On May 16 and 17th, The Church on York and Posh Isolation present “13 Torches For a Burn” in Los Angeles to celebrate five years of Posh Isolation. The Copenhagen based label and record store have curated a thirteen act bill that features an all-Danish line up- importing some of the most vital members of the closely-knit noise and hardcore scene that Posh Isolation has nourished over the years. Ice Age, Puce Mary, Croation Armor, Lower and Lust For Youth are amongst this fray. We had a chance to email with Loke Rahbek and Christain Stadsgaard, Posh Isolation’s founders, about the label’s history and their decision to throw such a massive stateside effort.
I know that there is an official 5 year anniversary show at Mayhem, which acts as the primary stomping grounds for the noise/punk/weird electronic/hardcore scene in Copenhagen. Does the fest in LA also serve as a celebration of the anniversary? Why did you choose to have the American celebration in LA? It seems that Loke, especially, has a certain affinity to LA… The latest Lust For Youth video being shot in LA with an LA based artist, Cali Dewitt; the Croation Armor track, "LA Hills burn at the peak of winter"… Do either of you feel a connection to LA or is this all incidental? Does the sunshine and palm trees in contrast to Denmark speak to your desire to create your own pleasurable world with the music that you create and release?
Loke & Christian: These two celebrations feel very different. The Copenhagen one is in its nature very much for us and the people connected to the label. Friends celebrating friends, so to speak. Over the last few years, however, a lot of the Copenhagen scene has spend a vast amount of time in America and we have strong ties with certain ”scenes” over seas: The Ascetic House, Sacred Bones, Cult Of Youth, Pharmakon, Nothing Changes, Hoax, Zen Mafia, Death Shadow records etc. And now, the new Los Angeles venue The Church on York. When the offer came to host a festival stateside it was obvious that we would say yes. Especially working with people that we know and that know us.
Loke Rahbek: Los Angeles is a strange place, one of the strangest i know of, i still cant decide if i love it or hate it, but i have never been there without it being a series of unusual experiences
Christian Stadsgaard: Baudrillard famously compared Disneyland to the rest of Los Angeles, and I think it is really spot on. I had the feeling of being inside a very large pinball machine when we were there with Damien Dubrovnik in February. The whole mythology of the city of angles, the shadow if the iconic movie industry, the endless highway system, the potential of "making it" in one way or the other, all that makes it a very exotic backdrop for i guess everybody regardless if they are coming from LA or anywhere else in the world
I want to know a little about the creation mythology of the label and your relationship to each other. How did you two meet? When did you decide that you wanted to work together both musically and in a business sense? It is interesting that the first Posh Isolation release, 'For Loviatar 12"' was a self release. Was Posh Isolation born with the paramount vision of serving yourselves and releasing your own work?
Loke & Christian: The label was started as many other labels of its ilk to put out our own music. There were no ”industrial” labels in Denmark and the obvious choice was to make one rather than go looking abroad. When Posh Isolation started there was nothing you could call a scene in Denmark and the first year was pretty much us and our friend Klaus Hansen, doing different constellations and trying out different approaches. That aspect has changed drastically and today there is a strong community and more and more people seem to get involved. Our role has not changed much, we present what we think is the best and what feels important.
Loke: We met many years ago at a noise show in Copenhagen, Christian had been booking shows for years and I had just barely realized that noise even existed. What led us to start recording i am not sure, maybe because there was no one else?
Christian: Since we both came from different DIY backgrounds I don't think we thought of it as something very extravagant to start a label. And I hope that our label can inspire other people to do the same no matter where in the world they live.
I think it was a question of timing: We met at a time where we both needed new inputs, and that eventually led to Posh Isolation and the bands related to it. We had no idea it would lead to this when we first started, but the need to explore and expand has always been at the very core of our label, so in that sense its not really a surprise either.
I know that the label's name could have been taken from the Belle and Sebastian song "The Boy With the Arab Strap) as in "Anything is better than posh isolation". Can you speak a little about the name choice for the label and the discrepancy between the music that your label releases and enjoys? It seems almost strange, in one sense, to take inspiration from something so twee. On the other hand, it makes total sense…
Loke & Christian: The label name is taken from a belle and Sebastian song, you are right. Besides that it is a name, like so many others it means a million things and nothing at all.
When and how did you decide to open a store front? How do you think that the storefront operates as a function in the close knit musical community in Copenhagen? Is it a reactionary need to serve the scene, which is regarded as quite prolific and active? Can you take assume part of the responsibility for this as a central force in what is happening there (alongside Mayhem)? What other labels are active and important in Copenhagen that you feel are more overlooked by fans from overseas?
Loke & Christian: The idea of the store was an idea long before it ever got realized, it was something we would talk about once in a while and then forget about, because it felt like too much work. Then we ended up in a situation where we had the space anyway and really all we needed to do was to go from calling it an office to calling it a store and there it was. Physical spaces are an essential thing in any small community, a place where you can go to talk to like minded, share ideas, buy a record or just sit around. In that aspect we dont really think of it as a store, it is a meeting point, a bar, a community center, a dark room.
There are a few small labels operating in Copenhagen, the newest and perhaps at the moment the most exciting is the new tape label ”Blodrøde Floder” with only three releases out so far they already managed to set a strong mark and we would recommend everyone to look their way.
Do you intentionally only release work that you think mirror your aesthetic sensibilities? Do you insist on very particular presentation of releases? How do you decide upon artwork?
Loke & Christian: There are things that are Posh Isolation and things that could never be, it is a difficult thing to really debate.It has always been that way and from the beginning we have been very aware of this aspect, we have no dream of becomming a ”record label” in the normal sense of the word even if a lot of what we do is in fact that. The curative side and the visual side and the stories have always been incredibly important and no less now. Most releases do not start out with a kick or a synth line or a riff in a rehearsal space. We want it to stay that way.
How do you envision the label growing, both musically and otherwise? It seems that you have been able to pull off more straight forward art curation branded as posh isolation… Is this of interest to you? What would you most like to accomplish together in coming years?
Loke & Christian: We wish to do more of what we have been doing, to be better, to continue to explore.
Tickets are still available for 13 Torches for a Burn at Wombleton Records, Permanent Records, Vacation Vinyl, Mounth Analog and Origami Vinyl in L.A., as well as online through ticketfly.
SEXDROME (last show)
HAND OF DUST
LUST FOR YOUTH
SINGLE DAY TICKETS ARE $16.
LIMITED TWO DAY PASSES REMAIN FOR $20
DOORS AT 7PM