Published Apr 17, 2007Date of Birth: 1996
Releases to date: 37
Biggest Seller: Gaudi Bass, Sweat and Tears
Upcoming Releases: Pushmipulyu, Ashtech
With their ear trained on "organic electronica for expanding minds, Interchill founder Andrew Ross Collins has found a paradisal if not unusual base for the labels global scope BCs Salt Spring Island. Originally founded in Montreal before its relocation to the west coast in 99, Interchill has been steadily recognised for providing quality global electronica. Weaving the sounds of real musicians with digital soundscapes and solid bass lines has given the label a reputation for providing the choicest cuts of world fusion, dub, psy-chill and ambient. Emerging as the poster child of indie success, now in their 11th year, Interchill has solidified their place on global electronica charts, and a new distribution deal with Warner Music Canada is expanding their markets from Europe and Japan back to native shores. The success hasnt phased Collins though, and he remains committed to indie roots and the fundamentals of the labels motto, "good music is universal.
"Interchill has its history in 1996. That's when we really started and it was sort of motivated by DIY culture in so far as we didn't go and take a course on how to run a label. We just bought a fax machine, designed a logo, came up with some names and started doing business, so there was a bit of a learning curve. The label had offices in Montreal, and I went back to live in the UK and ran the label sort of jointly from the UK and from Montreal. The A&R identity of the label began to reflect some of the contacts and artists I was meeting in the UK, so that it became subsequently half UK, half Canadian artists in terms of who you were working with. That then spread to working with artists around the world.
The Lure of Island Life
"I closed the Montreal office in 1999 and opened an office out here on Salt Spring Island. Having realised it was essential to keep costs down as much as possible and also be very close to the fundamentals of the business and not have an office that was separate from where I was. We came to Salt Spring and fell in love with it. Because of the internet you can really be anywhere and in a way it's almost better being slightly removed from an urban centre because it gives us a longer view of things. If you're living in Toronto or Vancouver you often get very preoccupied with what's going on [there].
Canadian Facts of Life
"Canada's only got 30 million people you've got a really limited market so as a label you have to be an exporter. And that sort of brings us to another Canadian fact of life, which is often Canadians pay you more attention once you've achieved success in other territories, and in a way it's easier because those territories are more focused and maybe they have a more developed music culture. If you look at England for instance, you've got 60-odd million people crammed into a tiny island. Relative to Vancouver Island, its about the same size. It's very easy to run a press campaign in England. It's very difficult to run a press campaign in Canada because we are as far away from St. Johns as London is. Probably London is closer.
In the Big Leagues
"A positive development for Interchill is new distribution that's going to be routed through Warner music. We see this as incredibly significant for us within Canada because it shows a major distribution company recognises the viability of our sound. It recognizes that indie companies are basically the taste-makers and are leading the way in terms of musical styles, new trends and upcoming artists.
But One Is Not like the Other
"As an independent you don't have to refer to some higher power in order to make decisions, whether there are decisions about manufacturing, distribution packaging, artwork, what music to release, and you're not tied into certain types of more corporate artist relations. We still have what I consider very friendly independent contracts with artists where we don't try to own them. We're very conscious of a lot of people criticising the old record company paradigm where the record company is evil and parasitic. We try to enable artists and empower them as much as we can while at the same time getting the rights that we need to do the job that we can do. I think we're also different from a major insofar as we move quicker. A major takes some time for things to happen, decisions to get made. Whereas with an independent label you can put a proposal on my desk and I can get an answer to you later that day or the next day. With a major you're never going to have that because it has to go through a review process and be approved by people further up the hierarchy. It's possible to behave in a very professional way and to look successful and still be an independent label run from a home office out-sourcing certain things.