Frequency Domain

Location: London

Est: 2015

Potted history: Frequency Domain is run by Ali Wade and Paul Gannaway, who records as Southfacing. The pair became good friends back in 2000 when Wade used to publish an electronic music magazine called Overload.

“Paul was our bluntest record reviewer,” recalls Wade, “in fact, I’m still apologising to people.”

While they were both releasing music in the early 2000s, they only began working together around 2011, culminating in an album in 2015, which friends suggested they should release. 

“After a half-baked attempt to get other labels to listen to it, we decided to put it out ourselves,” says Wade. “After that, a few artists sent us some great tracks and here we are, 10 releases in.”

Mission statement: “Like most small labels,” offers Wade, “Frequency Domain is a distillation of our own tastes – broadly speaking, hypnotic music that’s a bit frazzled around the edges and strikes a good balance of harmony and discordant tension.”

Releasing on tape and CD so far, they say that most sales are through Bandcamp. “No other platform comes close to what it offers artists and labels, and its reach is growing all the time,” says Wade. “We’re not on streaming sites, which does make it harder for people to find us. Quite often though, someone buys up our whole back catalogue at once, so I guess we’re doing something right!”

Key artists & releases: “Selling out of Anthony Child’s tape felt like something of a milestone,” says Wade of the imprint’s third outing, catalogue number fd003. “Of course, he’s well known as Surgeon, but it’s a pretty odd release. The title track is a 19-minute atonal drone piece that really seeps into your cranium. Jóhann Jóhannsson bought a copy too, bless his soul.”

The second volume of their very fine ‘Partials’ compilation series has just landed and acts as a fundraiser for reforestation projects (see review, left). Next up is an album from Colorado’s Patrick R Pärk, who Wade says has a “unique musical vision”.

Future plans: Having been established since 2015, the duo are starting to see titles sell out. “Paul’s pleased, as he can get in the cupboard under his stairs now,” laughs Wade. “We focus on just two or three releases a year, which feels sustainable long-term. It’d be nice to look back in 10 years and be happy with everything we’ve put out.”

Any other business? “Starting your own label has never been easier, but with so much music coming out all the time, it’s hard to cut through the noise without a sense that you’re just adding to it. Our advice would be to release music you love, have realistic expectations based on time you put in… and be 100 per cent transparent with your artists!”

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