Owner Interview with Kai Kobi Mikalsen of End of huM
Label: End of huM
Artists Roster: Kobi, Origami Arktika, Origami Republika, Origami Sonika, Sketch
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 Im 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 Its special because it releases only my own stuff, but its not unique.
QRD How has your physical location effected your label?
Kai Its 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 dont listen to music as much as before.
QRD Whats your demos policy?
Kai I dont accept demos.
QRD How do you find out about new artists for your label?
Kai I dont.
QRD How do most fans find out about your label?
Kai Mostly via looop.no (mailorder - independent music from Norway).
QRD Whats been your biggest selling release & why do you think it was?
Kai I hardly sell any of my releases, because I dont have the time getting proper distribution.
QRD What release that youve 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 Im 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?
QRD How involved do you like to be in the artwork design for a release?
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 Whats a record youd like to put out that youll never be able to?
Kai I would like to put out more vinyl, but cant afford to do so.
QRD If you really like a band, but arent 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?
QRD Do you take a cut of a bands publishing?
QRD Do you handle promotions in house or hire out & why?
Kai Im giving away too many promos, but Im not in it for the profits anyway.
QRD How do you maintain contact with your fanbase?
Kai Im 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?
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?
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?
QRD Do you think the return of vinyl & cassettes is a fad?
Kai Its 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)?
QRD Whats 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 Dont, therere 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 MySpaces decline, what do you see as the place where normal people go to find out about & get excited by new music?
QRD In 20 years what do you think/hope your label will be known/remembered for?
Kai Putting out good music.
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