It was back in the springtime of 1988. I had finished my Gyrator tape “Missing Girl File Closed” and a few of them copies were sent across the country. You can have a listen here:
Remember: there was no internet available, everything was done by letters and packages, delivered by the postage system; maybe -well, just the talking- by telephone.
Ok, one day there was a letter in the box saying that a promotion company heard my tape and wanted to do a studio demo to sell it to a label. Hm, that didn’t sound bad. So, after a while there was a contract of four or five pages with lots of judicial odds and ends which I can’t remember of. And: For the whole service I had to bear part of the costs, 1000 DM, which would be paid back when the record sells. Anyway, this is a point where I had to take a break. But I didn’t. I signed the contract, I paid the 1000 DM, and in the summertime I arrived in a well-known studio in the north of Germany where I had to spend the next two or three days.
As most of the machinery was absolutely new to me, there were two studio engineers which I had to work with… and as they both preferred rock or hard rock music and they couldn’t cope with my idea of drum machines and noise guitars, things started off in a hardly way. I wanted a reverb on a final track – “this is not possible”, I wanted to add more effects here or there – “can’t do”, and the first day I struggled most of the time with the technicians, it was more frustrating and not very productive.
On the second day we recorded a new version of “Missing Girl File Closed” which came better, and worked out. Then, another visitor arrived to whom I had a good wire (he was also interested in the upcoming sampling technique and HipHop) and we produced an unpreprared HipHop-Like track with lots of scratches and starting samples directly from vinyl into the beat, and this part was most of the fun, and the track was not bad – when I’m listening to it today I must admit, it’s kinda silly and poor:
This is the other song – Actually I don’t like my voice on this track, and all sounds like tidy and clean which I never liked in the first place
After the recordings I returned to a friend; a few days later it was supposed to do the end mix, and I took this friend with me. I don’t know what has happened but they didn’t let me into the studio and talked about “oh there has been some appointment overlay, and we have to do the mix later”. Hm, ok, their reaction was some kind of strange, but a few days the mix was done, and I made copies of the songs to an audiotape because the original tape (on the band machine) were sent to the promotion company who told me that there maybe some label interest for the “Missing” track.
But then the weeks turned into months, and nothing more happened. I once called the promotion company, but they hadn’t any news for me, and they never called back after this. If I didn’t record my tracks to this audiotape, I would not have the recordings today.
Over all: Fuck ’em, I guess the whole thing was a scam, a make believe, they just wanted to rent some studio time for a small price because they couldn’t sell it otherwise. I must admit that the time in a professional studio was some kind of interesting, also kind of fun (especially the later days). But was it worth 1000 DM? I’m not sure… but I’m sure that I liked the experience over all, and never really regretted it…
I’m still owing the fourth part of “What the hell is going on in the local music business?”. Ok, here it is:
In March 2016 I visited another club here in Mannheim called “k***b**” for a reading. It was a cozy-cold place with some punk appeal and a room in the souterrain with the possibility for a band to play. After everybody has gone I asked one of the remaining persons who I have to contact to make a concert here. The one who said he was the owner of the club, I told him that I sent an email before but there was no answer. So I played him a part of my “Dublicist”-tracks, and he said “It just doesn’t swing enough.” Wtf? Dub-Reggae isn’t “swinging”, never. Anyway he told me I should send another mail with a link to my music and that’s what I did after, but I decided not to promote Dublicist any longer in this case, but Pegmayer. I asked via facebook if the mail has arrived, and the answer was yes. Then I got the answer, my concert could take place at May 18th, and if I would have enough stuff to outlast three(!) hours. I wrote back that three hours Pegmayer might be a bit of exhausting and/or boring, so I offered him two more projects: Splicix and Electric Boogers (both need more volume than Pegmayer, so Pegmayer would be the chill out.. this might be a necessary point here because in Jungbusch quarter it’s forbidden to play loud music after 23.00). Guess what?
I got no answer anymore – even I asked again. Instead a few days later on their facebook page a performance schedule appeared, and who was scheduled on May 18th? Apparently not Pegmayer, just another DJ or electronic act or something. So I asked again via facebook and someone answered that the date was already reserved… but why I didn’t get this information just straight? So I suggested another date at July 13th, from which I thought the running was long enough (2 months!) not to conflict with other reserved dates. No answer, once again. After a few days I rated this place with one star at facebook with an objective justification.
