Established in January 2004 by Nao Sugimoto (aka mondii) based in Tokyo, Japan. Spekk explores and focuses on various interpretations of minimalism ranging from experimental electronics, electro-acoustic to field recordings and unclassifiable tones... whether they are structured / non-structured or improvised / non-improvised or even just documents of phenomena. All the artwork is designed by mondii in custom made book-shaped paper packs. In 2014, the label has entered it's 10th anniversary and will cease it's activities as Spekk permenantly from summer, to re-birth as a gallery space and label called Ethnorth Gallery.
Click here for Nao Sugimoto's biography, discography and mp3's.
NS: Thanks. First of all, the biggest difference between Plop and Spekk is that Plop is a division of a record company and Spekk is completely my personal label. Spekk is a platform to focus and explore various interpretations of minimalism and allows me to concentrate more on the concept - whereas I have to think more about the marketing and the sales for Plop. I had started Plop to introduce/support new talents by taking advantage of the company's distribution network and facilities, because at that time, it was difficult for the independent labels and new artists to get into the market because of distribution problems and promotion weaknesses. After the 3 initial years of experience with Plop, I thought it was time for me to launch a label for myself - simply more freedom. Anyway, both labels are important for me to keep balance of my activities.
NS: I really feel the power of the Internet when I receive so many inquiries and mail orders from abroad. This is just a small new label from the Far East and people can easily access their various needs. Also there are many artists sharing sound files via Internet for collaborations, and considering that there are MP3 labels and visual projects online, yes it has helped a lot.
I see the links between minimal sound and visual art in terms of focusing on the space, tones, textures, balance; when I hear the sounds, I sometimes imagine graphical patterns like the subtle gradations of color, dots on grids etc. and actually many sound artists are graphic designers as well.
NS: Maybe just a part of it... there are many great innovators here but the scene is very small. So it's hard to imagine being a central hub. For instance, the Japanese improvisers are a lot more established outside their country. So, I guess what looks "central" depends on where you look at.
NS: I'm not sure about that, but I think the exchanges over the last few years between the labels and artists worldwide have developed some kind of community and everyone is helping each other with collaborations and releases, which is really nice.
NS: It might seem like that since our first two releases are from the people behind 12k/line. Actually, I became acquainted with them because I distribute 12k and 3 Particles (Richard Chartier's label) releases in Japan. They offered me the opportunity to release their new album and I was about to launch my own label so it was natural to start off by releasing their albums. And of course because I really love their works! I also admire 12k as a label - always introducing new talents, continuation, strong concept and beautiful artwork.
NS: Yes, running a label like this is not about business for money. Definitely it's run by passion and creativity. So it's ok as long as I break even to keep the label going. Otherwise I'll lose the point and wouldn't be able to concentrate on the total production. For example, the packaging of Spekk releases are all custom made and it's actually 3 times more expensive than Plop, but I'm still happy because the concept is more important for the label. And I would also be happy if it reaches more of an audience, but that is just a result of keeping up the good work.
NS: I work over 12 hours a day at my regular work and doing Spekk on weekends so I don't have much time to do anything else at the moment. I also make music myself under the alias Mondii, and released an album on Hefty Records a couple of years ago. I want to develop my music more but it's moving really slowly. I'm also participating in few other musical projects and supposed to release an album for my band project called RdL but I need more time!
NS: Yes, there are many artists. I'll be releasing a new album by Boca Raton, which is a solo project by Martijn Tellinga from the Netherlands. His music is totally unique: very materialistic and it's like a sequence of different sounds. Almost like listening to a rolling object going over different obstacles. And there will be an album by John Hudak, which is really conceptual: transforming his voices into beautiful tones like reflections in a mirror.. Anyway, I wish to keep on releasing fresh sounds without any limitations.