|Soil versus business|
EoIpso: Suilven is a small independent label in the classic sense, run from your home on a shoestring budget. Apart from yourself, is there anybody else involved in the "business" side of things?
DPQ: In terms of general administration, it's just me. However, DAC Crowell and Kurt Doles, and a handful of close friends, contribute ideas and suggestions at all stages, as they see fit. Ultimately I enjoy the control that running a label yourself gives you, but as you say I'm working on a practically non-existent budget, and of course it would be great if someone else was willing to sort out the website and the emails so that I could spend more time actually creating new works and performing.
EoIpso: What is it about the whole Punk- and Independent ethos you say inspires you? Isn't that a thing from the past turned into a romantic vision? It might sound cynical, but these days you can buy "independence" and "individuality" off the superstore shelf. It's become a corporate marketing tag and but a fad.
DPQ: Well, you might be able to buy a t-shirt with the word "independent" written on it, but it's a different matter trying to train your mind to not be biased towards accepting the generally-accepted view without first going through it thoroughly yourself. The Independent ethos is about having control over your material and not letting businessmen get involved, and about just getting on with it, regardless of commercial success and failure.
EoIpso: So artistic integrity is what you're shooting for, right?
DPQ: Yeah, of course. If making money was my top priority, I would have been an accountant. Attempting to preserve artistic integrity is really only an offshoot of attempting to preserve personal integrity. Backing down from your ideas and values is despicable, because so much is at stake. As far as I'm concerned, the arts represent the highest human endeavour and as such you have to stick to your guns 100-per-cent. There would be no point doing it otherwise.
EoIpso: What do you think about selling music via download from the internet? Isn't that the kiss of death for the concept album?
DPQ: I am opposed to downloads, but ultimately I don't worry about it. What will be, will be. Customers will dictate what happens in terms of format.
EoIpso: Well, purists tend to think that selling music by bits and bytes will corrupt the whole artistic concept, as it makes music readily available anywhere and thus renders it trivial.
DPQ: I do not agree that making music available anywhere renders it trivial. But I don't like it becoming further and further removed from everyday reality. It's missing the point that it's enjoyable to actually go down to a record shop and look at the artwork and have a physical object containing a collection of pieces that have been put together as a set of works for whatever reasons. I certainly wouldn't want to spend all my time sat at a computer, ordering food, pornography, music, and whatever else. We could quite easily become a world of miserable recluses. I'd far rather grow the food, make the music, and so on.
The worst aspect of modern life is this disconnectedness. You're only seeing certain elements of various processes rather than the full picture. People putting lids on ice-cream tubs all day long and not eating the ice-cream. And then at the other end, people eating the ice-cream and having no experience of the factory floor. It's hideously unhealthy. This is sort of what I was getting at using the title "Severed From The Land" for last year's album. A few years ago, I was thinking about writing a book called "Soil versus Businessmen" which is a similar idea again. I suppose it's very Marxist.
EoIpso: As far as I know, there's a few companies who let their employees work in small teams who create end products from scratch. The idea being to make people feel more useful, methinks.
DPQ: It is mildly patronising, in a similar way to advertisements that use phrases like "you're unique", "everyone's different", "we're here to help", "the corporation that cares", and so on. It's manipulative and devious, and I expect a lot of people to fall for it. It's a mask for making money, and I'd prefer companies to just tell it like it is and not pretend that they're doing you a personal favour by taking your cash.
EoIpso: On the other hand, we have invented all these wonderful machines that can easily replace humans in inhumane working conditions, and we have to hate the machines for that, because they destroy jobs. How absurd is that?
DPQ: It is pretty bizarre that wealthy countries continue to work the longest hours when surely the aim should be to allow people more leisure time, and increased flexibility, and maybe even happiness. But of course Britain, for example, is a fake rich country. Everyone is in terrible debt, probably even the lenders! It's worrying, especially since the guy who's encouraged this is likely to be the next prime minister. It's all a facade that will crumble at some stage. The country could run far more effectively with one tenth of the jobs that currently exist. Most jobs are utterly pointless, just an additional chain within another meaningless chain of legal loophole seekers that waste people's time and waste an enormous amount of resources.
Daniel Patrick's "The Winter Hills" was the first Suilven release