It lasted just a few minutes that I got an answer! But what: I was just insulted in a way that might be called “anti-social” – not one line of straightness or fair-mindedness, just stupid hate text. After a while I decided to take down my rating and immediately: no answer again. So I tried again to “talk” with this “facebook friend”, but it was useless – there were no appropiate answer, and I put on again my 1-star-rating. There are still some answers to my rating where anybody can get an idea how communication works in those realms.
Anyway, I have given up my plans to play any concerts here, and I will not attend concerts nor go to clubs anymore spending money on them. It’s not worth it. I won’t support these kinds of ridiculous behaviours anymore.
It can work in another way: I also mailed some clubs in the USA, and I got normal answers in spite of those were refusals. So, what’s wrong with the people here in Germany?
Actually this should have been Part 1 because it happened earlier..
Anyway, if you decide to get your disharmonic music project on stage, you will take a long journey of stupidity or ignorance, if you don’t have direct connections to some venue/club owner or something.
In the summer 2015 I started to mail some venues here in Mannheim who seem to be interested in unusual or experimental music (because their websites say so), but none of these venues ever answered. I made a phone call to ask about it, but got really fast bawled just for the question how it works at their venue, and why they never answers to mails, the person immediately hang up. This was strange, and I thought I would never like to play at a place where you are treated like a subhuman being without reason.
So I lost interest very fast in setting up a live project of my own. But in December 2015 I visited a club called “Mxxxxx” in the industrial zone of Mannheim by coincidence, which fastly caught my interest, because it was kind of punk-dirty and scruffy, unusual and seemed to be open minded. After a while I started to talk to the female bar keeper with a “alternative tentacles”-t-shirt (the label by Jello Biafra aka Dead Kennedies) who turned out to be a student from Chile living mostly in Berlin (how she got to do barkeeping in Mannheim? I don’t know). We found out that we have some in common about interest in music (explicite the No New York scene from 1980ff) and she told me about that she’s running a band. Actually the band is she alone, and her project is “Bang Bang Band Girl” – and she is still active. Look here:
She plays two instruments the same time: drums and guitar, and sings; ok, actually the drum is just bass drum and closing hi-hat, but nevertheless. Here we have an official video:
Kind of noisy, but.. not really my cup of tea, because there is too much “rock’n’roll” in it. Ok, this December evening she announced that she will do a set later on the stage in this club mentioned above. I asked her about if I could do my stuff here too, not today, but in January or so. She said, I should talk to the manager, and he was just around in time. He seemed to be a young man of 25 years or so, tall and with a big smile, and he said, yes, I could do my stuff there, I should just send an email (everybody knows what to expect if this sentence comes, but it was kind of unsuspicious at that time) with link and so on. And there was another interesting, intelligent guy who performed one of the craziest acts I’ve ever seen. Try this electro punk:
Unfortunately I could not find any other live performance than these 35 seconds here (starts at 11:59):
Believe me, this is really entertaining as a live act because he was really flippin out – and it’s the opposite to how he behaves in real life.
Overall it was an interesting evening, and most other people left one after another until I was one of the last guests (and had much beer), so we went to the backstage room and talked about music and stuff until 8 o’clock in the morning. Then I left.
A few days later I set up my email with lengthy details about my music and how I do it, and I would prefer my project Dublicist to feel the basses and effects at a high level at a club.
Ok, you can guess what happened next: Nothing. No reply, no answer, nothing at all. I started a test with a simple question by another fake user – oddly enough he could answer this question, but four weeks later. I contacted Sheri (BBBG, see above) via Facebook but she didn’t want to give me his phone number. As I had problems with my internet access, I started a new attempt in January 2016, but there was no reply also; I also tried to meet him at the club, but the club was closed all the time, and I didn’t have time at the weekends. I did an investigation to find out what’s his address was, and I was successful. So I rang him out one Friday afternoon and we had a long talk about music, clubs and similar stuff. He told me that he was in holiday over the last four weeks or so, and had no access to his mails. Ok, I didn’t have any doubt not to believe him, so we made an appointment for a Wednesday in February when I should do my stuff on stage. I went home and set up my stuff the next days to do the music and also some light effects on my other note book. Then I sent an email to confirm, and how to manage the advertisement and so on. Guess what? Nothing happened. I waited for a few days, then suddenly on the venue’s facebook account appeared an anouncement on “my” day that a swedish or what punk band will play there. I was not amused. If he didn’t wanted me to play there, then please tell it in the first place, do not kid me for weeks, and always with a smile.
