Avionix Control

It's always been our thing to be positive about what makes people respond

Feature by Alex Burden | 16 May 2006
As one of the few Scottish Netlabels in existence, there is pressure on Avionix records to help re-focus the music industry on the most important aspect: the music. We talked with Patrick Walker, co-founder of Avionix and mover and shaker within the Edinburgh electronic scene about the pluses, the minimal, and the future.

Netlabels have several advantages over 'traditionals' for sharing tracks with listeners over networks, and Avionix (set up in "800BC with the first primordial sludge") is making "music for folk to use, to share, to mix, to promote, and hopefully inspire." The label is home to Walker, B*Wilder (Dogma), Lodestar, Vent, the wee djs, and Andy Piper among others, where filtered loop techno is on the way out and experimental minimal grooves dominate.

Walker believes that "netlabels are an extension and mutation of the whole independent dance scene", providing opportunities to "test-drive" artists to evaluate "what's working and what's not." By licensing the digital format music via the creative commons, Avionix music provides people with the express permission to use the music in their own way, avoiding troublesome copyright issues. Vinyl enthusiasts will not find their wax habit fulfilled here as the label operates on a free basis, shunning business models and embracing gratis methods of dissemination: no physical product to sell, no advertising, no fees, and no agents to impress.

"The quality control remains the same, part of the mission is to show that you don't need massive budgets, or commercial backing, this is all about talent and creativity."

A look at a number of netlabel's rosters reveals one kind of music evolving as the leader, and that is IDM (Intelligent Dance Music), and the "minimal craze."

"I think that the electronic side of things definitely established itself quicker and therefore, that's why there is such a horde of electronic netlabels out there. The fact that the music is being released online to people who might actually listen to it rather than simply DJ or dance to it, means the musical content has become a lot more important than in the case of for example lock groove DJ tools.

"We genuinely love everything from world music to mental drum and bass, whatever as long as it's good, and we have total respect for artists that have made any of these different sounds their own. It's always been our thing to be positive about what makes people respond and get into the vibe regardless of what it's called.

"For a lot of my own stuff for example, If I want to describe it as minimal it's purely so folk can get a rough idea: it might not be a model of some particular style other than that dictated by mood at the time. It might be something dubby, it might be something really freaked out, we're not bothered about selling this stuff, its purely a statement."

Despite its popularity on the 'net, the "new wave of minimal/clicks and cuts/microhouse type sound" has not broken in Scotland, with clubs tending to err on the side of the mainstream. Walker puts this down to cultural reasons: "We Scots like to get 'manky' as we say, and we like it hard, it's as simple as that really. The problem is that minimal/experimental in the context we're talking about is largely a lot more thoughtful and deep than a lot of the stuff that tends to get played out. I'd say a lot of it would suit a house crowd more than a techno crowd, the problem is that the house clubs are unwilling to take a chance on what they see as being techno DJs. When I play the sort of music I want to play here in Edinburgh it means an empty dancefloor, however, the minute I revert to a harder techno sound, I win back the crowd."

Avionix has a number of releases in the works including an EP from Dave Ellesmere (of the legendary Thinner label), Chi-tech/electro crossovers from Ellex (BPitchcontrol), and Walker's own dub and linear techno under several pseudonyms.

Check out the full interview online at www.skinnymag.co.uk.