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Label interview: Genot Centre

Published June, 2016
by Easterndaze

Genot Centre is one of the latest additions to the thriving tape label scene. As has become typical for this medium and its milieu, their output is eclecitc, ranging from drone to footwork. We talk to label founders Ondřej Lasák and Wim Dehaen, who also releases on the imprint.

When did you set up the label and where are you based?

We launched the label officially in the beginning of 2015 with the release of our first tape, by Percival Pembroke. By the end of 2014, after a chance encounter, we were of course already in cahoots and developing the ideas behind our label. We are de facto based in Prague, as we are both inhabitants of that place.

What was the main motivation behind setting it up and what formats do you release on?

The motivation of setting a label was first and foremost the urge of wanting something to happen, to realize the potential that no one else locally is realizing – to not only function within the local and global musical ecosystem, but also to feed it and contribute to it’s evolution. The main format we release on is cassette (for us from both aesthetic and cost point of view). This is accompanied by a digital version. We are also interested in other unusual physical media, excepting vinyl – where fetishism, price and nostalgia make the medium unfit for our purposes.

A Course In The Theory Of Drones by Percival Pembroke

Can you talk about your releases and what releases you’re looking for?

What we look for is not so much a specific sound or genre, but the releases have a unity in the fact that there is a certain awareness, a certain exceptionality – something that sets the release apart from what is superficially similar. Case in point: Percival is not just making cool sounds in the tradition of ambient music, he rather merges disparate influences (Danny Wolfers, early IDM) and uses these elements to make something that subverts what is expected, creating something perhaps sinister or even occult using the palette of what is usually only gentle or a bit spacy.

On the other side of the spectrum, we did a release by MB03, a young footwork producer from Chicago. Where footwork can sometimes be based mostly on dancefloor functionality and sleek production, MB03 uncovers the therapeutic potential of the style and makes a work that where the rawness is in the first place cathartic and emotional.

Jackie World by MB03

We also released Lišaj, of whom we felt he was a lone star in the Czech music galaxy – he prefers the obscurity of Ostrava and surroundings over the capital, and his sound covers a whole range between field recordings, noise and murky hip-hop beats. As such he can be called a truly independent musician, that supercedes cliques and common sounds. Finally there is also Lee Chapman: on the surface he fits quite well in the tradition of organic ambient music (as released by eg Home Normal, Hibernate, Dauw, 12k, etc.). But his approach, an almost masochistic focus on audio degradation, delicate flavors of overdrive and a blatant tape fetishism, rewards the close listener with textures that are perhaps more at home in noise or concrète releases. Yet somehow he still cooks something sincere and intense out of it.

Silent_Night#1: bar do thos grol by Lee Chapman

Can you talk about your latest release Herbarium, which maybe differs slightly in terms of sonics from your other releases.

The release differs in the first place because it was done in collaboration with Eco Futurism Corp. They originally did the release digitally and we approached them because we wanted to issue it on tape. We chose to add some meat to it by offering remixes by both our friends and by the friends of Eco Futurism Corp. So in the end it can also be seen as a sort of showcase of both of our scenes.

In terms of sound it is superficially quite different from the previous releases, perhaps going for a more club-oriented contemporary sound. Nevertheless, we feel it to be in line with our approach because the take of Herbarium is truly fresh, merging grimey sounds with utopic, internet-informed timbres. There is nothing else that sounds like it.


What are you planning?

The next tape is a split by 2 Portuguese drone men Liminal and Aires. It’s some quite abstract, deep listening stuff. Then, we will also put out a selection of recordings from one of the sleepover nights we did. And for later we already have a bunch of amazing stuff in the works.

What do you think about the Eastern European tape label scene? Do you think the tape label scene in Eastern Europe has some specifics compared to their Western counterparts?

Ondřej: I don’t really see some dramatic distinction there. You can probably say that some Eastern European tape labels tend to have a bit more rawness in their approach to covers and that home dubbing is probably more usual (e.g. my recent discovery ШАΛАШ). But i don’t really feel the difference is that huge. Compared to more mainstream music business it still feels surprisingly connected and friendly no matter how different the music or label aesthetics are. The fact we’ve already released tapes by artists from all over the world just proves that for me.

Wim: I feel it to be quite vibrant, modest in scale and close-knit. Recently things seem to evolve in a good direction with cool new stuff happening (example: Mappa).

Tapes are expensive to ship from north-America or Japan so without distros there is a barrier for the collecter. This border makes it that there is perhaps rather a distinction between a European and a non-European tape scene. Effectively, in approach there is not such a difference between a “Western-European” tape label and an “Eastern-European” label. Something like the Phinery could exist in Slovakia, and something like Baba Vanga in Denmark. And it work as well either way.