As it was not possible to contact him or the one who managed the venue’s facebook account (it turned out that another guy does all the management, and they seemed not to talk to each other in adequate time intervals). Surely I tried to find out what happened there and why it’s so difficult to organize things correctly, but I never got an satisfying answer.
Anyway, a few days later an Italian Reggae band was supposed to play there, and I could make a new appointment via facebook that I would play this evening as a support act, and I thought everything would go fine now. But then, the first concert was cancelled at the club (also announced at facebook, and after a short investigation it turned out that the renter changed the locks – so there might be a big financial problem in spite of the owner told me before the club’s financial situation is solid) and it looked like the Italian Reggae band concert was also cancelled, so I talked to the manager of the band, also via facebook.. and he also got no information (remember, this is a six member band and they have to plan the tour and don’t have the flexibility to cope with such organisational disorder). But then the venue changed to another location, but nobody told me anything. I phoned the manager of the new location in Jungbusch-quarter to clear up things. Actually he couldn’t give me any more information, but told me some inside information about the overall situation; with his help I found out the phone number of the concert manager and rang him up to get information what’s happening. But I never got the chance to say anything, he just insulted me that I don’t have to call other the club owner, it’s totally his thing, and other stuff, told me he didn’t want to see my ass at the venue, then hang up.
WTF??! I talk to anyone I want, and I don’t need anybody’s permission to this! But anyway, I cancelled my appointment and told friends and colleagues that my concert was cancelled – shame again. But later I got the message from the guy above that I could my support act there anyway -“he talked with the band” – what the hell has the Italian Reggae band to with it? Nothing. But I said if it’s cancelled it’s cancelled.
Anyway, two days later I and a friend/ex-colleague went to this place to see this concert and also check this venue. The owner was as old as me, and we had a talk about making up another concert – but he said that -because I’m a laptop artist- this would only go as a support act, and he will call me if there is something suitable. As you can guess, he never called me up, also never answered to e-mails that I would like to hire his venue for an evening, and spoken up personally he didn’t want it at all, and he gave a lot of lame excuses, as he tried as roll as many stones as possible in my way.
At the concert I talked to a lot of people, and the “concert manager” guy seemed to be more friendly as before, but in the end it ended in nowhereland. The “Mxxxxx” club was closed forever, and the new renter had set up his venue in time.
This all seemed to be that it’s just a matter of invidious concatenation of circumstances – but: it could had happen better if there had been wise communications, but there wasn’t.
After that I concentrated on what I have written in Part 2.
Here is another example how music business works sometimes, now at a local venue. This is a long one, and maybe boring here or there.
After my first failed attempt (this will be Part 3 or so), in February 2016 I went to a concert at “zeitraumexit” in Mannheim (a venue which mainly provides dancing, theatre and similar performances, not primarily music), to check this venue and also like to know what they consider “experimental music” today, after I sent an inquiry mail which was not answered.
The venue is at a backyard of a former factory and looks overall very clean and kind of expensive inside (not what I would prefer in the first place). I was welcomed very friendly by the head of registered association “kxxxxfxxxx eV” and other people which stood in front of the building and were talking to each other. Actually I’m biased if unknown persons talk to me in a very friendly, engaging way, sooner or later it turns out that they want something -not money in the first place, but something like reckoning their cult and give unrestricted approval. Hm, I never do that. And I guess they checked this out fastly. The concert began, there were about 40 people (mostly older ones, let’s say in the 40-60ies, but also some younger ones), the concert room looks a bit like a small cinema with three or four seating rows staircase-like getting higher to the frontwall, and the main space is taken by what I would call the stage, there is no dancefloor or similar.
