After five years of Enfant Terrible I thought it was interesting to check with Martijn the past and the future of one of the most interesting labels coming from Holland. Read on…
Chain D.L.K.: When you started to be interested in alternative sounds/music and what did you find fascinating?
Enfant Terrible: I have from a young age been interested in music. As a young boy I first got into metal (after of course listening to more mainstream music when I was even younger) as soon as I had the opportunity to explore the universe of music. From metal for many years I went more into industrial music and from there on into all kinds of sounds from indie pop to techno and from folk music to obscure 80’s tunes. Music is like glue… it sticks memories to you forever. Of course not all individual tracks or albums I listen to have specific memories to them but at least they refer to a certain period in my life so far. But first of all music enriches life. It gives color and feeling to events you encounter and people you meet. Those are the memories this music will remind you of later.
Chain D.L.K.: Have you ever played in a band?
Enfant Terrible: No not really. I guess I am not suitable for that. I do not like to cooperate as it means doing concessions. Enfant Terrible is therefore run by me and only me. When I have the time I produce some sounds for a few ears that want to hear them. I was active with when I was making industrial sounds. One track was released on an obscure Dutch compilation LP and another on the small Dutch Elitepop label. Right now I sometimes produce elektro/electronic tracks as Jongbloed. With this project I released a track on my friends’ label Treue um Treue and one on the Enfant Terrible compilation ‘Festival der Genialen Dissidenten’. This last track was a collaboration with Sofia E.R. from Wermut. So, I can do cooperations but not a real band thing.
Chain D.L.K.: Besides Enfant Terrible you were also involved in a web magazine called Funprox. Can you talk about that experience?
Enfant Terrible: Funprox was run by a friend of mine, Hans D. We also dj’ed together and if the occasion is there we still do sometimes. Along with him I delivered a lot of content for Funprox. I wrote mostly about minimal elektro and related music styles but also other music I like. It was a nice period to explore music and write about albums and do some interviews. Hans decided it was time to stop the website at one point and this was fine with me too as I had very little time anymore to do reviews in a good way. My label required too much attention at that point. The archive of the website is still online at www.funprox.com
Chain D.L.K.: What have been the highlights of the Funprox period?
Enfant Terrible: I did an extensive interview with Invasion Planete that ended up very nice. Next to that I wrote about many records from that great label. Also it was nice as I discovered that so many releases are alike. This was a good lesson for my label… not to do the same thing over and over.
Chain D.L.K.: What persuaded you to start a label and why for the first five years have you focused your production on the vinyl format?
Enfant Terrible: When I started out I had the idea I could add a platform for quality music unlike any that existed until then. This is still why I run my label. So my main reason is to get music to people (ears) that otherwise nobody would release or pay attention to. Vinyl is an excellent medium for the sounds I like and work with: mostly analogue, lo-fi electronic music. Besides that it is a great medium when it comes to its actual size… you can really take hold of it and turn around. Playing a vinyl record is a ritual… taking it out of the sleeve, out of the innersleeve, put it on the record player, see it turn around with the needle on it, turning over the record to the other side and while it is playing… reading the sleeve. A cd is a much easier and detached medium. But I am convinced that a cd can be great too for some specific music and releases. I just really dislike the cheap and easy jewelcase. With my own first cd I did it as I wanted to do something else as a compilation in two parts (a vinyl LP). On a cd you have one long listening experience. This fitted the concept of the compilation very well. So, I will only release a cd if the music fits the medium and / or the idea behind the release fits this medium.
Chain D.L.K.: After the first release you focused your efforts on reissuing part of the Trumpett back catalog. Can you tell us the reason of this decision and can you tell something more about that label and about your relations with them?
Enfant Terrible: Next to releasing new and contemporary music I want to show people the tradition I work in. So I make the connection between my releases by putting out both music from this day and age and music from the eighties that are the originators of the music I work with. When it comes to eighties music I also like a lot of obscure Dutch acts. Trumpett was an eighties tape label with a very good reputation in the tape scene. They released some excellent music that I thought needed to be heard again and made available again. I see a lot of similarities between what they did and what I do now. My relation with Trumpett is very friendly and very respectful on my part. For me this music and these musicians are the real thing. Next to that we have a business relation as one of the musicians from Ende Shneafliet, who is also the Trumpett label boss and the designer of Trumpett is also doing most of my artwork designs.
