12K : an interview with Taylor Deupree
by Philippe Petit
Great label from New-York operated by Taylor Deupree. It deals with
minimal techno, and to bring a new arty vision to Electronic music.
They have albums by Taylor Deupree, Komet, Shuttle 358... You could
also be interested in Line : a new label created jointly by Taylor Deupree
and Richard Chartier and focusing on ultraminimal, conceptual soundworks
that explore the relationship between sound, silence and spatial metaphors.
We interviewed Taylor Deupree.
like to know a little biographical information about you, such as
how old you are, where you grew up, your schooling... Any sort of
information that could help reades to understand how you got to
be who you are today.
Taylor Deupree : i'm 29 years old. almost 30 (april30th).. born
in ohio, grew up in connecticut. went to school (NYU) in new york
city.. studied photography. worked mainly with minimalist compositions
of light and surfaces and then got into heavy darkroom manipulation
of negatives. photography lead me into graphic design.. in 1993
i got my first recording contracts with instinct records when i
was doing ambient
and acid techno... but, i've always done music.. well, at least
i've been composing electronic music since 1985. there's a long
history of music in my family.
friendly piece of advice would you give to someone who wants to
start his label ? What used to be tape-only labels are now CDR-only
labels. Do you think it makes it easier for people to start their
label and run less risks ?
Taylor Deupree : cdR duplication is certainly easier and higher
quality than mass tape duplication used to be.. however, the same
rules apply with starting labels.. first and foremost have a unique
concept. there are so many labels out there that unless you offer
something different to people it's going to be hard to pick you
out of a crowd. and of course, the 2nd thing.. as always.. is distribution.
but i won't even get into that here. too evil.
me the role of a label should be to discover new acts, help them
get promotion, distribution, spread the word on their creativity.
It seems that could be the motto behind your label. Right ?
Taylor Deupree : partly. but not really. the primary motto behind
12k is to step up the level of american labels by blending art,
design, and music and extremely picky quality control. the secondary
objective is to have a label for myself.. my own music. 12k is really
the center of my world. it's the base of my operations and the entire
aesthetic of my life. i think maybe 3rd or 4th would be to discover
new acts and all of that stuff. as is fairly obvious.. most of the
artists on 12k are NOT new acts.. but rather friends of mine who
are already established... that's not to say i don't sign new acts..
shuttle358, for example, was signed from a demo.. as well as numerous
people who have appeared on 12k compilations. i try to run 12k as
much of a non-business as possible. it's very hard to balance art
and business... so, as a reaction to that i don't want to advertise
too much.. don't want to promote too much.. or even spread the word.
It seems backwards.. but, i think all you really need is a unique
aesthetic.. and the advertising, promotion and word-spreading take
care of themselves. i've always run 12k in a very low-key way. not
to be in-your-face about it.. but rather to allow people to discover
it for themselves. this is very important to me.
have noticed in your list of distributors that some of the companies
are mailorder rather than proper distributors, or better say mailorder-lists
that have extended their activities and sell to some very specialised
Indie record stores. But they do not sell to
chain stores. So do you think that it would be useless for your
records to reach those music supermarkets ?
Taylor Deupree : not usless... but, i think most of the people who
buy this kind of music aren't browsing through tower records or
virgin megastore for the latest microsound CDs... i think people
go to their favorite specialty shops or buy online. as far as reaching
the average person who shops at virgin... i'm not that interested.
as i said above.. they can feel free to discover it themselves.
after all it's they who are missing out.. i'm not in this to make
tons of money so i don't need tons of sales.
you wish to keep your music within a certain circle of specialized
Taylor Deupree : yes, i think so. i don't deny being a bit elitist
about the whole thing. i think when something is subject to too
much outside intervention that it starts to break down.
Or did you chose to keep things, prices under control and thus avoid
mass-distribution in certain countries ? You started with the concept
of an "anti-label" releasing ltd edition and with very
few distribution. Has it changed today ?
Taylor Deupree : i still keep the concept of anti-label.. or anti-business.
still keep things limited. that's not to say i don't want to sell
more.. but, until i really have a need to i'll just keep it as-is.
another credo of mine is to not rush. the label has taken on a life
of it's own.. i haven't needed to be like a marketing monster...
i just pour my heart and soul into it.. i think that's enough. and
i hope it shows.
there are more and more chain stores and less and less passionate/smaller
record shops. Are you affected by that (de)evolution, or did you
delibarately chose to stay away from that "market" ?