Ottosonic Motör played three pieces (or were it two? I don’t know, the tracks lasted 10 or 20 minutes and weren’t very distinctionable from each other). Here is a youtube-excerpt from the concert:
I don’t know why the excerpt doesn’t start at the beginning of a music piece, but you can guess how it started when you look at the end. And all tracks almost sounded the same. What was fun for the first two minutes, quickly faded into a stressed out feeling – because they even not tried to get interesting structures or atmospheres, main thing seemed to be looking somehow important and being arty. Here is a link at local press where someone tries to describe the sound (I’ve had have a good laugh) : http://www.morgenweb.de/nachrichten/kultur/regionale-kultur/symbiose-aus-akustik-und-elektro-1.2660091
I hung on until the end (40 minutes or so) and then went to drink one, two or more beer. I tried to talk about what exactly is interesting or experimental in this music, but nobody really wanted to talk about music – they just said how good it was, and then .. end, nothing more. I thought about seeing an ear specialist, but then skipped this part, so I went on to my next issue, getting my stuff there in concert. Finally I talked with the head (as mentioned before), but he didn’t show interest in me or my music anymore, and talked around other stuff (their next art projects or something), and then suggested to send a mail to his “deputy”. Ok, I talked around a bit with the bar keeper, and then attended the rest of the second band (forgot the name), but they also were about fumbling around at knobs of analog equipment, using lots of effects, and were kind of boring (what some people in the audience receipted with “facepalm”-gestures). Additionally meanwhile the air inside has gone very bad and the place smelt like a boys’ locker room. After that I left this place and went home.
As suggested I set up an email with links and information, etc. No problem. I decided to go with my newest project at that time (Hardfrost) and wrote this about it (cleared from some polite phrases):
The project (Hardfrost) is not exceedingly experimental, and has in mind even build atmosphere of cold, cool psychedelics in tech house, with effects and sudden coming in short radio broadcasts speeches.[..]
What I need? A desk for my notebook and monitor, power supply, yes and the built in p.a.
The answer was short (there were no polite phrases to be cleared):
We never do dance or club events. Maybe ask [.. somebody else ..]
As I never considered “Hardfrost” as a simple club or dance act, it just uses tech beats to keep the structure going, I asked again what he meant:
I don't understand the first part of your answer. What supposed dance/club event do you mean?
And then his arrogance broke through clearly:
we don't play inside of the electrosmog event no electronic club/techno/deep or similar motivation and dance music. really ALL other event organiser in the area electronic music do that in Mannheim.
we don't. sorry for it.. and yes: I have had a listen to it
So, I was really angered by this arrogant speech by someone who doesn’t have so much clue about music, and thinks of himself and his fellas, as they are ahead of other people and have the total perspective. I was also irritated by the term “motivation music” – there is no such term in public. The most correlation is next to music as used for aerobics etc. I knew he justed wanted insult me, and sorry, I am the last one who wants to be treated like that anymore, just because they have rulership over the event venue.
So I set up a long mail where I point out different reasoning and arguments (I left some parts out because they are irrelevant):
ok, this sounds different. I could also do "4'33" by John Cage, but that would be kind of predictable.
What do you want to say with "motivational music"? Sounds like "Not qualified". If you don't like that, it's one thing, if it doesn't fit formal criteria, I would like to know what criteria are this; there is no explicite description on your website, or can not be found.
I would like to quote from your website:
[left out here, it said something about they are no concert promoter, they just want to promote experimental music and sound art, and a lot of beating around the bush, for which at last they could get money from Mannheim's cultural department. The last sentence was:]
"It's not about the money, it's about the art!!"
I never demanded money or similar, and that's not my point. I don't insist on promotion that has to do with money. That's not cultural promotion, that's commercialization.
[I also went for the single points from the above mentioned web site; left out, because both makes no real sense]
I have to ask myself: Did I get this really right? Does this do the matter with music? Or something completely different only understandable if you know the codes? And what codes could that be?
[also left out, because I referred to the concert from Chapter One and tried to give an explanation what this music means, and what seems to be wrong about it]
What do you want to say with "once again"? That you consider myself as a stupid "techno idiot", for whom every single written line is a waste of time? If so, then tell me why.
So you listened to it? But did you capture that? I don't feel this. Und 20 seconds is enough to make a final judgement? And "motivation music" is an impertinence. This is no thing that was made with MusicMaker, there were years of preparation.
[..] I have the impression that I have to deal with mentally lazy humans who made themselves comfortable in their corner.[..] Expertise is surely a wonderful thing, but if it leads to snootiness it's time to ignore them.
You might think there is someone who has too much time on his hands: Right[..]. Anyway I think you won't read this mail nor you want to take up any discussion. So what?
Surely I should have ignored them in the first place, but it’s real fun to write such mails. I didn’t expect answers any more, but…
look for another one.
besides it's a dubious honor to play at us.
if there are more mails with similar content they will be declared as spam.
The last mail by me:
I didn't expect any other answer. Dialogue not possible.
So much for “dialogue of the arts”.
