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QRD #52 - Indie Label Interview Series
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Interview with Indie Label Owner Alexis Brantes of FunerART
June 2011

Name: Alexis Brantes
Label: FunerART posmoGROUP of comtemporary Art’s
City: Santiago
Artists Roster: Cadavra, Funeral Inconscientemente Natural, Fliegend, Underneath, VONN, De Profvndis Clamati
Websites: www.funerart.org

QRD – When & why did you start your label?

Alexis – We started in November 2007, because of the absence of labels interested in supporting the most vanguard artists of Santiago & Chile.

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

Alexis – Private donation of the members.
QRD – How many releases have you put out?

Alexis – At the moment we have 45 Releases, 20 are in physical CD & the rest for free download.

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

Alexis – I would like to releases 2 or 3 releases per year, & do a good promotion for each one & give the attention that the band & release need.

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

Alexis – 1-2 hours per day & I would like to do more, but in Chile it’s very hard if you aren’t in the mainstream.

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

Alexis – Discover, design, & create a branding for each release. See how we can be part of a work greater than we can do as individuals.

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

Alexis – Support the art in all the possible forms.

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

Alexis – The Art is a passion, support is another type of passion.

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

Alexis – I love the Belgian label NULLL (Now, NUlLL Collective Group), also I love the Norwegian label KARMAKOSMETIK & their amazing releases.

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

Alexis – I’m designer, it has a very good compatibility with the works for a label, especially in the branding & the design of a concept for each release. Also the label that release & offer a cosmovision of art will show its own essence. The label can be the house of these artists. For that we feel ourselves as a funerary family, because we are the undertakers of the modernism conception.

QRD – What makes you label special & unique?

Alexis – The addition to the evolution of the creationism showed by Vicente Huidobro, we have a proposed that we call: POSMODROOM (or postmodernist doom); music influenced by the postmodernism & all that it can represent.  FunerART posmoGROUP is music for the new world, the new age, the next human generations!

QRD – How has your physical location effected your label?

Alexis – As the concept of church: where two of more of our artists are meeting, FunerART posmoGROUP will be there: WE are posmodroomicment omnipresent.

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

Alexis – Administrating a label changes your how to feel the music creation, but it doesn’t effect the perception of music & as we can enjoy the music.

QRD – What’s your demos policy?

Alexis – Simple: Clean convictions carry you to the horizon; the rest is yours.

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

Alexis – If the artist has clean convictions, they’ll find us before we find them.

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

Alexis – Fans are everywhere, we try to count with worshippers, people that really can feel our postmodernist art.

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

Alexis – The best selling release was F.I.N. & their EP called “Layil” (sold out in one month) & Fliegend & their first album (sold out in 6 month)& this was because of the great mix of sound that they had.

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

Alexis – The first physical release between the Chilean band F.I.N. & O.I.D. from Singapore.

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

Alexis – Clean convictions is all that we need.

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

Alexis – That they believe that they are a super star, that their desire & look at things runs against our convictions & that they feel themselves as “The most important band” & it breaks the freedom of another band of our family.  We don’t need that.

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

Alexis – Clean convictions & real passion for the art (with the exception of one band).
QRD – How involved are you with a band for acting as a producer as far as hearing demo ideas or selecting tracks to be on a release or mixing & mastering?

Alexis – I receive the artwork.

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

Alexis – All if it is possible.

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

Alexis – It’s relative.

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

Alexis – It’s cancelled.

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

Alexis – Break the limits of modern music, they will be the new breed of postmodernist sound.

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

Alexis – Only the release FA 010-1.

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

Alexis – I offer a limited edition of a small number.

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

Alexis – It depends on the sales that we can do, it can be of 50-50% or 70-30% & 100% with us only as distro.

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

Alexis – It depends of the deal that we are doing with the artist.

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

Alexis – Only for distribution & web sales.

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

Alexis – In some cases.

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

Alexis – We try to do viral marketing.

QRD – How do you maintain contact with your fanbase?

Alexis – Face to face with them, that is so important for an artist. Some understand & appreciate it.

QRD – Do you have intern & street team programs & if so, how do they operate?

Alexis – No, all releases are diverse works, but we have some great projects that look to show our bands & support the Latin scene. It’s called: INVOCACIÓN for the Latin Drone & Funeral doom stage & the project “The Last Border” that tries to be the track where the world can listen. At the start of this year we did an open call to the artist of the posmodroom around the world, we have receive new bands interested in it from countries like Russia, Belgium, USA, Brazil, Mexico, France, Perú, & Chile. This new project called “POSMODROOM: The Last Days of Modernshit”.

QRD – How big of a staff do you have & how big of one do you need?

