Northern Irish label Acroplane Recordings has been filling our ears with some seriously impressive electronic releases over the years. Myles Ni Gangstaleen catches up with head honcho Paul Acroplane for a chat.
We even got a wee present for yiz all too. An exclusive track by Pat Hime from their most recent release, which you can stream / download below. Their roster has included international acts such as Somatic Responses, Mad EP, and Electromeca, alongside Irish heads like Automatic Tasty, Sunken Foal, and Prince Kong. The majority of their extensive and eclectic output has been completely free too. Pretty sweet deal, eh?!
So how did it all begin for Acroplane?
I started out running a free net-label with my friend Clive called Electrotoxic in about 2002. It was mostly something for a few of us to release our own music on, but word of it soon spread and it became quite popular, with lots of other artists getting involved too. Clive had to leave in 2007 due to work commitments, and at that point I decided to rebrand the project as Acroplane Recordings. Soon after I opened an online store and also organised a distribution arrangement for most other online stores, and I’ve worked on it fairly steadily to present.
You used to organize Acroplane gigs too. Did the gigs come before the label or vice versa, and do you plan on organizing more events in future? I started running gigs soon after we started the Electrotoxic label. I’d already been DJing regularly around Northern Ireland by that stage, so it seemed and was an easy addition to make our setup. I’ve kept label associated parties going ever since. I moved to Manchester to study recently, but I’m trying to stay involved in running some Irish events when I get the time. I may run the occasional show here in England too.
Acroplane recently put our their first physical release. Is this something you’ll be doing more regularly in future?
I’m not sure. I’m happy enough with running a digital label mostly, but it does feel really nice to put out a product that you can hold in your hands. I guess I’ll likely put out the odd physical thing here and there. Fairly limited numbers, with the digital version being available too.
How’s the electronic music scene in the north these days? There are a few things that interest me. The scene overall seems to be doing very well. Good to see younger promoters getting involved. I wasn’t sure where the scene was going to go for a while. For its size, Belfast has a lot going on.
How do you feel about Acroplane releases being illegally downloaded? Have you ever tried to get illegal links removed? I’d rather people listened to it for free than not listen to it at all. I do sometimes send emails off to get links taken down, but it’s hard to find the time to keep up with it. If people can afford to throw us money, please do. We do incur considerable costs. If anyone can’t afford it and downloads it for free somewhere, please stick up a few links about the music or artist on your facebook pages or twitter or whatever.
Your previous release “Fluorescent Grey – Antique Electronic / Synthesizer Greats 1955 – 1985 Part 2” is a very interesting project, and a great document of electronic / synth sounds from that era. How did that release come about?
Yeah, Robbie / Fluorescent Grey contacted me in 2010 with the idea of making original tracks from a vast collage or loops he’d taken from music of that era. Part 1 was released in 2011, and we released Part 2 in late 2013. Part 3 is planned for April, and we’ve just been talking about a part 4 for later. It’s a really original project, and has been downloaded in huge numbers from our webspace. And rightly so. All of these are available for free download, as we feel it would be wrong to attempt to profit from music that is quite so sample-heavy. We’d probably get sued too. Heh. Parts 2 and 3 are available to buy on cassette tape from our Bandcamp store now.
Recently you had the entire Acroplane Recordings back-catalog available for free download for a week or so. How was the response to that? Yeah, that went great. 2200 releases downloaded for free in 6 days. Really pleased with the response, and it was sound that so many people shared info about the promotion for us.
Tell us about your upcoming releases, and plans for the future. We’ve Pat Hime’s debut LP, ‘Tymbals’ out on Feb 24th, followed by the 2nd EP from Digital Velvet aka Ruby My Dear. His 1st EP was on Bedroom Research and was excellent. After that we’ll have a new LP from wAgAwAgA, who seems to be one of our most popular long-term artists. All that is shaping up well. I plan to keep the label going for as long as I can.
This exclusive Pat Hime track is taken from his debut LP ‘Tymbals’. Pat has previously released EPs on several labels under the name Patscan. Aside from the odd 909 kick-drum, every sound on the album comes from processed recordings of nature.