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mAtter: Label Profile

img  Tobias

About the importance of keeping control
mAtter is an independent label. When I worked with a label as an artist before launching mAtter, I already designed the CD sleeve as well. On this occasion, I had to work in a limited range design-wise because the label had the final say on the artwork. The benefits of having my own label is being able to control everything. Designing the CD sleeves, the exact positions of the artwork, and even the placement of the bar code is important. This need to avoid compromise and having the capability to give strength to our label-image is necessary. 

About the beginning

The first release by mAtter was my own piece, ‘d + p’. For other artists, whose work I wish to introduce through the outfit, this is special, because I understand the feelings of the artist and the importance of their finished product. 
In terms of the production process of the work, I don’t actually remember that much, but it was definitely a lot of work to create and edit this extremely detailed sound. It could be that the reason why I am not be able to remember this more exactly is because I already started composing the next work straight away.

About the importance of design

Design is very important. However, the designs - aside from the image of the musical composition - are not added to the packaging design, because music by default is not visible. Many people have graciously praised the CD sleeves of mAtter, but it is not because I use it as an announcement of my personal tastes, but because they're an inseperable unit of sound works and sleeve design. 

Various images can be combined with music, and it is also possible to associate the sound from the photograph, and the image at the same time. I try to do this in a simple manner. If this explains the musical composition by sentences, will music be unnecessary?

I do not have specific images in mind, because the music of mAtter  doesn’t have lyrics. The idea was always that it transforms the listening environment and conditions. 

In term of artwork, I want to present a diferent side of mAtter. It may be impossible to convert music into a picture as long as it is not a theme with a certain concrete impression. For instance, the artwork of MATTER004, our most recent release, is a photograph where a cloth coils around the sleeve. Its inspiration derives directly from the word ‘scytale’, the album’s title. 

About being involved with each release
It is always different according to the particular work at hand. However when a work is published by mAtter, it is very important to mark it as being from mAtter. I listen to the work many times before deciding upon a release.

About the label's  philosophy and aesthetic
Because it is a very internal phenomenon, this is difficult to explain. I have been influenced by art since my childhood, especially from the artists in particular such as Joseph Beuys, Mark Rothko, James Turrell, Walter De Maria, Olafur Eliasson, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Jackson Pollock, Ryoji Ikeda, etc..

The influences cannot be finished until many artists have been received and published. To begin with, I do not think that this is necessarily related to the decision to publish music. I think that it should take a free, original stance. It may not be honest to say that mAtter is particularly original, but I think it will be updated more in the future. What we want is to show something new.

Telling untold stories

Of course, this is the most vital point. A lot of demo works reach mAtter, however it is mostly music that has been listened to before. The work of the many artists I have been influenced by in the past always created this ideal first impact. 

I would resign from the label if I had to do ‘sellout’ works so that I may improve sales. I would never change the work for sales alone. I want to produce remarkable pieces of work with mAtter.

About releasing DVDs and the future of the label
As for Andy Graydon’s ‘Geomancy’, I saw the images first, and I thought it was a truly wonderful work. I wanted to release it on mAtter, absolutely. When it was determined, I wanted to put out the film work of the still circulating image generation system. The image work will be released in the future, as well as the possibility of other media.

Right now, the market is in a bit of a depression. Therefore, it is difficult to release a new work right now. However, when I receive a work that fits mAtter, it will be released in the future.

Yes, some new projects are advancing now. I was one of the founding members of the group named +LUS (it is pronounced “plus”) and am contributing to the production of an installation-work now. The members of +LUS are Yui Onodera, Junji Koyanagi, Taishi Kamiya, and myself. However the idea behind this group is that a more public design will work, so we've made that a target. 

About mAtter, I think that I may release the next work myself, to form the image of mAtter. It will be a very unique release method, though a concrete idea cannot be presented yet. 

We wish to express our gratitude for your consideration, and I give thanks to the reader who has read to the last minute of the interview despite my English.

Yukitomo Hamasaki

By Tobias Fischer & Will Long. Will Long is one half of Drone-duo Celer and runs the "Floor Sugar"-Mailorder for Asian Sound Art.

Homepage: mAtter

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