Almost one year ago, I remember gazing intently at the beautiful artwork for a tape from Easy Feelings, the collaboration between Love Cult and Bedroom Bear on Sicsic. It was not a surprise when the warm, ethereal music cascaded through my body. Since that fateful evening, each batch of Sicsic tapes has proved to be better than that which preceded it – with the artwork and sounds plunging the depths of your head. Some of their best releases are from the latest batch, such as Günter Schlienz – Tape Studies and Rambutan/Parashi – Lesser Halogens to name a few. These tapes represent everything that is alluring and wonderful about Sicsic. Daniel Voigt, of Sicsic, was kind enough to share his time in answering a few questions about the label.
1) What is the story behind the beginning of Sicsic tapes and your vision for the label?
Daniel: Sicsic as a label is a platform where music and art come together. It’s pretty much a DIY operation for handcrafted music and art. It’s run by Johannes and me since 2009. We are based in Frankfurt, Germany.
We love tapes as a sound-carrier and so we founded the label at the beginning to be able to release and distribute our own music, create/realize the accompanying artwork as well as the corresponding text. Johannes is releasing under the Baldruin moniker, and I make music as Hering und seine sieben Sachen, Autistic Argonauts and Horzes. Besides that Johannes is doing most of the artworks, Holger, our poet, writing the texts and I do the rest.
Since last year I became more active than ever in releasing music/working with different artists, also on a wider circle – just promoting artist I really like. It’s so much fun and means a lot to me!
In being also a member of Phantom Limbo Gigs, a collective setting up shows for experimental music of various genres since 2009, I get in touch with a lot of interesting and creative people. The tape label is therefore also a result of holding on to the memories I’m collecting.
2) Each batch of Sicsic tapes is full of eclectic beauty. Generally, what is the process for releasing something on Sicsic?
Daniel: Just plain and simple: I release what I like – usually I get in contact with the artists directly, less often I decide to put out music that was submitted as a demo. Generally speaking, I like to achieve a certain mixture between local and/or unknown artists & artists that are already better known, in certain “scenes”
3) Aside from the beautiful sonics, the artwork for Sicsic tapes is quite alluring. Can you talk about the wonderful contributions made by Johannes Schebler, Christian Schoppik, Sandra Angela Wichmann & Samuele Bastianello? Also, do the musicians have a role in the artwork?
Daniel: Thanks, glad you like our artworks! It’s indeed an important factor and I am really happy to work with Sandra, Christian, Johannes and Samuele on a regular basis. Their style is unique, and each of these four adds some special ingredients into the mix – but there are more designers that did a great job so far and I am always looking out for fresh blood … hehehe. That is why, in the end, every release looks different and individual. There can’t be any trademark design, like other tape labels have. For Sicsic I love variety – the whole aesthetic should be erratic and mutable (visual and soundwise).
And yes, the musicians play a role during the process of the artwork creation – I enjoy working closely together with them during all steps of the process. This has proven to be a challenge but bringing different levels of perception and reflection of art and music together was always a fertile process. In the end it’s a collaborative effort of music, design and text.
4) What are some of your favorite Sicsic tapes?
Daniel: Looking forward … The ones that will be soon released.
5) The last few years have been incredible for experimental music, especially in the proliferation of interesting tape labels. What are some of your favorite labels?
Daniel: Times for experimental music have always been great I guess, but diving into the tape label scene lately is a great pleasure for me. There is so much to discover and I like to get to know people working with the same ethic and exchanging thoughts etc. That’s why I also like to trade – trading is an integral part of running the label for me. There are so many labels I like and try to follow up on all of their releases, for example Tranquility Tapes, Ginjoha, Fadeaway Tapes and Rotifer, just to name a few.
6) What are the best and worst aspects of having a label? Also, what advice would you give to those interested in starting a label?
Daniel: Working independently and self-determined together with like-minded people is probably the most important and rewarding factor for me. My advice: Try to make it as personal as you can. The positive energy and devotion will for sure come back somehow.
7) Can you drop a few hints about the next batch of Sicsic tapes?
Daniel: Of course, the next batch that should be out late October will be the most guitar centred outing yet. Kicking off with a special conceptual 4-way split called “Cycle of the Seasons“ which will feature Least Carpet, Pretty Lightning, Jon Collin & Karnak Temples. In addition to this, I am happy to release fantastic new material by Reedbeds, Bus Gas, Saguache and Stone Baby. Plus finally another Baldruin split tape will also see the light of the day, this time together with Valeri Maggison’s project, Sunhiilow.
Thanks Michael for the interview and your support. As a preview here is a new Baldruin track from the upcoming Baldruin / Sunhiilow Split.
Links & References: