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QRD #45 - Record Label Owner Interview Series
about this issue
Label Owner Interviews with:
Badman Recording Co.
Boring Machines
Champion Version
Dark Meadow Recordings
End of huM
Exotic Fever
Fluttery Records
Fourth Dimension/Lumberton Trading Company
Greyday Records
Lagunamuch Records
Morc Records
Moving Furniture
North Pole Records
Radical Matters Editions/Label
Second Motion Entertainment
Silber Records
Trace Recordings
QRD - Thanks for your interest & support
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Silber Records
Silber Button Factory
Cerebus TV
Silber Kickstarter
Label Owner Interview with Kai Kobi Mikalsen of End of huM
November 2010
Name: Kai Kobi Mikalsen
Label: End of huM
Artists Roster: Kobi, Origami Arktika, Origami Republika, Origami Sonika, Sketch
Websites: www.endofhum.no

QRD – When & why did you start your label?

Kai – I first started the label as a copyright-label for Sketch  & Kobi material in 1997.  Then I started putting out CDRs (2002)  & later CDs  & DVDRs (2008).  I only put out projects that I’m involved in.…

QRD – Where did you get the money to finance your first few releases?

Kai – I use my own money to put out releases.

QRD – How many releases have you put out?

Kai – 12 releases,  & 6 co-releases.

QRD – How many releases would you like to do a year?

Kai – I would like to do 4 a year (including CDRs).

QRD – How many hours a week do you work on the label & how many would you like to?

Kai – I work 8 hours a week,  & would like to do 30 hours.

QRD – What are the fun &/or rewarding parts about running a label?

Kai – The fun part is to make covers  & producing the music, the rewarding part is that my music is released.

QRD – How have your motivations for having a label changed?

Kai – It started as a CDR label, but now my intentions is to put out most of my music on my own label.

QRD – What do you feel is the biggest waste of your time running the label?

Kai – The distribution part ...which is important... but it takes up to much time & I would like to be an artist to.

QRD – What are some labels you admire or feel a kinship to?

Kai – TIBProd., Pica Disk, Synesthetic Recordings, & PNL Records.

QRD – What other work experiences prepared you to have a label?

Kai – I was tired of waiting for response from other labels

QRD – What makes you label special & unique?

Kai – It’s special because it releases only my own stuff, but it’s not unique.…

QRD – How has your physical location effected your label?

Kai – It’s hard to get distribution outside of Norway.

QRD – Do you enjoy music as much now as you used to & how has running a label effected how you listen to/hear music?

Kai – I enjoy music as much as before, but I don’t listen to music as much as before.

QRD – What’s your demos policy?

Kai – I don’t accept demos.

QRD – How do you find out about new artists for your label?

Kai – I don’t.

QRD – How do most fans find out about your label?

Kai – Mostly via looop.no (mailorder - independent music from Norway).

QRD – What’s been your biggest selling release & why do you think it was?

Kai – I hardly sell any of my releases, because I don’t have the time getting proper distribution.…

QRD – What release that you’ve done was the most important & special to you personally?

Kai – My solo release “earplugged.”

QRD – What are some things that make you want to work with a band?

Kai – Musical progress.

QRD – What are some things that would make you stop working with a band?

Kai – Bad music.

QRD – What is the thing all releases on your label have in common?

Kai – I’m involved as an artist

QRD – How involved are you with a b & for acting as a producer as far as hearing demo ideas or selecting tracks to be on a release or mixing & mastering?

Kai – 100%.

QRD – How involved do you like to be in the artwork design for a release?

Kai – 100%.

QRD – How long is it from when an artist delivers an album to you until release date & why?

Kai – Usually one year from recording because the production takes months.

QRD – If a band breaks up between the recording of a release & the release date, how does that effect what you do?

Kai – It does not effect the release.

QRD – What do you wish bands on your label would do?

Kai – Play more live gigs.

QRD – What’s a record you’d like to put out that you’ll never be able to?

Kai – I would like to put out more vinyl, but can’t afford to do so.

QRD – If you really like a band, but aren’t sure you could sell many copies of their record; what do you do?

Kai – Release the music.

QRD – How is financing of a release split between artists & the label?

Kai – I do 100% of the financing.

QRD – How do you split profits from a release between artists & your label?

Kai – The deficit is included in the deficit.  The profit (if any) is used to put out more releases.…

QRD – Do you have written contracts with your bands or handshake deals?

Kai – Handshake.

QRD – Do you take a cut of a band’s publishing?

Kai – Nope.

QRD – Do you handle promotions in house or hire out & why?

Kai – I’m giving away too many promos, but I’m not in it for the profits anyway.

QRD – How do you maintain contact with your fanbase?

Kai – I’m having a beer with the five of them all the time….

QRD – What do you do to build relationships with record stores, radio stations, magazines, & websites?

Kai – Almost nothing.

QRD – Do you view advertisements as a way to generate interest & revenue or more as a way to financially support magazines & websites you like?

Kai – Both.

QRD – How do you decide how big the initial pressing of a release should be?

Kai – I try to minimize the stock to 100-200 CDs.

QRD – What percentage of a pressing do you use for promotions?

Kai – 30 %.

QRD – Do you sell music that is not on your label?

Kai – Nope.

QRD – How has running a label effected your own artistic career?

Kai – Positively, I get more gigs  & more appreciation for my music.

QRD – Ideally, would you release your own material?

Kai – All the time.

QRD – Do you think the album format is dead?

Kai – ...No...

QRD – Do you think the return of vinyl & cassettes is a fad?

Kai – It’s the latest fad  & the oldest fad, CDs are mostly just for promos.

QRD – Is it important to have physical releases over digital ones or does it not matter?

Kai – I hate MP3s.

QRD – What do you think of ultra-limited runs of releases (less than 100 discs)?

Kai – Good idea.

QRD – What do you think of “print on demand” discs?

Kai – Good idea.

QRD – How much content do you feel should be available free to fans?

Kai – Almost nothing.

QRD – What do you do about people distributing your music without financial compensation (piracy & file trading)?

Kai – Nothing.

QRD – What’s something you see other labels do that you think of as borderline unethical?

Kai – MP3 releases, it destroys music because of the low quality.

QRD – What changes in things would cause you to stop your label?

Kai – When I run out of money.

QRD – What would you suggest to someone starting a label today?

Kai – Don’t, there’re too many already...

QRD – Why do you think labels are still important to artists?

Kai – Musicians should do music,  & labels should put out their music.

QRD – Music has had different hotspots on the internet over the years (newsgroups, MP3.com, MySpace, LastFM), but with MySpace’s decline, what do you see as the place where “normal” people go to find out about & get excited by new music?

Kai – Concerts.

QRD – In 20 years what do you think/hope your label will be known/remembered for?

Kai – Putting out good music.

Other QRD interviews with Kai:
Kobi interview (December 2005)