Sophie Hutchings & Julia Kent - Earth Bound (Thesis 006)
Chris Adams & Oliver Doerell - Fragmented Stasis (Thesis 014)
Takeshi Nishimoto & Roger Doering - Nigatsu (Thesis 003)
Loscil & Seabuckthorn - Viscous (Thesis 002)
Thesis Label Showcase
Celebrating the amazing Thesis imprint coming to the Quiet Calm Records Store our own DJ Deep Field (founder and currator of QCR) put together a mix of his favorite pieces from the label.
We truely are thrilled to be working with Gregory Euclide (the man behind the incredible cover art of Lubomyr Melnyks - Corrolaries on Erased Tapes).
Featuring some of our favorite musicians like Ben Lukas Boysen, Dustin O'halloran, Loscil, Rauelsson, Oliver Dorell & Roger Doring to name but a few, the Thesis project involves collaborative projects pressed to 10” vinyl with handmade packaging.
Could you briefly introduce each of the avenues that Thesis has?
We have several different arms to the project.
THESIS PROJECT - Where I ask two musicians to work together on a 10” project
THESIS PRINT/TRACK - Where I ask a musician to collaborate with a poet or visual artist
THESIS RECURRING - 1-minute loops paired with photos that exist on an app platform
THESIS DRIVE - Lengthy compositions intended for travels out or in.
THESIS ARRANGEMENT - Where an artist is asked to rearrange an existing piece of work.
The term Thesis can be defined as ‘a statement or theory that is put forward as a premise to be maintained or proved.’ With this in mind, what was your intention when the label was founded?
I was going by this…. late 14c., "unaccented syllable or note," from Latin thesis "unaccented syllable in poetry," later (and more correctly) "stressed part of a metrical foot," from Greek thesis "a proposition," also "downbeat" (in music), originally "a setting down, a placing, an arranging; position, situation,"
I like the idea of an unaccented syllable or note… I felt like starting a vinyl-only project was going to be tough. The type of music I release, in the grand scheme of music that is being released… is certainly the unaccented type of music. It is a small swath of society that listens to this type of music.
I wanted to make a project where musicians were paid upfront for their work - where musicians had the space to collaborate - where the product was handmade and original.
Many here will have discovered you through your amazing art emblazoned across the cover of Lubomyr Melnyks incredible work ‘Corollaries’. Or through your beautiful interpretation of the iconic Erased Tapes logo. It’s quite a unique style, was this a method you invented or does it have a name and history?
I invented it for me… that is to say, I didn’t research it and try to do something I had seen. I was working on the board at school using dry erase markers - doing drawings during my lunch hour. I would spray the drawings away to erase them… one day I just touched the board with ink and saw this beautiful explosion of the ink following the water along the non-porous surface. I then started making a drawing a day for a long time. I learned new things about the material as I worked.
You are very artistically involved with Thesis but also very administratively involved. How was it moving from Artist to Curator and (particularly as these are collaborations) Facilitator?
I’m a fan first and foremost… I make money through art and I take that money and offer it to musicians to create projects. I received a lot of help in the beginning from Taylor Deupree. From then on it is like one friend asking another… “hey, do you want to do this?” Everything is done with a virtual handshake.
In the write up of the latest release featuring Mark Peters & Clem Leek, Mark states “As the format of Thesis releases is collaborative in nature, Gregory asked if there was anyone I would like to work with on a project.” Do you normally pick one musician and ask them to select a collaborator or will you connect two musicians yourself?
Sometimes I know I want to work with someone and I ask them if there is anyone that they have been interested in working with. Sometimes I have a very specific pairing in mind.
Do you feel that music as an artform lends itself more easily to collaboration then other forms of art? If so, why do you think that is?
I suppose so, because of the nature of the recording process… or the performance. If you don’t like the way something is going you can change or add a track or delete a track… With visual art, you don’t really know who it is going to work until you do it, and once you have done it… there usually is no going back. I can’t tell you how many times I have had a work of art in front of me that I like, but I want to push further. So, I try something.. And it fails. I now have a failure in front of me. The original work that I liked is gone. In music, there is not that finality. You try something, see if it works, if it doesn’t, you simply try again doing something else. So, I think in that respect it is a lot more forgiving in the process.
As the label grew I could tell we shared the same taste in music, which is no small thing as it is an ear refined over many years and countless hours of exploring. Now that you are approaching twenty releases on the main imprint does the catalog look how you imagined it would when you started, or have you discovered and featured new musicians you weren't aware of?
I’m always discovering new musicians. I think a project like THESIS RECURRING has really helped with that. I get a lot of submissions from people wanting to be a part of RECURRING that I have never heard of before - really great material. As far as our catalog… When I look back on it I am very happy with what I have been able to help bring into the world. I have never had a master plan, we don’t do marketing really… it’s just a lot of work to make everything by hand. There are so many steps in the process. I never really have enough time to plan too far into the future. I’m always working on the last release.
I suppose I wanted to work with the musicians I was listening to. I have been able to work with many of the people that I was listening to. It has been a real honor to make work for these musicians. Of course, there are projects that fell through or people didn’t respond to requests… but all in all, I am very proud of the music.
Now I might be completely wrong (maybe this is just a dream I had) but I seem to remember reading that you painted on stage while Lubomyr played and then the print was auctioned off at the end of the performance.
I did paint on stage with Lubomyr in London, Berlin, and in Brussels, I was on stage with Nils and Lubomyr. We never auctioned off the works. I gave one to Robert and he had it in his home for a while, don’t know where it ended up. And we gave one to the Echo Collective who lived in Brussels and played with AWVFTS when I saw them live.
What is on the horizon for Thesis?
20 seems like a good number to take pause. We used to be vinyl only. People demanded digital. We did that, sales tanked. I got discouraged. I slowed down the entire process.
I have not planned anything further than 20. I asked Corey Fuller and Richard Skelton to do the 20th release. I wanted to go out with a BANG!!! And I know that album will be astounding.