Clean Feed Records: Looking Outwards
When Clean Feed first started I never imagined that we would have almost 200 releases after nine years. I guessed that we would put out about two or three records every year and have a hundred CDs released after a lifetime.
I think one of the reasons for this thinking was the fact that we were based in Lisbon, a city that doesn't have a scene like New York, Chicago, Paris, Berlin, Stockholm or Oslo. But soon after I realized that this handicap was actually the label's biggest advantage since not having such a strong scene of our own means we can see the whole world from here.
What usually happens with most labels is that they only release music by their own scenes. They make a great contribution to their scenes but, on the other hand, they get so obsessed that they don't look abroad and take advantage of the internet revolution and the increasing global music market.
We see ourselves as a world label because the music is just one. And especially for a label based in Lisbon, the message has to be clear: concentrating on the music we believe is crucial to document this very rich era, whether it's from New York, Chicago, Copenhagen, Oslo, Stockholm or Japan. That's truly our manifesto.
What's really important is connecting people from different scenes all committed to the same goal: to release art through music. That's something that will never die. It will survive all catastrophes, all economical crises, all wars and the fact that the CD might be dying. There will always be a way while there's something to say.
Musicians are the most important element; they create, they support, they play live. Respect for musicians' work is vital for us and that's what we try to dogive them conditions so they can take their chances and keep this kind of music updated in form and spirit.
We have had multiple experiences about showing the label's music in different places as New York, Madrid, Barcelona, Ljubljana, Utrecht and Chicago but we want to spread the word about the great music of today in as many places as possible: Berlin, Oslo, Stockholm, Cologne, Philadelphia, Lisbon, you name it. This is not part of any commercial plan but a way to keep working and surviving, to give our musicians a stage and to maintain the connections that happen when Clean Feed events take place.
Not just musicians but audiences, interested promoters and just people get together and find a way to make it through despite all difficulties taking place in today's world.
Every time I produce a concert, every time I get in touch with people, I always feel rewarded to do what I do, to help keep something going on, to help the music live on. That's the real reward for this kind of work. I believe you play what you are and 70% of the time it works like that and then extraordinary things happen in the other 30% that keeps everyone going.
Before I turn the megaphone off I would like to tell you how I would like Clean Feed to be seen or what I see it as, if I have the right to do it. I like to see us as an international label that doesn't belong to any country, any scene, any kind of cooperative thing but only as a label that exists to release the music of today by people of today in the field of improvised music.