Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Doumen Records - Home Of Praezisa Rapid 3000, Simon12345 & The Lazer Twins and Some Of The Freshest Electronic Music This Side of the Millenium.

We were so blown away by the last two releases on Doumen records - the 314159265 album from Praezisa Rapida 3000 and the If I Stay here, I'll Be Alone... EP from Simon12345 & The Lazer Twins we wanted to know a bit more about the label and artists so we got in touch with Doumen and below is the email conversation that transpired with a nice man called Henrik aka Simon12345.

Your website is good looking yet mysterious with a lack of information about the label and the artists and google isn't much help for once, it almost seems like you want people to gravitate towards you just through the power of music - not a bad thing. Just for the record though would you care to tell us a bit about the label, it's history and "mission statement", if indeed there is one.
The Doumen cosmos arose through a lot of dissatisfaction with how the music world seems to work these days. It really seemed to me, that no one wants you to do your own stuff or style as long if you don't have a big name. I mean I am making music since many years now and I searched so long for a place that would work as a channel for us; but without being part of a scene and without making something that can be named and does not work on a commercial level, you will fail in 99% of the cases. It's sad. people just don't give a shit about you.

So you can choose to fail or to deliver to some kind of coolness scene cliché, which is very hard for freedom loving people by nature or you also give a fuck and do it all yourself. Problem: it costs a lot of money, a lot of time, a lot of energy but to be honest, if you don't want to whip somebodies asses, it is your only choice.

Furthermore it is so sad to see people opening up little comparison spaces everywhere. All are obsessed with comparison, who did what to whom, what is the next level, what is the new shit... It doesn't matter at all. When i was driving with a car to town today, i realized again how strange all this is; I mean we look out of our eyes into a completely miraculous world and we will be here not even very long. This is not a good situation to open up small boxes of comparisons to hide in, you say no to the world if you do so. We have to go out there and discover this world, we have to experiment with it and this is what i want to do all of my time. This would be the ultimate place to be.

You can call that a mission statement I guess.

As part of Praezisa Rapid 3000 why did you decide to self release your music, did you have any previous experience with running a label?

How has the experience been of running the label in these difficult times for labels and artists, especially small independents? Is it possible to survive from making  and selling music these days and if so how?
It was and is hard in a financial sense. It is impossible to live off it by now, but that is also caused by the way we do it ;) For example we don't care if the record will be expensive in print, if it needs an expensive print, it get's it. We also don't care about promotion and sales too much. We care more about the record as a whole, sound quality, mastering, how it looks, a convincing art concept. A record should always be something we find important and that needs to be put out, this also explains the low frequency of releases so far.

To answer your question, I don't think it is possible to make a living out of your label with meaningful music these days if you are not extremely lucky. A line by Boys Noize comes to my mind right now where he stated, that he has never earned any money with his label. Not that I find it so meaningful what Boys Noize does, but you get my point, right? I think even Damon Albarn once mentioned there is nothing really earned with Honest Jon's.

Surviving by making music is another question. You can probably live from making music, but you have to work hard and you also have to do a lot of things I wouldn't really want to do. A good way to keep your art straight is probably to work on a low level job (timewise), or to make music for films or so, to be financially independent and then do your music without the need to get money out of it. I think Can (the band from the 60's) also earned their money with composition for films and financed the rest of their work with that. The risk is, that you will work too much and there is no energy or time left for music... I will have to gather experience with those problems in the next years, it is a matter of flexibility as far as I see it now.

The good thing for me is life is not limited to music. So if I don't have energy for really good music anymore, I will stop making music and go hiking instead or whatever, at least i think it's like that. I've been to India and Nepal for a few months last year and only did a bit of field recording, but after making an album and the Doumen 02, I was so happy to not touch an instrument for months and i did not miss it at all I must say. It is ok, things come and go in an oscillating way, if you don't feel like it, then don't do it, it will come back when the time is ready.

Ok, to be honest I was already thinking about making a record of all the beautiful field recordings i made on that trip :D
probably Doumen 05 or so...

