Q E D N E T L A B E L
THUS IT IS PROVEN
Gaz E-Zine Interviews QED Records Netlabel. September 2004.
Reprinted from Gaz E-Zine.
Recently, in the United States, a grand crackdown on illegal filesharing via peer-to-peer networks has brought numerous individual MP3 downloaders like you and me to the courts. It’s a scheme that the big record labels have initiated in order to discourage copyright infringement of the hit songs on their label. The songs they spent so much money promoting and advertising.
Well, if this raises your hackles as much as it does mine, then maybe the alternative to those copyright shenanigans is music that is released into the public domain free of charge, with a limited license. Maybe the answer lies in what netlabels are doing in the face of the watered down commercial music offered by major labels: giving away quality music for free.
One such netlabel recently sprouted in my homeland, touting to offer the finest electronic music from the Philippines for free download. The name of the netlabel is QED Records and it is run by electronic musician and arranger, Lionel Valdellon, a.k.a. Acid42, a.k.a. the founder of Philippine electronic group CLONE.
We recently caught up with Valdellon via email and chat, and picked his mind for Gaz Webzine.
GAZ : Why did you start a net label? Why a “net” label?
Valdellon : I love netlabels and have been downloading from netlabels for close to a year now. Netlabels offer the most exotic types of music which you can’t find at record stores. Non-mainstream stuff. Weird stuff. Exciting stuff which radio won’t play.
Netlabels never let you down. Unlike downloading copyright-infringed material over KazaaLite or other p2p software, you are assured that music from netlabels is always available. And is what it says it is. There are large communities of netlabels and netlabel downloaders who promote their music to one another, and I wanted to create my own netlabel and tap onto this large market of music lovers who go for legitimate yet free tunes.
And basically, I love free music. I love p2p software, I love the chaos that programs like Napster and Kazaa have created in the recording industry– forcing record labels to confront that the business model they are holding onto is archaic and needs updating.
I started QED initially as a way to promote my own music but realized there were a lot of other Philippine electronic musicians who may want to do the same. And after an initial email barrage calling for contributors, these artists came to me, proving me right.
See, when you labor in near obscurity, you want some sort of audience to hear your music. And the Philippines being what it is, there is hardly any venue for electronic music that isn’t dance. House music has discos. What about downtempo and chillout? Drum and bass? Breakbeats? IDM and glitch? Sorry. No one knows what those music genres are here. Kung hindi ka acoustic act na kumukuha ng requests, talo ka.
So QED is an alternative channel for electronic musicians from the Philippines to offer their music to the world. That is its goal.
It seems that you are into Latin maxims. Why Quod Erat Demonstrandum or QED? How did you come up with that name?
QED stands for Quod Erat Demonstrandum : “that which was to be proven”. It is a latin phrase written at the end of a mathematical proof to show that the result required for the proof to be complete has been obtained. We used to place it at the end of a proof in Geometry class in high school. And the phrase stuck with me all this years.
Do you believe I actually flunked Geometry in high school? So I had to take summer class but then my teacher was this real cutie who was fresh out of college, and so I didn’t mind at all. I aced my summer class. Which proves that learning is easier when your teachers are cute. QED.
I picked the name for the netlabel because I have– we have– something to prove to the world: that the Philippines can make electronic music at par with the rest of the world, that we know our music technology, that we can make music that gets dancefloors shaking and gets headphone listeners head-bobbing. QED Records is the proof.
Please share to the readers the list of QED current releases and roster of artists.
Clone : Demonstrandum (album)
Clone: Answer the Plunderphone (EP)
Acid42: Home In You (single)
Acid42: Holy Weak (EP)
Paper Scratcher: As Time Goes Back (single)
Emorej: General electronica (album)
Mic Freak: First-Timer (EP)
Scorphius: Progression Is The Motion (EP)
Additional releases from QED:
CJane: Calamity + Alacrity (EP)
Acid42: Downtapuhan (EP)
First Degree : Happy Reality (EP)
Morse: Monday 11:59 (Album)
Partikl : Don’t Make Me Cream Anymore (Single)
e:trinity feat. Sheerin Castillo: Awit Ng Lumayo / Buwan
Makkkina: Blissful (Album)
Foreign Agents : Glimpse + Forever (EP)
What is the agreement/deal with the artists under QED? Are the artist allowed to sell CDs or copies of their album or EP?
There is no “allow” or “disallow” in QED Records. If they want to sell CDs containing the same music that QED offers, then that is their right. It is their music after all. The artists share what music they want released on the netlabel for free and they retain copyright. So they can do anything they want with their music. QED just acts as a channel from which free downloads can be had.
How did you discover Paper Scratcher? Please tell us more about him. After hearing “As Time Goes Back” by Paper Scratcher” I noticed that there are points of similarities between his style and style of Acid42, your solo electronica project. Is Paper Scratcher Lionel under a new moniker? I’m just wondering. Please clear this one.
Scorphious is also intriguing. He was described in the your site as a hermetic Philippine producer who only converse via email. How did you find Scorphious?
In November 03, I was still writing for a magazine and sent a call for submissions of indie albums. One guy who submitted was Jonathan Roy Galve, who ran a small indie label called Konstellation Records in Paranaque. I was blown away by the CD they sent because no one else was doing that type of stuff and recording it with an eye towards releasing the album. The music Galve’s artists were doing was IDM, ambient and glitch-driven music for headphones. Very much like Aphex Twin and u-ziq.
