AMDISCS has risen from the waters of sonic mysticism to champion the global musical underground in its various guises, mostly tinged with various shades of electronics. In the two years since the Prague-based label resurrected itself, they’ve put out releases from the likes of Com Truise and Teams with a sprawling catalogue that features the likes of CVLTS, Pictureplane, Jef Barbara, Chrome Wings and Honeydrum, whose warmly received Stranger Calls 7” / Do U Party? EP is out now. Part of the fiercely independent art and music collective AM180, AMDISCS is not just a label, it’s a holotropic midsummers dream.
Electronic Beats: What is the genesis of AMDISCS? The label released several Czech bands back in the day, followed by a hiatus, only to come back in full force a few years ago.
AMDISCS: The first release (under the name Arty Maniac Discs) was in 2008. It was a band of our friends, the now-defunct Climatizado. It was a result of the numerous emails sent to the blog which we had been doing and which is still running called All, Everyone, United, where we provide space for emerging bands and artists who might not have many ways to promote their music. It has found its niche and supporters from around the world, and has gradually expanded to a free-floating label that offers music by new artists. It may seem like ages ago, yet I’m talking about a period of two years. I don’t know if we can still take this present-day meaning of time for granted, when one day you’re excited about the release of your favorite artist and the next day three more arrive that put layer upon layer on your music experience. Maybe I’m talking about hours, not days?
The label is part of the AM180 collective. How does the interaction between the label and other activities function in practice, also in terms of the visual aesthetics?
As in every collective, everyone contributes with things he or she can do best. It’s like you have the confidence and know that you have a particular way of doing things, which is naturally linked to your personality. Whether those are visual skills, musical expression, communication skills or an exceptional style of drinking beer on the couch, everything can be used for something good. It‘s a creative way of doing things, non-hierarchical with coexisting patterns of collaborative relations. Nowadays you can do something creative without naming it. Without a tag you rise above all tags, and always create something. What matters is that it steers clear of the average. The average is for 150k people, the unusual is enjoyed by 150.
Do contemporary DIY labels like AMDISCS reflect the post-physical, cacophonic, psychotropic zeitgeist or are they a part of the continuum of independent culture and arts?
We are living in a time when stimuli are filtered through a permanent wave of trends, trends designating the lack of history, for example when a wave of emerging young artists considers their predecessors to be artists who gained fame a year ago. This is a pretty inverted form of aesthetics that varies in short time, an emerging aesthetic. History, future and everything around it, is now. Multidimensionality is a natural characteristic of it, with the everlasting process of overlapping, blending and extracting the essence from all directions. This aesthetic is Now, you can’t miss it.
Can you say something about the A&R of the label? How and what sort of bands do you look for?
We actually don’t seek out talent, nor do we have any strategies of how to ensure one breakthrough after the other. On the contrary, our disengagement in this direction has brought to light quite a few recognized artists. It’s very nice to find plenty of enthusiasm in emails that arrive each day and listen to all the interesting stuff from all around the world, and it’s also a way how to get a nice overview of all those micro-scenes out there that are popping up like mushrooms after rain. All this gives you a feeling that it has some sense and meaning.
The sound of the label is pretty eclectic – from synthwave through glofi, lofi pop, and witch house. But there is still a specific overriding mood running through the releases…
We don’t go for any particular genre, as we listen to anything from electronic avant-garde to pop, dreamwave or psychedelic stuff. My weakness is for everything associated with electronic sounds full of sunlight, that might burn your skin as well analogue bites. Pop is excellent like pudding with a drop of poison. Seizures of the body and mind are eliminated by something so intense that captivates the whole body and you no longer need to think about it. In ancient Greece they called it catharsis. When somewhere in the distance, there’s a kick drum to be heard that recalls ‘time is running out!’, I start to hum.
The dimensional grid has its own scale that reflects variations, and the reality for us is that it’s not a business, it’s a part of our everyday lives. When you graft a tree and inosculate it right, you can have apples on a plum tree. You’re invariably trying to find the perfect fruit. I would say that we are an experimental breeding station for up-and-coming music. Lo-fi gardening with hi-fi instruments and a dash of masochism, just like a prick by a rose thorn. You bleed to death or you don’t. Could this be the overriding mood?
You started off with digital releases and tapes, but now have moved to vinyl primarily. Why?
Vinyl is a synonym for musical redemption, in terms of reproduction, not to mention object fetishism. However, I feel that recently the wave of gluttony for vinyl is already behind us; not just as a label, but in general. Limited editions are something you can give a clear identity to that carries branded over-value and it will always be interesting and certainly part of future release schedules, but more than likely not crucial. I look forward to the time when the cost of producing vinyl will be the same as the cost of producing tapes today. Maybe people’s sentiment and attitude toward the physical medium, such as we know it, is at the end of an imaginary transition when everyone thought digital music distribution was a revolution. The statistics still speak in favor of pressing CDs. The journey back to the future via the 90’s is paved with CDs that reflect rainbow light. Opening a CD case and putting a disc into the drive can turn into a bad trip.
On the one hand, we strive to dissolve ourselves in a virtual world, create fluid identities, banish the concept of time by freely taking from the reservoir of past and future. On the other we are scared of losing the grasp of the physical and fetishize objects, flesh and bone.
Well, the utmost perfection lies always somewhere where we let ourselves be carried away from all established concepts and music is no exception. Let’s strive to live/kick ass/be sane.
You can catch the AMDISCS crew on tour all over Europe this summer, featuring three of their artists: New Zealand’s Golden Axe, Horse Head and [PHYSICS].
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AMDISCS Summer Showcase Euro Tour
22nd June, Vienna/AT, Xpedit Lager??
23rd June, Milan/IT, Gabbianacci – via Cadore 26??
24th June, Ghent/Tilburg B/NL, TBA??
26th June, Cologne/DE, Sonic Ballroom??
27th June, Leipzig/DE, UT Connewitz (w/ Orchestra Of Spheres)??
28th June, Paris/F, Glazart beach (w/ Collateral, Holy Strays)??
30th June, Fusion Festival/DE, Flugplatz Lärz??
2nd July, Zurich/CH, Boschbar??
4th July, Bordeaux/F, SAINT EX??
5th July, Barcelona/E, Miscelánea Club??
6th July, Madrid/E, NASTI??
7th July, Vigo/Bueu/E, Bar Labranza??
8th July, Coimbra/P, Pedra Aguda??
9th July, Porto/P, TBA??
12th July, Karlsruhe /DE, Kohi??
13th July, Berlin/DE, Raum??
14th July,Kutna Hora/CZ, Creepy Teepee Festival??
15th July,Kutna Hora/CZ, Creepy Teepee Festival??