Interviews > Collide
NOISEPLUS MUSIC // COLLIDE
An Interview with kaRIN & Statik of Collide

Interview by Jett Black
Photos Courtesy of: Collide.net*

Take a walk inside Noiseplus Music studios (Hollywood, CA); an artist run independent music label promoting under one umbrella the creative talents of its artists, currently including: Collide, The Secret Meeting, and the fashionable accessories of Saints & Sinners, which reflect the crafty, original designs of Collide vocalist, kaRIN.


FOUNDATION & EMPIRE

"Due to dissatisfaction with the music industry, COLLIDE began their own record label, Noiseplus Music, and decided to self-release."

What was so dissatisfying with the music industry that would necessarily lead to the development of Noiseplus Music?

kaRIN:    Basically we put too much of our life energy into the music to turn it over to someone who did not see the exact same vision.

Statik:    Also, we weren't getting paid what we should have been. We'd have to buy our own CDs at wholesale prices, and not get paid royalties for even the CDs we were buying. The record company was losing artwork. We could just see that it was a losing battle.

What (if anything) has changed in the music industry that would dissuade you from starting up Noiseplus Music if you were inclined to consider initiating the music label tomorrow.

kaRIN:     The whole way that music is purchased has changed since we originally started releasing CDs. I have to imagine it would be even harder to start now.

If nothing, then how has the music industry continued to build upon the basis that you originally found so dissatisfying?

kaRIN:    Now it feels dissatisfying in a different way. Music in general seems to be less important to people, or at least the act of buying music is less important. The economy is struggling and music purchasing music seems to be low on the totem pole. Why buy music if money is tight and you can get it so easily for free.

How has Noiseplus Music helped you each, personally and professionally, to establish and progress, and even accomplish goals that otherwise might have eluded the reach of your hopes and dreams for any musical endeavor?

kaRIN:   Awhile back I might have said we were a shining example of a band that could release the music that they wanted in an underground genre and could manage to afford to support themselves. Sadly, now my opinion is changing. Unless something changes, we will need to evaluate if we can afford to release CDs without enough support in the form of people buying music.

Statik:  It always has been an uphill battle, but it feels like swimming through cement. It just keeps getting harder. I think we are making better music with each release, but the truth is, that the numbers continue to go down. I don't know why. At some point the work to reward ratio just gets too off.

What disadvantages do you recognize by accepting to maintain the challenge of independently producing and releasing music to the masses?

kaRIN:    I think it is difficult for a lot of people in music now.

Statik:    I recognize that file sharing appears to be here to stay. What I don't get is why people take it into their own hands to put an album of ours on file sharing sites. When we did pre-sales, the only people that had the album were about 200 people who had bought the record from our own website. Within a day of those people getting the album, it was on file sharing sites. Some person who ordered directly from us decided they would take it to their hands to decide on how other people could get it for free, and deny us any possibility of stopping it. It just boggles my mind why someone would do that if they really like a band. It's sabotage.

What makes the indie music challenge worthwhile?

kaRIN:   The satisfaction of making a tangible piece of art that you can look at and listen to. Also, the idea that some people get something out of it besides ourselves.

Statik:   Hearing from people who really like the music.

What do you believe Noiseplus Music makes available to those who would seek out or randomly encounter music released by the label that the corporate music industry either neglects or is simply unable to provide?

kaRIN:   We are just not the big hit makers writing songs that appeal to the masses.

Statik:   We're putting out the exact record that is in our heads...from the music to the art to everything in-between. We do it all.

What differentiates the Noiseplus Music experience from other indie music labels that may compete for the attention and financial support of same or similar audiophiles?

kaRIN:    Nothing other than the flavor of music that you enjoy. Really it should all work together...most people with a taste and appreciation for music like to enjoy a lot of it and each different thing has something to offer.

Statik:  So far, it's just us on the label. Or at least a very close family. We put out Collide, The Secret Meeting (us with Dean Garcia), and SPC ECO (Dean Garcia). I always wanted people to have the 4AD or Wax Trax records experience... to be a label, that if you like one thing, you will probably like everything that we put out.

