Experimental label of love sounds off

Three of the founding members of Aether Everywhere gathered together at the VFW in Winooski on the afternoon of Nov. 7, announcing a weekend of revelry. Aether Everywhere is a combination label, forum, blog and news outlet dedicated to all things experimental: noise, drone, ambient and sound music. The project initially rose out of Nest Material, a psychedelic/experimental band that featured Tanner McCuin and JB Ledoux, two integral members of AE. While this collective was in the midst of establishing in 2005, McCuin and Pure Pop co-worker and AE co-founder Josh LaClair began a radio show at the Radiator. This combination allowed them to make connections, eventually spiraling off into creating a label and a Web site. “After playing music for awhile in Burlington, we met others who had already recorded music and wanted an outlet for [their music],” Ledoux said.”I’m a web designer by trade. It was inevitable that we put the output online, and create a community around it,” Jay Blanchard, the fourth integral membe of AE who met Ledoux at a Sonic Youth concret said “Since the first batch [of material], people have come to shows and asked to put stuff on. We’ve never turned anyone down,” Ledoux said. “The five of us [the four, plus Matt Mayer] then listen to the material and we decide; it’s a democratic process,” Blanchard said. “The majority of the artists on the label are bedroom recorders; they record and work on their tracks on four tracks or Garage Band. Most of the music is lo-fi,” Ledoux said. Currently, there are 12 groups of artists, but “most of them are incestuous,” Blanchard said. As a result, “each project is created by an individual, and every collaborator on the project has to take a backseat,” McCuin said. “It’s challenging because we’re not in a rock band, developing our sound. Instead, we have to adapt to heavy psych one day and ambient the next.” One of the most important aspects of AE is the forum. “It helps establish a community; it’s the biggest social end [of AE],” Blanchard said. One of the most comprehensive experimental music forums on the web, it attracts people “from the label, the Burlington and Vermont community and from around the world.” “It’s a community of people who love music and incorporate it. It’s supporting of people who are producing music, to give people praise and advice. It allows for a transition from recording to playing live shows,” Blanchard said. “In the future, AE hopes to promote shows in order to bring bands together, promote the label and the community itself,” McCuin said. While the fan base in Burlington and the surrounding area is small, “this type of music doesn’t lend itself to fair-weather fans.” Although the fan base is small, “the style of modern music has fractured off; everything is a subgenre,” McCuin said. Furthermore, Blanchard said, “Artists are catching up to the taste of the audience. People who are fans are glad that there are these shows.” More importantly, while it is difficult to attract fans for live shows,” said Blanchard, “we take the approach that we have a niche in Burlington, but we get people on a national and international scale through technology. We could be doing this on a deserted island.”The group of four core members, in addition to advertising and art guru Mayer, finds that “the type of music we play is looked at as more of a multimedia form. Not just music, but as a method of communication,” Ledoux said. In the future, Ledoux continued, “our goal is to get people from the New England area to play here,” Blanchard said. “We’re in a transition from free download [of the music] to physical release. We’re embracing a marketing campaign and bridging ideas.” “It’s an interesting prospect, to maintain a recognizable aesthetic while expanding. It will take a lot of preparation to make sure that it’s up to snuff,” McCuin said. “While experimental musicians are sexual dynamite, they are not so social, typically quiet people,” Blanchard said. Performing, then, brings “people who are the shyest, quietest, mild mannered guys to their more natural state on stage,” he said. Truly a “label of love” – “we’re making fun,” said Blanchard.