Taylor Deupree : i don't see a lack of smaller specialty shops so
much.. at least here in new york there are 3 or 4 good ones.. that's
all you really need in any particular city i suppose. again.. i
don't think a chain store is the right place to market 12k.. i don't
deliberately "stay away" as much as i do just not even
think about it. trying to get my cds in there doesn't really enter
the picture for me much.
gave you the reason, or motivation to start your label ? Weren't
you satisfied with other labels'music ?
Taylor Deupree : one very specific event made my start my own label..
and that was after silent records disregarded a contract we had
both signed for human mesh dance's "thesecretnumbertwelve"
cd. it was all set to come out and then after months of not returning
my calls they finally cancelled it. so.. without much of a plan
i decided to release it myself. obviously that cd is very different
from what 12k is now but it was a great cd to start with thanks
to the built in fanbase already associated with human mesh dance.
after the success (at least making my money back!) from that release
i decided to continue the label.. and slowly began to develop a
solid aesthetic and plan.
you start with a certain idea, concept ?
Taylor Deupree : as i said above.. no.. just to get that cd out...
but after the HMD cd i decided to concentrate on my more minimalist
techno work.. that lead to where i am today.
would you describe a typical 12K act ?
Taylor Deupree : hopefully there isn't really a typical 12k act.
but there are certain parameters that i work in: the sound has to
be synthetic.. the compositions have to be minimal.. it has to push
the boundaries of what we consider to be modern electronic music..
and overall the aesthetic must be like that of a good piece of architecture..
labels have an example, or a favorite other label which they like,
and you Any label you could say was an influence on you ? Any label
that you think has been influenced by yours ?
Taylor Deupree : there are definitely early labels that influenced
me.. like factory records and 4AD.. these were people in the 80's
taking the concept of "record label" to another level.
mainly by tying in design and aesthetics.. i'm not sure if any labels
have been influenced by 12k.. since 12k is relatively new... but,
i'd be interested to find out if that's the case. i'd certainly
pay a lot of attention to packaging and your website is good-looking.
You are a designer and art seems closely linked with your label,
is it right ?
Taylor Deupree : it is key. yes... like i said.. 12k is about combining
art, music, and design. the design and packaging is treated with
as much care as the music.
is according to you the most beautiful record/art-object you ever
Taylor Deupree : i guess it would have to be the ".aiff"
compilation. that was really a defining record for 12k.. and the
package really made people stop and look. i owe that one big time
to dan abrams who took my original packaging concept and turned
it into reality. i also think the LINE cds that richard has been
designing are stunning. but with each release there is always some
particular element that i love.. be it the cd label or a particular
typographical treatment.. there's also always some sort of thing
i don't like, either!.. surprises that happen during printing..
but that's always the way it is.
people do not consider "microsounds" to be rich and believe
that very few is happening... Often associating it with the theory
of "less is more", whereas a lot of things and ideas can
be noticed in the music of many so-called "microsound"
Would you say that this is because many listeners :
a) do not listen
b) do not care
c) can't understand the subtelties
Taylor Deupree : i'd say "C"... like any form of music
people on the outside think "it all sounds the same"..
after all, i'mm guilty of that when i listen to rock or IDM or drum
and bass.. to me it all sounds the same.. but that's only because
i haven't given it the time to understand the subtleties... all
forms of music have these nuances which are most appreciated by
avid listeners. although i'd suffice to say that microsound has
even more subtle nuances than most music... because subtlty is what
we're all about. whether or not people think microsound is "cold"
or "lifeless" doesn't bother me. i agree that my music
is cold and clinical. it's what i like in sound. the ultra-clean.
i also agree that less is more. sound cannot exist without silence
and having less avoids clutter.. allows the listener to be able
to appreciate what is there more deeply.
you give us some precisions on the actual scene in New-York ? Any
other label, activists that you feel close to ?
Taylor Deupree : hardly anyone, actually.. maybe i don't get out
enough.. but i feel very isolated here in new york.. i think maybe
i like to keep it this way.. but i don't think even many people
in new york know what 12k is. the only musician i can really relate
to is tetsu inoue... but, i'm not so active in the local music scene
as much i am going to galleries.. looking art or architecture. that's
where i get my inspiration.
to say on the musical situation of USA today ?
Taylor Deupree : as usual, it's fairly grim... and, as always, it
is the small labels that are doing the most interesting things.
but who really cares.. it's a small world.. so i don't think where
you're located is so important anymore. the only problem i see is
that promoters are still, by and large, anti-american. they think
that artists are cooler if they aren't from america.. so thus, most
good performances or festivals are primarily booked with european
artists... but i hope promoters learn to get over that old stereotype
and start to focus on the quality of the artist.. not where they're
does your selection process work? Are they pieces personally requested,
or volunteered to you ?
