- Q & A with Ben Hudgins from Zero Sum Recordings
Please give us a brief bio of the label. How did it start, til today….
I have been self-releasing music for over 20 years, but was inspired to start distributing other artists’ music after encountering many liked-minded people through social media. While I craft all kinds of sounds, I wanted to specifically focus on drone, drift, and ambient. I don’t know if I’d call us a “chill out” label, but there’s certainly an element of that in our releases. That said, I’m also a fan of darker music, so some of our material does wander into the noise/dark ambient realm.
Which labels inspired you most to make your own?
I haven’t really drawn much “inspiration” from other labels, as these days the “label” concept means less and less, given everyone’s ability to distribute music on their own. However, I would give a nod to White Paddy Mountain, Lurker Bias, and Altar Of Waste, as I deeply admire their aesthetics and constant quality.
Which is the motto for Zero Sum Recordings?
Low on the noise, high on the haze.
Which are the advantages and disadvantages of running a music label today?
The advantage is that it is easier to get the word on now because of the internet. 20 years ago, it was an incredible challenge to successfully publicize your material. Now with Facebook and other social media, you can connect with so many more fans. The disadvantage, amusingly enough, is the exact same thing. Because the internet is open to everyone, there’s a glut of material out there and your message and product can easily get lost in the shuffle.
Which are your future plans for the label?
Continue to release material that I enjoy from artists that I feel share a similar “sound vision”. This is a not-for-profit effort, so there’s not a lot of pressure for quick turnarounds, mass releases, etc. There’s always time to be selective and be mindful of what our intended audience is expecting and wants to hear. Basically, I’ll just go with the flow.
- Three distinctive Zero Sum Recordings releases
We’re still a relatively new label (only nine releases as of this writing), but I think these three present an appropriate picture of our sound.
An Empty Venice Beach – ‘Sad Songs‘
Deep, lengthy drones coupled with field recordings create vast, echoing spaces. There are some purely organic elements here as well, but they have been manipulated to the point where they still sound cold and alien. This is a very meditative release, but it’s not all sweetness and light. An Empty Venice Beach is a side project of Ben Rehling, the man behind the harsh noise act See Through Buildings.
Dosis Feralis – ‘Forgotten‘
Four tracks of gray drift that again convey a feeling of large, open, and ominous spaces. There’s a cinematic quality to this release as well, as one could easily imagine it as the soundtrack to a science fiction thriller or pseudo-documentary for a haunting. As with some of our previous releases, this was an opportunity for a noise artist (Nemanja Nikolic of Dosis Letalis) to experiment with a more ambient approach.
N0123noise – ‘I Feel Alone‘
This release teeters on the edge of noise music, as it is comprised of one massive, rumbling wall. There’s an underlying drone here, but your attention is drawn to the ever-cycling microchanges just below the midrange. It’s certainly minimalist, but again, very meditative and not as static as a casual listen might indicate.
Curated by: Christos Doukakis