How is Noiseplus Music willing to personalize the audio experience for each individual who chooses to devote attention and support during these difficult economic times?

kaRIN:    Make music that is pure and from our souls. If that is not enough, that is all we have to give. That and give extra good service from our Noiseplus store. We want to make sure that each person has a great experience ordering from our store.

Statik:  People should know that we stand behind what we do... from the ordering experience, to shipping and receiving the music. We try to give people who order from us something extra that they wouldn't get elsewhere... a card or poster or something… in turn they should know that ordering directly from us is the best way to help us to continue to make music.

Beyond NCIS serials, please describe how you would idealize infusions of Noiseplus Music recordings amid the plethora of entertainment media possibilities. For instance, Spartacus serial episodes vs. Avatar franchise sequels; Halo vs Assassin's Creed gaming soundtracks; Gillette vs Audi broadcast advertisements. In other words, how do you identify, characterize, and envision your music flourishing in the entertainment rich consumer market?

Statik:    We've been lucky enough to make a few good acquaintances in the TV and Film business. Literally, if it wasn't for that, we'd be in a tough situation.

kaRIN:   Our music is very atmospheric so it works well.

Behind the scenes, how is Noiseplus Music productively allocating its human resources during this bitterly cold winter of a dawning decade?

kaRIN:    Hmmm...not sure if I understand the question... our human resources are doing whatever it takes to make the ball spin. We have a lot of stuff going on here.

Statik:   We don't have a big staff. kaRIN has her design business, and we both help do everything that it takes to run the music label.

ARTISTIC HUMANITY?

kaRIN:    I think magic is like happiness...it's evasive and you can't expect it...you have to manifest it yourself or you will be forever seeking.

How might this statement translate into the day-to-day modes of operation for Noiseplus Music? A shut-in lifestyle vs the public relations of shaking hands & kissing babies. Where and how do you strike a personally and professionally acceptable balance?

kaRIN:    There is not a ton of extra time around here...besides creating, we only have time to spend with our dogs and a few pals.

Statik:     We aren't shut- ins, but we don't go out a lot. We're just really busy. We try to maintain a very open relationship with our fans online.

Personally, I find it essential to break rules randomly in order to revitalize and re-enforce the message behind each rule. What rules does Noiseplus Music recognize and uphold? What rules do you believe were made to be broken; and why?

kaRIN:    The only one rule for us is to make music that we love while we still love doing it...other than that there are no rules. That is a rule that we would not want to break.

Statik:    We don't have a lot of rules, which I think is what has worked for us.

What bridges (indie/non-indie) has Noiseplus Music built within the music industry?

kaRIN:    Our biggest connections, or bridges have been with the TV and film industry. Other that that we are lucky to be surrounded by writers, zines and magazines that are still passionate about music.

Statik:    We've done our best to build more bridges on the actual distribution of cds, but that has been a hard one. Luckily, as time goes on, and more people buy music through places like iTunes, it seems to become a little less important.

Since its inception, how has Noiseplus Music chosen to navigate between industries in order to survive and thrive?

kaRIN:    We just navigate everything we can as best we can on a day to day basis. This last couple of weeks have been extra hard because our beloved dog has been diagnosed with bone cancer. It feels like nothing else really matters to me at the moment.

Statik:    We have had to learn lots of different things, besides making music... and that's no small task.. singing, writing, producing, and mixing... here's a whole business side of accounting, maintaining databases of contacts, learning the ins and outs of artwork, web design, of commerce.

In the broadcast media of CNN and the like, individuals, small businesses, and corporations appear to be scrambling over one another to be seen donating physical, artistic, and financial support for disaster relief and service efforts in various international ports, especially Port au Prince, Haiti. How might Noiseplus Music feel compelled to get involved? If so compelled, how and why would you actually choose to provide any support or service?

kaRIN:    There are so many great causes to get involved with, we are always open to help with different causes and have helped with several in the past and would love to do much more.