What I wanted to prove is, that there are lot of people behaving vain and arrogant. People who don’t want to be questioned in their roles or benefices which they got if they are “in the network” – even if they say they are humanitarian or working in charitable organisations. And that “not-for-profit”-thing is one where I investigated more. As those things must be made public by the Mannheim city administration, I found out that “zeitraumexit” gets about 100k € for cultural things per year (might change from year to year); what I couldn’t find out how much was left for “kxxxxfxxxx eV”. Maybe nothing (they talk this way), but they profit indirect by using their equipment and venue. Think a little wider: The city gets money by taking taxes, and who’s paying taxes? Me too, and that’s what you get for!
Anyway what I also found at youtube:
So there are no dance/club events there? Please adjust your reality button. I guess they will say “Oh this is not about music, it’s a dance performance!”. Thank you for dried fruit.
You thought this was the end? No, let’s go to the next chapter….
A few weeks later I went again to this location because a discussion about art was announced there. There were a couple of interesting things on the table, but at the end the discussion ended in nowhere-land… But on this opportunity I talked again to the head and told him about the unsatisfying email conversation. In fact, he didn’t seem to be interesting in what was in the mail and started a long run of apologetics why it can’t happen here. I forgot the discrete details, but mostly turned out in “too much work”, “obligation to the audience”, “drum machines not allowed” (what!? fuck that!!) etc.
Another few weeks later another non-profit association made an exhibition at this place, called “B-Seite” (or a part of a event chain over one week in March 2016). Actually it was not that bad or boring that I expected: They had some computer sound / picture installations there. And then again I talked to the head of this association by coincidence. I told him about my unsatisfying adventure, and he said I should do another attempt, direct at zeitraumexit. So I did: I just resent my e-mail for the third time with the addition whether these mails are read or not. And the answer was sent within a few hours:
your mail has arrived. we answer the messages, inquiries that reach us. Indeed we ask for some patience.
Really? Why I didn’t I get such a message not for the first two times?
Anyway, the “real” answer came in within two hours (!!):
I have listened to your youtube recording and transferred your mail to [.. (the head of kxxxxfxxxx)]. We work closely together referring to musical contribution in zeitraumexit. Therefore it's his decision whether the work fits the direction [..] or not.
Ok, now I knew why it’s called zeitraumexit: once in, you’ll never get out of the loop; so here we go again… he answered:
we had worked on this topic enough, and had clarified it in detail. So I assume, this topic is completed.
This is how it goes. I didn’t think this topic was enclosed now because I never got satisfying answers to my questions. I don’t know – were they just trying to to test me? So I tried again:
this inquiry is now six weeks old, and I didn't know nothing about the internal management structures.
I consider it kind of strange that nobody listens to this music but can take a priori statements that this stuff is unqualified. I thought that a association assigned to "experimental music" would be more cosmopolitan.
Then the fun started, and he got kind of personal…
really everybody here clicked the link and listened. It's not about degradation your music. I have tried to explain to you where the problems about creation of location and audience structure are. There is no question that experimental music is a wide field. We can't cover the complete scope in the moment, and I would like that you accept this instead of labelling us as assholes who don't listen to nothing and don't bother about left or right. We have besides our personal preferences of experimental music obligations to the house and the audience. This means that we partly don't play our own music either because it doesn't fit. Arbitrariness doesn't work out, and it's openmindedness too that you learn to accept what others do and why they do it this way.
Wow, this was a great text. Anyway it’s mostly nonsense, and it’s the same speech whenever somebody wants to hold somebody else down: First tell some vague requirements by an anonymous authority (here: the audience and unknown “obligations”), and if it doesn’t work, just throw in some lack of knowledge and personality of your opponent. I know all these tricks.. and I went another way in the discussion – and it’s getting quite longer every time:
I don't care about degradation, no matter from what side. And if nobody can deal with my music it doesn't matter to me. I don't feel any obligation towards an audience because I want to keep my freedom to do what I want to do. I also don't want to do a performance at zre, it's done for me.
It's obvious that you can't deal with all or a lot of musical experiments over the year with a handful events, but nobody asked for that.
What I can't do is to cover up the claiming of this in the articles of association on the one hand, on the other talk about "creation of location and audience structure" - that's the point where the term "experimental" fluctuates: "experiment" means also that the audience might not get what they expected or are angered by this. I know by myself that the whole thing costs time and work plus energy, rent etc. But if someone doesn't do this for himself by intrinsic impulse, then I think it's mostly a commercial affair where there is no place for things that moves outside the once developed range.
