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Mü-Nest: Label Profil

img  Tobias Fischer

About the sound art scene in Malaysia
The electronic and experimental music scene in Malaysia is definitely growing – although, when compared to countries like Japan, it is pretty much still in its infancy. In the local scene, those making waves are still more traditional bands. But we are seeing more and more electronic artists surfacing in recent years. For that, we even have a very interesting experimental music scene here, spearheaded by the awesome Goh Lee Kwang, who also run the wonderful label Herbal International and curates the monthly electronic series, Switch ON, which has become one of the most important event series on experimental music & arts in Malaysia.
Having said that, electronic and experimental music in Malaysia is still an extreme niche thing. We don't have any proper records shops nor decent music magazines here for this type of music, or for any sort of indie music for that matter. Therefore, getting in touch with all these genres still very much depends on the mighty Internet.

About the founding of the label
I started mü-nest 5 years ago in 2006, together with a much respected figure on the local indie scene. It all started out when I assisted him with an independent music festival in Kuala Lumpur, and both of us felt that we should do something to expose and introduce more electronic-based music to the community. I am a big fan especially of Japanese electronic music from labels like PLOP and Noble, and thus I suggested to him to set-up an electronic music label – which ended up being mü-nest.
For me, mü-nest is a gateway to introduce exciting new and young artists. I want to work closely with these kind of acts, because this is where the excitement comes from: unearthing raw gems. To me personally, this label also represents a useful way to introduce more and more local Malaysian indie artists to the world. I think I have already introduced Flica quite successfully. And I want to do the same for more local artists in the future. It is still a long way to go, but I definitely want to continue pursuing it.

About the idea behind the label's name
The name was chosen to reflect the label's music niche and its strategic position. Musically, mü-nest firmly focuses on futuristic electro-acoustic sounds with a beautiful easy-listening twist and unconventional pop sensibilities. It is melodic, it is warm, and it is like curling yourself inside a cozy place called home (a nest). Strategically, mü-nest also see itself as a gateway (nest) to nurture and to introduce exciting new and young artists that can be related to the label's core music niche. In the label logo, you can see that the "birds" are taking off from the "nest".

About the label's slogan "Where our daily music nests"

I don't want to be pretentious, i.e. create art for art's sake. I just want the label's sounds to be close to daily life. There are so many interesting things happening around us, no matter how routine our lives may seem. I hope our releases reflect that.

About important criteria for releasing something on mü-nest
For mü-nest, it has to have a good melody - original and warm - to begin with. Then everything will flow from there. Our remix compilation In This Nest, We Found Our Winged Tales is probably the best example that congenially sums up the label's philosophy and aesthetic.
We Are All Cotton-Hearted was the first album released by mü-nest, a 2CD compilation including artists from all over the world. It was first intended to be a single CD, but as me and my initial partner were collecting the songs, we found ourselves fascinated by all the wonderful works submitted by the artists along the way. We feel extremely lucky to be able to have such a strong line up for our debut release. And we sold out the album within six months.

About being involved in the artistic process
It was a learning process for me and it still is. I do not want to interfere with the creative process of the artist/designer/mastering engineer. All I need to do is to ensure the cohesiveness of the sounds: the album's vs the label's. Of course, there were times when I did give my views pertaining to the musical process, for example with regards to the arrangement, the mixing and so forth. But I only offered them as a suggestion and its entirely up to the artists, whether they want to consider them or not. Respect the artists. This is one of the main philosophies of the label.

About the importance of physical formats
I'm an "old-school" type :) I can't sense the ownership if I don't have the physical thing in my hand. I'm sure there are still many people out there that share the feeling, although they seem to be getting less. Also, my experience tells me that most artists would prefer a physical release, rather than a purely digital one. Yes, we are also doing digital now, but it is more like a sidethought to us. Physical is still our main format, because it involves more senses than digital, just as in our life. Our music is better presented this way.

About a Malaysian touch to the releases on mü-nest

To certain extent, yes, there is one. Although I have to admit that it is inevitable to have some level of Japanese influences in it, in view of my personal admiration of Japanese music and artwork. Most of the artwork was done by Euseng Seto aka Flica, who is a fellow Malaysian. And moving forward, it is my aim to involve more Malaysians along the way, be it musicians, video producers or designers. I hope mü-nest can be a gateway to showcase these talented people.

About the sales potential in Malaysia
In Malaysia, although our releases are placed in one of the chain music stores in the capital Kuala Lumpur, and are available via some small local mail orders, sales are nothing compared to what we're achieving in Japan. As I mentioned, our local scene here is still very much in an infant stage. The local demand is, inevitably, still too small to enable the scene to sustain itself.
Japan is definitely our main market, although our releases are available worldwide. Our sounds fit well with the Japanese market's taste. Now, with the collaboration with the PLOP label, we are also finding ways to penetrate other Asia countries beyond Japan, like China. We want to make full use of our multilingual capability and our networking.
About highlights of the label's first four years
Being able to work with many immensely talented artists around the world is definitely the top highlight for a small label like mü-nest. Also, the success we had with albums by Flica, Rist, Okamotonoriaki and others are some of the best moments in mü-nest's history. Besides that, the opportunity to work with Nao Sugimoto, the head of the PLOP label, is definitely a major highlight for mü-nest too, as PLOP were one of the inspirations for the birth of mü-nest :)

Homepage: mü-nest Records

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