Described as “…an experimental music label, based in Moscow, Russia and was formed in 2004. We are not interested in boxed music made to fit into IDM, post-rock, techno, ambient frames. Our interest is music with a deep trip outside the reality.” Willy Winky responds to our Five questions profile to give a glimpse into the passion and patience involved in running Lagunamuch Community.
Igloo Magazine :: When did Lagunamuch start up and what was your inspiration?
Willy Winky (Lagunamuch) :: It started in summer 2004, in Moscow, in those days we were running a music store with lots of different types of electronic music, labels like Ninja tune, Warp, Staalplaat, Hymen and so on, and of course, we were selling some Russian composers for example F.R.U.I.T.S., New Composers, Species of Fishes, Alexandroid etc.
It was Alexandroid who impressed us the most. These musicians experimented actively with different genres in order to get a new mixture of techno, IDM, ambient and they tried to fill their sound with original ideas during the recording process. After they released Sinoptic our world changed a lot. Later, we got to know them during their club gig and started to discuss the possibility of working together. Despite the fact that Alexandroid released their vinyl and CD’s in Austria, Germany, France and England, they didn’t have their own publishing house. Each of the musicians of this duo has had plenty of musical projects, and actually Lagunamuch was set up as a kind of publishing label for Alexandroid and the music of similar bands.
The only criterion for every release is the presence of psychedelic and experimental component that goes beyond style. For us creation is not a repetition of something that has already been done, but an attempt of getting something new, new synthesis, new forms and substances and a permanent search. That’s why our catalog is a spectrum of colors of a musical rainbow. It’s all kinds of music for open-minded people.
While working on the release Deep Sea Shipping we realized several important features, in our opinion; a compilation is not just a digest of tracks, but a dedicated preparation for a sound trip for a listener. We know that most people don’t like listening to compilations, but in our case, it sounds totally different. And then we decided to prepare every record like a special personal journey, a kind of music for a personal listening experience and that’s the way we follow.
Igloo :: Who were some of your initial artist relations and did your location help or hinder progress?
W W :: When we started up in 2004, we were selling all our music there in the same store in Moscow. Also on the spot in Moscow clubs, we could organize the parties of our bands and musicians and some guests-projects. In this store we met almost all of our future residents. It was a really wonderful time. We daringly released a CD album of dark-ambient composer Nightech Deviation, who lives very far from Moscow and invited him to one of our parties, as we also did with Unit 21 from Nijniy Novgorod and then released his November. For these purposes the location in the capital was perfect, it was also important because of its geographical situation. Likewise the club 16 Tons is perfectly located perfectly in this city, it did a great deal for the development of Lagunamuch records at the time.
The layout was completely perfect. But in 2006 all the music market in Russia, all its structure collapsed (because everyone was downloading music, not buying it). We shut down the store and understood that it was absolutely necessary to change a great deal of things as well as our location.
Now we are living in the Moscow region, it’s about 100 km far from the capital, in our own house. There are three-dimensional natural landscapes and also near our place there are trenches and fortifications from the Second World War. Nowadays, it makes absolutely no difference where you live if you have a good stream in the Net you are able to communicate with the entire world, run your label, lead and coordinate designers, mastering-engineers and musicians. The Net made it possible and erased all limits. With the help of the Internet, It doesn’t matter where you are—the only important thing is your personality, your ideas, the way you are and what you are able to do. That’s why now our releases aren’t intended only for the local Moscow audience, but for the listeners from all over the world.
For us creation is not a repetition of something that has already been done, but an attempt of getting something new, new synthesis, new forms and substances and a permanent search.
Igloo :: What were some of the challenges (if any) starting up a label? …and how did you envision the label to stand apart?
W W :: Everyone who wants to create meets with troubles. There are always lots of tricky situations with promotion, distribution, gigs’ organization, and every first step is always a big deal, but it’s all working details you need to come up with, sometimes just speed them up. The substance is the main priority, and then the form will create itself. Music can find the way by itself. We are just helping to do it. Many people help us, they can be our friends or just supporters—some of them provide free hosting for the site lagunamuch.com, some people write reviews, others distribute our CD’s and also someone has translated this text. We are very grateful to all of them for being a part of Lagunamuch records.
