Interview – Machinefabriek

Rotterdam’s Machinefabriek (AKA Rutger Zuydervelt) has been crafting spacious sonic tapestries with traces of ambient, modern classical, minimalism, drone and field recordings since 2004. M3 spoke with Rutger about CDs, playing gigs and jackets covered in death metal patches…

M3 – First of all, could you tell us a bit about yourself, and what it is that you do?
Rutger – I was born in 1978 in Apeldoorn, the Netherlands. After being educated as a graphic designer, I worked for a few design agencies, before starting as a freelancer two years ago. Since then, my music making got even more attention ‘till the point where I am now: being able to live from the music. So I don’t do much designing anymore.
I make music as Machinefabriek, and I pressume it’s somewhere between ambient, electro acoustic music, noise, field recordings and drones.

What inspired you to form Machinefabriek? What is your own musical background?
After being exposed to Nirvana, Metallica, etc. Beginning of the 90’s, I got into more extreme metal territory. There was this guy at a sailing-camp, who had a jacket with patches of death metal bands on it. I wrote down all these names and went to the local library to borrow CDs form them. That’s how I discovered death and doom metal and grindcore. I even played in a doom band for a few months.
But soon, someone gave me a simple (tracker) software program to be able to create music all by myself. That, and my interest expanding to electronic music, formed the base for Machinefabriek. I started listening to drum ‘n bass and breakbeat, and from there it was a small step to Warp and then 12k.

Many people have claimed that there is no longer any money in record sales, and that touring is the most efficient way to earn an income as a band. How much truth do you think there is in this sentiment?
I guess that’s true. Though it’s getting harder to get a decent pay for a gig. But I do still release records myself sometimes, and that can also be lucrative. I’m not getting rich from it, far from, but it helps. The most efficient way to earn money though, is doing music for bigger dance, film or theater-projects.

Much has been made of the supposed death of the record store in recent years. Do you believe the digital age has killed the record store, and if so, do you think that this is a necessary part of progression, or a tragic loss?
It’s a bit of both. On one hand, it’s a pitty that it’s getting harder to find good stores, and to browse through CDs or LPs in a shop, seeing and feeling the covers, etc. But I must confess that I rarely visit record stores, and purchase practically all my music online… So I guess I’m also responsible for the death of the physical stores.

What would be your preferred medium to listen to music (eg. Vinyl, CD, tape, MP3 etc.), and why?
It seems very uncool these days, but I prefer CD. It’s very consumer friendly, and I love the size of it… Very compact… It’s more sympathetic than these huge LPs… But these have the good advantages too of course, with a lot of space for the art…

Do you feel the idea of an album, as a piece of art that people will listen to from start to finish, has been undermined or forgotten about in the digital age?
No I don’t. At least, not in the more experimental music genres, that aren’t about singles anyway. Most albums are made to be listened to from A to Z, and I don’t think that’s lost in the digital age…

What is your take on the current SOPA/ACTA controversy?
It’s not a good thing. It would be a shame if artists would get into trouble for posting their own music online. Not sure about all the consequences it could have, but it would be a huge problem if it’ll become illegal for artists like me to post music for promotional or commercial purposes. The internet obviously is my main tool to sell music, in physical or digital format.

Finally, what does the future hold for Machinefabriek?
Besides keep releasing albums, there’ll hopefully be more commissioned work for installations, film or dance… So far it’s going good, so there’s hope….

For more information on Machinefabriek, you can visit the official website and Facebook page.

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About M3 Event

The music industry is rapidly changing. The internet has enabled widespread piracy, as well as a variety of new business and distribution models. We want to offer an engaged audience in and around the Euregion an opportunity to develop a coherent and detailed picture of the future of music distribution. On the 31st of May 2012 a music conference in Maastricht, consisting of oppositional debates, creative workshops and lectures, will provoke opportunities for intellectual stimulation, debate, as well as networking. We hope to utilise the skills and ideas of some of most forward thinking minds and operators in the industry in order to highlight some promising new ideas and areas which can be improved upon.

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