Bristol-based Zamzam Records is a music label run by charming duo Heloise and Olmo Uiutna. Zamzam is mainly devoted to experimental music or noise with likes Sudden Infant, Druss, Negra Branca or Gnar Hest under it's belt. Olmo comes from a tiny village in Italy, which is located near Florence. He studied art in Florence and new media in Geneva. His interest in graphics, art and sound is imprinted in the whole aesthetics of Zamzam Records, which he started with Heloise four years ago when he moved to Bristol. "I wanted a fresh start in a new city. Label is actually perfect for meeting new people, finding new spaces for creative activity and eventually your place in all that," says Olmo during our skype intreview. The latest release on this label is a record made by Czech sound composer Střed Světa. His unique style of creating bizzare and cohesive sound collages is again ever-present. The mix that Olmo put together consists of tapes that were released only on Zamzam label. You can download it for free on A2LARM soundcloud channel. Don't miss interview with Olmo below. We talked about symbols, tapes, Bristol and why it's working so well as a creative hub for various artists and music genres... and many more!
Gnar Hest - Do not trot downhill, churl
H - Noctua (from the split tape - Sudden Infant/H)
Uiutna - The Sky Was A Land Over The Mountain
Holy Hole - excerpt1 (from tape Plan Z)
Anthroprophh > S.O.A.D in various forms
Nundata > a1 > from the tape > The upward?-?downward path
Mark Wwagner - Mental Trasmutation Music 11
Negra Branca - Doll Mares (from tape - Touched)
Střed Světa - Hlídající prázdno from tape Oboustranně dvoudílný)
Druss - Getting In (split tape Uiutna/Druss - Fire is Qqueen)
Wizard Of Naive II - Naive I-V
What’s specific for Bristol and it’s music scene?
There are a lot of things going on in Bristol. Especially electronic music scene was always very intense here. It’s just full of different groups of people who are willing to make music together and that’s probably the reason why there are so many different music genres around here. If you want to make show or to produce music, this city is open for all that. Maybe it’s also because there are a lot of Jamaican people in Bristol who somehow give their easy-going attitude to the whole city.
When I was in Bristol, I visited a show in an abandoned police station turned into a club and practice studio for musicians. Can you find more places like that in Bristol?
Yes, Bristol is very friendly in this regard. There is no harsh noise-policy during night hours for the clubs. The Island, which is the former police station turned into a club you mentioned in your question, used to be a place where a lot of free parties were happening and now it’s basically a place where you can organize whatever show you want. I just moved from the house where I lived for four years to an abandoned warehouse. It’s a place where we live with Heloise and where we are building our own music studio. We call it Zamzam Zone. It has a gallery as well, so anyone can just organize an exhibtion. We’re planning an opening party in a few weeks, so it will be also a place for shows. You know there are a lot of abandoned industrial buildings and if you want, you can turn it into whatever you want and a lot of people are really getting involved.
You put an accent on a different symbols in your graphics and artworks. Why are symbols so important to you?
We have a strong feeling for symbols. I like to draw them, I like to think about them. It’s a different way how to communicate with the world and to understand it. I think that symbol is stronger than a word. It’s capable of describing an idea and the energy, which is behind this idea, more accurately than a spoken word. Sometimes they can work alone and sometimes I want to put some kind of a powerful emotion behind the sentence I write, so I add some symbols into it.
Whats a difference between releasing music on a tape and CD?
We did both, but in the end we’re releasing music on tapes. CD format can be good for a particular sound. If you want your album to sound more sharp, it’s better to use CD than cassette. To my mind though, CD is far less attractive format than tape. Unlike tape where something organic is going on, CD is more cold and it makes me less excited. I think this lack of interest in CDs is also related to a process of copying a record. You just put it in a computer and make it all there. It’s too easy and people who buys CDs they can’t really feel work you‘ve put into it. You can’t underestimate people who buys records. It definitely plays a certain role when they are deciding if they wanna buy it or not. They don’t want just a music, but also a piece of yourself – work you’ve put into a final product. With tapes, you got to make a special mastering for cassettes. I also have a dubbing machine for tapes, where I copy music onto a three tapes at a time. You have to do artwork and that’s another amount of work you’ve got to do.
I recently heard someone saying that he doesn’t understand why labels are doing a limited edition releases and that he thinks its just a demonstration of elitism. Your label are making limited editions as well. What do you think about that?
Yeah, I also heard this critic. You know we put our music everywhere. It’s on the internet where you can listen to it or download it. But if you want an actual object, it’s limited because its made by hands. It’s not elitism. It’s just that it is difficult to make. You also know approximately how many people are willing to spend their money on a tape. So usually limited edition is just reasonable estimation of how many tapes you’ll sell.
You’re also a visual artist. Do you use visuals during your shows?
Sometimes I like to use visuals. I got a good friend from Geneva who is an excellent VJ and I like to work with him. I usually send him my stuff that I’m gonna play during live show, so that he can prepare something before the gig. But I dont do much video behind myself when I’m playing. It has to be a proper audiovisual experience. When it’s halfway there, I don’t relate to it. In that case it’s just unnecessary background stuff. In electronic scene it’s almost like a rule that you have to have a visuals. Sometimes its really annoying.
What’s the thing that video should give to music?
I guess it should deepen your particular imagination you are experiencing when listening to the music that’s playing. The bond between music and video should be really tight and that’s of course really difficult to make. I think that abstract visuals work better with music because the image doesn’t tell you anything particular, but the power of abstract images is that it broadens your imagination and in tight cooperation with music it can open another level of perception for you.
What can you tell us about the mix you’ve put together?
I did a proper tape mix. I’ve put together my two tape players through a mixer and used only a tapes that we released under our Zamzam label. I made some list of tapes that I wanted to play, but I really went free on this one.
Last question – what does zam zam actually means?
Well it is arabic word, but in Italy or France we use it to describe the moment when magic happens. For example when magician is about to make a rabbit disappear, he says „zam zam“ and the rabbit is gone.