“Ketacore Records is a small record label and (even smaller) party organisation, without a fixed style or planning. We don’t like to hype our products with pseudo-intelligent vocabulary about the depth of the emotional works of our genius artists. And we surely don’t claim to be underground, intelligent, or hardcore.”
– from the Ketacore Records website
1 – How and why did you come about starting Ketacore Records?
We (Joris a.k.a. Capslock and Stefan a.k.a. Baron Staalhard) met when we were teenagers, and we both shared the love for gabber music, which was super popular back then. We preferred the weirder and harder stuff, and grew into the breakcore scene, because it represented the simple concept of ‘no boundaries’. This scene was gaining attention worldwide thanks to the internet communities like C8, Widerstand and gabber.org, and locally in The Netherlands thanks to promoters like FFF. We both wanted to contribute to that scene, we wanted to create, and help artists getting their music out there. So after a while of hesitating we decided to release our first compilation vinyl in 2005. For Joris (a.k.a. Capslock) this was also the best way to get his own music released. We had nothing to lose, so we just did it.
2 – When you started Ketacore Records, were there any labels that you could say were a reference/inspiration for your efforts?
Our biggest inspiration was the Irritant label run by our friend Pisstank. Because he released all kinds of stuff he liked, not bound by scenes/genres or anything.
3 – Almost mandatory question, how did the name “Ketacore Records” come about?
Around the millennium, we used to visit various rave parties in London and we would see people lying in foetal position on the floor all night. We heard that they had used too much ketamine, and to everybody else it seemed a normal way of conduct. We found it so totally ridiculous, and came up with the term Ketacore, not even as a label name, just as an insider’s joke. Back then all kinds of music genres that ended with “core” were popping up, and we liked to ridicule that too. Also, the drug wasn’t known yet in Holland, and it sounded a bit more obscure then it does now! So, when we needed a label name, we picked Ketacore. I designed the Elephant logo, because ketamine was originally used as tranquilizer for big mammals. And animals simply make great logos.
4 – Since the inception of Ketacore Records, are there any events in the history of the label that you’d consider as particularly relevant, from difficulties and setbacks to successes?
A big difficulty was Keta003 (the 7″ by B.Slave). A mysterious pressing error made some copies skip on the turntables. We couldn’t agree with the presser on that (grrr…), so we ended up with a bunch of semi-bad records. We sold them anyways for cheap, with a note that explained the errors. We donated some of the proceedings to http://www.savetheelephants.org/, so people that bought it were saving Ketacore’s financial situation as well as actual elephants.
5 – So far what would you consider as special highlights (or successful) releases and artists in the history of Ketacore Records?
We’re still really happy we got some really cool tracks from Maladroit (AUS) and Bit Shifter (USA) for our second record. Mostly, we release tracks by local (Dutch) people, but it was cool to do something more international.
6 – Are there any releases in particular that you would recommend as good ‘introductory material’ to the Ketacore Records label?
Probably the forementioned Keta002, because it’s quite diverse. But we’re working on another compilation CD/CD-R which will be even more diverse – stay tuned for more info.
7 – Looking back, do you have any regrets with the label? If you could go back and change something, what would it be?
We regret that it always took (and still takes) us ages to get something done. But well, we both have day jobs and busy lives, so nothing to do about that. And maybe Joris regrets the name “Ketacore” a bit because it can be wrongfully interpreted as drugs-promoting, which might put off some people. But then again, it is also a great way of filtering out humourless people! So yeah, whatever, we still like it!
8 – An obvious question, but what is Ketacore Records’s ‘relationship’ with the Internet? From promotion tool and digital sales to file sharing and piracy, how has it affected you?
We love it! We love it all! We used the internet to get to know a lot of music, and we want to return the favour. We uploaded all MP3s of our vinyl releases, it’s the best way of promotion. Physical formats will probably always exist, and will hopefully go well together with digital promos and digital sales.
9 – Slightly related to the previous question, how do you see the concept of ‘netlabels’ and, as a labelhead, what is your perspective as to the future and evolution of physical media (CDs, vinyl, etc)?
Most labels that started out as physical-only label are now also doing digital releases, for obvious reasons. There will always be digital-only netlabels, they’re a great way of getting stuff out there. Netlabels are practically the same as file-sharing, you will have to search well to find the good stuff.
10 – Perspectives for the future, what lies in the horizon for Ketacore Records? Can you share some long-term goals and where would you like to see the label heading to?
We’re working on a new CD-R release with contributions from a lot of friends. Besides that, we also would like to do some more digital releases, and limited vinyl. We will probably maintain our focus on compilation releases, because there’s so much cool stuff from so much different artists. And we want to continue to do small intimate parties with original line-ups, because there are enough bigger organisations that do bigger parties with bigger names. If we had more time to spend on the label, the long-term goals might be bigger, but that’s simply not the reality right now. We’re having lots of fun, meeting great people, and just doing our thing. We hope to be doing that for a long time!
11 – What other labels/artists would you recommend at the moment and why?
The Antilounge label does an annual showcase CD with new electronic music talent from the The Hague area. They also book those artists for their parties, which makes it a great project. We got to know awesome artists like Mutellat and Riven through Antilounge. Also, our friend FFF recently reanimated his Orange Socks label. He just released a cassette-tape by ?NGST called “Still grim up north”, which we really like! And for the rest: listen to our podcast on Connexion Bizarre!
12 – Thank you for your time, do you have any final comments?
Thank you for asking us all of the above. It’s good to reflect on ourselves for a change!
— interview by Miguel de Sousa & Kate Turgoose (January 2011)