Do you know BATHAUS, NO I MEAN DO YOU FUCKING KNOW BATHAUS, ONE OF MY CURRENT FAVORITES, AND ONE OF THE MOST DYNAMIC MOTHERFUCKERS MAKING MUSIC RIGHT NOW. DO YOU KNOW WHERE THAT SHIT COMES FROM, DO YOU WONDER WHAT LABEL IS BEHIND ARCANE|||CUT, THAT PUTS OUT INCREDIBLE SHIT LIKE THIS,PLUS THIS INCREDIBLE NEW SHIT FROM MUSHY (LISTEN + FREE DOWNLOAD BELOW) PLUS + tons of other amazing shit, RIGHT MOTHER FUCKING HERE HAUTE MAGIE, THIS IS THE SOURCE. The importance of labels is something that is only loosely touch on these days, most people seem to feel the fame machine is better without them, and the overly artsy-exclusive-rich-circle uses power distance concept language like “label as curator,” all I can tell you is there was a time when you could trust a label, there was no bullshit, labels had reputations for finding and putting out all the best shit. A few labels have powered their way through the garbage wall that is the current industry to make a name for themselves, but most are willing to sell their shit out to artists who have no place on their label except to bring them money by the truckloads. If your label’s biggest star in the 80s was an amazing group who created a pure moving artistic experience, and now your label’s biggest star sells whiskey on bus stop ads, when they probably don’t “need” the money, you’ve probably declined. HM has made me a wonderful mix that encompasses their circle of artists, this is a FUCKING INCREDIBLE INTRODUCTION TO ONE OF MY FAVORITE LABELS RIGHT FUCKING NOW. FREE DOWNLOAD ALL OF THE SHIT BELOW AND BUCKLE IN FOR THEIR INTERVIEW, SOME REALLY FUCKING INSIGHTFUL SHIT GOING ON BELOW!!!
FREE EXCLUSIVE HAUTE MAGIE MIXTAPE HERE:
EXCLUSIVE IVIYH – HAUTE MAGIE – MAGICHIGHMIXTAPE (rghtclcksavlnkdfiledwnld)
Can you give our readers a brief history of Haute Magie and how the label got started?
Well, to be completely honest, I (Silas) started it to impress Amanda. We had basically just met while I was on tour under the project name Bicycle Sighs and pretty much moved in together. Beyond that, it was something that had been brewing in my mind for quite some time, and I had a previous imprint named Domovoi Records which began in 2007. I only released one CD-R, Mike Bruno’s “In Memory”, in a run of 43, but that process stuck with me forever. We were doing small, handmade runs of about 20 – 40 copies of albums, and for the most part, not releasing a whole lot of what we really liked. We did pull away with some great sounds, including the Bunrage / Footpaths split cassette (which we re-issued on vinyl – http://hautemagie.com/relics/009) and the Ginny Greenteeth cassette “Grimoire”. We closed down shop to completely reinvent what we were doing, as it in no way fit our aesthetic or goals for the label, and we’re now moving into yet another era for the label.
How did you initially find and select bands to sign to HM?
We knew for a while that our first vinyl release was going to be “The Sad Sisters” by Mike Bruno. Mike’s projects are something that, no matter what direction we take the label in, we’ll always work with and release. The Black Magic Family Band is Mike’s group project, and we found Megan of Bad Braids through him, as well as Jen Paul. A lot of our artists have come through organic connection, but for the most part, we seek people out. Very few of the submissions we’ve received have actually turned into relics.
What labels are role models for you and HM?
When we started releasing again (May of 2011 into 2012), we were really looking up to a lot of the bigger labels that released a wide range of completely different sounds such as Mexican Summer and Thrill Jockey. As of late, since we are once again going through another metamorphosis, we are reimagining what we want Haute Magie to be, turning more towards a focused sound, doing more limited run & boutique releases. These days, we’re watching labels like Clan Destine, our friends here in Austin Holodeck / Indian Queen, Desire, and Phantasma Disques. Mannequin (out of Rome) is one label whose structure we really love – Alessandro, the label head, releases a lot of different styles and genres while retaining a definitive focus and loyalty to distinctive sounds and feelings.
Do you consider HM a genre specific label, or is there a specific sound you want to focus on for the label? How would you classify HM?
In short, ever changing. At this point in time, at least. Haute Magie is like a thirteen year old girl… she’s going to have to experiment before she finds out who she is or what she wants. She can be a real bitch at times, but that’s just the hormones talking… We enjoy ritualistic, occult, dark & psychedelic sounds. Dark rhythms and blinding highs. Looking back, we’ve released a lot of different folk styles and some varied electronic ones, but going forward, it’s mainly going to be categorized by feeling. Certain music evokes this primitive feeling, and that is what we want to focus on with Haute Magie, as abstract as that may be.
What is HM philosophy about physical releases?
Not to downplay what net-labels or the digital era have done for music, but physical releases are extremely important to us. We’re kind of throwbacks in that we don’t own MP3 players and only just recently bought a home CD player. The feeling of being a kid and listening to vinyl records while poring over the jackets or coming home with a brand new cassette tape is something that shouldn’t be lost in the digital age. Technology shouldn’t be about compromise or replacing the way we absorb music, it should enhance it.
