Thursday, 21 August 2014

Beyond Beyond Is Beyond Interview with Mike Newman!

It's Friday again and time for another set of great insights from a man on the cusp of independent music labeldom. Beyond Beyond is Beyond's back-catalogue includes many stellar line-ups, and artists - from Prince Ruperts Drops and Mmoss & Quilt, to Do You Even Psychedelic? mainstays like Montibus Communitas and Kikaguka Moyo. Plus... Beyond Beyond is Beyond is a fucking cool name.
Dan: Hey Mike, Beyond Beyond is Beyond has kept on keeping on for quite a while now. When did it begin, and why did you choose to start a label?

Mike: Howdy, Daniel!  Yeah, we’re trucking along since 2012. The first release, Prince Rupert’s Drops Run Slow was released in November of that year. I had been doing my East Village Radio by the same name for a few years and after playing so much great new music and having so many great new bands doing sessions on the show, it dawned on me that I wanted to start a record label and help get this great music out to the world.

Dan: Triple B records has acts from across the globe, from Peru to Japan. Does your label try to be deliberate in the sounds it releases?

Mike: I think there is a definite thread in all the music that we release but the only strict guidelines we follow is that the music really has to blow us away in one way or another. It just turns out that it is so easy these days to hear music from all over the globe. And we have been absolutely blown away by some international bands that we just HAD to share with other people.

Dan: As I previously mentioned, you source artists from across the world. How do you normally source the acts you put out?

Mike: Like I said, it’s easy to hear music from anywhere at any time. We’ve sourced releases in many different ways, from stuff we stumbled on via Bandcamp to submissions from bands to having friends in amazing bands to hearing about stuff from a friend.

Dan: How does the collaboration between the label and band usually work?

Mike: It depends on the band, but typically there is a lot of emailing about every aspect: music, release dates, artwork, tours, etc. And then sometimes when all the logistics for a release are all done, then we can just chill with the band for a minute. And then the next album cycle starts! The bands we have worked with love making music and we loving listening to it and releasing records, so the work is fun and rewarding for all.

Dan: Beyond Beyond is Beyond tends to release its artists music on multiple mediums. If you had to choose from cassette, vinyl, or CD, what would you choose and why?

Mike: Vinyl. It’s just the ultimate for me and always has been since I was a wee lad. I like the ritual of listening to music on vinyl the best. But I use all of the above in my musical consumption. And I also love having the convenience of an iPod for subway trips and being able to carry around thousands of titles on one little device.

Dan: How do you normally decide on what is the right physical medium to put out a band's music on?

Mike: Most of our releases are put out on vinyl, CD and digi but then sometimes we’ll choose to put out something just on cassette/digital or just digital. Those are usually something that we love but need to test the audience on and see how people respond to the music.

Dan: Being so closely involved with record output, do you have a collection of your own? And, if so, what are some of your most prized pieces?

Mike: Oh, definitely. I’ve never been much of a collector of super rare high-priced vinyl but I have always had a collection. I did drop some coin on an album from a mid-70s band called Highway though. I really love it and was hoping that BBiB might do a reissue. Maybe one day. Another one in that category is a record from a band who made just one album in the late 60s and for some reason I had a copy of it that I listened to when I was like 8 years old. There has only been the one vinyl pressing of it, and I don’t want to give away the name just yet since BBiB will be reissuing it next year! Then there’s those beloved records that get played a lot because they are just part of my DNA: Jon Anderson’s first 3 solo albums get lots of play at my house, Ashra’s Correlations, Between’s And the Waters Opened, Alice Cooper’s Love It to Death and Special Forces, Man’s Back Into the Future, a few different Grateful Dead albums, Manfred Mann Chapter 3’s Volume 1, Bob Dylan’s Street Legal, Zappa’s One Size Fits All, Phil Collins’ Face Value, Ravi Shankar in New York, Yes albums and one I’ve listened to a ton lately is Freeman, Aaron Freeman (aka Gene Ween)’s new solo album. Fucking brilliant. And of course a bevy of other great records!

Dan: Additionally, with so many great acts being released on your label, what are some of your favourite, current releases?

Mike: Like I said, that new Freeman album is bonkers good. I’m always digging Trouble in Mind releases. Krakatau’s Water Near a Bridge is a new great one. Also Verma’s Sunrunner. I love everything Kikagaku Moyo’s done and am psyched to get the first album and Mammatus Clouds on vinyl finally when the Captcha releases touch down in September. Quilt’s Held In Splendor is amazing, as is Marian McLaughlin’s Derive. New Apache Dropout (Heavy Window) is great. The list goes on thankfully.

Dan: Is there any advice you would like to impart to prospective label owners?

Mike: I guess I’d say have fun and find stuff to release that you truly love.

Dan: Lastly, how do you feel about the digital age, and the way it has shaped music listening culture? 

Mike: I feel fine about it. There is so much good music being made these days but I guess it’s harder to wade through the mountains of not-so-good stuff. That’s why I think it’s important to have trusted sources (like good record labels what you can trust) to help you find just the jams you’re looking for. Digital is fine but I’ll also never be without a turntable.

Dan: P.S: Who did the fantastic artwork on your signature logo?

Mike: That was done by my magical friend, Macho Mel Shimkovitz. She is an artist and all-around cool and great person. She also inspired the name Beyond Beyond is Beyond from one of her art pieces that I fell in love with and proudly display on a wall at home. AND she designed the BBiB website. This is her tumblr:

Check out Beyond Beyond is Beyond's full catalogue: here - at their website, here - at their Bandcamp, or here - at their Big Cartel page.

Also make sure to check out their Facebook to keep up to date here.

Do You Even Psychedelic? Would like to thank Mike for taking the time to do the interview. 

Interview conducted by Daniel Sharman. 

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