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12rec Netlabel: So much achieved. So much left to do!

Rockin' with their netlabel since 2004! Sven Swift and Sim Sullen

Interview with DIY-Netlabel 12rec | With their fabulous 50th release it's time to visit the Do-It-Yourself Netlabel 12rec from Germany. Phlow met Sim Sullen and Sven Swift on the digital highway to have a chat about the strategies, attitude and why they enjoy exploiting themselves in the name of music! Together we unravel some old 12rec-screenshots, watch once more our most favorite netlabel-video-clip to date and listen to their new compilation.

12rec Netlabel is a two-headed squirrel. Most of you know already Sven Swift for his in-depth-reviews on and his headstrong compilations he contributes to the world-wide netlabel-phenomena. In comparison Sim Sullen seems more quiet, but the head behind travels a lot through germany, fotographing creative commons- and web 2.0-conferences. I celebrated already together with them at Netlabel Festival Zürich in 2006 - and guess, what can I tell you about this netlabel-duet? Amusing, freaky and truly dedicated...

Simon and Sven, how did you guys meet and how did you get the idea of coordinating a Netlabel together?

Sven: Sim and me know each other from school days. We both grew up in a small city at the outer brims of the Ruhr Area in Northern Germany. We had a band and spend a lot of time photoshopping, doing flyers and stuff. We were listening to 60's Jazz and electronic music which none of our friends did - I think that forced us together... The first recordings of our band Majestik12 were published on tape, but for the second album we decided to go online. That was out first glimpse of what the web can do for us. The opportunity to share music via the net were pretty exciting for us these days... imagine that, kids!

One or two years later, a friend that just had started his studies at the KHM in Cologne came up with different demos fellow students had blessed him with. These were Sichtbeton, Yokölast and Jasmin. Simon already got in contact with the Netaudio scene, and listening to all this awesome left-field music we agreed to found a Netlabel as well.

Click on the thumbnails to see, how the 12rec-website looked like in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007!

On the one hand, 12rec. seems to be a very serious project. On the other hand, I had the feeling that sometimes plain fun is your agenda. Is there a main concept behind 12rec., have you got a special intention or message while releasing free music or is it just a fun project?

Sven: Both is true, actually. It's definitely important to us that people recognize the Creative Commons license we're working with; that listeners are aware of the fact that our music is free, in a political sense, if you dare. And we're glad to be a label rather than one of these faceless file hosters! Despite our stylistic versatility, people know that there is no bullshit up at 12rec. Maybe the label concept sounds dated in times of UGC but this bit of nostalgia is something I can definitely live with.

But neither Sim nor me are out for recruiting pees for the Netaudio fuzz. The main agenda is good music - good music, good artwork and a few well-written, humours words about the music. Are seriousity and humour contrary values? Don't hope so!

On the next page you get a private peek on how the 12rec-boys produce their wonderful CDs and why they like to enjoy exploiting themselves!

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About the Author

Phlow-Author Moritz »mo.« Sauer This article was written on 20.July 2008 by Moritz »mo.« Sauer. Moritz »mo.« Sauer is the founder of and a true music lover. As a participant and journalist of the free music movement he joined several Netaudio parties in Europe including Netaudio Nürnberg, Netaudio Barcelona, Netaudio London or Netaudio Bern. Read more articles written by .