9TH FLOOR RADIO is an internet radio station broadcasting from Oakland, CA. We also produce a television show focusing on local music for Peralta TV. All of our shows (both radio and television) are archived online.
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9TH FLOOR RADIO
9TH UB RADIO
ARGYLL ADVENTURE TREE
THE BIG PAYBACK
EAST BAY OLDIES
THE ELECTRIC VELVET SOUND
ENTER THE VOID
GROUND LEVEL PERSPECTIVE
HER BLU MAJESTY
KICK OUT THE JAMES
STRAIGHT FROM THE CRATE
Established first as a fanzine, then a record label, ZUM has been a continual resource for music fans in the Bay Area throughout the '90s and '00s. Zum features over 30 releases from artists across the world.
5 Questions with Label Owner George Chen
1. WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO START A LABEL?
When my sister and I started the label, we were already doing a fanzine and were hanging out with bands and excited about music. It seemed like a natural progression to go from championing artists as a fan to helping them put their music out as a physical object. So this is the late '90s, we really went full bore into doing the label in 1999.
2. CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR LATEST RELEASE?
The newest release, and we are down to about two releases a year, is a collaboration between the UK experimental musician Neil Campbell and the East Bay musician Robert Horton. Neil is known for his solo project Astral Social Club and as a member of Vibracathedral Orchestra, A Band, and collaborating with a ton of other people like Matthew Bower from Skullflower and Total, Richard Youngs. I even found out that Spider Stacy from The Pogues has appeared on Astral Social Club records, if you can believe it!
I was just thinking about how a lot of interesting work right now is being done by reissue labels. Somehow the past seems more ripe for documentation, maybe because new bands tend to overdocument, there's no more mystique or aura when you are subscribed to someone's twitter feed and you know what they had for lunch (although I love twitter and will tell you what I had for lunch). Labels like Superior Viaduct and Dark Entries take a historical look at specific sub-genres of punk and that care and attention to detail intrigues me, as does the work that Mississippi Records and Sublime Frequencies do.
And in the longer term, I think labels that I admire were flexible about the genres they dealt in but had some kind of cohesive vision. ESP-Disk is always my go to example for true oddball variety.
4. WHAT HAS BEEN THE HIGHLIGHT OF RUNNING YOUR OWN BUSINESS?
It has been very easy to look at the numbers and be disheartened, but when someone emails me or tells me in person that a band I worked with or a record I put out connected with them, it feels like at least it was worth the trouble. Other than those rare moments, forging friendships with the artists I work with has been a highlight. Maybe I could have had those friendships in another capacity, but it definitely feels like you've bonded when working on projects with as many twists and turns as these. I don't enjoy the number crunching aspects.
5. DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR FELLOW MUSICIANS/LABEL OWNERS?
In the era we're in, we've outlived the notion that a label will come along and hand you the keys to the kingdom if you're a young band. It can happen, but mostly you've got the tools to make your own way and self-release. I'm a bit skeptical of the kickstarter world, but I've seen it work for plenty of people. For both musicians and labels, comparing yourself to others that are more "successful" can be a losing game, just as it would be if you were comparing yourself to someone at your job or in school. It's hard but trying to gauge your own progress in terms of what you're learning as you make mistakes is probably the most valuable thing. And the key to most creative endeavors is to embrace failure. Once you do that, you figure out your tolerance level for it and adjust accordingly.
You can purchase Neil Campbell and Robert Horton - Trojandropper LP at zumonline.com
Astral Social Club - Trojandropper LP = ready to drop
East Bay Express article on George Chen - Step Right Up To The George Chen Show
Keep up to date, follow ZUM on Twitter!!! - @georgethechen