issue #2 : 12k

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.

I'd 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.

Which 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.

To 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.

I 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.

Do you wish to keep your music within a certain circle of specialized connoisseurs ?

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.

Today, 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.

What 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.

Did 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.

How 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.. or design.

Most 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 be flattered.
You 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.

What is according to you the most beautiful record/art-object you ever issued ?
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.

Often 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" artists.
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.

Could 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.

Anything 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 from.

How 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...

You have started a division - devoted to ultra minimal sounds - in association with Richard Chartier ? Could you tell us more about Line, and Richard Chartier ?

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.. 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 12k cds.

Why 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...

You 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.

Is 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.

Any 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.

What 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.

Upcoming releases :
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.

taylor deupree/12k/line
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) - 1993
human mesh dance "mindflower" cd (instinct) - 1994
human mesh dance "thesecretnumbertwelve" cd (12k) - 1997
prototype 909 "acid technology" cd / 12" ep (instinct) - 1993
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) - 1996
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) - 1996
taylor overtone deupree on 'loops 2' EP (serotonin) - 1997
taylor deupree (untitled) 12" EP (DUM) - 1997
taylor deupree (untitlted) EP ( - 2000
eox "acid new york / reproduction" (tension records/hollis house) - 1995
human mesh dance "the glow of red hydrogen" on ambient vinyl
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 appearances:
*arc "tex" on 'exit to new york' (kk/radical ambient) - 1996
*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 edition'
(instinct) - 1999
*taylor deupree "maikon" on 'digital reflex' (instinct) - 1998
*taylor deupree "dopticn" on 'lowercase' (bremsstrahlung) - 2000
*taylor deupree "place" on 'machinelle strategien'
(ritornell/mille plateaux) - 2000
*taylor deupree "a100study00.01.31" on '(untitled, 12k1008) (12k) - 2000

taylor deupree "(clir)" on 'clicks and cuts 2' (mille plateaux) - 2001

taylor deupree "bare(bare)" on 'between two points' (12k/LINE) - 2001
*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) - 2000
drum komputer "january summer" on ''ambient systems limited
edition' (instinct) - 1999
drum komputer "moss" on 'digital reflex' (instinct) - 1998
drum komputer "e.p.l." remixed by terre thaemlitz on 'ambient
intermix' cd (instinct ) - 1995
drum komputer "nano" on 'ambient systems II' cd (instinct) - 1996
drum komputer "e.p.l." on 'ambient systems 3' cd (instinct) - 1997
eox "possession of data" on 'analog heaven' (instinct) - 1994
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) - 1995
escape tank "room 9" on 'ambient systems II' (instinct) - 1996
futique "lionel shuffle" on ''the orbit lounge' (shadow) - 2000
futique "the farther we go" on 'after hours vol. 6' (instinct) - 2000
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) 1998
futique "from the soundtrack to 'breakfast with a gun'" on
'pure abstrakt 2' (shadow) - 1998
futique "low dawn" on 'ambient systems II' (instinct) - 1996
futique "free radicals" on 'earthrise.shadow.three' (shadow) - 1996
futique "rawhide" on 'trip hop and jazz volume three' (instinct) - 1997
tiny objects in space "propellor" on 'analog heaven' (instinct) - 1994
*human mesh dance "finale no. 115" on 'digital reflex' (instinct) - 1998
*human mesh dance "dive" on 'plug in & turn on' (instinct) - 1993
*human mesh dance "freefall" on 'ambient systems II' (instinct) - 1996
*human mesh dance "sunflower (sunbox remix)" on 'plug in &
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 in &
turn on x2' (instinct) - 1994
human mesh dance "wet moon" on 'chillout phase 2' (instinct) - 1994
human mesh dance "giant clouds" on InSider Magazine promo cd - 1994
*human mesh dance "winter orbit" on 'ambient systems' (instinct) -1995
*human mesh dance "sunken garden" on '2AD' (waveform) - 1995
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) - 1997
*human mesh dance "tracing" on 'cloudwatch' (sonic soul) - 1997
prototype 909 "the kids don't care" on 're-inventing culture'
(caipirinha) - 1998
prototype 909 "karma" on 'analog heaven' (instinct) - 1994
prototype 909 "love sky" on 'transfusion 2' (instinct) - 1994
*prototype 909 "transit" on 'plug in & turn on' (instinct) - 1993
*prototype 909 "planet s" on 'plug in & turn on x2' (instinct) -1994
prototype 909 "understand" on 'chillout phase 2' (instinct) - 1994
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 2'
(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) - 1994
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) - 1996
*seti "aerino" on 'ambient systems 3" cd (instinct) - 1997
unit park "drum park" on 'machinery: compilation" cd (plastic
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 albums.
kim cascone "bubblewarp" remixed by taylor deupree
on 'blueCubism' (digital narcis) - 2000
tollmanhildenbeutal "mimi's french dog" remixed by taylor deupree
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