But then, the communication should also go this way, and the whole thing isn't "experimental" any more.
The "openmindedness"-point makes no sense as it applies to you too. If I don't accept something and verbalize it it's up to you to accept and/or to learn why I do it. But after a few rounds we are deadlocked in communication. This argument is just "sink or swim" - and nobody uses it if the discussion is on same eye height.
P.S.: It could have been completely different, if somebody had said "It's your thing, do what you want to do. But it can't be part of our series. We provide location, PA etc and tell you what to do to get the project done. At the end we'll do a payoff, and you'll have to pay the deficit from your own wallet." But I couldn't see any trace of an attitude of cooperation.
This was not the end.. we are far from it now:
sorry, you don't understand us and the whole situation at all. It is what it is. We underlie practical constraints and realities and can't cope with everybody. Please try to build up something similar and you'll understand what I'm talking about. This begins with the articles of association -where you are referring to with affectation-, which certain wording in long lasting discussions to get the association accepted by fiscal authorities. These are empty shells, there are a lot of differences between reality and requirements. And they are everywhere at the political communal authorities, culture boards and culture department. It's very complicated, therefore I don't have time to clarify this in detail but I think our position is clear. We understand you, but can't do anything regarding your concern. Do it like we do - there is a lack, go and remove it by doing it by yourself [..]
Do you now understand what exactly the problem is? I don’t. It’s a lot of beating around a lot of topics, and if it’s like he said, why is it possible to do any kind of cultural event in the non-profit area? That would remain his secret forever… but it sounds to me like a lot of flimsy excuses. Eloquent people talk this way if they want or don’t want something. Anyway I didn’t give up to keep the discussion going:
however, I understand this better than you think. "Non-profit associations" nowadays in Germany are not "non-profit" - this is just for the fiscal authorities. The word has lost its meaning, and you wrote it by yourself. And I decline such associations. You can't be serious by saying "open up your own association or club".
Anyway, it doesn't matter to me anymore. I draw the consequences and avoid such cultural non-profit associations, cause I know now what to think about it. The thing is that I always fall for the "good intentions", but one day if preconceptions get confirmed every time, they will be fact.
His short answer was:
You like to twist the facts, don't you?
maybe they were twisted before. I experienced this game now for the third time, and every time it was a "non profit association"
The next day I thought he shouldn’t get away so easily. So I made a new mail:
[..actually I gave a résumé what had happened and where I saw the mismatch regarding their claim; so there is new argument or reason in it. But this part was in it, too:] There is no critical debate about anything, everybody just gives everybody a pat on the back to feel comfortable in their "safe-space" or "tribe" what goes together with a "nose in the air"-attitude which I find detestable.[..]
I didn’t expect any answer.. and there was none.
At the same time I decided to talk to someone working at the culture department at Mannheim, but it was very unsatisfying:
for a few weeks now I'm dealing with musical culture in Mannheim, in particular infrastructure regarding "underground" music.
As my insights show there are locations linked to non-profit associations which provide these locations. In their statutes something like this is readable: "[..] the purpose is promotion of experimental, electronic music of the complete scope of creation etc[..]".
If such a passage is in the statutes what exactly do I have to expect? Not as part of the audience, but as producer of experimental music? Is it admissable to decline experimental music with pretended restrictions which are not declared in these statutes or associated website?
I got an answer three weeks later (not from the addressed recipient but..)
[..] please call me to speak about your questions. I'm not sure that I understood all correctly[..]
Hm, really? My question was so complicated? I never thought about that, so I tried again.
my question is to which extent non-proft associations (cultural) -provided with tax money or tax privileges- are obligated to the public (means: there are always only partial interests possible)? And what obligations are this exactly?
In find it irritating that such an association -though pretending [..complete scope..]- has notions about restrictions about experimental music but don't tell how they look like.
And here is the answer:
[..] if you have special issues regarding the functions and events of these associations, please ask there. It's not possible to do a general statement, it can be very different from case to case.[..] If you like a declaration, it's up to the statutes of the respective association.
..oops, I’m in the loop again…there is no way out. Ok, let’s go the hard way now in the last chapter…
I learned from the above that the “Chapter Four”-Man had told lies about his restrictions, nothing about is true, and that’s why he pussyfooted around. He just didn’t like my nose, that’s all.