Alexis – At the moment I work alone on it after the loss of the founding members, now it’s not managed by people that don’t feel the art, now it’s a collective art group that is looking at their fate through the clean convictions & clean dialogue between artist & label.

QRD – What do you do to build relationships with record stores?

Alexis – Underground don’t work so much with it, but with some bands we are adding to it for help to take their dreams with their own hands.

QRD – What do you do to build relationships with radio stations?

Alexis – Simple: option one is talk with any radio program for help in the promotion & option two is pay for play

QRD – What do you do to build relationships with magazines & websites?

Alexis – I sent some promotional packages to those with previous feedback.

QRD – What do you do to build relationships with bloggers?

Alexis – That’s viral results (from our marketing strategy).

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

Alexis – Yes, it’s part of our marketing ways.

QRD – What is the job of your distributors?

Alexis – Sell & promote our disc by commission.

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

Alexis – We start with a limited edition of 100 pieces, if it sells good it has a 2nd, 3rd, & 4th edition.

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

Alexis – 10-20% of each release.

QRD – Do you sell merchandise other than the music (t-shirts, etc.)?

Alexis – Not at the moment.

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

Alexis – Yes, but as a distro.

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

Alexis – It’s good, it’s a place where my artistic career has support that is legitimized by the rest of the artist here. Each artist legitimizes the other artist into this art collective group.

QRD – Ideally, would you release your own material?

Alexis – I don’t release my works as artist, I prefer to use my resources for supporting new artists, my art projects can be supported by another label, just as it has been in the past.

QRD – What’s your most common conversation with bands as far as balancing artistic integrity & financial viability?

Alexis – I expose to all bands the possibility, the options to finance it, & what we can be doing together, the rest is decision of the band.

QRD – Do you worry about search engine optimization & website traffic?

Alexis – No, I only worry about the FunerART’s website, the rest is only a sequel of the marketing.

QRD – What have you done to cut costs over the years?

Alexis – Support more & more bands.

QRD – Do you think the album format is dead?

Alexis – It’s dying, but now it’s a part of a collection, not only a piece of music to buy & save as MP3. It’s art! Not modernshit!

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

Alexis – These are more collection pieces of art.

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

Alexis – Maybe both can live together some years more, but in the future it’ll be only digital. Some people don’t appreciate the quality of a track in AIFF format & prefer a track on MP3 of low quality 192 bitrate (sad).

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

Alexis – Good! It’s a very good option for releases that will be hard to sell & the world can’t lose.

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

Alexis – That they’re a fantastic option for those who have an open mind & really want & enjoy the artwork of a release. The people that buy that are real lovers of the art & they need the BEST “Thanks for the Support!!!”

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

Alexis – All that the conviction can leave. We have some releases for free download & we think that FREE MUSIC IS FOR FREE PEOPLE

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

Alexis – For a band this is free promotion, for an artist it’s interactive support, but for a label it’s loss & support at the same time. Support because it arrives to places that the label don’t have a physical space & maybe one real worshipper can want to order the physical release. But it’s a postmodernist manifestation & we can understand that & we are able to live with it.

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

Alexis – Each label is a very different world. I don’t have the authority to damn any label for their decisions. I think that all people are free & my freedom ends where the freedom of another starts.

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

Alexis – $ conflicts, loss of a north light to guide my future... the loss of a member family.

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

Alexis – The same that we say to our artists: Clean convictions can get you to the horizon, the rest is yours.

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

Alexis – Because a label represents a group of people that have one vision, one form to feel the world. & artists need to show their creation to these people; but if you are new, maybe you can’t be knowing all these people at the same time; but under a label, you can be there & take more space to show your artistic creation.  A label is more than itself, one label is a group, who can say you face to face: I believe in you before any other people can say that.

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?

Alexis – Hard... MySpace was representing a generation of amazing artists, but with its death (so slowly) we’ll be back to the “Stone Age” of the communication. Where the band have a place & the listener have another place... but they won’t have any real feedback as on MySpace.  We are using right now the platform called Rodneyproject (www.rodneyproject.com) to expose our bands. This page can give your bands interaction & is compatible with Facebook & Twitter & help you to give more viral promotion to your bands.

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

Alexis – I’ll die happy knowing that funerART posmoGROUP are remembered as one of the pioneers of the new breed of Chilean & Latin artists. That people in Europe, North America & Asia believe that, that they legitimize our work & some of our bands can be the owners of their fates/horizons & look at the past & think that we were in the line of it. That we have been supporting them to be who they will be.

QRD – Anything else?

Alexis – Thanks you for the interest in our art.  Really, Thanks from the end of the world called Chile!