I want my MP3: No Type

René Margraff, Substance, 3 février 2002

In our ongoing series about MP3-Labels we have once again found something special for you. After more poppy sides of free electronica labels, this time we wanted to portrait the more experimental No Type. This label is pretty diverse with most of the stuff being “electronic.” However, you won’t call it IDM or any other stupid category. It just doesn’t make sense. “Themoonstealingproject,” for example, bring you fine layers of something that sounds like guitars through curtains treated with filters. Other stuff is more clicky. Or dubby. Or And to be even more diverse, they’ve also added some new and very beautiful tracks by Infoslut and Idmonster introducing a rather soft and poppy side to No Type. I recently spoke with David Turgeon (aka Camp) on what No Type is all about…

Substance: The stuff on No Type is pretty diverse and the most common link is that all the acts don’t sound like any of the others (Do you know what I mean? There are so many guys out there trying to copy stuff by others and really work hard to do so). So, is there a certain ideology behind that? How do you choose artists, and how many inquiries do you have?

David Turgeon: “Difference,” “Originality,” “Peculiarity” have all been key words for how No Type artists are selected, & so is “my own personal taste.” I do not intend No Type to be a simple repository of songs for anyone, because that’s very well covered elsewhere already. Nor do I want to cover genres which are given proper promotion elsewhere. So this (& other factors) leads to a relatively tight selection. We receive about 5-10 submissions a month (sometimes more), but the outcome depends. Sometimes you have 5 members who join almost at the same time because that’s how chance would have it. Sometimes I don’t let anybody in for months. It’s pretty trivial, I guess… but with limited resources, I’ll at least take the option of choosing who I’ll spend my time working with. I’ve gotten some interesting demos recently actually, so there is definitely no shortage of talent in sight… However, once artists are selected, they are given free reign to do what they want with our server space, & I do my best to make some sort of promotion out of it, because even free stuff has to be advertised, ironically enough. Speaking of which, people should join our free mailout so they know when we release new stuff.

Substance: What is the main motivation to keep No Type going?

David Turgeon: Well, the music is good, we’re getting nice random emails from people who like what we do, even some reviews in zines & mailing lists. The lack of financial motivation is compensated by the fact that you can go on vacation anytime, which means the site never becomes a pain in the ass!

Substance: What do you think about the tendencies of the online music market lately as everything gets spoiled and bought by the big players? Do you just relax and grin as your stuff is free and legal, or does it make you angry?

David Turgeon: It’s notable how profoundly decadent the market has gotten. I have observed it from the outside for a while, but I’m mostly uninterested in it. Right now I’m worried about the way copyright is used in courts as a tool of censorship, while it offers very little protection against plagiarism & exploitation, which is what it was designed to fight against. It is a broken tool whose sole use now is pyramidal scam. Other than that, I’m leaving the finance game to the addicts that people it already.

Substance: Do you think that an mp3 release is a substitution for a record or CD?

David Turgeon: Yes. The difference is not really in the medium but in the organization. When one posts every song they make on their website (unless they do that with a specific idea in mind), that’s usually the equivalent of burning all your tracks to CD-R for your friends or your own archives. However, as soon as one goes through the process of sorting out songs into a bona fide “album,” then there’s something intended for, dare I say, “public listening,” just like CD or vinyl sold through record shops. Even on mp3.com, most artists will select the songs they want public & leave the rest on their own hard drives. No CD can do that! I think most of the perceived difference comes from the motive. Most CDs are manufactured on the basis that they will sell well, while we release our albums on the basis that we like them. This leads to different curatorial choices… Why are Metallica so worried about MP3? Because they figure they can sell very well without it. On the other hand, for experimental, innovative or simply very personal music, that’s just what is needed so that no money is LOST on releasing CDs with no press buzz & poor distribution. You could say we offer a risk-free way to release risky music.

Substance: Do you know most of the artists on your label?

David Turgeon: I’ve exchanged email with all of them, but I’ve only recently begun to meet some of the people living around Québec City & Toronto…I’ve even DJ’d with Dick Richards a bit. I can say they are all nice people though, though some of them are stranger than others.

Substance: What is your favourite release on No Type?

David Turgeon: I don’t know! It’s hard for me to judge because in a way, they’ve already passed through my own personal test… Everybody has their strengths & weaknesses, but I would be hard pressed to tell who’s the best… I really liked about every album we’ve released this year, which is our strongest year so far. So, what else is there left to say? Todd who wrote something about LA in our travel section is also the guy behind the No Type artist Books on Tape. He has an E-zine, Rollerderby Superstar and also releases on his own MP3 platform, Subverseco. Also, have some fun with the new release by Camp called It’s the same thing over and over! / Why don’t you try some vocal house? The two tracks “are intended to sound both as a homage & a critique of the click genre.” They consist entirely of samples by three of the most hyped German labels (Ritornell, Mille Plateaux and Force Inc.). Ha! Nice idea. OK, I wish you nice download!

‘Difference,’ ‘Originality,’ ‘Peculiarity’ have all been key words for how No Type artists are selected…

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