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SILENT RECORDS INTERVIEW An interview with the head of Ambient label Silent Records, Kim Cascone, based out of San Francisco, California.

Silent Records has been in existence since October of 1986 and was founded by Kim Cascone. The first project released on the label was Cascone's project "Silence" under the alias PGR (Poison Gas Research). The name Silent Records was chosen as play on the name of the first PGR LP as well as an homage to John Cage. Since then, Silent has embraced atmospheric/ambient industrial music such as The Hafler Trio, Zoviet France and PGR. Today, they have expanded the scope of Silent to include all types of ambient music ranging from ambient industrial to ambient house to space music.

This following interview with Silent Records' founder, Kim Cascone, was conducted over electronic mail in mid March. [1995]

Transeform: What has been your inspiration for starting Silent Records? Can you please give us a brief backgrounder on how things got started?

Cascone:

I started Silent in 1986 and did so because I felt that there was severe lack of interesting music coming out of the US...I was inspired by European labels such as LAYLAH and United Dairies which released music that was classified as "industrial" but was more experimental in nature...Silent started releasing mostly experimental and ambient industrial music by groups such as the Haters, Architects Office, Organum, Eddie Prevost, Thessalonians... I had my own ambient industrial project at the time called PGR which I started in 1985.

Although I had quite a few releases on other labels I didn't want to release anything by PGR on Silent...I didn't want Silent to be seen as a vanity label...at that time I felt that self-publishing reeked of amateurism and I wanted to present a more mature and diverse image for the label...in 1987 I got discouraged and felt that the ambient industrial community was churning out alot of crap (mostly on cassette) and went on to work in the film industry.

I worked on "TwinPeaks" and "Wild At Heart" amongst other Hollywood theatrical releases as a assistant sound editor and assistant foley engineer...I ended my illustrious film career in 1990 when I had a falling out with the music editor I was working under...the film industry is built on many layers of abuse and I didn't want any part of the ego trips they were all on (the music industry has much less of this believe it or not)...so I started Silent back up again and released two 7"s, an LP and a CD to begin with...in 1991 Silent started to get into distribution and spent a lot of time developing that portion of the business...in 1992 Silent started releasing mostly CD's at a fairly steady rate and gravitated towards the ambient music that was being played in the chill-rooms at raves...we were inundated with demo tapes and people dropping by the office to check us out...there was a buzz in the air about ambient music and we found ambient DJ's spinning PGR/Zoviet France/Hafler Trio material into their sets...so we knew that we were in the right place at the right time...

I understand you're the man behind Heavenly Music Corporation. Can you please describe to us the sound of this project?

I started HMC in 1993 because I felt I had reached the end of what I had to say with PGR...my wife and I were about to have a baby and I composed "In A Garden of Eden" for Cage's birth (we never got around to putting it on when the time came)...the sound of HMC isn't static...I like it when artists reinvent themselves and that's why I released "Consciousness III" as I didn't want HMC to get typecast as only a drone-core project...on C3 I was very influenced by the film "Logan's Run" and wanted to take HMC in a more hazy, tweaked, and rhythmic territory...I felt that the public was being inundated with too much pretty drone product and wanted to do something more strange and abstract...with my 3rd CD "Lunar Phase" I returned to the more fluid style of "Eden" yet included more of an organic feel by relying less on beats and more on real time improvisation...the sound is open to all types of influences...I don't want to get stuck in one type of sound for HMC...the problem for certain ambient/space music artists is that they tend to get stuck in a rut...they start making music for their fan base and not taking any chances...I like to keep it evolving...the element of change/growth is a healthy one...

... Do you listen to techno much? if so, what's in your cd player right now?

I listen to techno / ambient / jungle / trip-hop/ trance/ experimental/ industrial/ noise and whatever else happens to be played at Pulse Soniq Distribution (Silent's sister company) close to eight hours a day 5 days a week...


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