The label is a form of music publishing, and we are just an organized group of various creators. It’s almost impossible to stand out against the background of a crowd of labels—now it’s more than 50 million hours of recorded music, it’s so hard to focus the attention of the audience and moreover to keep them focused.
It is almost an unreal occupation that often requires huge financial investments, permanent release of more and more new music, along with major information support, but in our opinion it’s all now pointless and useless. If people don’t want to buy music on CD, not because it’s bad, but they just don’t want to pay for it—you can do nothing about it.
The best option to position the label is to seek and invent your own sound world along with investment of possible resources, which are not necessarily only money. However, in the first place, we try to create music for ourselves to be able to listen to it for a long period of time with interest. And after it has all been introduced to the others, it’s the only way to become interesting for the listeners. We are persisted with experimenting with manner and matter as well as with sound.
We came to a conclusion that permanent experiments help us to discover the right vector for further progress.
The preparation of each project takes a lot of time and efforts. We create a lot of options for cover art, mastering, and then we are testing these things for a long time. In our view, each release should be a holiday, and not look like a product that came off the assembly line. The beautiful piece of such laborious task is Banned Book’s Holographic Relationchip. This record is a real inspiration for us. It evokes fresh feelings and creates comfortable mood.
Igloo :: What is your motivation in keeping the label moving forward into the next decade?
W W :: We don’t know how long we will produce music for, I am not even sure whether this form of civilization has more than 10 years or not? Changes happen in one year, that would have taken ten years in the past. But we have no intention of stopping, we have enough projects—the whole set of different ideas—we just need plenty of time to carefully prepare them before they appear. There is no need to hurry, Riverz End is our 33d release, we produced it sufficiently and every new release shouldn’t be the reminder of previous works.
The simple desire and motivation of looking for something new, of finding really talented, gifted musicians and make them known by the audience, leads us and drives us, makes us want to keep going on. However, if we didn’t release music we would definitely release books. But the book market is the same as the music market—It’s supersaturated.
We are hugely fond of books, especially real ones (paper-books, not on Kindle), we are even more fascinated by literature than by music. They are full of ideas, of inspiration and knowledge that you can easily pick up. There are also a lot of books from the past that are not popular now, and perhaps not known at all, but some ‘weird’ authors of the past had the possibility to see the future.
Igloo :: Tell us more about how you (and your staff?) take the label’s “sound” to the listeners and fans. Distribution, campaigns, live shows, word of mouth etc.
W W :: We are very familiar with some other labels, especially Alter-X, it’s a free-digital label, and of course there is permanent exchange of music, ideas and impressions about new releases between our friends, listeners and supporters. And it seems to be a really healthy trend. It would be sad if we didn’t have all of this. At least, it would be strange. In the past, people exchanged vinyl records, CD’s, cassettes—now it’s faster to do it digitally. In due time when we made first free digital release of Riverz End – Possible, we got loads of positive responses from all over the world, and also we received some proposals of arranging gigs for the musician.
Promo-group Sub Community was one of the first who invited us to visit Mogilev city where Riverz End gave the concert. We saw lots of people, who were charmed by his music. It is one thing to know that your listeners exist but quite another to actually see them with your own eyes. It’s an unforgettable experience! It was surprising but after that demo-release Riverz End gave more than 10 gigs, including three outside Russia. This release was a kind of experiment for us, and nobody expected such great feedback. We came to a conclusion that permanent experiments help us to discover the right vector for further progress.
We make maximum efforts to promote our music—send releases to radio, web-zines all over the world, make connections with music shops, distributors and other labels. As for organization of our own events, in the past we made lots of them, but after have been changing the dislocation we had to pass to indirect actions—now it’s the time for promo-groups, cultural centers and major labels which arrange events and gigs, inviting our musicians too. Recently our two artists took part in musical festival which happened in Madrid. And it’s really great!
For more information about Lagunamuch, visit their website at www.lagunamuch.com.