Chain D.L.K.: Since the last time I interviewed you many things happened: newreleases, a new adventure with Cohaagen, the first DVD of underground synthpop bandsever produced, etc. Can you talk about all these things adressing how you felt about them?
Ganymede: We’ve had an incredibly productive two years with Cohaagen and we’reexceptionally proud of everything we’ve done. Mostly, we’re happy with how we’ve maintained a consistent quality of presentation of our releases. Not only is the music where we want it to be, the packaging and promotion havebeen on par with labels that have more resources than we do. So mostly we’ve been happy with being able to keep everything at a high level.
Of course, we’ve also been a bit disappointed that we’ve hit a ceiling in terms of sales to the synthpop genre. Our releases sell well for CDs in this genre, but we really haven’t been able to break through and see sales figures that go beyond what we expect. That’s what should have happened to be able to have the resources to take things to the next level.
Chain D.L.K.: Your latest release “Space and Time” also comes with a bonus disccontaining remixes, new tracks, a game and a video. What made you decide to pack all this stuff together for this release? Did you want it to be special or something?
Ganymede: As I said, we want everything we release to be completely professional and avery good value. The trend in the larger music industry these days is torelease bonus discs and multimedia sections, so we decided to do that as well. We think it makes “Space and Time” a premiere release in the genre, and we’ve gotten many comments about how happy people are with the bonus material.
Chain D.L.K.: How did you pick artists for the remixing work? Has there been anyone left out that you wanted to have?
Ganymede: There are always lots of artists we’d like to work with, but with “Space and Time” it mostly depended on who was available when the songs were finished. We sent out queries to a number of bands, and some of them weren’t available when we needed them. But we were thrilled with the remixes we got. The bonusdisc has some truly great stuff on it.
Chain D.L.K.: Has this been possible mainly because now you have got your own label or is it something you already wanted to do?
Ganymede: It’s something we probably would have done anyway, but having our own label made it easier to realize.
Chain D.L.K.: Does having a label to run affect your point of view about your music or has it only been a way to reach greater freedom as musicians?
Ganymede: It probably has changed our point of view about our own music, because now we’re a bit more concerned with how the music is going to be presented in the final release than we were before. In the past, we made music mostly as a private thing, and then assembled albums from that. Now, there’s astraight line from conception to execution to release.
Chain D.L.K.: Do you usually think in terms of how many copies you’re going to sell of a certain release while you compose?
Ganymede: Not really when we compose, no. But when we’re finishing arelease we definitely hope to sell as many as possible by fine-tuning the release to be the best it can be.
Chain D.L.K.: Listening to your new album it seems to me that the tracks sound more “mature” (you know that I always felt a deep Pet Shop Boys influence when I listened your tunes). It still sounds like Ganymede, but it seems youhave got greater control of your performing skills. What do you think about this?
Ganymede: We’d probably agree with that. We took a long time really giving this album a classy, professional sheen. We think it compares favorably to almost everything out there.
Chain D.L.K.: Cohaagen’s bands have always had sort of connection with Ganymede (Fr-action is Dave’s project, you worked with Gary Flanagan to record his new tunes and remixing the old ones). This makes me think that even if now you run a label, first of all you are musicians. Can you talk about your concept of label and about your way of working?
Ganymede: We’re very hands-on label owners. Most of our projects have included us creatively in one way or another. It doesn’t have to be this way, but so far we’ve wanted to release stuff that fits into our perception of the way we want music to sound. As label owners and the people putting up the money, we wouldn’t want to release stuff we weren’t 100% happy with!
Chain D.L.K.: “Living on Video” is the first DVD compilation of underground synhtpop ever. Can you talk about its motivations and about its realization?
Ganymede: Well, it was technically a very challenging project, and I don’t think anyone out there watching it can even begin to imagine the effort that went into it. Basically, it took about three months of fulltime work to get it happening. The videos came in from all over the world, and they were of suchvarying image quality and format that just getting them digitized was a major chore. In America obviously everything is NTSC video and incompatible with the European PAL standard. Many of the videos were in PAL format, and it’s expensive to get those converted well and transferred. Because of theunderground nature of some of the videos, they were on old Beta tapes, a couple were on old VHS tapes even. So getting the videos into the computer to the point that I could try to “master” the video was important. Then, itall had to be put together and rendered, which was a huge task. Any minor change in the video program would take 10 or so more hours of rendering. For most of the videos, we replaced the hissy audio that was on the tapes with amastered version of the music from the albums, so the sound quality on the DVD is much better than if you tried to just watch a videotape of the same material. We’re incredibly happy with how it turned out, and we think people will be enjoying it for years to come!
Chain D.L.K.: Anything else you’d like to talk about?
Ganymede: We’d like to thank everyone for their support over the past year, and invite anyone who’s interestedto visit us online at www.ganymede.us or www.cohaagen.com. And thanks forthe interview, Mauri!
[interviewed by Maurizio Pustianaz] [proofreading by Marc Urselli]