Five questions for Outside Recordings

Delivering leftfield electro manipulations and an innovative approach to sound art, Jeff Nagel and Kris Krause take a few minutes to answer Five questions regarding Outside Recordings‘ past, present and future musical iterations.

Igloo Magazine :: When did Outside Recordings start up and what was your inspiration?

Kris Krause / Outside Rec. :: Outside was conceived in 1998 by Jeff Nagel, Bill Weir and myself (Kris Krause). Jeff and I had already been DJ’ing together since 1992. We met Bill and started producing in his studio. In that studio we made what became Outside’s 1st two releases The Shafer Commision  – Electric Mistress and D Lubb Macheen – Lowrider EP. I was running Vibe Tribe Record store in Charlotte, NC and used those connections to get our records to the distributors.

Jeff Nagel / Outside Rec. :: I went to the UK in 1996 to stay with Afam Ezulike who was a friend and music mentor. That’s when I had my first UK dj gig at The Velvet Underground with Afam. He then introduced me to ADJ (Andy Jaggers) and Dave Mothersole. ADJ owned and Dave worked in IQ record shop in Soho, London, those two smothered me with proper electronic music from there on out. Shortly after that I brought ADJ to the states for some gigs and he soon returned the favor with gigs for me all over England, Scotland and France. After meeting so many good artists that really had no outlet for their music, Outside came to fruition.

Igloo :: Who were some of your initial artist relations and did your location help or hinder progress?

Kris :: Meeting ADJ (Andy Jaggers) changed everything for us. Jeff and I went over to England to hangout with Andy and play a couple venues. We played the Wang event at The PREMESIS and The Alphabet Bar. We came back and put out Travel Card with ADJ and Transparent Sound. Andy linked us with Swayzak and (Carl) Finlow. We met Ben Milstein in Miami through the ELM guys, RD, Trichome (Barry Hewitt) and TL (Trevor Lee Smith). We clicked immediately and Ben was on our next two releases Hide/Away EP and Procrastinate. Our location was an issue until websites like Electro Alliance and Basterdized and other forums emerged. A lot of the times our records would be reviewed and referred to as a Detroit label or even UK! We put Kakalak on the map that’s for sure. We did a party in 2004 in Charlotte, NC with (Carl) Finlow and (Dave) Tipper and people came from Baltimore, MD to Miami.

Jeff :: ADJ, Dave Mothersole, Swayzak, Transparent Sound, LA Synthesis were the first artists that I had met with this new sound we wanted to push. I don’t think our location ever really hindered our progress. We had built a name for ourselves by throwing events since the early 90’s in NC. We just changed the style of music around 1996, but people caught on quickly.

Igloo :: What were some of the challenges (if any) starting up a label? …and how did you envision the label to stand apart?

Kris :: The main challenges starting up, was getting paid by distributors. Mainly the ones overseas. We had various P&D deals, as well as, straight direct sales. They either went bankrupt or just didn’t pay us, it almost shut us down for good. Thank god for digital distribution; you can track every sale and you get paid.

As far as standing apart, we named the label Outside Recordings because we always wanted to “stand outside the box” to push the envelope and do something different musically.

In the beginning we were just trying to put out our own music, but by the 3rd release the focus shifted to talent and quality. After DJ’ing and traveling all over together, Jeff and I met a whole lot of cool and immensely talented people. For instance, Ben (Milstein) was performing using a program that he wrote the code for with Supercollider. This was before Ableton existed. On top of that, Ben is an amazing musician who makes the most twisted electro you’ve ever heard. That’s when we shifted our focus to putting out artists who were making music we loved and doing it in a way that people haven’t seen or heard before. We aspire to be a Warp or a Ghostly. I think our roster is just as impressive, ADJ, Tropa, 214, Silicon Scally and now Scanone is doing an EP for us with a remix by Roel Funcken from Funckarma.

Jeff :: The biggest challenge was dealing with the distributors overseas. They want your music, sell your music, get paid for your music, but not pay the people making the music. File bankruptcy, change their business name and since they were overseas it was almost impossible to get paid. As far as standing apart, we named the label Outside Recordings because we always wanted to “stand outside the box” to push the envelope and do something different musically.

Igloo :: What is your motivation in keeping the label moving forward into the next decade?

Kris :: They’re more people into electronic music now than ever. It’s exciting to see how many young people are into electronic music now. Producing and performing music in ways we never thought were possible. We want to be a part of it, to help facilitate it.

Jeff :: The motivation is simply the love of what we do. We rarely make money. If we do, it goes to the artists.

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.

Kris :: At the moment we have distribution through Addictech, Juno, iTunes and our Website. We currently do a monthly in LA The Departure Lounge showcasing our artists and DJ’s, with Mark Nanney and Sarah Chambliss on the street team. We sponsor some pretty large east coast events, Trinumeral and are involved in a Charlotte, NC monthly called Bass Church. We are also very active on Twitter and Facebook.

Jeff :: In addition to what Kris just said, we do a lot of cross-marketing with various street artists which we are including in future events. Just check out Outside Recordings Facebook fan page.

Find out more about Outside by visiting their website at outside-recordings.com.

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