Don Ludwig, Antina Michels and Raimund Reintjes prepared one - if not the most - exciting creative commons festival in 2009. Netaudio Berlin 2009 will present nearly hundred artists, groups or music projects making noise in the free culture movement called netaudio. Since weeks music lovers from all over europe wait for the festival. We interviewed Antina and Raimund to get to know what will happen in october in Berlin.
After two years the second Netaudio Gathering in Berlin will open its gates from 8th to the 11th of October. Who is taking part in the Netaudio Berlin Festival and who are the main creators of the event?
Who is taking part? It would be a long list if we were to mention all the artists, speakers and participants! Solely the night program from Thursday to Saturday contains close to a hundred artists, groups or music projects. The free daytime program on Friday and Saturday is also packed with workshops, lectures, discussions, showcases and various art installations resp. performances. It would be better for you to flip through the lineup on our website.
Your second question is a lot easier to answer. The main driving forces behind the Netaudio Festival Berlin are – ladies first – Antina Michels, a European Ethnographer and author of the book about “Netlabels – social networks on- and offline”, Don Ludwig – free Graphic Designer and long time Netaudio activist (Pentagonik, Netlag etc.) and Raimund Reintjes, an Event Manager and Netaudio Supporter, who emblazed the initial flame to the Berlin Festival activities in 2007. But without the network of activists: Henry, Sarah, Jon, Timor, Kevin, Kirsten, Hannes, Volker, Saskia and some more friends surrounding us, a festival of this velocity would still only be a dream.
What is the main driving force behind your engagement for the free music movement, also known as creative commons music or netaudio? Why do you have such a love for this culture so that you spend so much of your time creating such a festival?
Raimund: It’s the strong belief that there should be a fair and a strong relationship between the artist (formerly known as the producer), the music (formerly known as the product) and the listener (formerly known as the consumer). Creative Commons on the legal – and netlabels on the physical side of life provide the best starting point. I have realized in the past 15-20 years to re-organize the perverted relations within the music business we have to start from the very beginning, to bring the whole thing back on its feet again – but so many artists, music lovers and professionals are working on this subject.
It’s exciting to see the growing impact and effects this movement has had on the rules of the game already. Music is basically something to touch your heart and soul – not for the profit of a few big companies. Netaudio is bringing dignity back into the music business by eliminating the financial aspect as the roots of engagement. This is not the end of the story – but it’s meant to wipe out the conditions of greed and replace them with an economy of trust and attention.
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Antina: The festival is the practical realisation of more theoretical thoughts in my book. The festival also stands for the “face to face” interactions, stepping away from the internet as Andi Studer from the Netaudio Festival London 2008 has previously remarked: “The offline festival for online music.”
Netaudio needs the real life physical exchange – and thrives from it. The participants and guests will have personable experiences together; strengthening the relationships already formed online and making new friendships face to face. These contacts can be valuable for musical and artistic collaborations which become possible by the connections made at the festival, as an example the Trioon project which is a collaboration between J-Lab (former Netaudio London, now Berlin), Dr. Nojoke (Netaudio Berlin) and Servando (Spain, now Berlin). The Festival also allows the artists to promote themselves, to be heard and to raise their profile.
One aspect of my personal motivation is the practical/my experience of a ‘community of practice’ – (a form of collaboration in a team, which is based on- and offline communications, a learning concept developed by Lave and Wenger) working and learning together under the recent circumstances like project orientated, temporally limited collaboration. It facilitates the in-sight in collective, co-working and (co-) learning processes. I have to admit that my research instinct comes up sometimes ;)
Another aspect of my motivation is the opportunity to bring people from different cultural backgrounds together, to give them the possibility of exchange, for example in discussions. In equal measure more informal meetings are important and motivating: having fun together on the dance floor, listening to music, chatting, catching up and networking at the netaudio fair. In this way ‘offline contexts’ and a feeling of belonging are created. This gives the possibility of remembering ‘former’ online friends more enduringly than if it were just left at a single online contact.
What has changed during the last two years? What can we expect from Netaudio Berlin and why should we come?