Taylor Deupree : a little bit of both. i get a ton of good demos
these days. too many to release, actually.. so it's really hard
to choose what to release and when.. because we only do 4 cds a
year.. for each label (4 12k and 4 LINE). i often extend open invitations
to artists that i admire to release something.. thus you have releases
like Komet... or sometimes people come to us.. like bernhard gunter...
or, other times it'll just be a great demo.. like shuttle358 or
some of the artists on the upcoming "between two points"
compilation like Sogar, vend, or duul_drv...
have started a division - devoted to ultra minimal sounds - in association
with Richard Chartier ? Could you tell us more about Line, and Richard
Taylor Deupree : LINE was a concept created by richard.. which started
with the release of his "series" cd. richard is a painter,
as well as a musician.. and his music often explores silence as
much as it does sound.... so, the idea for line was basically a
sum of those parts.. ..to release sound works that explore that
relationship between sound and silence and physical spaces. the
line releases so far have been very effective at creating and modifying
the listeners physical surroundings. it is kind of a lowercase sound
label..where 12k is a microsound label. LINE releases tend to be
less rhythmic than 12k. more quiet. richard handles all of the A&R,
concepts, and design.. and i do the distribution along with the
did you start a different label and not issue those records on 12K,
I mean they are not so opposite, are they ?
Taylor Deupree : no.. they are not too opposite at all.. but the
differences lie at the root conceptual level. yes, we COULD release
the line cds on 12k.. and they wouldn't sound so out of place..
but because of the fact we had a concept and package design look
for the label it just seemed right to make it its own thing. plus,
it allows richard's creativity and talents to come though.. it's
party his label, too...
are working on the design of the label Caipirinha and have a close
relationship with them. I heard that they weren't happy with their
sales and might stop. Is this true or will we get more goodies from
them in the future ?
Taylor Deupree : i can't really comment on that here. it is true
that the label is on hold indefinitely right now. but it goes much
deeper than sales.
there anything that you regret or that you'd change if you could
Taylor Deupree : there are always small things that don't go as
planned.. but also things happen for a reason.. so if i went back
and changed something.. maybe i wouldn't be at this particular point
right now. maybe fixing a mistake in the past would not have allowed
me to learn and correct my path.
album or band that you wish you had issued on 12K ?
Taylor Deupree : there are plenty of beautiful sound works out there...
many which would have made great 12k releases!. but no.. i'm very
happy with what 12k has become.. i think it's just right.
are your goal as a label. Futureplans ?
Taylor Deupree : just continue with the way things are going. now
that this genre of microsound is well established it gets harder
to release unique sounds.. so it's always a challenge to find new
things.. without straying too far. i think the release of the upcoming
compilation will be a nice introduction to new artists and sounds
that we are working with. january 1st, 2002 marks the 5 year anniversary
for 12k.. so i'm planning some sort of special release for that
occasion.. also, the LINE concept will continue to get solidified..
and other than that we will see where things go! it's not good to
make too many firm plans.
12k1012/line004 "between two points" double cd 12k/LINE
compilation featuring: sogar, noto, taylor deupree, mikael stavostrand,
mark fell (snd), komet, dan abrams, vend, *0, kim cascone, goem,
roel meelkop, richard chartier, miki yui, bernhard gunter, immedia,
steve roden, duul_drv, and 0/r
LINE003: miki yui "lupe luep peul epul" solo cd by tokyo/cologne
sound artist miki yui.JUNE 5TH
LINE005: bernhard gunter "monochrome white / polychrome w/
neon nails" double CD
upcoming 12k releases for 2001: (exact months not set yet)
full length cds from taylor deupree, goem, and mikael stavostrand.