So I decided to do a bluff a while for my amusement – I didn’t have the nerve to fool around with such people regarding my projects or something…
I have thought a while about this, and I would like the arguments -which were "worked on detail enough"- in written form (=email) subsequently.
P.S. if there are none by the next two weeks I will go to the tax office and ask how "non profit" works within your non-profit association.
Haha, this was a hard push. I never thought about it seriously, but just telling this had an effect…
spare this way. Non-profit associations underlie yearly examinations [..] which we satisfy more than enough. Be also aware of the difference of "unselfishness" and "benefit to the public". No association of the latter is unselfish because it has benefit to its members[..] We are wondering why you want to discredit us and our work. Either I do a summary of what you couldn't memorize, or you will do a little defamation? That looks like blackmail. For the case if you like more discredit or defamation: please confirm your address so that we know where to send documents from our lawyer or the court in case of action for slander [..]
Ok, here we go. He answers with a businesslike bluff against, but I knew that he had nothing real in his hands so far – and I made this clear that I knew there is nothing…
I can't identify the notion on my side to do "defamation". I just said that I might "ask". If all is correct nobody has a disadvantage of it.[..]
Is there anybody who benefits from this association who is not member and is not in the audience? And also is not in associations in other cities who alternately benefits from it?
If there is one thing I would like to discredit, it's this odd autocratic self-image.
So please send me your summary, I begged for this several times.
If you threaten me with action for slander, please tell me what exactly is these slander? We have had just a couple of mails, and this will never go as a defamation.[..]
And that’s the point where he finally lost his serenity and replied in typical manner if there is not so much left:
sweetheart, nobody threatens. you are blackmailing. that's the fact.
do what you think is wise. who wants to piss on us because of aggrieved vanity, have to live with the fact that we can piss further. our dick extender and force enhancer has the name lawyer. that's normal.[..] and we don't have the inexhaustible time contingent that allows you to shit out bull shit all day. we have to concentrate on other things and let others get busy with imposed shit on ourselves.
now run to mummy, she'll take heart.
This is the style such grown ups communicate if they have no arguments. But I had to have the last word -ever-:
I don't do blackmail, and what I do or don't do, is my thing. by the way, the style of your mail lies extremely under the level grown ups should communicate. [..] and I guess this mail would not be explained to your favour. What you show here is something of autocratic behaviour. "if you want to test a man's character, give him power." - Abraham Lincoln
What do you think about this quotation? Nice, or not? Anyway, maybe I am a really annoying person sometimes, but that is my destiny. And some people deserve that somebody annoys them..
Two months later, on the first of July 2016, the association dissolved…
As I stated some months ago, there is a lot of con game going on inside the music business – and I even just scratched the surface.
Here is another example how they treat artists nowadays: The Iceland Airwaves Festival. Started off in 1999… but you can read the history for yourself: Wikipedia
Since the Airwaves might be a good point to start a musical career as more than 50% (2006) of the audience is working in the music business, an investment to this might be a good investment in your musical career… I never thought about this.
Anyway, in 2015 I checked out the website and found out that for applying as an artist they take an amount of money in advance (15$) and promised that the artist -if approved- will get free travel from the airport and similar conveniences. This first looks like a scam, because.. ok, you paid, not getting approved, end. A lot of money for little work. So I wrote an email to responsibles, and it went like this:
I would like to participate as an artist on Iceland Airwaves.
But I don't understand your web page.
You mean I have to pay 15$ just to be considered as an artist to play there?
wtf? Times have really changed, man!!
I didn’t expect any answer, but to my surprise somebody did:
We have been charging 15dollars the last 8 years for International bands to apply to play the festival so times have not changed that much the last 8 years.
There are over 1500 Bands/artists that apply every year to play the festival and we can fit around 220 bands on the schedule each year so It is clear that we can not fit all the bands that apply on the bill.
Hope this answers your question.
Haha, actually my “question” was some kind of rhetorical and his statement that they’d been charging money for the last 8 years(!), so there is no change, is kind of… ridiculous or naive. This means, their scam went on for 8 years now. And computing: 1,500 artists * 15$ = 22,500$ in advance – for nothing. Not bad. Ok, 220 acts can fit, so almost 100$ per act is spent for “transportation etc.” like stated before – and it has been paid in advance by artists (!) who are not on the “bill”.
