Alien Transistor was founded in 2003 by Markus and Micha Acher from The Notwist. The label’s concept is quite an interesting one: to produce music that has a musical or personal relation to the Notwist-microcosm. From electronic soundscapes through abstract hip-hop to laptop-treated contemporary, from processed oriental music to Nick Drake-inspired-songwriting: Alien Transistor doesn’t respect any musical boundaries. However, we do respect Alien Transistor, so we asked Markus Acher some questions to find out a bit more about their label activities. He also prepared a mix with some of the most essential releases on Alien Transistor.
How did you first get involved with music?
Our father is a music-enthusiast, although he never did it as his profession, and so Micha and me learned all kinds of instruments from an early age… recorder, guitar, drums, clarinet and trumpet…but not all of them really properly…
When and how did you get the idea to give birth to Alien Transistor?
How would you describe the sound of Alien Transistor in 5 words?
.not the music you know.
What is the concept of the label?
To release music by friends, that’s interesting, and beautifully strange.
How do you usually find and select the artists/music you’re going to sign to your label?
One comes to the other… it’s mostly friends, or friends of friends, or people we got to know better, because we love their music. We are fans.
What do you find the most stimulating/disappointing thing about running a label?
Stimulating: records. Disappointing: money.
Do you think that in our digital era the non-musical elements – eg. album artwork – are overlooked and not appreciated enough? How important are these kind of aesthetics for Alien Transistor?
They are very important. We still think of an album in the vinyl-form first… and so we try to have a nice record in the end, that’s beautiful but not expensive.
How does a ‘regular day’ look like at the Alien Transistor office?
We don’t work for Alien Transistor every day…and it mixes heavily with work for The Notwist sometimes, so actually there’s no regular day at all. Sometimes a lot of work, sometimes none.
Are there any artists you would secretly love to sign to Alien Transistor?
Oh, there are so many, I don’t know where to start. But also, honestly, I’ m very very happy with the bands and artists we have!
Could you name 3 other labels that you are really fond of, that for some reason you consider as a ‘role model’? Why them?
Xpressway from New Zealand, Geographic, and Ghost Box. They have a strong vision, they are a lot about community, have a unique and recognizable cover-concept, and release(d) incredibly great records.
What is the latest news at Alien Transistor? What should we keep our eyes and ears on?
There is the first record by Le Millipede, which is absolutely wonderful. A new soundtrack-LP by myself under the name Rayon, and there’s some other great great things coming, that we’re very happy about.
MIX by ALIEN TRANSISTOR
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