Various Artists – Proximity One: Narrative of a City

11th Annual Compilation Album Nominee

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Record Label: Proximal Records

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Home base: Los Angeles, CA

Work submitted: Proximity One: Narrative of a City

Which genres of music are represented on this compilation? Electronic, Hip-Hop, Funk, Electro, IDM, Dubstep

Proximal Records

What is the common factor or theme between all the songs on the compilation? All of the artists featured on the compilation are natives of Los Angeles, currently living in the area or part of the growing electronic music movement here in LA.

What was the reason for the compilation? As Proximal Records’ debut release, we wanted to introduce our roster of artists while placing them in a musical context that was really relevant and included artists that were influential to their sound. The electronic music scene is Los Angeles is undeniably the genre here with the most growth in the last several years, spearheaded by artists like Flying Lotus and Daedelus. Our artists were brand new to the public and very much influenced by others in Los Angeles so we loved the idea of pairing them together – the established artists and the up-and-comers – to give the listener a snapshot of electronic music in LA, everything from hip-hop to IDM to funk.

Why were these songs selected? We solicited tracks from some of our favorite LA-based musicians and culled it down to the final 18 tracks. We were amazed and humbled by the support and contributions we got from so many artists as a brand new label. The tracks on the album were separated into chapters based on subsets of electronic music we felt they represented. Our aim was to have the compilation cover a lot of musical ground but also remain cohesive and that’s why we utilized the chapters.  We imagined a listener might throw on our record and drive all the way from Santa Monica to The Valley  to Downtown LA and everywhere in between with our comp as the soundtrack. That’s why we called it Narrative of a City – we wanted it to be a representation of electronic music in Los Angeles at this particular moment in history.

How will the compilation be distributed? The compilation is distributed through all major digital outlets as well as being available on 12” vinyl through our website and record stores around the world. There was also a limited CD run for sale in Japan.

Who is the intended audience of this compilation? Initially we wanted to produce a record of LA artists for LA audiences, but as the project grew we realized that any music fan could appreciate what was happening in our local scene. The audience is lovers of electronic music, people interested in the music scene in LA, laptop musicians and producers, and of course fans of the artists featured on the compilation. We had support from traditional electronic music outlets like XLR8R and Resident Advisor but we also were chosen to be part of the NPR First Listen series so we hope that the compilation was able to reach listeners who maybe weren’t as familiar with electronic music before.  

Why did you choose to submit this work to The 11th IMA’s? We put in two full years of work on the compilation and are really proud of the final product and amazed at the caliber of artists and music that we were able to bring together. It was a group effort and the record is the first statement made by our label Proximal Records as a new voice in LA music, promoting our local creative community to the world.

How will you leverage your IMA honors? As a young label all we can ever strive for is exposure and new fans, so we’re hoping that the IMA awards will introduce us to  a whole new audience.

Are digital singles/EPs vs. full albums the future? Our artist Sahy Uhns had a great answer for that one so we’ll refer you to his page where his album An Intolerant Disdain of Underlings is nominated for Electronica/Dance album.

Are compilations harder or easier to promote/sell? Please explain. Like any record it depends on the strength of the material. Certainly with a compilation you have the possibility of bringing in the fanbase of 18 different artists (in our case) as opposed to just one artist which is great exposure. However, with most people buying their music on iTunes or other digital outlets, you also run the risk that people will just buy the single for the artist they like and ignore the rest. We tried to make our compilation have a central focus and concept so that the tracks make more sense as a whole then they do as individual parts.

How will musicians make a living if fans continue to expect music to be free? Fans don’t expect music to be free necessarily, they just want to be able to hear it for free so they can make up their mind about whether or not they like it. People aren’t spending $15-$20 on something they’ve never heard anymore. If artists want to sell physical goods they have to put out a unique product with something that their fans can’t get in the digital version – whether that’s part of the art and design of the packaging or additional media that’s only available on the physical version. Musicians will continue to make money touring as they always have and licensing their music for film/TV/commercials which is more popular than ever and continuing to grow.

What don’t fans/audiences understand about the music industry today? We’re all fans aren’t we?

Finish this sentence: The music Industry is…always changing.

What do you have in the works for the upcoming year? We have EPs coming up from Proximal artists Wake and Lawrence Grey as well as an EP from The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (rapper NOTE and producer Simon Muschinsky) that we’re really excited about. We will also be releasing the next and fifth installment of our Beat Stew free mixtape series in the next month or so, keep an eye out for that on our website and Facebook page.

Where fans can find you and your music: