The No Type netlabel is one of the longest running netlabels still in existence. Constantine Katsiris (from Vancouver, Canada) curates the Panospria sub-label within the No Type family of labels. I had this opportunity to chat with Constantine and gain some interesting insights into how he sees Panospria, and what they have set out to accomplish.
Part One: General Questions
When and why did you found your netlabel?
Back in the days of MP3.com and later Napster, No Type surfaced in 1998 as one of the first labels releasing exclusively in this digital file format, and Panospria started a few years later in 2004. After a period of sporadically releasing small runs of cassettes and CDRs, joining the net-audio movement was the next logical move for us to take advantage of the world wide web as a method of distributing our music.
Tell us a little about No Type and Panospria?
Over the years we’ve amassed quite an impressive collection of experimental electronic music, with five different labels, and a few hundred releases by nearly 200 different projects. Amongst the ranks of artists are renowned Canadian musicians such as Tomas Jirku, Prophecy Sun, Sam Shalabi, Aidan Baker, Tim Olive, The Unireverse, and many others.
Why do you use Creative Commons licenses for your releases?
It started as a way to bypass the traditional music industry and be truly independent, and we continue in this fashion because the net-audio community is quite supportive and having our music go out to thousands of listeners globally upon release is definitely a positive aspect.
Do you focus on specific styles of music?
We’ve always pushed freedom of artistic expression, and therefore we have no stylistic boundaries as such. However, we do flex on the more experimental end of electronic music, including forays into ambient, drone, glitch, free improvisation, IDM, sound art, minimal techno, and so forth.
What is your philosophy for releasing new material?
For the most part our catalog grows fairly organically, with artists in our circle of friends presenting us with works they’d like to release online through the label. Occasionally an exciting demo will come along that we feel fits within our scope, and the social circle expands.
Who inspires you?
The work of our friends and peers is an endless source of inspiration for us.
What creative values do you wish Panospira to express?
Freedom of artistic expression and musical experimentation are pretty much fundamental to our mandate.
What role does community play in Panospira?
Community-building is a huge part of what we do as a label. We’ve been able to organize international tours for our artists and showcases at major festivals as a result of our track record.
Part Two: Business Questions
Do you accept donations or charge for your releases?
We have some releases that are available to purchase, whether on vinyl, cassette, CD, or high-quality digital files. Otherwise, the majority of the catalog is available for free download.
What about the artists? Do they get a cut of the donations / money?
Over the years, some of our net-audio releases have been reissued by other labels on physical formats, which is a great compliment for both the direction of the label and the artists involved.
Part Three: The Future
Do you have an upcoming events/releases you want to mention?
Panospria is approaching the 100th release, which is an exciting milestone for us. We’d love to mark this occasion with a compilation featuring from some of our favourite artists who’ve released over the years. Hopefully such a release would be available on a physical format as well.
As far as events are concerned, we have been hosting a concert series in Vancouver called “Quiet City” which is also focused on experimental, improvised, and electronic music.
Is there anything you would like to add?
Artists on the same wavelength are welcome to get in touch with us, whether to send their demo recordings or simply to let us know that they’re planning to tour in our area of the world. We’re always looking to expand our network of colleagues and allies for the greater good.
This is interview has taught me a few things about the netlabel community. Yes, running a netlabel is about releasing music that would likely not find a home on the major labels. However, it can (and often is) about more than that. In the case of Panospira it’s about hosting local events such as the “Quiet City” series in Vancouver. It’s about supporting the artists and their works, helping getting people out to their shows, helping build the audience that the artists need.
Thank you to Constantine for taking the time to talk with The CerebralRift, and remind us that there is more to running a label than just releasing music.