Galve is Paper Scratcher and also Scorphius. And up to now, we’ve never spoken over the phone or met in person. We converse via email.
Who created the cover artworks for the releases?
Some artists already have existing art for their releases. But if they don’t, then I usually have to make the art. But I want to veer away from that and get some better artists to do it. I am at best a pen and ink artist. My art skills do not go to the high-tech, mecha-savvy styles I want to see on the QED releases. So I am looking around for people willing to do design work for free. Hey if you know anyone, tell them to email me at qedrecords
How do you promote QED?
I go online and send emails to everyone. I barrage email lists with my press releases, I fill up several friendster and myspace bulletins, and place stuff on my blog. And then I go out and tell people in person that there is such a thing as a netlabel here in the country and it’s got free electronica to download. So it’s actually like a fulltime job– doing publicity for the netlabel.
How’s the response so far? How’s the response of the netlabel community?
The netlabel community is always open to new labels and new music. So the response has been good. Within 24 hours after I announce a new release on the netlabel mailing lists, I get a large amount of downloads. And it’s from all over the world: not just the USA and the Philippines but also Luxembourg, Russia, Japan, Venezuela. The only problem is being heard in such a vast market. There are HUNDREDS of netlabels. All offering free music. Most of them electronica. How do you get heard amidst all that? That is the challenge.
So far, here in the Philippines, the response has been good. A number of people have emailed to encourage me to keep going. And some have already talked with me about working on a way to tie up with their own efforts. But as usual, it’s a battle with anonymity. A lot of work has yet to be done to get the word out.
Do you monitor the downloads per day? How’s the day-to-day operation for the net label?
I monitor the downloads every few days by checking the logs on my server. There isn’t much to do on a day-to-day basis outside of emails. Really, the work is every 2 weeks as I try to release something every 15 days. That way I don’t run out of bandwidth and I can promote each release like crazy for 2 weeks.
The nice thing about QED Records is that everything is donated. It really is a joint effort between a number of people. I wanted to start a netlabel but didn’t have resources. Bluechronicles.net donated server space and bandwidth. Then I didn’t have artists on my label aside from myself Acid42 and my group Clone. So I sent out a call for submissions to my friends and they responded generously. Then in the first month of operation I almost ran out of bandwidth, but Migz Paraz donated more server space. Kulang na lang may mag-donate ng domain name sa akin haha!
Please explain what is Bittorent? How does it differ from MP3s?
It’s lossless. It’s like downloading an audio CD as is. MP3s are compressed so that the file sizes are small, and this compression takes out some frequencies which make the file sound less than perfect. But if you download BitTorrent info, then you get the CD burn image. This allows you to burn the BitTorrent information into a CD.
What if someone wants to download the free tracks from the site of QED but he doesn’t have access to the Internet? What’s the recommended alternative? Can he just hand you a blank CDR and then you copy the MP3s for him?
Go to a net cafe and have them burn the mp3s onto CDR. Most net cafes in Metro Manila charge anywhere from 45 pesos upwards to do this for you. Unfortunately I don’t have the resources to burn them for you. Baka biglang dumagsa ang mga tao sa bahay ko hehe.
What’s the copyright policy of QED?
1. All the music on QED is available free of charge.
2. You are free to listen, copy, and distribute the work for private purposes.
3. However you may NOT use this music commercially (ex: selling the mp3 file for profit). Don’t abuse the fact that it’s free.
4. Public broadcast of these works via radio or netradio is authorized– just make sure you give the artist credit. Using these for DJ mixes is cool too. Send your playlists to qedrecords(at)gmail.com so we know when to listen.
5. All music on QED is owned by the respective artists, QED Records makes no claim of ownership, and the artists are free to take their music off the site at any time.
6. Because QED is a non-profit group, we will never ask artists for payment in order to host their music here, nor will we pay the artists to host their music.
Other details at our SUBMIT page.
For those who create electronic music and are interested to have their tracks hosted by QED, how can they send it? What styles of music are you looking for?
QED Records is open to hosting anything that is primarily electronic music: anything from house, techno, IDM, downtempo, breaks, industrial, drum and bass, all the way to noise art and sound art.
You can send your music by snail mail as an audio CD, or as MP3 files on a CDR. Visit the SUBMIT page
What are the satisfying aspects of running a net label? How about the frustrating aspects?
The most satisfying aspect is seeing that people actually download the music, and reading emails that this is inspiring people to create their own music. There really is a market for this music. Even if it is mostly abroad.
The most frustrating aspects? This country not having more netlabels. There should be local netlabels devoted to alternative, rock, hardcore, ska. But it looks like no one has the desire to do it. Yet.
Other minor frustrations: Not having enough bandwidth to offer more music right away. Not having unlimited server space. But anyway that is a minor problem. Pretty soon, I will get some extra hosting via the Internet Archive.
What are your future plans for your net label? Do you have plans to organize a series of gigs for the QED artists?
Future plans include maybe getting my domain name finally.
Maybe someday we will have gigs organized by QED. Dreams are free aren’t they? So there: maybe soon a QED Records-sponsored electronic festeival in Metro Manila. Why not?
QED Records is at http://qed.acid42.bluechronicles.net [old URL]
Contact Lionel Valdellon via qedrecords[at]gmail.com
interview date: August 29 – September 6, 2004
originally published on Gaz E-zine.