Chain D.L.K.: I am curious to know… after releasing the split CFX /XNDL LP you were about to release a band called Pia Fraus (I even reviewed it) but it never happened. Why?
Enfant Terrible: Well… I cannot and don’t want to say too much about this. It had something to do with how they arranged things with their material and the way I work that did not match… I was inexperienced back then so that is the reason the record was already mastered and promos were sent out before the agreement was signed.
Chain D.L.K.: Over the years you started to divide your label into different “sections”. We have Enfant Terrible limited, Hex Grammofoonplaten, Petit Enfant and Enfant Terrible unlimited. What’s behind this classification?
Enfant Terrible: The first series I started next to the regular series (Enfant Terrible Limited) was the Petit Enfant series. I wanted to do 7” releases and thought it was quite funny to call them Petit Enfant. This also because the artwork is done in the old way with scissors, glue, tape, etcetera, much like how children enjoy themselves at school and at home. The Hex Grammofoonplaten sublabel I started as I wanted to do a compilation around the concert- and dancenight in Amsterdam I did for five years. The music on these nights was much more diverse than that on my label so far. That was the reason to start a sublabel for this. I am planning more releases on this sublabel to continue the spirit of these nights on vinyl. Enfant Terrible Unlimited is for the cd’s. A cd is very easy to duplicate and maybe I will do a re-release if a first edition of these records are sold out… maybe not, but for Enfant Terrible Limited this will not even be considered at all. Next to that the spectrum of sounds will be more diverse for releases in this section. For example a much more pop / chanson record is planned for this subdivision.
Chain D.L.K.: What would be your idea of an ideal label if you had unlimited financial resources?
Enfant Terrible: Simply… release many more records than I can do now. If I had unlimited financial resources I would not need to have a job and I would have all the time to work on new releases. New releases would be realized much faster one after the other. Next to that I would invest more money in visual arts and maybe (short) films. I already did this with the first Agent Side Grinder video by Dutch artist Edwin Stoutjesdijk. Also I am working with two other young Dutch artists on more video art for my label right now. And there are more plans. The thing is these things cost money and they do not bring in money like records do when you sell them. Still this is what I think is good to do as it shows that my label is not just a music thing but much more involved in an art scene, like for example the scene in Berlin in the eighties.
Chain D.L.K.: Are you going to reissue your out of print catalog? Maybe on CD…
Enfant Terrible: No, never. A limited edition is a limited edition. I would only consider this for the releases in the Enfant Terrible Unlimited series. I say I would consider… so I am not sure I would even do this…
Chain D.L.K.: With the “Radio resistencia” you extended the concept started with “Hoera! Een Hex voor thuis!” by presenting different kind of sounds. For example the first three bands of the track list Swann Danger, Black Ice and Headcollision aren’t electronic at all and for the first time you printed a CD. What can we expect in the future?
Enfant Terrible: I am always bored very soon with whatever I do. So I started Enfant Terrible Unlimited and continue Hex Grammofoonplaten to give my label activities more freedom when it comes to different music styles. So… what to expect… you never know… I have some things planned… some more art-punk others more pop/chanson like… maybe some indie stuff too in the future… time will tell… BUT… I will also continue with the electronic styles that people are used to from my label.
Chain D.L.K.: Even if these are tough times for labels you have a lot of stuff out of stock, so one might say that you’re pretty successful but, what is your comment about these days since you’re the one who’s living this experience “on your own skin”?
Enfant Terrible: Times are not that good for record labels. Many shops and mailorders are going bankrupt and private orders are fewer than before. You see that the economic crisis hits everybody right now. Still I am not complaining. I am very happy and thankful to the people and shops who buy records from my label and webshop because without their support my label and other small labels would stop to exist and a lot of great music would never be released. I am confident that with time things will be better again. It is always a question of going on and keeping faith… this combined with releasing good music and nice records… there will always be people interested in this as long as the quality is good and originality is there…
Chain D.L.K.: Anything else you’d like to add?
Enfant Terrible: Thank you for your support right from the beginning of my label. Good luck to your webzine and all the best to you and your readers!
Visit Enfant Terrible on the web at:
[interviewed by Maurizio Pustianaz] [proofreading by Marco Pustianaz]