[Audionet] How would you describe the sound of Afe
Records? What would you tell about your music to people who haven't heard
any of your releases?
It would be almost impossible to describe the sound of Afe because Afe
doesn't focus on any particular sound or musical trend. All the music
released on Afe is made with extensive use of electronic instruments and
that's it... No matter if it sounds like Ambient, Techno, Industrial,
Synth Pop, Downtempo, etc.: if it's good and it's electronic there is
a strong chance that Afe is interested to release it.The aim of Afe is to break down the barriers existing
in electronic music and its efforts are addressed to all the fearless
/ open-minded listeners who will be able to get over the terrible shock
of seeing such extremely different productions standing side by side.
I know that this may sound pretentious or even
arrogant, but with its high quality releases Afe is taking CD-Rs into
another dimension: you won't find crap artworks and packages, lo-fi recordings
and so on. All Afe products are released with the best possible materials
and quality. A lot of care and passion is put into assembling each and
every disc. Even
thought most of the Afe releases are limited to a few hundreds of copies,
or even less, they can compete and often win over regular CD releases.
[Audionet] When did you start Afe and where did you find the name
for the label?
Everything started in 1995 when I released a few tapes of my music on
purpose of gifting some friends of mine with them. The label didn't have
a name at that time, then I had the chance to release music recorded by
some of my closest friends and I felt the need of giving the label a proper
name. I choose Afe (which stands for "Another Friendly Edition")
because I thought it was a good idea to clearly state what the label attitude
was.Even thought now I'm dealing with a lot of people
and lots of releases are regularly added to the Afe catalogue, I try to
keep everything on the same friendly level as it has always been.
[Audionet] What is the position of Afe in Italy? How popular
is this kind of music there?
[Andrea Marutti] Afe is getting more and more
recognition these days and was recently quoted as "the most important
CD-R label in Italy" on Blow Up, the best-selling italian alternative
music magazine. Maybe they were a bit too much enthusiasthic about my
work, but it's a pleasure to receive such positive feedback.It's a fact that these days my mail-box is regularly
crowded with demos and that many well-known artists have showed interest
in seeing their music released on Afe. Most of the Afe releases are also
getting good reviews on the web and in the press among regular CDs. This
is my biggest satisfaction because people is often confused and think
about CD-Rs as a low-budget un-professional thing. That is untrue with
Afe releases and maybe this will help to change the situation.I wouldn't say that the music released on Afe is
very popular in Italy among the public, it's more popular among the critics.
People is being feeded with a lot of propaganda and most of them don't
like to "search" for things, they just take what they are given...
I guess that too many people here have lost their curiosity and this is
too bad. I don't mean to say that it's bad for Afe, I mean to say it's
too bad for their lives.Anyway, Afe releases are getting distributed worldwide,
I would be glad if they were more popular here in Italy but that is not
[Audionet] What is Afe for you? Hobby or full time job?
[Andrea Marutti] Afe is an underground label.
The "biggest" Afe release was made in 333 copies only. It's
not a big business and I'm glad of such situation: I have a regular job
and Afe is just my passion, not a way of earning more and more money.
That is not the point.If I wanted to earn money with Afe I wouldn't release
the music made by unknown bands and musicians, but I would focus only
on more famous artists. I could do it, but I won't. Afe has its "best-sellers"
each now and then, and that is a good thing because they help to produce
all the other releases. When I choose an album for release I never think
about its selling potential. If I like it, I release it. That's all.I'm going to co-produce a few regular CDs with
another bigger italian label during 2003, Eibon Records, but essentially
I want to keep Afe as it is now: a small friendly label where I can take
care of every aspect of the production with the kind help of a few friends
and feel 100% satisfied of every single disc along with the artists who
made the music and the people who buy them.
[Audionet] How many releases have you done until now and which
ones are your favorites?
[Andrea Marutti] As
I told you before, the first Afe releases were tapes, there were 8 of
them in total during 1995-1997. The first Afe CD-R appeared in 1998 and
since then more than 50 full-length albums and 10 EPs were released including
two big box-sets and some 3 discs. I obviously enjoy all the music
that I release, but of course I have some favourites.I find that among the latest Afe releases Dronaements
Yr is really the best one. In my opinion his dronings are
pure magic. I feel very well whenever I listen to them. This is also the
very first Afe release that includes a multimedia section. There will
be more in the future.Frog Pockets
Caric Kils is another favourite of mine. He calls his music
splatterbeat-folk-tronica or something like that
the weirdest sound you will ever have the chance to listen. John C. Wilson,
the man behind Frog Pocket, is a very talented guy. I always thought that
he was going to be a star one day and it looks like that day is coming
very soon: his music is about to be released on Mu-ziqs label Planet
Mu and on Benbecula in the U.K.Going back to 2001 I have another couple of favourites,
they are True Colour Of Bloods
The Significance of Secrecy and Bad
Sectors Retrovirus. Eric Kesner of True Colour Of
Blood makes great ambient music using only guitars and effects instead
of the usual array of synthesizers and samplers. I will also have the
great pleasure to release his latest album sometimes during this year.
I guess that Bad Sector needs no introduction,
hes one of the most well-known and respected italian experimental
artists. I truly believe that his Retrovirus is a real masterpiece
that ranks among his best works. Its mixture of dark ambient and more
noisy patterns is simply perfect. Hes great.
Do you get many demos from young talented musicians? Do you like to listen
[Andrea Marutti] Yes, the number of demos I
receive is increasing day by day. I would say that most of them are very
good with a few exceptions. Anyway, it would really be impossible to release
all the good stuff that I receive
Of course I like to listen to
demos because theres always the chance to know interesting people
and music. It takes some time, but I usually write back a few lines to
all the people that send me their music for evaluation purposes.
[Audionet] You will release the first album of Slovakian band
mindMap. Why did you decide to release
their album? How do you like their music?
[Andrea Marutti] I received a 4 tracks demo
from mindMap about one year ago and I was quite impressed by their music.
That was the first time I promised someone a release on Afe even thought
I only had the chance to listen to a few tracks instead of the complete
work. You cant even imagine my surprise when I recently received
the definitive master for the album
most of their latest tracks
are even better than the ones I listened in the first time!They decided to contact me after speaking with
Stefan of Drone Records in Germany and I am so happy that they did. Their
album entitled Plochy is out in March 2003 and it surely
is one of my favourite releases ever. If there has to be an album that
synthesize all the different styles of electronic music released on Afe,
that is Plochy. It has ambient textures, it has songs, you
can dance to certain tracks and you can appreciate all the research that
went into crafting the sounds on others. Its a 360° journey
into the realm of the electronic sound and Ill try my best to promote
it.In a perfect world mindMaps
music would be released on a major label and would sell thousands copies
This is surely not a perfect world, but I truly hope that this release
on Afe will help mindMap to get a wider audience and showcase their big
talent. mindMap deserve attention from
the music industry, if their music would reach the right ears Im
sure that they could make a living out of it. Thats for sure.
Are you informed about the scene in Slovakia?
[Andrea Marutti] I would be a liar if I say
Im not in touch with anyone in Slovakia except mindMap.
There are a lot of good bands and musicians in every Country and I am
sure that Slovakia is no exception at all. Maybe some of them could have
a look at the Afe web site and download some mp3 files to see what this
is all about.