Zang:: an interview with Pål Asle Pettersen and Helge Olav Øksendal

Managed by Pål Asle Pettersen and Helge Olav Øksendal (known for his solo music work as HOH), this Norwegian record label focuses on experimental electronic and electro-acoustic music and it is also the hub for several initiatives of performative experimental sound-art.

Zang:1 – How and why did you come about starting Zang:?

We realised at an early stage in our career as composers/artists that it was possible to get professional with our music as a company, earn money, promote our music / our kind of music (through our label and arrangements). Zang: was then started as a company due to the formal necessity.

2 – When you started Zang:, were there any labels that you could say were a reference/inspiration for your efforts?

No.

3 – Almost mandatory question, how did the name “Zang:” come about?

We were looking for a name for our company, and when reading through a history of modern art we came about the word zang used by the surrealists/dadaists. [zang: an onomatopoeticon, a word without meaning, just as a sound].

4 – Since the inception of Zang:, are there any events in the history of the label that you’d consider as particularly relevant, from difficulties and setbacks to successes?

No. On the contrary the development of zang: has been based upon slow, but thorough progress.

5 – So far what would you consider as special highlights (or successful) releases and artists in the history of Zang:?

The album, “HOH: Bestemor” is our most selling release, even played quite a bit on the radio. And several of our releases, f.x. “Pål Asle Pettersen: Kompromisasjoner” and “Broken Line Remixes”, have achieved excellent reviews in various music magazines.

6 – Are there any releases in particular that you would recommend as good ‘introductory material’ to the Zang: label?

Both “Broken Line Remixes” (z:017) and “HOH: we can work it out” (z:018) are good introductions to the zang: label. Featuring artists like HOH, Pål Asle Pettersen, DJ:WOO, QRT, Sindre Bjerga, Jan m Iversen and Anders Gjerde.

7 – Looking back, do you have any regrets with the label? If you could go back and change something, what would it be?

No regrets.

8 – An obvious question, but what is Zang:’s ‘relationship’ with the Internet? From promotion tool and digital sales to file sharing and piracy, how has it affected you?

It’s our main channel for promoting our music and building networks. Our music is for sale through mail-order, but not through digital distribution channels.

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)?

Netlabels are a really good idea. Zang: hasn’t so far had time nor skills to develop it. When it comes to the evolution of physical media I think we are conformists, and produce in the media most used at the moment as far as we can afford it. However we really wish to produce some vinyl releases in close future!

10 – Perspectives for the future, what lies in the horizon for Zang:? Can you share some long-term goals and where would you like to see the label heading to?

The most important goal is to achieve a better distribution-network and to raise the quality of our outputs production-wise. Artistically, to keep it up.

11 – What other labels/artists would you recommend at the moment and why?

We recommend Anders Gjerde’s label, Humbug, and his music. Other good local labels are Gold Soundz and Tibprod and the duo Bjerga/Iversen. We also recommend Nils Henrik Asheims music. More fine labels: Krakilsk, Apartment Records, Healthy Boy, Ambolt, Fuck Subtle. Artists: VASØK, NES, DJ:WOO, QRT, Stine Motland, Paal Nilssen Love, Noxagt, Ultralyd, Moha & Athana.

12 – Thank you for your time, do you have any final comments?

Besides own releases on Zang: (as HOH, Pål Asle Pettersen, Zang:), we have the honour of representing: Stine Motland (z:012), VASØK (z:014), Massaccesi (z:016), Roel Meelkop (z:019, out soon) and the compilations: CRITICAL MESS #2 (z:020) and zang:mini festival (z:008) as well as remixes of Frode Gjerstad, Steve Hubback & Anders Gjerde (z:005) and Nils Henrik Asheim (z:007 & z:017).

Relevant links

Zang:

— interview by Miguel de Sousa ( 2008)