For the last several months, I have been working closely with Gabe Noel to develop our contribution to the tumultuous world of online music. Initially we set out to start our own record label, however, the more we examined the reality of digital music and the changing face of the industry, it was clear that we needed to take a different approach.
I met Gabe in 7th grade Spanish class in Chicago, where by comes the origin of our name. Vosotros is a Spanish verb conjugation roughly meaning “you-all.” But since it is only used in Spain, the vosotros form was always ignored, which quickly became an ongoing joke between us.
The dynamic of our relationship is as follows: as a multi-instrumentalist and composer, Gabe has an endless supply of musical ideas - it is my job to help synthesize these ideas and make them accessible to you-all. Early on in the project, we had discussed releasing a compilation of Gabe performing across a variety of genres. This idea eventually led us to our current focus: a live monthly showcase (vosotros presents: live@land) and a complimentary podcast (vosotros presents: the lazy susan).
Each month, Gabe forms a new band among friends. They record a song together for the podcast and then perform for the first time at that month’s show in Little Tokyo. Each of these songs are released with a non-commerical, attribution, share-alike Creative Commons license and are available for free download from our website and via iTunes. Additionally, every band that performs at LAND releases a song through the Lazy Susan as accoutrement. Our hard work on this aspect of the project has been rewarding and has served to build a small community of vosotros supporters.
Although we will continue to support the podcast and live@land concert series, we are preparing our first full-length release as a label: Quiet Orchestra. Quiet Orchestra is a 12+ piece electric ensemble. The group came together for the first time in early March, recording a full album over the course of two days. The project will be released digitally later this summer and will include both music and film. As we discussed heavily in class, the biggest challenge will be trying to balance the promotional benefits that Creative Commons provides with the reality that the project is also available for sale. Cory has shown it can work for books - and I intend to make it work for music.