And that’s the point I stated in my reply:
I can understand that if you have more bands than places you can house that bands
and say "well send 15$ dollars, we'll check out if you're compatible to our program" - that's your business plan.
cdbaby works that way too. Unfortunately there's much more music around the world than the world can bear,
so why not make a business model from it?
This was meant as a provocation in the first place, and he went for it:
Believe me this has nothing to do with money!
Haha, if ever someone says “Believe me” the opposite is true. So far, so good, I didn’t reply to this demonstration of foolery.
But in spring 2016 I remembered the Airwaves Festival and made an appliance there (with the alias Hardfrost) – I also paid the 20$ (phew, 5$ more than 2015, so times, they are a-changing!) in advance. For months I heard nothing about them, but end of July the appliance phase ended, and a few days later they sent me this text:
We thank you for your interest in Iceland Airwaves 2016, however after reviewing your submission, we are sorry to inform you that we weren’t able to find you a place on our bill.
Applications for playing Iceland Airwaves 2017 will be accepted as of early next year, and the details of the process will be announced on www.icelandairwaves.is in due course.
That’s all. No more specified substantation, no personal text.
I thought I get my money back and I sent this:
there is no refund?
and I just got this back:
There is no refund.
As you might think, I won’t let this matter rest and replied this:
you mean, I paid you 20$ just for the message "we weren’t able to find you a place on our bill"?
Since there was no answer, I tried again…
for 20$ I'm expecting a little more than "not on bill", something like
what reason _exactly_ is relevant.
I must say it’s a bit adorable that someone is still answering, but the answer is the opposite of adorable:
We reviewed all of the information you included in the application. After doing that, we decided not to offer you a slot on our bill.
Ok, this answer was weak again, and nothing new. Is it just hard to give a correct answer (sth like “aww, nobody wants to hear your music, it’s to simpel, to repetitive or badly produced” – I don’t know), and not beating around the bush all day? Apparently not.
Yes i know that because you told me this before. But you didnt answer the question what exactly the reason is.
As I got no answer I started a dispute on PayPal with this text:
indeed you didn't answer, you did not even try to give a distinct answer, so here is the question again:
for 20$ I'm expecting a little more than "not on bill", something like
what reason _exactly_ is relevant.
Now they have to react…actually it seems they don’t care at all. I give them another few days, then I ‘ll start the complaint at PayPal.
Don’t get this wrong: It’s not about getting the money back, it’s not about getting music to the festival, it’s just to make a fuss about their cheap trickery – I guess they screwed a lot of people this way.
Meanwhile it’s one week since I started the complaint at PayPal, still no reaction – now I’m kickin PayPal in:
payments to Iceland Airwaves announces that - if you are accepted as an artist - numerous goodies are delivered: (see their website at "artists" -I dont want to link them here)
But there is no announcement what happens if the artist is declined. I would assume that the deposit would be paid back, but the seller refuses. They also don't give a precise reason for declining. Looks to me like a rip off that is only just legal.
…the same evening I got this mail:
so sorry about your merch order not arriving!! must have gotten lost in the mail :(
I will send again now and make sure it gets to you.
Or do you want a refund?
All the best - and so sorry
Ähm, excuse me. What are you talking about? Time to make things clear:
thank you for your mail.
It's not a merch order - it's about a declined artist application.
I find it a bit lame to get nothing more than "We have no place for you on our bill"
and _no_ substantiated reason, for 20$.
It took a few days, then I got another message:
ok I see
I´m looping in our production manager who can elaborate better about the applications terms.
ok… back to where were before.. the same bureaucracy loop everywhere…
Three days before PayPal deadline I got this message:
can you please send us the Artist name for the artist you represent. We will send you more detailed explanation why your application was declined.
Your application was processed so we are not doing a refund so please drop your claim at pay-pal please.
ok, here it is:
the name was "Hardfrost".
By applying I never saw any special terms and conditions for what happens if the application is declined
And that’s the question. I never gave my yes-check to any terms and conditions because there were none. I just got a blank email saying they’ll get in touch in time (after the deadline), so going for eu rights I’m absolutely de jure with charging the money back. But let’s see how it’ll will continue…
Update: PayPal fixed a time limit – and they let it elapse without any further action. So PayPal decided on my point of view and paid the money back. Maybe IA will also get trouble with their account. I don’t think that there will happen more about this case.
Conclusion: If you ever want to get into some kind of music business, and someone wants money in advance: Don’t give them one cent. Or try to fool them by yourself.