Cover Collage by Eardrums Pop

Interview : EardrumsPop

Welcome Knut, Stefan and Tim of EardrumsPop to Decoding Static. EardrumsPop is a music label that produce digital compilations and more recently singles. They are available to download for free, but EardrumsPop are not about giving away music, they want you to hear great music and encourage you to explore the artists on these releases. With each release there is a very well designed pdf booklet with information about the artists and links to their sites.

What inspired you to form EardrumsPop?

Knut: The main inspiration was probably lack of inspiration as a blogger, I think… I needed a new focus for the Eardrums-blog, and just thinking of doing something different was a huge inspiration. Another inspiration was that I saw how difficult it was for small bands to get their voice heard. Great songs got little or no attention, and was left for the enjoyment of just a handful of people. I see this as one of the main goals of EardrumsPop today, – to spread the word about wonderful bands and artists to as many people as possible. I’ve always been interested in both good music and good illustration, and it was great to be able to combine those two in one project.

The later inclusion of Tim, Stefan and Leena in the team has been an inspiration in itself.

Was it plain sailing or where there obstacles in the way?

Knut: Both, in a way. We’re always overwhelmed by the positive attitude from artists and illustrators, and the friendliness and helpful attitude from our listeners. It’s also a pleasure working together with the EardrumsPop team. Wonderful people! So, that way, it has always been plain sailing.

There have always been obstacles, but I think that’s what make us better. We’ve had to find good ways to communicate across borders, since none of us live in the same countries. It took some time, but now we have found ways that work well. Also, when you work with so many people over so long time, you’re bound to experience some traces of real LIFE. When we worked on Between Two Waves, two collab-projects broke down because of this mysterious and never predictable LIFE-thing. Luckily for us, the remaining members in the two projects found each other, and started a new project together, which was fantastic. As a team, we have all had our periods where LIFE has demanded its part of us. I have been totally exhausted after every project, and promised myself NEVER to do this again, but the thought never lasts too long to actually quit.

(Andy: I pleased it doesn’t last too long as the compilations and the singles are always top quality and have introduced me to so many new and excellent bands.)

What is it about music that you love?

Stefan: The tunes and the sound in general! When I was younger I wanted to have music for all kinds of situations and moods. I guess it is still the same and I love to discover new tunes.

Knut: Music is not an intellectual thing for me. It speaks to the feelings, and I can’t express with words what it is about music that I love. I don’t love music all the time either. Sometimes music really hurts, – also music I sometimes love. These things are not to be explained, at least not by me, – they are to be experienced and felt.

Tim: There are so many things about music when you break it down but for me, what I really love is the particular tonality and timbre of different sounds. Be it a persons voice, an instrument or a board of bizarre looking electronics- there is no greater feeling than when the notes resonate with you. If I am completely taken with their music, I often don’t even hear the lyrics and have been told afterwards the actual meaning of the song.

How do you come across the bands to promote either on your compilations or the new single series?

Knut: It’s a big “stumble upon” process, really. We are all very open to new music, and if we stumble upon some new, wonderful band, we often send an email to the others, asking “what do you think of this, – is this something for us?”. If all go “YES!”, we may ask the band, but if one go “Nah…”, it will not be used. We have a huge list with bands we consider asking, and we all make our votes for who we really, really want to release something with. Lately, we’ve been contacted by many bands, but we haven’t “signed” any of them yet. Our demand for quality is quite high, and the bands really have to excite all of us to become an “EardrumsPop-band”.

Tim: Sometimes by word of mouth which includes Twitter these days but more often from MySpace or Last.fm which while they have different setups there are ways of discovering brilliant talent there. Sometimes in MySpace I get a friend request from a band that I have never heard of and they have an absolutely brilliant sound- in Last.fm it’s often by looking through the similar artists and sometimes you can find a gem of a song.

(Andy: have to agree some myspace friend requests have introduced me to some amazing bands and songs, makes a change from the spam requests!)

Do you have a favourite single or song on a compilation?

Knut: Yes, but I won’t tell you! Sometimes songs become favourites not only because the song itself is great, but because the story behind it is fascinating, or because I love the artwork made for it. All the songs have their story, so it’s not always easy to see the songs as “only songs”.

Stefan: We love all of them! There are lots of people involved in every release and they all make each release special.

Tim: While of course I do have my favourites I don’t think it would be fair to the other releases to say which is which- as a team collaboration we stand behind all of our releases and give them the same amount of eardrums love.

Any favourite bands? Any tips on future bands to watch out for?

Knut: The best bands in the world right now are Tiny Fireflies, Paperfangs, Insect Guide, Sometimes Always and Baffin Island. Bands to watch out for are our upcoming single-artists Kookooo Kitchen and Alison Eales. Seriously. Even more seriously, I don’t think I have a favourite band… I listen to so much music, and it’s almost impossible to pick one favourite band. Or bands… I have new favourites every week. Right now I love Dream Diary, Gregory and The Hawk, Minks, La Sera, No Joy, Tiny Ruins, Agnes Obel, Aias, The Maladies of Bellafontaine, Sweater Girls, and probably lots of others. Tomorrow, the list may be different…

Tim: As with most music bloggers these days the term ‘favourite’ has been diluted down to not only what is pleasing on the ears but is defined in a more precise time span. There is so much new music out there and there are some really stellar songs that I love that they are often only favourites for a short period before the next one comes along. There are some songs that I will keep coming back to but long gone are the days where I could listen to the same album for weeks on end. So a long answer for a short question- there are lots of favourites! As for tips- there are plenty of those but that is what Twitter is made for;-)

What is your opinion on digital music? Do you prefer it to vinyl, tape, cd or see it as an addition?

Stefan: I have lots of CDs, but right now I have to say that I only listen to digital music. It is just convenient with services like Spotify, Soundcloud or Bandcamp. You have access to such a wide range of music compared to some years before.

Knut: For me, it’s not an addition, it’s the only thing. I love the availability and that it doesn’t take up space in my shelves. I like the music, not the plastic, and the “things” have never been especially important to me. I’ve never been a collector, and I’m not particularly nostalgic, so vinyl and cds are just something that takes up the space I want to use for books. Without digital music, there would never have been an EardrumsPop-label, so I am in a way committed to be a fan of it…

Tim: I think digital music is the future of the industry and will have to be embraced by everybody involved. With portability being the main concern amongst busy people these days, digital files are the format to use if you want to be heard. With the advancement of mobile streaming services portability is going to be even more important than ever if you want to get your songs played.

As for preferences, with the damage that I have done to my ears at gigs, formats aren’t an issue. They all sound the same to me and I wouldn’t know the difference of what was being played unless it was on a very high end system. I do find cds to be handy in the car and at home and some of the packaging for them have been quite ingenious and are still aesthetically pleasing.

Will you ever produce physical releases?

Tim: It has been mentioned and a physical release would be nice- having an album with great artwork that is physically in your hand rather than on an mp3 player is a very good experience! However with that there are several monetary considerations…and at present we like being not-for-profit and releasing free music so as many people as possible can hear it.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Knut: My box of chocolate is empty. That’s quite sad.

Tim: I think it’s important for artists these days to be very organised- if you want people to talk about your music you need to have everything ready from the very beginning!

I also like chocolate so any donations gratefully received;-)

Thanks again Knut, Tim and Stefan for your time and if you have any chocolates send them to Knut at EardrumsPop!

Posted: 18 March 2019