PJ: Infamous and online
Since the creation of Napster and similar sister sites, downloading music from the World Wide Web has become easier and more cost-effective than walking into a shop and buying a CD. It is only natural that with supermarkets taking their shelves online and Ebay providing 24-hour shopping malls that record labels take their artists online for easy and instantaneous worldwide recognition.
In the new millennium anything is possible and bringing digital recording and distribution to Australia’s shores is 24-year old PJ. He is the mastermind behind Infamous Light Recordings (ILR), a digital-only tech house record label. And he is no Bill Gates, far from it. PJ finished a medical degree last year but says he hasn’t released himself into the health system for fear of panic in the community. So why has this educated medical practitioner pursued a business in digital technology? Simple. He wants to be part of the digital revolution. “There’s a sense of excitement about it all and with all the vinyl puritans arguing against it – there’s even a sense of rebellion. I love it. Bring it on! Bring it,” PJ says. There is a growing trend towards everything digital. It is simpler to operate and access and cuts out much of the fuss of manual equipment and outdated methods. Change always brings uncertainty and doubt but as PJ explains, it is often misunderstood. “There’s a huge amount of people that simply cannot afford or get access to vinyl. Digital distribution is something that is going to open the doors for a new breed of DJs and producers that we may never have heard of before. I wanted to start a label for similar reasons that most other people do, to get music heard.”
He has already suffered expected backlash from industry members but his passion for the music and the cause continues to outweigh the criticisms. “I’ve had abusive emails from people I don’t even know. I presume they are record shop owners, bankrupt distributors or established producers who have been forced to work at McDonald’s. I do try to handle criticism from a fair, balanced and diplomatic perspective but sometimes I just tell people to get fucked,” he says. In creating the label PJ has jumped on a bandwagon that is breaking into unchartered territory. The ILR site puts his music in the path of DJs, producers and punters worldwide, providing easy listening just a click away. As well as PJ there are presently two other artists using the site to display and sell their music. Tarik Alj, a Canadian DJ/producer, made his debut this week and Jairus Miller releases his EP next month. PJ found both DJs online and after hearing their tracks signed them up.
The digital label doesn’t work all that differently from your average record label. PJ is sent demos from artists and sets up contracts with those he likes. He then sets a release date and goes about promoting the artist to radio stations, magazines, DJs, websites and forums. He uses three primary digital distributors – Beatport, EDM Digital and city16 who encode the music into MP3/4, WMA or WAV formats and make the music available on their sites. So far the feedback has been positive, although PJ says it is too early in the revolution for big bucks. “As the popularity of the medium increases as it seems it is destined to do, hopefully our sales numbers will improve. We’ve got plenty of support from DJs, producers and various other big and small,” he says.
The label has an open music policy but at present it mostly falls into the techno/house category. His first single is, to put it in his own words, “bass-driven bleepy twisted electro house”, while the second is much darker. The third release will have a more of nu progressive influence to it he says. All the singles can be heard on the website along with any other ILR releases. PJ jokes that he isn’t a psychic but is hopeful that all music mediums can exist hand in hand. It is certainly not baseless hope as even with the introduction of the CD, minidisk and MP3s, records have survived thus far. As PJ concurs, it is because there is something nostalgic and precious about having music in a material form. “I don’t have any affinity for its warmth or tactile advantages, although I don’t deny they do exist,” PJ says. And this is why the digital revolution should not be frowned upon but embraced. It is merely an option, an advantageous one for those with a little less in their pocket or who don’t live in the hub of a city. It provides endless possibilities for worldwide distribution never imagined before. “We’ve recently been putting up some promotional DJ sets on our websites that have been quite popular and are also running a remix contest for an upcoming release. All this is done through the Internet of course and I think it’s one of the best ways of getting your name out to an international audience. It’s definitely been a big contributing factor to our success overseas,” he says.
PJ has been directly accessing the UK, Europe, Canada, the USA and of course all around Australia, getting his and other ILR artists well known in all the right circles. It is merely the beginning for digital technologies and Infamous Light Recordings along with PJ are at the frontline of this new revolution.
For more details on Infamous Light Recordings be sure to check out their website – www.infamouslightrecordings.com.