We talk to Robert Raths about timeless music and his DIY music ethos while offering you a sneak preview from his new album
Robert Raths started Erased Tapes back in 2007 as a stable to release some of the world’s most sublime and diverse, electronically tweaked, organic music. With over 30 releases, Raths splits his time between Berlin and London, yet Erased Tapes has a truly global perspective. From the angular, computer post rock of Japan’s World’s End Girlfriend to the acclaimed Icelandic multi-instrumentalist songwriter and composer Ólafur Arnalds, whose prodigious strings and piano are interwoven with meticulous bleeps and beats into stunning scores that have seen him sell out London’s Barbican through to concert halls in China. Raths brings a transparent honestly and total passion for new music through the impressive aesthetic of Erased Tapes. With the release of Erased Tapes Collection III, we have an exclusive sneak peak of the album for Dazed Digital readers. Click here and use the code: MY-FREE-ERATP030 for access.
Dazed Digital: What would be your mission statement with Erased Tapes?
Robert Raths: I feel like an explorer that comes home from a long trip to bring back exotic spices in the shape of new music. Everyone should be able to relate to this sensation, when you first experience something otherworldly. Once you’ve discovered it, you just can’t imagine life without it. Or as Oliver Wendell Holmes once said: ‘A mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.’ And it’s a feeling that I’d like to share. Because I always fear that otherwise this music might remain undiscovered.
DD: With the different acts that feature there’s timelessness to the music, is that an immediate feeling you get from your artists?
Robert Raths: Sure. I guess it’s the way I read music. I look out for the little things. Mostly the gaps in-between the lines, consciously left blank so that people have room to let their imagination run free.
DD: Do you consider yourself a young label? I say that because it seem that you approach the label with a certain young, DIY ethos mixed with an older school aesthetic?
Robert Raths: I think the label has a bit of a DIY character due to the fact that I never planned on running one. My background lies in architecture. It somehow works as I’m used to developing many aspects within one project – treating every single one of them with the same attention and enthusiasm. As for the old school aesthetic, all I can say is that I’m a very hands-on person when it comes to packaging. I definitely believe that there’s still value in physical things, like letters, books, papers, records, something tangible. At the same time I’ve always embraced new technologies and ways of communicating. I believe in the fusion of the traditional and digital.
DD: What do you find most inspirational about the artists?
Robert Raths: Their restraint, decisions that benefit the atmosphere of the concert or the recording. When tiny little flaws, like the ones you spot in the people you get to love, become unique footprints that distinguish them from others. When they don’t just think about their own musical abilities, but start thinking about the instrument and the room they play in, its acoustics and its history. I also can’t wait to reveal our latest signing. It’s some sort of harmonic Robitussin in the shape of a monolith, straight out of Stanley Kubrick’s “Space Odyssey”. And I guess as long as I feel this way about the music we release we will be alright.
Erased Tapes Collection III is out on Monday June 20, 2011