DEUPREE: COMPLETE DISCOGRAPHY 1993-2001
full length releases:
arc "12k" cd (kk records/belgium) - 1996
arc vs. tiny objects in space cd (12k) - 1997
taylor deupree "comma," cd (12k) - 1998
taylor deupree + richard chartier "spec." (12k) - 1999
taylor deupree ".n" (ritornell/mille plateaux) - 2000
taylor deupree "polr." (raster music) - 2000
tetsu inoue + taylor deupree "active/freeze" (12k) - 2000
drum komputer "alphabet flasher" cd (12k) - 1998
escape tank "escape tank" cd (instinct ambient) - 1995
futique "luv luv" cd (instinct ambient) - 1996
futique "paging mr. so-and-so" cd (shadow) - 1997
futique "go.low" cd (shadow) - 2000
human mesh dance "hyaline" cd / 12" ep (instinct)
human mesh dance "mindflower" cd (instinct) - 1994
human mesh dance "thesecretnumbertwelve" cd (12k) - 1997
prototype 909 "acid technology" cd / 12" ep (instinct)
prototype 909 "transistor rhythm" cd (instinct) - 1995
prototype 909 "live 1993-1995" cd (instinct) - 1995
prototype 909 "joined at the head" cd (caipirinha) - 1997
rancho relaxo all-stars "live at luv parade" cd (disko
b) - 1998
seti "seti" cd (instinct) - 1994
seti "pharos" double cd (instinct) - 1995
seti "pharos" double cd (kk/belgium) - 1995
seti "ciphers" cd (instinct) - 1996
unit park "trailer park" cd (plastic city america) - 1997
savvas ysatis & taylor deupree "tower of winds" cd
(caipirinha) - 199812", vinyl EP, etc:
arc "sci" on "electronic architecture" (index)
taylor deupree "tik tik" on 'co-conspirators vol. 1' (hidden
agenda) - 1998
taylor deupree "bang bang machine" EP (electric music
foundation) - 1997
taylor deupree "stray dust" on "electronic architecture"
(index) - 1996
taylor overtone deupree "freak of nature" EP (rancho relaxo)
taylor overtone deupree on 'loops 2' EP (serotonin) - 1997
taylor deupree (untitled) 12" EP (DUM) - 1997
taylor deupree (untitlted) EP (audio.nl) - 2000
eox "acid new york / reproduction" (tension records/hollis
house) - 1995
human mesh dance "the glow of red hydrogen" on ambient
double 12" (instinct) - 1994
human mesh dance "wet moon" on ambient vinyl double 12"
(instinct) - 1994
prototype 909 "transistor ep" (instinct) - 1995
prototype 909 "love sky" (instinct) - 1994
prototype 909 "karma/dharma" (instinct) - 1994
prototype 909 "live" (instinct) - 1995
prototype 909 "the kids don's care" (schmer) - 1997
prototype 909 "joined at the head EP" (caipirinha) - 1997
skai "the art of skai diving" (plastic city) - 1998
tiny objects in space on 'loops 2' EP (serotonin) - 1997
unit park "mosquito" ep w/ "drum park" (plastic
city, usa) - 1996
unit park "digital mobil funk" (plastic city, usa) - 1997
unit park "don't park" (plastic city, usa) - 1998compilation
*arc "tex" on 'exit to new york' (kk/radical ambient)
*taylor deupree "carbon sculpture" on 'exit to new york'
(kk/radical ambient) - 1996
*taylor deupree "kita" on '.aiff' (12k) - 1999
*taylor deupree "geo" on '.aiff' (12k) - 1999
*taylor deupree "gen.sec" on 'ambient systems limited
(instinct) - 1999
*taylor deupree "maikon" on 'digital reflex' (instinct)
*taylor deupree "dopticn" on 'lowercase' (bremsstrahlung)
*taylor deupree "place" on 'machinelle strategien'
(ritornell/mille plateaux) - 2000
*taylor deupree "a100study00.01.31" on '(untitled, 12k1008)
(12k) - 2000
deupree "(clir)" on 'clicks and cuts 2' (mille plateaux)
deupree "bare(bare)" on 'between two points' (12k/LINE)
*tetsu inoue + taylor deupree "active/freeze" on '(untitled,
12k1008) (12k) - 2000
tetsu inoue + taylor deupree "remote/beauty" on 'ambient
systems: initialized' (instinct) - 2000
taylor deupree "doClip" on 'variious' (intransitive) -
drum komputer "january summer" on ''ambient systems limited
edition' (instinct) - 1999
drum komputer "moss" on 'digital reflex' (instinct) -
drum komputer "e.p.l." remixed by terre thaemlitz on 'ambient
intermix' cd (instinct ) - 1995
drum komputer "nano" on 'ambient systems II' cd (instinct)
drum komputer "e.p.l." on 'ambient systems 3' cd (instinct)
eox "possession of data" on 'analog heaven' (instinct)
eox "possession of data" on 'hard trance religion' (avex,
japan) - 1994
eox "possession of data" on 'hard trance 303 II' (avex,
japan) - 1995
eox "acid new york" on 'acid warfare II' (C and S, adrenalin)
