Five questions with Acre

Acre is an Edinburgh-based label that laments the hole left in the electronic genre by Warp. Acre are audiophiles and vinyl junkies, putting out well-mastered and well-pressed dynamic records for the love of it.”

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

Acre :: There are two of us behind Acre Recordings, S Mehes and C Mantle. We are Hungarian & Scots, respectively, meeting online not long before S emigrated to Scotland. We found that not only did we have very similar musical tastes but that we had both been madly into buying records since barely reaching puberty and I suppose that since then, for the pair of us, having a label and releasing music have been long term ambitions. We are motivated both by a fetishistic love of good quality audio & vinyl, and of ‘good’ music. ‘Good’, for us, means music that is a little bit different, that is trying out something new, that may even be a little difficult. We both feel that despite the proliferation of labels there wasn’t all that much coming out that we really got excited about and, secondarily, that it was very hard for less well-known artists to get any
exposure at all. Many labels, probably not through design, seemed to be rather cliquey, releasing only their friends and acquaintances.

It was only more recently, in 2009, that a good friend (and now silent partner) offered to bankroll the label start-up costs. After that it took us over a year of false starts and finding our way to get our very first 12″ out to the unsuspecting public.

We wish to support and expose the less well-known artists, the bedroom producers and the new-comers as we know how hard it can be to get people to take an interest.

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

Acre :: Our idea for the Codex series of records (Vol 2 is in the works) is to pair up better known artists with one or two less well-known ones, in order to give them some exposure. Our initial contacts I suppose were all people via the internet, plus a few from what’s left of Edinburgh’s scene, such as the Wee Djs. However, we tend to ‘headhunt’ artists we like (especially as no one really seems to send out demos on spec these days!) whether they be better known people via web contacts, or lesser known via sites like Soundcloud (which we trawl fairly assiduously).

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

Acre :: We’ve faced a few challenges, mostly to do with our not really knowing what we were doing! Finding tracks for the vinyl side of things is pretty difficult… in fact, pretty much every step from the logo design to distribution has been quite hard but we are learning as we go so it’ll hopefully get simpler and easier.

In terms of Acre Recordings standing apart we were sure from the start that we didn’t want to stick to one genre. We are bound only by what we see as quality music. So far we’ve released electro, IDM, dubstep, harsh dancefloor stuff and experimental drone, amongst things, and we are looking forward to expanding this palette.

Our other main point is that we wish to support and expose the less well-known artists, the bedroom producers and the new-comers as we know how hard it can be to get people to take an interest. We also give digital artists a 75% cut of takings. We have spent a lot of time talking about charging structures: on the one hand free music gets wide exposure and there’s a lot to be said for ‘free at the point of access’ in making accessibility fair.

However, on the other we feel that music shouldn’t be free at all, that it should cost something. These are, after all, individuals’ creative endeavors which reflect a lot of time and money. And as a consumer myself, I spend more time and effort getting into something I’ve paid cash for. As a result, we will be doing both! Compilations and remix packages will be free and artist releases won’t be.

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

Acre :: Our motivations are simple: a love of high quality audio (without hyper-compression and over the top brickwalling), exposing artists and vinyl fetishism. Oh, and fame, fortune and lots of gold jewellery, naturally.

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

Acre :: In terms of how we get the sound out there to people we do what I think most other small labels do, relying on the internet, mostly, using sites like Bandcamp, Soundcloud and various social media sites. Word of mouth is another important factor and we hope over time that, by consistently releasing quality stuff we’ll come to be known as a reliable ‘go-to’ label. We also do a series of podcasts/mixes to showcase tracks we like and our artists’ sounds and have just got involved with a new night in Edinburgh to try to inject a bit of life into the city’s flagging music scene.

For more information about Acre Recordings, visit their website at www.acre-recordings.co.uk.

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