My first introduction to the label was through the radio promo of the Praezisa Rapid 3000 which blew me away with it's originality and well balanced fusion of musicality and cutting edge electronics. Could you tell me a bit more about the group members, their histories and their various contributions to the overall group sound. Is everyone focused on this group or do they have other solo or collaborative projects as well?
There are three members. First is a well known sloa dj and mystery man, his name is Devaaya Sharkattack, he has seen it all. His history is way too complex for a few sentences. He is there to keep in the weirdness, his most used phrases in the PR3K context are: "undefined" and "make it louder".
The second is Guschling, or ;.. as his solo artist name is. He is a sunny boy with amazing production skills and he is also currently working on his first independent movie, too. His most used phrases are: "uuuuhhh" and "whoooaa".
Last but not least is me, Simon12345, you know me from the Doumen 02 ep and i also am doing most of the idea work on Doumen.

We met at a party for rich and beautiful people and decided to make a band, as I just moved to Leipzig recently from Vienna because my last band there did not work out so well and I was searching for people who were matching my tastes. We had our first meeting a few days later with sampling some scissors and Devaaya playing some clarinettes, this turned out to be the beginning of the song "From sexy clips to arequipa". second meeting was "Jukeblox" already. We had a good run and much to laugh about..

The parts are not clearly divided within PR3K, we all do everything when composing. Live it is more clear, Devaaya plays midi bass clarinette moog synthesizer, Guschling the keyboards, I play sample and guitar and one of the Lazer Twins supports us as live drummer.

Besides music the three group members are also involved in carpentry (restoring and rebuilding old doors and stairs), brain sciences (memory of music and brain computer interfaces), geography (cultural spaces in cities) and a few other things. You can guess who does what by yourself.

Do you use any samples of other peoples material or do the group members provide all the sounds on the record? 
We use our own samples or recordings only, sometimes a bit of voice.

I noticed that the first Praezisa Rapid 3000 release was in 2010, could you tell me something about the process involved from that first 12" to the album release in 2012/2013. 
There was a progression in terms of technique and sense for complexity. In 2010 we tried to write songs we were not able to compose, partly technically, partly just because of our own development as artists. In 2012/2013 we were much closer to what we intended to do but we still have some way to go, question right now is which way, but we'll see. 

314159265 is quite possibly the worst album title of recent times, would you like to explain yourselves? 
Thank you very much! Every once in a while we have some kind of enlightened moment and the universe told us in one of them that 314159265 was the answer to none of our problems, so we chose it as a title for the album.

From the label website design and the record covers to the low budget but effective videos for some of the tracks you have a nice visual aesthetic going on. Is that driven by the label, the artists or are you just lucky to have some cool friends? Tell us more. 
This is no coincidence, we choose an artist for every release to work with us; and we don't choose randomly, it is always someone whose work fits to the music and I discuss the concept and artwork with him or her as long as it is finished for both sides. Quite similar to the musical side of the records. The videos for the Simon12345 songs are done by myself. Recently we started working with more artists video wise, let's see where it goes. We also have a partnership with an experimental architecture company from Bologna to someday make visual mapping project, but we are lacking funds to do it so far. However, we are very lucky to have some cool and heartfelt friends.

At the end of the last track on the album you have a hidden skit which starts after about 5 minutes of silence which seems to suggest that working for the man is not high on your priority list. Is that a lifestyle choice, to retain artistic integrity, just social commentary or was it just the group complaining about your office jobs at Deutsche Bank?
This one is deep.

If there is a thing I thought of most often in the last 10 years, it probably is the necessity of  working for money to live; that's hard to accept. I am sure that pure capitalism is a big problem for the world and for the quality of all our lives. But again, I am not too sure what to do with this awareness. One consequence for our music is to produce stuff not for money, but for other, higher reasons. We don't even call it production, I don't like that word.

Another consequence is to take responsibility, we do care for each other and we also care for things and people in general. It's important to train yourself in a social sense as often as possible. If your actions are motivated by maximization of your capital, may it be social or material, it will make people around you and probably even you very unhappy.

So many people are working for their capital, forgetting how precious life is. Luxury doesn't make a life fulfilling in my case, and neither does to be the best friend of thousands of superficial people. In my opinion it's better to be humble in consumption and standards as long as it is possible, be thankful and give back, always.