Are there any albums/bands that you would like to re-issue?
We’re working with the wonderfully talented Kawabata Makoto (Acid Mothers Temple) to re-issue the first two Floating Flower albums on 12” vinyl. They were originally released in 1998/1999 in a very limited run on CD. There was also a limited vinyl lathe cut of the first album. Those albums have been a favourite of Amanda’s since the early 2000’s, and we’re really excited to get started on this. These albums are perfect examples of the primitive, archaic feeling we mentioned earlier.
What is the music scene like currently in Austin, it’s been since a legendary home for music, any cool local dark electronic?
There’s an amazing, budding, dark electronic underground here that can be heard in between the blues rock and country that infests this city, and the heartbeat of that community is a strong one. Troller, How I Quit Crack, S U R V I V E, Pure X, Xander Harris, BOAN, Missions, Sleep ∞ Over, SSLEEPERHOLD, Silent Diane… the list goes on. We’re looking forward to releasing a 7” split sometime next year between Troller and BOAN. We also curate a live showcase named Solar Lodge Society and recently had our one year anniversary party in August, and have hosted the majority of the previous groups.
Some people say this is the worst era in history for music, some say it’s the best, how do you feel about the current state of the music business?
Music and business should have never gone together in the same phrase in the first place. We feel as though the current state of affairs with the ‘music business’ is just as it should be. If the internet has done anything, it’s helped to create a separation between the two, a rift that has helped free music from its previously self-imposed shackles. The current era of art has helped to promote creativity while diminishing mediocrity in most cases. Then again, the internet has also generated and spat out a league of people designed to think that physical art isn’t worth a penny. We still believe that music has value, and that people should be willing to pay for it. It isn’t the money and music mixture that corrupts the business, it’s greed. Greed is the antithesis of art.
What are some of your current favorite albums?
The latest three tapes we’ve released (Mike Bruno + the Black Magic Family Band’s The Willing of the Wisps, BATHAUS’ ARCANE|||CUT, and Michum’s self-titled debut) have been cycling through our tape deck and pretty much haven’t stopped. Troller’s self-titled debut (released on both their own imprint Holodeck and LA’s Living Tapes). Mushy’s 2011 LP Faded Heart (Mannequin). Mike Wexler’s Dispossession (Mexican Summer). We’ve been listening to a lot of new hip hop artists and psychedelic folk groups. We recently started a blog / forum named Gloomfolk dedicated to folk of all styles, so that has opened us up to a lot of amazing new sounds.
Have you ever had any experience with the paranormal?
Well, we’re both from the Northeast, one of the most haunted regions in the US, so… in short, yes. We feel as though something like this needs to remain personal, close to heart. Otherwise, it becomes a sideshow.
Have you ever been to a psychic, can you tell me a little about it?
Neither of us have. Amanda reads tarot and we’ve both been heavily interested in the occult side of the world in different ways throughout our lives.
What is your astrological sign, do you see yourself in its description?
Sagittarius (Amanda) and Gemini (Silas). Since the original calendars aren’t even accurate anymore, it’s hard to know how much of it is a Pygmalion effect. From what we’ve read, our signs are supposed to complement each other greatly. The Sagittarius likes “the general feeling of things” and the Gemini enjoys creating many projects at once… these are just a few small examples, but if you read any general explanation of how the two signs interact with each other, a lot of them fit into our lives with an almost comical amount of perfection.
If I was to vacation in your hell what should I expect to find there?
Box city. That was a dark time as a record label and in general. Frat-boy “bros” standing around in waist high pond water, sipping lonestar and talking about nothing while smoking and ashing their cigarettes in the same water they’re standing in, letting their gigantic pitbulls swim around them in a circle. Being stuck in a rapidly-growing city where all of the cultural landmarks are new and can’t be built unless they include a shopping centre and apartment building. Being surrounded by complacency for mediocrity and the lack of innovation and creativity – acceptance of plastic homogenisation.
What are you thinking right now?
How much we want to move to Western Massachusetts and live in a cottage.
What is in store for the future from HM?
Bar-rock. We’re going to give up everything we’ve done thus far and start going around to the bars on 6th street (while they last), record random bands playing their brand of hard / country / blues rock, and release the recordings without their permission on 12” vinyl in runs of 10 copies. This is our dream, and we will live it. In all seriousness, we just want to keep releasing music that we love, music that does something for us. We can’t wait to start working with The Blood Wisdom, an occult, ritualistic transmission if there ever was one. Bestovitch and Bad Braids are honing in on their new albums, and Black Magic Family Band always has new wisps in the works… 5 Little Elephants, an amazing collaboration between 90s rock magician Neil Carlill and experimentalist supreme Charles-Eric Charrier was just released on CD by our lovely neighbours from France, Twin Daisies. We’ll be doing a cassette and LP edition very soon. We have the latest album from ambient rock group My Education coming out November 30th, and the first in a long series of 7”s coming out with Rome’s Mushy (October 27th) and Austin’s No Mas Bodas (November 17th). In the future for that series, we have work from Troller, Mater Suspiria Vision, BATHAUS, and many more. The Floating Flower re-issues are weighing heavily on our minds with excitement. All in all, we can’t wait to see where this journey takes us, and what we can do with it.