escape tank "room 9" on 'ambient systems II' (instinct)
futique "lionel shuffle" on ''the orbit lounge' (shadow)
futique "the farther we go" on 'after hours vol. 6' (instinct)
futique "trump card" on ''ambient systems limited edition'
(instinct) - 1999
futique "flea market" on 'step off' (instinct) - 1999
futique "sugar in the raw" on 'digital reflex' (instinct)
futique "from the soundtrack to 'breakfast with a gun'"
'pure abstrakt 2' (shadow) - 1998
futique "low dawn" on 'ambient systems II' (instinct)
futique "free radicals" on 'earthrise.shadow.three' (shadow)
futique "rawhide" on 'trip hop and jazz volume three'
(instinct) - 1997
tiny objects in space "propellor" on 'analog heaven' (instinct)
*human mesh dance "finale no. 115" on 'digital reflex'
(instinct) - 1998
*human mesh dance "dive" on 'plug in & turn on' (instinct)
*human mesh dance "freefall" on 'ambient systems II' (instinct)
*human mesh dance "sunflower (sunbox remix)" on 'plug
turn on x2' (instinct) -1994
*human mesh dance "heaven" on 'galaxies' (havoc) - 1992
*human mesh dance "dahlia (early version)" on 'chillout'
(instinct) - 1993
human mesh dance "dahlia" on 'techno ambient party' (fairway,
france) - 1993
*human mesh dance "human 2" on 'plug in & turn on'
(instinct) - 1993
*human mesh dance "the glow of red hydrogen" on 'plug
turn on x2' (instinct) - 1994
human mesh dance "wet moon" on 'chillout phase 2' (instinct)
human mesh dance "giant clouds" on InSider Magazine promo
cd - 1994
*human mesh dance "winter orbit" on 'ambient systems'
*human mesh dance "sunken garden" on '2AD' (waveform)
human mesh dance "giant clouds" remixed by facil on 'ambient
intermix' cd (instinct) - 1995
human mesh dance "wet moon" on 'synthetic pleasures'
soundtrack cd (moonshine) - 1995
*human mesh dance "rotating mirror" on Distributed Shared
Memory (mindspore) - 1996
human mesh dance "deep phase" on InSider magazine promo
cd - 1995
human mesh dance "sunflower" on Alternative Press promo
cd - 1995
*human mesh dance "one ten" on 'ambient systems 3' (instinct)
*human mesh dance "tracing" on 'cloudwatch' (sonic soul)
prototype 909 "the kids don't care" on 're-inventing culture'
(caipirinha) - 1998
prototype 909 "karma" on 'analog heaven' (instinct) -
prototype 909 "love sky" on 'transfusion 2' (instinct)
*prototype 909 "transit" on 'plug in & turn on' (instinct)
*prototype 909 "planet s" on 'plug in & turn on x2'
prototype 909 "understand" on 'chillout phase 2' (instinct)
prototype 909 "karma" on 'natural born techno 2' (KK /
belgium) - 1995
prototype 909 "believe" on 'cosmic energy vol. 1'
(independance/virgin - france) - 1996
prototype 909 "devil dog" on 'synthetic pleasures vol
(caipirinha) - 1997
*seti "photism" on 'ambient systems' (instinct) - 1995
seti "beacon 05" on 'ambient systems' (instinct) - 1995
seti "signal 009" on 'plug in & turn on x2' (instinct)
seti "beacon universal" remixed by adham shaikh on 'ambient
intermix" cd (instinct) - 1995
seti "beacon01" remixed by drum komputer on'ambient intermix"
cd (instinct) - 1995
seti "fragment003" on'ambient systems II" cd (instinct)
*seti "aerino" on 'ambient systems 3" cd (instinct)
unit park "drum park" on 'machinery: compilation"
city america) - 1997
savvas ysatis & taylor deupree "may 1, 9:06PM" on
're-inventing culture' cd (caipirinha) - 19989notes:
* denotes exclusive tracks that don't appear on any full length
kim cascone "bubblewarp" remixed by taylor deupree
on 'blueCubism' (digital narcis) - 2000
tollmanhildenbeutal "mimi's french dog" remixed by taylor
on "backlash" CD (eye-q/recycle or die) - 1997
drum club "drums are dangerous" remixed by P-909
on "drums are dangerous" 12" ep (instinct) - 1994
facil "tree frog (sticky feet mix)" remixed by HMD
on 'ambient intermix' cd (instinct) - 1995
control x "babylon (skydive mix)" remixed by HMD
on 'ambient intermix' cd (instinct) - 1995
control x "on a high dub plain" remixed by drum komputer
on 'ambient intermix' cd (instinct) - 1995
omicron "globetrotter" remixed by taylor deupree
on 'globetrotter' cd single/12" (kk) - 1995
omicron "globetrotter" remixed by arc
on 'globetrotter' cd single/12" (kk) - 1995
seti "beacon 01 (x-vx mix)" remixed by drum komputer
on 'ambient intermix' cd (instinct) - 1995