Hello my dears, it’s your Geck-o doing a fancy guest article right here! Today I’ve proudly launched my very own independent record label The Funky Cat, with “Tripper” as its first release. How does this feel? Well, I can now do whatever the fuck I want, so… take a guess! 😉
In this article, I’ll be making some bold statements about how I think a label should be run and speak further about my overall vision. It’s time to do things differently. Read along and I’ll explain the how, what and why.
For me as an artist, it’s important to have a home; a place that allows me to fully express myself with all of my weird creative excesses, with no restrictions. Over the years, I’ve had my home at Theracords and later at QULT Records; both are places where I’ve worked so closely with the people that they became a part of me. When QULT ceased to exist – had a talk about this earlier with AAN – I had to find a new place to release my music and to feel at home.
I took over with my own concept ‘The Funky Cat,’ starting with a radio show, followed by two wonderful parties with a third one coming up. People who have paid attention to the initial announcement should have noticed that I already included music releases there, as my view sees this as essential for a complete platform. How I was going to realise this? I had no idea yet.
Whilst working on my new album and following up last year’s “A New Wave,” I started looking for ways to release my music. One idea was to do The Funky Cat branded guest-releases on other labels, but no place seemed to fit. All labels seemed to work in a way that didn’t fit with how I wanted to present my music; whether it be artwork, the time and place it’s released or the price tag that’s put on it.
Over time, it became more obvious. If I wanted things to go my way, I simply had to be in control over the process from start till finish – meaning I had to start my own independent label. It scared me off a bit as it would entitle a big commitment and a lot of work such as managing, marketing and promoting everything myself. This is where my friend James, also known as bitface, came into the picture. With an absolute fetish for catalogue numbers, it was inevitable that he would join me to run the label.
I remember Theracords to be revolutionary at the time, being one of the first labels to go digital-only, right from the start. Back then, all the big labels still mainly released on vinyl and the general thought was that a label could only be taken seriously if it did so. Well, did mister Thera prove them wrong. 😉 Soon, vinyl died out and all labels switched to release merely digital.
Now if we’re going to run our own label, we can learn from this and take that step back to decide what’s important in 2016 and what’s just old fashioned sticky goo. Let’s make some statements:
1 – Think in feels, not in genres
We provide a platform for music of all kinds and especially the awesome niche shit that doesn’t fit anywhere else. The only requirement we make is that the music should fit to the feeling of The Funky Cat. Could it be played in the radio show or at the parties? Whether it’s in the opening set, closing set, or in between, it’s up to us to curate this vibe. That’s step one in the release process.
To better understand and catch this vibe, we teamed up with Marloes aka Mesloes, our graphic artist coming from the side of comic design. Let’s have her explain how she pinpointed the character of The Funky Cat:
“I work with stories, with characters and narratives. This is why The Funky Cat is not just a logo; it’s a visual distillation of a personality, an entity, a character. The Funky Cat is a so-called Trickster; an archetype which can be best described as a character free from any boundaries. Tricksters stretch and challenge rules, emphasising that boundaries are illusionary by nature. In adjectives, The Funky Cat is playful, a little crazy, cunning and smart, theatrical, neither bad nor good, Cheshire-like and trippy. It’s some kind of alien/psychedelic entity, ungraspable, luring listeners into new realms of music by dissolving the boundaries between genres. Tricksters expand consciousness by showing you there’s way more to experience behind the curtains of normality.”
2 – Spread the music
We want to share the music and art we believe in by reaching out to all kinds of people. That’s why we want to be available in abundance and be present on many different platforms. Very important to us are the streaming services, which have already proven themselves as the most convenient way to access the music for the regular listener.
All our releases will be optimised for listening purposes – who wants to listen to an intro of only claps and snares? Saying that, if the tracks are difficult to mix for DJs, we’ll always provide a special DJ version on the same release via the download portals (with the claps and snares, if need be).
Now on the regular download portals, you’ll always have to pay a little fixed amount of money to get your hands on the music. This often proves to be quite the barrier for people, driving them to illegal ways. We’re going to take that barrier away, boldly stating that we want you to have the music, whether you’re paying or not.
