‘The release is a part of the therapy as is the creation. The creation isn’t enough. We have to expose something of ourselves.‘
I’m talking to Sean CG, the head of new label ‘Therapy’. Therapy is not just one of a huge growth in independent labels. Therapy’s philosophy particularly interests me, as a story lover and a nerd, as it’s based in the dialogue of their output. They present this dialogue as it occurs. It’s personal, the artist’s relations are intimate, and it bares all through the immediacy of the Internet.
‘It’s not a new idea but it’s very liberating, away from the context of the traditional industry’
Working with Soundcloud, almost exclusively at the moment, they bring to mind a technological serial, akin to the metered out publication of books since Victorian times, such as ‘Middlemarch’. Our obsession with narrative hasn’t waned – This American Life’s ‘Serial’ has been extremely popular, and famous instagrams, pintrests, tumblr’s and blogs work around their own continuous narratives. These grow with their creators, as Therapy has begun to do – releasing this narrative while it continues to develop.
‘ A large part of the ethos behind this label is narrative dialogue. The relationship between the artist and the audience and the artist and the label.’
This was the case in previous years, when a record could be pressed and released in less than a month due to a mass of independent producers. As giant labels have grown, and middlemen have multiplied, this direct conversation between artist and audience has lessened as the gap between has widened. Therapy are one of a handful of labels addressing this – either through their own vinyl production, or, for Therapy, and many independent artists, Soundcloud allows work to be released immediately.
‘There’s a kind of disparity between the work being produced and created and it’s release, or delivery to the public, to the extent of tracks held for years…It can damage the dialogue.‘
The dialogue itself? Therapy currently represents Participant, Ezra, S O F T L Y, and Dunlop, but as it grows more artists are sure to join the ranks. Their work grows in collaboration and reveals a new undercurrent for each artist as they experiment freely under the wing of ‘Therapy’. It’s fitting that their first – euphoric, a tad uncanny – release was NOT ENOUGH Feat. Tyson – collaboration between EZRA and Dunlop.
‘We talk, and we release work over time. No one ever releases something just once with the label’
It’s well known that creative output is therapeutic. For Sean ‘the music making process extends into the internet, and into sharing…a part of the therapy that we associate with the internal, being at home…the internet is the geographical artists space’
With artists playing in London, Amsterdam and New York, Therapy’s tight knit community crosses geographic boundaries. Having a cup of tea with some of Therapy’s artists is always an exploratory experience, and an educational one. I’ve been played ghetto house, soothing pop, psychadelia, soundtracks and German choral music – with a focus the perfectly crafted, whether obscure or hugely popular. Respect for a good beat, clean production, pioneering sound experiments and creamy vocals run through their work so far. This amounts to three releases – Therapy are in no rush to grow too quickly. There’s an element of suspense. Their intimacy comes through the output, and Sean’s word ‘exposed’ suits the feeling.
Will Therapy move past our screens into live events?
‘We’re very interested in having events – public spaces – where we get to premier the work, and the artists have a good time. Honestly, these things are more likely to take place unofficially organized by people peripheral to the label. Friends in France, Berlin, London, talking about hosting events…It’s got to take place from within.’
Labels like Therapy are taking control of their input, beyond mainstream avenues. This is partly thanks to new groups like Creative Commons. Creative Commons creates licenses for creative projects, such as SoundCloud, bandcamp and the Free Music Archive, which allow for a pool of content that can be copied, distributed, edited, remixed, and built upon, all within the boundaries of copyright law. These labels engage directly with their audience, and while millions aren’t made when so many releases are free, the narrative between listener and creator is stronger.
Follow Therapy’s story here: https://soundcloud.com/thelabeltherapy