Following his set at the successful Flux Halloween speical (‘A Night at the Haunted Mills’), techno producer, DJ and 8bit Records label boss Gorge caught up with Leeds Student Clubs’ Dominic Freeman. They talked about playing live sets, the changing house and techno scene and the perils of running a vinyl-based label in 2012.
LS: How is 8bit Records going?
Yeah it’s good, we started in 2005, and we released a 5 year compilation last year (one year later). We have some really good stuff coming up and yeah it’s not like the typical 8bit sound, that it was like, but you know, a label has to change these days and yeah we are open-minded and so on.
LS: Does the label have any plans for the future?
Yeah sure, we always have plans, we have a lot of good stuff and you know you can’t always plan it, you just decide,’this music is cool and I wanna put it out’ and thats just the way it works.
LS: Do you have a select group of artists that you always release from or do you still take demos and try to break new artists?
Some new artists as well, we are always open-minded, we can’t listen to all the demos, it’s impossible as we get like 1000 every week, so we have some artists that we have worked with for years but yeah we are always up for new guys as well.
LS: How has the scene changed over the years since 8-bit started in 2005?
The worst thing is that the music is not worth anything anymore, people don’t buy music, musicians have to do it for free and for the gigs.
LS: So producers have to become DJs to make money?
That’s it, even if they don’t want to, but the market is so big now and in the end, maybe in 3-5 years, it will kill everything because everyone is doing music for the gigs only and that’s ridiculous.
LS: So it’s hard to make money from the label?
Yeah that’s it, a label is very frustrating today, you do the same work as 10 years ago and you only earn maybe 10% of what you used to, which is ridiculous.
LS: Do you still release on vinyl?
Yes we release on vinyl and digital, so we still go for that, but we can’t pay any royalties to the artists these days, it’s just a promotion thing.
LS: Am I correct that your quite the piano player? Do you still play much?
Yes I play piano and drums, but I’m just getting into it again as my 10-year old son is learning piano, so its great to learn the basics again as I was learning them 25 years ago.
LS: Do you play in a band?
I used to play drums in band like 10 years ago but I don’t have time anymore, as I focus on the label, the productions and djing.
LS: A lot of electronic artists are doing ‘live’ sets at the moment, how do you feel about this, is this something you would consider?
Yeah its a big struggle for me because I’m always thinking of a live set, but as a real musician I’m not the guy who runs Ableton on the stage with just some controllers. If I wanted to do a live set I would like to do it with a bass player, a singer maybe, some percussion, you know, do it like a band, properly live. With all these live sets these days you don’t know if its a dj or a live set, you just see the laptop, thats all. Thats not a real live set for me, theres no interaction with the crowd, for me a live set has to be really interactive. It will take me a bit longer because its a lot of work to run a proper live set with a band. It would take like 3-4 months to set everything up and to practice and everything, so lets see.
LS: And do you use much hardware in your productions or do you tend to go for the software?
I had a lot of hardware years ago but I sold a lot of them because I don’t use them anymore, because its so easy to do inside the computer now and it works much better for me because I can work on the flight, the studio, or anywhere.
LS: What else do you like to listen to apart from house?
I listen to every kind of music, I’m really open-minded.
LS: Are you working on any stuff at the moment?
Yeah working on a new free-range, 3 years ago I did the first release on the label, so working on a followup. Working on some remixes as well, not too much, and some original stuff as well. Maybe a new album next year, lets see!
words: Dominic Freeman
photo: Natascha Romboy