3 – Pay what you want
Yes, exactly this. Just pay the amount of money you think the music is worth. From our Bandcamp page, you’re able to download the music we release for free, or for one million dollars – your choice. Maybe we can meet halfway… 😉
We believe this is the future, without the fixed little prices. You just support the artist directly, for exactly the amount you wish. Making a parallel with the vinyl-digital situation in the early times of Theracords, we think there is a current shift going on from regular priced music to a pay-what-you-want or donation system. Free releases are now often not taken as seriously as tunes with a price tag on them, but they will be. Simply, because we will start releasing awesome music this way!
At the moment, all music we put out will be available on Spotify, iTunes, Beatport and all the other regular suspects, next to our main Bandcamp platform. So no worries there, if you want to stick to your guns.
Cassi insisted on including this headline, and well, who am I to deny. With these statements made, it’s clear that I’m not taking the risk-free route with the label. This seems inherent to my behavior as an artist, always going against the stream and doing something different from the rest. This brings a lot of uncertainty in terms of having a clear direction, being recognised and accepted, of course earning money for a living, etcetera.
I’ve often asked myself if all these things are worth it – I too am human after all, just like you, and sometimes feel anxious about it. But I always come to the same conclusion: I get my satisfaction from being all over the place, from pioneering grounds, doing truly unique stuff and sharing it with the world. I wouldn’t be able to do it any other way. I have to embrace the uncertainty that comes with it, go through the difficult shit to be rewarded with the extreme peaks. This is my life (I sense a copyrighted hardstyle vocal) and I must say it feels great to have a home for it with The Funky Cat.
Speaking of Hardstyle, this genre has brought me a lot over the years and it’s great to see a lot of longtime fans coming with me whilst exploring these new grounds with The Funky Cat. With your support, I can keep supplying you the goods 🙂
And damn, I love supplying you with new tunes like “Tripper,” which is the first release on the label and also the first single from my upcoming album! It is out right now, which is the way we’ll be going with most of our releases. No big waiting times between the announcement and the actual release. We want you to directly be able to stream the music from Spotify, or get it from Bandcamp, without having to check previews endlessly.
For me, Tripper is quite a big deal – and my followers surely know this by now. We ran a crowdfunding campaign to make a music video for the track and aced both the funding and the video. I’m so proud of the result we achieved with director Wiebe van den Ende, producer Julie Périon and the wonderful crew. All masters of their craft, they made sure the video became a piece of art on its own that still truly represents the music, with all its impressions and peaks. After some delay, I’m happy to say we can finally share the video with you very soon (counting down the days).
The track itself really forms a bridge between QULT and The Funky Cat for me. I made it right before The Last Supper of QULT and played it there at peak time, connecting it with the old. But I took it with me, playing it in my new shows and releasing it on my new label. I believe the other tracks on my album show a further development from that sound, as you might expect, in many directions.
I’m actually really excited about it now, as I just finished off producing all tracks for the album. It is set for October, with the third edition of The Funky Cat as its release party. Starting with “Tripper,” we’ll be releasing three singles upfront with one each month. The whole thing won’t only be a digital happening too, we’re actually crafting a wonderful piece of physical art for you with Mesloes, complementing the story within the music! But hey, maybe I’m already telling you too much 😉 You’ll hear all about it later on. Just want to add that where my previous album showcased my view on the sound of QULT, this one will showcase the sound I bring with The Funky Cat.
So it seems that I’ve almost forgotten to say that I won’t be the only artist releasing on The Funky Cat (whut). I’m happy to also have the talented Bold Action on board, who’s producing some brilliant and unique stuff at the moment. Serious feels, from deep moody tracks to hyped rave tunes. Expect a lot of releases from his side the following months!
He will also return to play the 7th of October at The Funky Cat #3, our next party at P60 Amstelveen. As said, I’ll be releasing my album here, however I have invited more friends and great artists. I’ve also got the one and only Audiofreq playing a cross-genre set for you which will contain lots of stuff from his new album. And I wonder how many of you here are familiar with our other headliner Bart B More? An absolute legend in the alternative dance scene! The night will be opened with some great techno by Simon Dach. Directing you to our Facebook event page for all other info.
Alright alright, I’m tired as hell from writing all this; I hope you enjoyed it – but I’d like to go back to making music now 😉
Shoutout to cazL for giving me the space for this! In return I’ll let you know that I had pancakes for breakfast. Topped off with powdered sugar, and complemented with a smooth lemon tea.