There’s a nice symmetry about Rose Quartz, the blog started by 1080p boss Richard MacFarlane based in New Zealand. Sitting in one of the furthest corners of civilisation (assuming we don’t all know the world is now round), it focussed in on some of music’s outer fringes: DIY, lo-fi and experimental. Inspired by similar-minded DIY labels like NotNotFun, MacFarlane took this curational insight to Vancouver to set up 1080p and within two years, has developed a catalogue of over 50 releases. Prolific, unpredictable and diverse, it’s a credit to his leadership that 1080p still retains an enviable consistency. With a deep concern for presentation and promotion, the label’s goofy self-aware sound is inseparable from its appearance. Underpinning all these aesthetic values, is an emotional one that prioritises community, providing a platform for artists to express their weird(er) side, either as alter-egos of established names or newcomers looking for a foot up.
It’s with this in mind, that we encouraged some 1080p members to launch our new discursive interview series. Chaired by the labelhead, Project Pablo,Max McFerren (aka Mcferrrdog) and Scientific Dreamz Of U also joined in, covering what the label means to them and how their current European tour was treating them.
Richard MacFarlane: What would you say the purpose of a label is to you at this point?
Scientific Dreamz of U: I think I’m just along for the ride really. Science still eats up most of my time and pays the rent (for now). I’d be making music at home regardless, but having this chance to travel, share music with people and make friends is an amazing bonus and still feels odd that anyone outside my bedroom is interested in what I’m doing musically. Don’t really have any clear goals other than to travel and have a good time. Music’s definitely helping me to do both and it’s a lot easier than science! More and more tempted to make it my primary focus.
Label wise, as the barriers to getting music into the public sphere are lowered via easily piratable music production software (you used to have to spend $$$ on gear which served as somewhat of a filter) and platforms like Soundcloud, I think labels are more important than ever in acting as gatekeepers to the incessant deluge of tunes whipped up in Ableton then shoved online every day. There’s so much new stuff that it’s overwhelming. If I see 50 new tracks in a feed I’ll probably listen to none as I get paralysed by choice. If a label I’ve come to trust puts up a handful then I’ll listen to them all with open ears. For me it’s that navigation of what to listen to that the label provides. The producers would still make stuff regardless but without a decent label behind you it’s easy to be drowned out.
I actually meant to mention something similar re label/family. It seems like there’s a really tight 1080p family in Vancouver/NY which I’ve felt a bit distant from. It’s been great meeting the other guys and feeling more a part of the label.
Project Pablo: 100% agree with Jack’s final statement here! Now that I’ve done a release (or two including the record) I feel like I’ve joined this evolving community of folks that share similar values when making/releasing tunes. It’s been real nice slowly meeting this community IRL and hearing all the new releases/artists.
RM: how have the parties been working so far with your sets/tastes contrasting and complimenting each other?
SDoU: parties have been very nice, friendly crowds, kool vibes. The Amsterdam one was really good, the venue was ace. The progression of tunes through the night went super smooth n real nice I thought. Could have easily been a bit of a vibe dampener going from Armand van Helden into hard acid trance but ended up being really nice and coherent. I’ve been super impressed by Max n Pat. It’s always a gamble whether people being booked mainly as producers will also have the chops as DeeJays but both been coming v correct!
PP: The promoters have been doing a great job with the set times, with max n I swapping spots and Jack finishing things off. I didn’t manage to catch Jack’s set in Berlin cause I was a wimp and hit the hay, BUT his set in Amsterdam was the best! Someone at Subbacultcha put it perfect, “It sounds like you lads are Ally Ooping eachother”. Good fun.
SDoU: Yea the ally oop line was a big one lol.
Max McFerren: Agree with all at so far but would like to add everyone’s pacing seems perfect. Opening in Amsterdam I tried to keep checking against any building momentum so people would have something to look forward too. I imagine it’s flowing so well cuz we’re all good buddies now and very little egos involved.
SDoU: Yeah i was gonna mention that you guys did a super nice job with the pacing.
RM: I know Max and Patrick, you’ve been psyched to go on this tour for a while—how do you guys look at the trajectory or artists around your scale, of sort of getting a couple of releases out, getting a booking agent, going on a small tour? What is the purpose of it for you guys? (and Jack too!)
PP: Seems pretty surreal. I’m seeing it as a great learning opportunity. I’m pretty locked in me scene in Montreal/Vancouver and don’t know much else when it comes to playing for folks in the flesh. Seeing how other groups of people react to certain sounds and grooves is amazing to witness, not just when I’m playing. All of this observation helps with the tune making and inspiration.