Raimund: mo. – you should be coming because we invited you to moderate a round table discussion about online distribution and the role of netlabels as a hinge between the “market” and the creative output of the artists! All the others should come to watch you of course…
Ahem… ok, we’ve invited a few more experts for an informative daytime program. There will be some 40 netlabels presenting themselves – so if you are an artist and in search of top level contacts within the netaudio scene – we have a plethora of them. And if you love exploring the progressive developments in music & styles you should not miss our widespread night program with all sorts of electronic music like Techno, Minimal and House – but also Dubstep and Drum’n’Bass, Triphop and Nujazz, Pop, Dub, 8-Bit, HipHop, Techdub and especially the Experimantal Stage at the opening night on Thursday… The variety of styles is one of the main attractions, also the extension of the festival which now starts on Thursday. We have also extended the daytime program - which now has two long afternoons and three parallel branches of activities. We have also upgraded to a better venue – which has provided us with some better working conditions. We do not have to squat in order to have enough space…
In spring you called for entries. Now the program is finished. How many entries did you get and under which criteria did you choose the artists? What was your main goal?
We got roundabout 150 entries. But through a multi-leveled procedure and also through the required amount of information we tried to support requests from those artists who really wanted to get involved in this specifically – and not just in any other festival. We tried to give some extra support to artists from Eastern countries. So we have now announced artists from Ukraine, Belarus, Hungary, Czech Rep., Slovakia, Turkey, Russia, Poland, Morocco and Serbia – and we hope that they all get visas and permission from the authorities to play in Berlin. Other criteria were mainly subjective. We’ve chosen what we liked the most. Around half of the program is filled with artists from the “Call for Entries”, the other half has been asked by our bookers if they would like to take part. We thought this would be a fair arrangement between our own ideas and the offers from the communities.
When organising and inviting musicians and artist to such a happening like Netaudio Berlin, I’m sure everybody has their own favorites. Which musicians or artist are your favorites and what do you yourself not want to miss?
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Netaudio Ping Pong: partly music performance, partly a game for all to play.
Raimund: As I have been in charge of the booking for the Experimental Floor and the Dub & Techdub Floor you’ll find nearly all my favorites here. For sure I am also very happy about a whole bunch of artists on other floors – and I helped on decisions with one or two of the others. But to be honest I am really proud that we can present something like the Experimental Floor on Thursday.
There has never been such a line-up at a musical event before. It is a unique combination of artists and due to the nature of their music you would never normally see them billed at this time, on this day, in this setting, so we are very pleased to be able to offer them and the visitors this treat. Here we have about eight representatives with extremely creative and free minds, experimenting with sounds and musical atmospheres all combined on one floor! And the Dub & Techdub Floor on Saturday contains a close to perfect selection of my personal favorites. I can’t live without one or the other release of their music on my mp3 player – always ready to sweeten my days…
Antina: The most interesting thing about a festival is a variety of styles, not only music genres, but also varied forms of presentation like musical showcases, audio-visual performances, films, discussions, workshops, lectures and ping pong sessions. Personally, I’m especially glad to welcome reggae, dub and 8-bit artists in the night program and also to have more experimental, downtempo and ambient artists in the day program. The netlabel showcases will open up the possibility to chat, network and enjoy the music at the same time.
Besides music in the evening Netaudio Berlin also focuses on other creative commons art forms and has some knowledge to offer. What exactly?
We are showing, for example, a selection of CC-movies from Stefan Kluge of VEB Leipzig – who informs us about the ideas behind CC movies and also why they even allow these movies to be used for commercial purpose… Then we have the netaudio ping pong game, an interactive game which uses netaudio sounds. We also have some field recording projects with concerts, sound- and net-installations as well as an exhibition on netlabels. Also there are a lot of discussions about various aspects of CC on the daytime program.
In many contracts with the musicians you “signed” the music of the artists. Do you plan to offer free live recordings afterwards?
We will record the whole festival for our own documentation and maybe for live streaming – but also we might release some of the recorded material afterwards. There are only a few artists who do not want that. In matters of post-festival releases we are maybe a little more interested in the intellectual outcome of the day program. We’d love to think about spoken word releases like lectures and discussions. There are enough netlabels to release high quality netaudio music. But there is no such thing like a publisher for CC-audio books resp. intellectual creative commons.
Only here and there you’ll find single releases of this kind. We would like to develop this aspect. But we might also release some live sets of the music program. If everything goes well we might broadcast a live radio and live net-radio from the festival – but the venue is very difficult for that. During the next few days we are investing a lot of time, energy and also some money in trying to set up an infrastructure for broadband streaming. It would be so nice - and also appropriate…