Being of a certain age I´ve seen how artists and small independent labels are increasingly struggling to survive and adapt to the younger generations unwillingness to pay for music and their preference to mostly watch it on Youtube, check it on streaming services or illegally obtain it. Perhaps you'd like to give me your perspective on this situation - the increasing consumption and importance of music but it's apparently decreasing value. 

It's sad, but it is the way it is, I don't know how to change it. What everybody does in the long run is forcing artists in sponsorships and playing loads and loads of gigs.  Real milestones of music don't come from people working full time in another job, at least in most cases. But I don't want to be conservative, you have to take what you get and make the best out of it. In my opinion it doesn't make much sense to cry over bad situations, we are just trying to find a way to make it bearable. But no question, that it would be easier to make music if we would not have to work extra to finance it.

My opinion is also, that the problem was created by all the people making/marketing music. Everybody wants his shit on Youtube and every label participated in Spotify madness etc., so who to blame? Music has become a nice giveaway to make other products more attractive, e.g. ipod, boiler room etc.

I go by the Youthmovies (uk band) final statement before they split up:

"I guess what I'm saying is that if our legacy is anything, I want it to be 'take everything in, use it, be unmarketable so the market itself has to change - we were just at the beginning, it's going to get easier. Besides, most people aren't going to like what you do anyway; everyone's right, let them be and shoot between the eyes. As far as it goes for us it was just cool that there were some people that liked what we did."

We want to continue their legacy and there definitely are more and more people who believe in a record and putting on their headphones to go on some kind of spiritual trip with us. Those people are the ones we do it for. And those are also the persons we write for, our music works best for that kind of reception, it's like a challenging movie, not a soundtrack to your movie and not a free giveaway to give your world more applestore-glam.

So after the Praezisa Rapid 3000 album, Doumen then went on to release the EP from Simon12345 & The Lazer Twins which also blew me away. Again there isn´t much information about the group, apart from a rather confusing section on the Noble website which must have lost something in translation! Could you tell us a bit more about the members of the group and their music.
Simon12345 is me and the Lazer twins, two of my oldest musical friends. We make music together since many years and in many bands. Praezisa Rapid 3000 was more like a home recording project, whereas this is clearly more focussed on complex play and deep structures. It's the more serious side of what we do, but I don't want it to be seen as a side project, it's a full band, with much to say.

We recorded the Doumen EP in a house in Denmark a while ago, I had some sketches with me and we developed them together. The basic idea was to go from a "real" band (guitar, drums, bass) to something contemporary and we succeded with it. This weekend we will play our first live shows and you would love how we can actually play songs like "Damascus" live with all the feeling and sound it needs and without any click/backing tracks from our laptops. However, that took us some serious amount of time in the studio, we lived there for the last 3 weeks day and night to be able to do it and we still have to develop it further.

Btw, simon12345 (me) will soon also be working on his first real solo material and I am also working on some music I produce for my favourite songwriter (he is from Germany), hopefully both will see release someday soon.

So with Simon12345 & The Lazer Twins combination of great electronic production and live instrumentation they have a similar ethos to Praezia, am I identifying a label trend here or are you open to releasing acapella Bavarian throat singing or pure machine techno in the future as well? 
It is a label trend, but we would definitely put out anything we love, no constraints. When you start up a label you have to do the first releases yourself I guess, as no one you don't know will say:"oh nice, I don't know you and I don't know your label, please let me release the best work I have done so far on your imprint!".
Composing the first releases within our circle helps us to keep the quality we want to and next are other producers now, as we made ourselves a name with it and people take questions serious, as they love our concept and what we do.

So I mentioned Noble records, who have taken the labels output so far for release in Japan. From your Facebook updates it appears that the Praezia album has had some success over there topping the Jetset charts. The Japanese market seems to be your main overseas focus, is there a reason for that and how is it going?
My impression is that people over there seem to be a lot more comfortable with many changes and weird stuff happening in a short period of time. and when i listen to Nobles other releases it seems to fit very well with what we do, but why exactly, i don't know. I mean the first Praezisa Rapid 3000 EP topped the vinyl charts over there for 2 weeks. Weird, isn't it?

