For As if. No Mixtape! Vol. 3 we approached Antwerp based producer and label owner Niels Geybels of Audio Visuals Atmosphere. Having independently released Cassettes and digital ep’s/lps for the past 2 years, with their first vinyl out just recently, AVA explore an array of experimental electronica that instantly became a favourite of ours as As If.
How did Audio Visuals Atmosphere come to be a label?
The label started in 2015 with the need to publish my own music without any other parties involved. I’ve been creating music and visual work for years before that and I felt like I needed to be at the core of my creations, with every step of the process in my own hands. Not only having full responsibility over my own music and choosing how it will be represented, but also overseeing the production and printing of the goods.
What ideas did you have in mid in regards to releases?
A strong visual counterpart to the music, and releases with a concept; an “atmosphere” so to speak. Right now the label’s catalogue is a mix of releases from artists I’ve known for a while, people I’ve came in to contact with through the label, musicians I’ve hold in high regard next to my own output.
I have a strong interest in “noise” music because I feel that creative freedom flourishes in this field. There are many aspects to keep in mind when creating music, this way it can create whole (new) worlds.
AVA’s releases are extensive and unique, how did you choose releases when you first started the label? Does this differ now?
Since it started out of need of getting my own music out there I didn’t really have big plans of putting out other people’s releases. This all came very gradually – and it still does in a way. I always work with “batches” (putting out a couple of release at the same time) – so mostly I’m working on a few releases at the same time in the frame time of a couple of months. I look ahead but not too far, everything should stay tangible.
Who takes care of the artwork?
Most of AVA’s artwork are collaborative efforts filtered through the label’s lens. A lot of the artists I work with are working in the visual field as well or are at least engaged in the fact that a strong visual representation is extremely important. I always try to keep the balance between the label’s overall unity in aesthetic and the importance of the visuals of a release on its own. I don’t want to do the exact same thing twice and I try to see the process of creating the artwork and design as a challenge each time.
You release under the alias Sequences, how has your approach to music production changed over the years in correlation with your label?
Besides a certain mindset, not much has changed to be honest. There’s just a lot of freedom without any artificial constrictions. Sequences as a musical project has always had a fixed set of rules. For example: everything has consistently been kept quite “analogue”; the limited use of a computer and so far I’ve never used a synthesizer on any of the recordings. All of the sounds come from a guitar, field recordings and manipulated tapes. This analogue way of working shines through in the visual side of things too; collages as artwork, the use of a photocopier, utilizing different kinds of paper, etc.
What is it about the experimental electronic scene that really captivates you?
The never-ending exploration in sound and experimental approach towards music in general, I guess? I think I will never feel like “I’ve heard it all before”. There are so many interesting artists and labels working right now that it’s almost hard to keep up with all of it.
Releasing music on cassette tapes has always been a part of this scene and I think its strength shouldn’t be underestimated. The fact that you can physically release music without taking big (financial) risks is very important.
What are some artists/labels within the experimental electronic scene that sparked your interest?
One of the most interesting labels for myself personally might be Strange Rules run by Zen Zsigo (who records as Cremation Lily). I’ve been following the label since the beginning and we’ve established a great sense of community within our collaborative efforts. Another might be be Vienna Press (previously known as Mazurka Edition) out of Australia. A very consistent label all around.
How did making a zine come about and what do you explore within these?
The zine was made meant as a start and continuation in exploring what a “release” on A.V.A. can be. It’s mainly music – on cassettes (we did just recently release our first vinyl!) – but I feel with the label it can be something “without” music as well, like a zine, book, etc… I’d like to expand this idea even more. I’m actually working on a book right now which will be release in future – with or without accompanying music. Just like owning the whole discography of a certain band, this zine is a part of the A.V.A. catalogue like a piece of a puzzle. Other items out of the catalogue will shed some light on certain facets of this release in particular and vice versa.