream or Digital Download for $18 at Bandcamp.Steve Roach’s The Long Night Structures From Silence reviewed in Santa Sangre Magazine
“Using analog and digital synths but also traditional instruments such as ocarina and cedar flute, as well as field recordings, the first words that come to mind when searching for a verbal description of this music, are ‘shamanic’ and ‘earthly.’ . . . A mysterious, ghostly aura always hovers above this landscape of abstract elements and fading apparitions.” – Santa Sangre Magazine. Purchase the CD for $14 at the Projekt site / Stream or Digital Download for $10 at Bandcamp.Erik Wøllo’s Tundra reviewed at Star’s End
“As with all of Wøllo’s releases the use of sound on Tundra is not only dramatic but infinitely subtle in its scale of values and carries a hidden story… Some of the five tracks on Tundra suggest a yearning for spiritual fulfillment through increasingly bright hues and mounting forms, while others explore the lure of the unfamiliar, the remote and the primitive.” – starsend.org. Purchase the CD for $14 at the Projekt site. Only 5 copies left! / Stream or Digital Download for $4 at Bandcamp.Link-a-doodle-doo
Bettie Page was the #8 top-earning dead celebrity in 2013. Who knew!?
There’s a new Amanda Palmer article, that got everyone all grumpy on my Facebook page. I don’t know if anyone actually read it, or were just upset by the headline and Amanda’s name. Honestly, I haven’t had a chance to read it, yet, but Amanda often has interesting insight into things. I’m going to make a bullet points list of the things she writes that could apply to us.
Interesting infographics from the New York Times. Very few New Yorkers move to Oregon. Californian transplants are the largest people moving in; this explains why Portlanders love New Yorkers and dislike Californianers. Check your state…
And here’s the other half of The Dresden Dolls! Get your Brian Viglione t-shirts, Underwear, etc…. it’s the Viggie close-out sale.
Saturday September 6 Some Wear Leather, Some Wear Lace Book Panel. Brooklyn’s Rough Trade Record Store present this discussion on 1980s goth subculture (fashion, music, evolution) in the US/NYC – moderated by Kate Eichhorn. Athan Maroulis (of Black Tape FOr A Blue Girl and Nori is on the panel). Frankie Teardrop spinning rare postpunk and goth vinyl. No wristband required.
Not surprising to anyone who works in the record business: Streaming Isn’t Saving the Music Industry After All, Data Shows. Read the article at Digital Music News.
“Life After Brooklyn” is an informative New York Times article about housing prices in Brooklyn, and how it is driving many long time residents out of NYC completely. I was one of those in the diaspora.
My son is very excited by the Goatcam. We have it as a private channel on the Roku Box, so we can stream goats all day! : )
Digital Ferret exceeded their indiegogo goal. The store will transition to Joe soon! There’s still time to donate, and get some great music at a great price.
A free sampler from Black Tape For A Blue Girl The Collection sells for $5 at iTunes, or get it for free at blacktape’s Bandcamp page. Ten songs spanning twenty-eight years of music. Thanks so much for your interest.
Please share this link with your friends: https://blacktapeforabluegirl.bandcamp.com/album/the-collection
If you want to share this email with your friends, here is the shortcode: https://www.projekt.com/store/?p=5891
A free sampler from Black Tape For A Blue Girl
The Collection (pay-as-you-wish) by Black Tape For A Blue GirlGiven (1. the waterfall 2. the illuminating gas) Across a thousand blades (2007) All my lovers Knock three times (skinny kinda mix) Tell me you’ve taken another (‘09) Remnants of a deeper purity Fortune presents gifts not according to the book The turbulence and the torment Again, to drift (for Veronika) Tear love from my mind love it, share itfacebook twitter pinterest google
Hi, this is Sam of blacktape. I’m really happy that somewhere along the way you discovered my music. Getting reconnected with so many of you over the last year has been incredible, amazing and inspiring. I put together this collection for you. It contains many of the “hit” songs we’ve recorded over the years, some introspective album tracks, as well as our cover of a Dead Can Dance song.
If you like the music my bandmates and I have created, please… share the link below!
The Collection sells for $5 at iTunes, or get it for free at blacktape’s Bandcamp page. Ten songs spanning twenty-eight years of music. Thanks so much for your interest.
Please share this link with your friends: https://blacktapeforabluegirl.bandcamp.com/album/the-collection
One year anniversary
From Projekt’s Sam Rosenthal
We just had our one year anniversary. “Of what?” you ask? Of Joe running the webstore. “Joe?” you ask, now even more perplexed as you lean in toward your monitor. Yeah. You remember? Remember last year at the end of August, I packed up Projekt and drove cross-country? At that point, Joe took over the fulfillment on the Projekt webstore. “Really?” you ask. “I don’t remember this!” Ok… Maybe it’s because I never mentioned it. That must be it. : )
But things have been running wonderfully, haven’t they?
Projekt orders are filled out of Philadelphia’s Digital Ferret record store. Joe has been the full-time manager of the shop for ten years (that’s him in the photo above, note the Remnants of a deeper purity vinyl on the shelf behind him!). Last Summer, as I prepared for buggin’ out of Brooklyn, Shea and I discussed possibilities for the webstore. One idea was for Shea to take it over, get a space and keep it in NYC; but the rents are just too high out there; without the label income, the webstore would have a hard time making ends meet. Besides, Shea had other plans (moose, travel, lattes, sheep, bikes, life!).
I hit upon the idea of out-sourcing. But India was too far away for mail-orders (Ha! No. No! I never actually considered India). When Shea and I discussed possible partners, we realized the best fit would be a similar business with experience filling web-orders. Ideally, it would be a partner that understood this genre; who could keep things moving seamlessly.
Working with Joe made perfect sense. Digital Ferret Records was already a customer for Projekt CDs; and we both stocked similar import titles, sourcing a lot of the releases from our friends at Audioglobe Distribution in Italy. A big up-side to working with Joe was combining our ordering power, he could order more often from Audioglobe, providing faster fulfillment and a wider variety of titles in the Projekt store. This change was an improvement, not just a solution.
Now it’s been a year and everything has been running great.[ I have to admit that it was odd for me, to part from my mail-order department. I’ve been sticking musical recordings into packages – and then into the mail – for 30 years. It was a change, not having this department under my roof. But now it feels really good, because things work so effortlessly. And since you’re probably wondering… Yes! Shea still works for Projekt. She does behind-the-scenes label promotions stuff, as well as works on the website, tweets, facebookering, etc. Stuff she can do from the international space station, or wherever she’s at this week! ]
I asked Joe if he wanted to add anything to this post, and he emailed back: “I am not really one for words. Music is my passion. The more engulfed in this world I am, the happier I am.”
Shea and I really want to thank Joe for picking up the ball and running with it. And I bet our mail-order customers want to thank you, too. Now they know who to thank. It’s Joe!!
You can leave Joe a comment when you place your next order at Projekt.com.
Bandcamp top-5 of the last 30 days#1 Various: Summer 2014 – electronic & ambient sampler #2 tie: Erik Wollo: Tundra (ep) #2 tie: Steve Roach: The Delicate Forever #4 tie: Loren Nerell / Mark Seelig: Tree of Life #4 tie: Steve Roach / David Kelly: The Long Night