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INTERVIEW: Nonclassical On New Project Outside The Lines
Patrick Clarke , March 29th, 2017 14:42

The contemporary classical music label speak to tQ about their major new project, launching at this weekend's Independent Label Market

This weekend, on 1 April, the Independent Label Market returns to London's Old Spitalfields Market, with an array of the industry's brightest and best names, from Bella Union to Heavenly, Matador to Warp, represented in force.

Among the most notable labels on the bill, however, are East London's Nonclassical, who celebrate the launch of their new project 'Outside The Lines', a series of EPs showcasing the finest in contemporary classical music, showcasing emerging artists and offering them the chance for a place on their mentorship and development scheme.

The first of the EPs will be on sale as an exclusive limited run, alongside the label's back catalogue on CD and limited vinyl, featuring artists including Gabriel Prokofiev, Aisha Orazbayeva, Tansy Davies, Klavikon and remixes from Thom Yorke, Murcof, Max de Wardener, Tim Exile and Hot Chip.

Below, the label's A&R consultant Nick Luscombe and executive director Eleanor Ward, speak to tQ about their new project, taking us through the details of Outside The Lines, the artists they're featuring and the future of one of the most forward-thinking names in classical music.

Can you tell me more about each of the artists featured on the Outside The Lines project, and what each brings to the table?

Nick Luscombe: It's a pretty varied bunch for sure! From clarinet and percussion ensemble NasDUO and cello trio Tre Voci, to electronic artist Tom Richards who has a background in sonic art, sculpture and music.

Eleanor Ward: He recently built Daphne Oram's unfinished 'Mini-Oramics' machine and has built his own modular electronic music system to create all kinds of polyrhythmic improvisations.

NL: We've also got a brilliant new piece from composer Dani Howard, music from the Tempest Flute Trio, remixes from Koltur, and Mathis Nitschke together with cellist Anja Lechner.

They each bring something different and unexpected to the overall mix - we've tried to cover a lot of bases with this first one… although we are of course only hinting at the scope of the amount of talented musicians and composers out there.

Tre Voci

How did you go about choosing the artists featured? Who approached who?

NL: We decided to have an open call for work via our networks and mailing lists as well as checking in with artists we are already keen to support. Dani Howard for example is someone I've been aware of for a couple of years, and this compilation was a great way to release her first commercially available track.

EW: We'd promoted Tom Richards' live gigs before, and were keen to release some of his electronic music on the label. And then Tre Voci performed Alex Nikiporenko's 'Modus Triplex' at one of our live events at the end of last year and we knew that we just had to have that as the opening track on the EP.

Is there a particular common thread between all of them that made them suitable for Nonclassical?

NL: Well first up the music has to be amazing, so that's the most important common thread here, then after that it's about making sure the selection flows and feels right overall.

EW: Nonclassical is all about driving the evolution of new classical music – be it instrumental, vocal, electronic or experimental. We're interested in pushing the boundaries of what people think is 'classical music'

NL: Nonclassical is many things, but at the core it's a platform for exciting new work from emerging artists.

Do you think it's more of a broad representation of the scope of the current contemporary classical music scene, or more of a detailed look at one particular aspect?

NL: Outside The Lines is really about bringing a wide variety of composed work to a bigger audience, so we like to keep it broad. It's a big scene so we want to represent all corners, and that's the plan as the series develops.

EW: We want to reflect the diversity and breadth of exciting music that's happening throughout the contemporary classical music scene - in London and beyond.

Can you expand more on the mentorship scheme? What specifically will you offer to these artists that they might not otherwise have?

EW: We wanted to create a collaborative process where we work closely with artists, and provide support for their work across the board. To this end, we're looking to provide recording opportunities, and work closely on developing them as artists, in terms of commissioning new work, funding advice, curatorial and live opportunities, and marketing support. We will be looking to work with and release full LPs from a number of the Outside the Lines' artists in the future, which ties into our artist development and release strategy.

Can you tell me a little more about the release schedule?

NL: All I can say right now is that it will be regular and will feature between 6 tracks per release! We are reviewing work constantly and also looking how we can most effectively build coordinated live events around each release that best benefits the artists included.

What are your aims for the releases?

NL: To showcase the work of new artists and to let the world know that Nonclassical is here and actively looking to reflect and help develop a fascinating area of modern music.

I'm told you've a rebrand coming up, though much of the details are still under wraps. Is there any more info you can give me about that?

EW: Nonclassical has been reflecting a lot recently – on what it's achieved over the last 10 years and what we want to achieve over the next 10 years. We wanted the brand to reflect our attitude to forward-thinking and boundary-pushing music in the 21st century.

NL: It's fresh and we love it….

Nonclassical feature among a host of labels at the Independent Label Market at London's Old Spitalfields Market this Weekend, find out more here