As part of my life I spend a crazy amount of time checking blogs/record lists/shops to track down music and to be honest I am a bit worried about the visibility of the Doumen releases in Europe. I see it is not available at and, both important taste making sites and two of my personal favourite reference sites to help me filter the ocean of electronic music out there. Are you still pushing the European promotion as I would hate the album to get lost to the more discerning electronic music listeners or is my impression wrong? 
Your impressions are right, but i don't know what to do about it, I wrote both, but they don't respond. I think this is an elite problem. we are neither from London, nor from Berlin, nor are we associated with any big names, we are just one email between thousands. If you know which would be the appropriate way to get in touch with them, please let me know.

It was good to see the music getting attractive physical releases with great artwork, in fact it seems easier to buy the vinyl rather than the MP3. From the wide ranging musical influences in your album and the diverse nature of your podcasts I'm guessing you have a fairly decent record collection. Are you still collecting records, perhaps tell us a bit about your collection, digging habits and where do you stand in the vinyl vs digital debate? 
To be honest, I don't own that many vinyls. I just buy albums and sometimes EP's on vinyl, no singles, most of them are fairly weird and old. I go digging in old and untrendy shops to come across some rare Captain Beefheart recordings, unknown songwriting stuff, post-rock... or something like that. But to answer your question, I am doing it not very frequently, but constantly over the years. I always am searching for music that moves me and what moves me most are timeless pieces, not necessarily the ones that are fresh and new. You can compare it to cola and tea. Tea is timeless, coke is fresh and extreme. you will be thrilled by a fresh coke sometimes, but a green tea is much much deeper and you can drink it more frequently without being bored.

So if I come to Leipzig one day where should I go to buy some records?

Kann Records, Kochstraße 10. They are our friends and they run a very nice house label, too. You will get most local releases there and it's a good place to be.

Tell us a bit more about Leipzig as a place to live and create. I read it had quite an illustrious past as a creative center, what is the scene like today, is it thriving or has everyone moved to Berlin?
Actually it seems to be the other way around. people are talking about Leipzig a lot recently, even the big newspapers are writing "Leipzig is the new Berlin", "hypezig" blabla, I don't think that it is beneficial for the city, but who really cares? ...what you got in Leipzig is very good music and many people who are willing to give something to create things and to be independent. It's a good place for free thinkers I guess, and it's very cheap in general. The city is quite run down apart from the center and people don't really care what happens, if it happens in places where no economical value can be made out, that gives you a lot of opportunities you would not have somewhere else. But it seems that i am leaving Leipzig soon, in fact i already did in august 2012 when i moved out of my flat there. however, i have not found the next place for me to live, yet and am changing places and friends couches every few weeks. to be honest, I think it doesn't matter too much for your art where you live, as soon as you have developed to a certain point, from then on you can even live alone in the forest and make big tunes..

Have you considered a move to another part of the country or world?
I am considering it right now. One day I want to live somewhere close to mountains and I also want to live on another continent for a while, too.

Could you recommend some artists/creatives from Leipzig that everyone should know about?
Martin Grosz (Painter): something in his amazing work really moves me and he also did the artwork of Doumen 01 and our logo. He will be big someday I guess..
Good Guy Mikesh and Filburt
Map.ache (Check out his Mikrodisko/Kann Records split ep and the remix he did on Doumen "so close")
Kann Records in general (they also got a really nice podcast section) well and Kassem Mosse is a name everyone should already know about by now

Mikrodisco - great music and label concept

So in a recent Facebook post you intimated there was some new artists coming to the Doumen label, would you like to be more specific about these "talented people" and when can we expect some more Praezia and Simon12345 material? 
Regarding the talented people: just stay tuned and more Praezisa as well as Simon12345 material will be coming by the end of this year I hope. We are still struggling with our after album hangover ;)

The doumen 02 will be re-released on noble label on 15th of april.
it will feature music from Simon12345 & The Lazer Twins with some great remixes

Here is the remix of  "77*R.I.P." by ;.. as a little taster:


Doumen Website
Doumen Soundcloud
Doumen Facebook 
Noble Records Website (Releaseing Doumens music in Japan & other interesting projects)

Buy Doumen records:
Itunes - Praezisa Rapid 3000Simon12345 & The Lazer Twins
Amazon - Praezisa Rapid 3000, Simon12345 & The Lazer Twins