From Northern Ireland to Nippon with one of the world’s leading netlabels
From its humble beginnings in a room in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Acroplane Recordings – headed up by Paul Moore – has matured to become of the world’s leading netlabels. Boxcutter (Planet Mu) and Space Dimension Controller (R&S) put out their first releases on Acroplane, and over the years Paul has played alongside artists as diverse as Autechre, Scorn, Luke Vibert, Remarc and Surgeon to name but a few. Acroplane artists Neil Landstrumm, Igorrr and Boxcutter are set to play alongside Squarepusher at the infamous Bangface Weekender next year, while Stazma The Junglechrist represents Acroplane here in Tokyo next week.
Acroplane’s latest signing is producer Himuro Yoshiteru from Japan. I asked Paul about how Acroplane has progressed over the years, as well as this latest Japanese release.
Alright, Paul. So, Acroplane Recordings. How old is she now?
Hi. I believe she is eight years old, started in August 2006, roughly.
What prompted you to even start your own netlabel? Did you expect it to grow as much as it has?
My friend Clive and I had been running a previous internet community, initially as a way to share music we were making ourselves but later releasing music from other Irish musicians. Clive decided he had to part ways due to work/real-life commitments, and I decided to start afresh with Acroplane. It does seem to have spread out quite well over the years. Initially the label just gave away music for free, probably being one of the more noticeable labels in the IDM/electronic scene at the time (alongside the likes of Netlab) doing so. I think the sheer amount of mostly solid music we released back then is what got our name around the world. We’ve since evolved to a pay-for model with our own store and distribution to about 140 others, and have got many of my favourite electronic musicians from around the world involved, which is nice.
How many countries have you actually released music from?
I’m not sure in honesty. I’d say around 20.
It seems rather apt then that you are currently studying for a Masters in Geography. How are you finding juggling the label and studying at the same time? Head melted?
It’s OK. I’ve been doing the label thing for so long now that I find I keep it ticking along fairly smoothly overall. I have moments of acute laziness with both music and academia, but I’d guess everyone is the same. Through working with musicians, graphic designers, mastering engineers etc. constantly I’m kept on my toes and need to make sure I keep on top of my emails.
It’s safe to say that Acroplane is a proper global label now. Which leads me to your next signing and release: Himuro Yoshiteru from Japan. How’d this come about?
I’d been listening to Himuro on and off for a good few years, then my friends at a French label called Bedroom Research released some great music from him that really piqued my interest. I then kept an eye out for the right time to approach Himuro with some ideas, and when I finally did I was glad to find out he was aware of the label and willing to work with us. I’m really pleased the EP is finally hitting the stores. Coincidentally, I approached a French graphic designer called Shift about doing the artwork for the EP, and he happened to be in Tokyo at the time and was able to meet Himuro in person to discuss the project.
Cool. What do you think about Japanese electronica as a whole, does it differ in any way from the rest of the world?
Yes, I feel electronic music in Japan has a character that you do not find anywhere else. I’m a big fan.
“The Himuro Yoshiteru release consists of finely chopped, fast rhythms in combination with jazzy bass and synthesizer lines and 8bit sounds. In this area he is one of the prominent Japanese musicians of his time.”
What about the rest of Japanese culture: music, movies, whatever. Are you a fan of that too?
Yeah, certainly. I think, like a lot of Irish males my age (I’m 35), I was first introduced to Japanese culture in the early 90s via anime movies such as Akira, Ghost in the Shell, Ninja Scroll etc, and soon after Akira Kurosawa movies. I’ve kept up to date with Japanese cinema fairly well since, and since the internet came about I’ve had access to great music too. I’ve a lot of time for Noise music from Japan. I don’t listen to it quite as much as I used to, but I still enjoy it.
So what’s next for Acroplane?
I’ll plough on doing the same for as long as I can. We have five releases currently planned, including music from Anodyne, Sunken Foal and Swarm Intelligence, so that will keep me busy for a while. I run gigs occasionally, so I’ll likely get into organising something new along those lines soon too.
Finally: give me a geography fact. I want to know you’re not slacking.
Earth’s magnetic poles switch every half a million years or so, and there is evidence that a switch is on the way.
Himuro Yoshiteru – Balance EP is available to buy now from Acroplane or from Juno.
Hits all other stores (Bleep, Boomkat, Addictech etc) next week.
Listen and buy below. Support independent labels.
The EP includes a great remix from Brain Rays (one half of Acroplane artists Baconhead). Keep an eye out for more Brain Rays material on the Bizarre Rituals label.