steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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lucky kitchen records
Hey look, it's an interview with Lucky Kitchen Records, the legendary found-sound/video game music/field recording/"neo-folk" label.  Yep, these are the guys that use all that cool homemade stuff in their releases.  Remember the cd packaged in pajamas?

1) How (and when) did you start Lucky Kitchen? How much did it cost to get it up and running?

Alejandra Salinas, Aeron Bergman and Daniel Raffel started Lucky Kitchen on a dark and stormy night in New York City, 1997. We only made 42 CDrs with handsewn baby jammy and sandpaper packages, so it was only about a hundred dollars total. (Plus postage to send them out.) A few years later in Spain, Alejandra and Aeron continued the label activities alone, by then the costs were several thousand dollars.

2) How did you recruit all the excellent artists and musicians for the lk003 and Find More Hits?

Each one a different story. Matmos for example, asked us to play with them on the radio WFMU, and then we asked them to do tracks. Sachiko M. (and Otomo) slept at our apartment in nyc when they were over doing shows. To Rococo Rot we met after they played a show at Kim's on St. Marks NYC. We gave them one of the 42 handmade CDrs, LK001. Most of them we know somehow, and a few of them we just emailed and asked very politely if they would give us a track.

3) How did you decide upon with the name "Lucky Kitchen" and what does it mean?

It is a cross between two of our favorite restaurants in chinatown nyc. Chinese restaurants have such cool names that sound so vague, and so evocative at the same time, and frequently have to do with luck. So we wanted to have this feeling of luck, and also of cooking.

4) Where ever did you get the idea for the Lucky Kitchen concept (found sounds, etc.)?

Fine art studies and personal history. Thats a long story.

5) The whole story behind "bostonpopsonreverbformydeadgrandpa" is really weird. Could you explain a bit more about it, like how did you find the package, etc?

It is all true, Aeronīs grandfather bought hundreds of tapes in bulk, and he couldnt use the last bag becuase he died. So Aeron took it home and made this project. It was really hard to open it becuase he knew his grandad had packed it with his hands.

6) What is the most interesting/weird demo you've ever received for Lucky Kitchen?

Ann Leplantaine gave us a demo, and it was really good and strange. Her whispy voice and casio crappy organ make such a combination. It didnt really fit our label however, but anyway, she is releasing music now on Alice and Wonderland / Noise Museum in France. However, mostly the people who send demos are more interesting to us than the music we get. We try to talk with them when we have time, because they must feel a kind of connection with us if they go as far as sending a demo. We havent released any demos yet however, which we are very sad about. Despite good intentions, we have yet to fall in love with a demo. Please someone, send a really good demo out of the blue!

7) What type of stuff do you listen that isn't related to Lucky Kitchen?

Anything we can. Historic music, art sounds, satie, noise, lots of folk music, it depends on our mood and the radio stations. sometimes radio plays, alot of electronic music...

8) What would happen if you became the world's most popular record label? How would you create all your beautiful homemade packages?

We are constantly debating how to make our packages. We are getting to the point where we don't mind printing so much, as long as it is not the standard jewel or digipack thing. However, there are few printing places who are willing to do strange things. We found some in spain, although they think we are out of our minds. We think if we get much bigger we will do small editions of handmade, and large editions of totally printed. As it stands, we do hundreds of hours of hand work on each release, but we don't know how we could keep up if we had to do big editions.

9) Speaking of homemade packages, what have you got planned for the future?

We just did a handprinted book at the Extrapool art center in Nijmegen, Netherlands. the people there live for printing and helped us every step of the way. it is gorgeous ink on thick old book paper, full color (up to 5 passes on the rizograf printer, it is not offset printing...) Otherwise, we will make several more fancy paper envelopes with cool inserts. It is great to find old printed matter collecting dust in a shop somewhere.

10) What inspiration do you get for the packaging? Where do you get the ideas?

We are always looking. Kids packaging rules. Japanese CD aesthetic is great, but the mass production aspect of it is not. We go somewhere between thrift shop hunting junk aesthetic, and japanese craft.

11) Situation: You're walking on a sidewalk to wherever you need to go. A rabbit with a gun hops up to you and says "Give me your entire Lucky Kitchen catalogue or I'll shoot!" To prove that he's serious, he shoots a hole in the sidewalk beside your foot. You ask, "Well, do you want one copy of each cd, or my entire stock?" The rabbit smiles. "What do you think?" he asks, "I want one each." He sounds sarcastic. "I WANT ALL OF YOUR STOCK, SMART-ASS!" He says, in a seemingly more serious tone. You check your pockets for possible knives, or other weapons. All you find is a toothpick and the rabbit sees it and demands that you place it down onto the ground. So you place it onto the ground. The rabbit then rips off his face and reveals that he is actually a giant frog in disguise! But he still wants your entire Lucky Kitchen stock. What do you do?

We hand it over. Right now just about everything is sold out, so we would only be giving this giant frog about 50 CDs. Then we'll ask him to do a cd for us.

12) What fine stores would one find your releases in? What distributor (if any) do you use?

Usa / Canada: Forced Exposure. Dutch East India

UK: Baked Goods

France: Ici d aillures. Amanita

BeNeLux: Lowlands. Kraak

Germany: A Musik

Japan: Digital Narcis

Spain: Arsonal

Shops, many, but not enough. Generally the shops that like music themselves rather than just the money are into Lucky Kitchen.

13) What makes you smile?

Daily life. Fresh, well prepared beverages. Old people when they are cranky, or just walking along nicely. Seeing our enemies crushed before us and hearing the lamentations of the women. ; )

14) What would you say are your strongest musical influences/idols?

No idols here. Everyone is human, and we dont buy into the fucked up genius myth. But we learn something from everyone.

15) What is your favourite colour?

Depends on what color is next to it.

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