GAME PLATFORMS

This writer's co-habitating home/office budget dumps excessively into the multi-faceted world of interactive gaming opportunities. What mindless video gaming entertainment outlets do you choose to explore?

kaRIN:    I have no time and no interest in video games. Statik on the other hand loves them. So to each their own... if you get something out of them then why not... Statik finds them relaxing and entertaining. I on the other hand find them stressful. If I had children I would probably be one of those mothers who did not want my kids playing games that had killing and violence. When I watch them I think something is wrong with society... well that’s just me.

Statik:    I have a PS3. I don't play that much, just for a couple of hours at night once in a while. I just don't have the time to sit and play for 10 hours straight. If I do, I just see my list of other things that I should be doing.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Please list any of the online social networking tools employed to engage fans of Noiseplus Music.

kaRIN:    All the usual suspects:
Facebook
The talk to yourself : Twitter
The now defunct cespool of spam known as Myspace

RISK: FILE SHARING

"All music downloads from Noiseplus Music are DRM-free files, meaning that there is no copy protection. With this in mind, we would appreciate it if you do not share the files with all of your friends, and do not upload them to file sharing sites."
Obvious question: Why take this risk?

kaRIN:    There is no choice... the music is out there and some people will help themselves... all you can do is try to put faces to the people that they are stealing from in hopes that they will understand their actions do have an effect. I think people like to think that it does not matter... but when everyone thinks that way, it definitely matters.

"As file sharing goes up and actual CD sales go down, we need all of the help we can get." [Opposites Excite, Nov.25, 2009]
Smells like artistic exploitation. Setting the love of music for the sake of creating and enjoy it aside for just a moment, what is the actual business-model point of continuing? How does this makes sense (dollars & cents?) in terms of quarterly earnings reports?

kaRIN:    We love what we do and want to be able to continue to afford to make music... so for now we will just move forward and hope for the best.

Statik:    It just comes down to it takes x amount of time for us to make an album, and we can look at the last couple of releases and go... we'll probably make xx amount on the next record. If the amount goes too low, then it's just hard to justify spending the time and money to make it. I can't tell you how many hours go into making a Collide album, but it's a lot. We're talking months and months of time. I wish I could make it go faster, but it just happens as it happens.

SAINTS & SINNERS: ACCESSORIES

I am having a wonderful time exploring saintsandsinners.tv; a remarkably beautiful online design layout with so many gift ideas! I keep finding my way back into a section on Leather Accessories... mmmMMMmmm! I just love the look of it; imagining how that supple leather must feel. Please tell us all about custom design features crafted by Saints & Sinners. Mmmm, especially all things leather.

kaRIN:    Thank you Saints & Sinners is my design site. We make tons of cool items. I was a designer long before I was a musician and must say by now I am pretty good at it. I feel very lucky to have been able to survive one way or another doing what I love to do with no compromises. We promise to surpass your expectations. Everything we make is individually handmade and top notch in quality...made with heart and soul. I think it is the same as music...you can tell the difference. Check it out at saintsandsinners.tv.

SPECIAL PACKAGES

Collide Complete Music Package. One of the buyers of this extraordinary package writes in review that she actually "broke down crying"! What about the Collide package compels such a passionate response? And, please tell us a little bit about how this Collide package made such an impact upon the woman who received it.

kaRIN:    We love that sort of response.

Statik:    That was a good response... but when you get all of the releases in one lump purchase, it is a lot of music... 11 cds, the dvd and a bunch of downloads...That's a lot of listening.

Biking with Statik? Statik appears in the promotional photo to flaunt a formidable physique against a backdrop of an immaculate sunset sinking into the foothills of a breathtaking mountain range. I imagine that this experience would be unlike the many times that I tried to tune in my favourite radio broadcast while commuting to grade school by bicycle. Please tell us where the photo was taken; and also any relevant details about the experience offered by this special package.

Statik:    It was one of the local mountain bike trails that I go on. It's just one of the few outside the studio experiences that I have grown to love more and more the last few years. We just thought it might be something non music related that a few Collide fans might also be interested in.

Please tell us about any of the other packages offered in this series.

kaRIN:    I have to admit, we stole the special package idea from Josh Freeze who is an amazing session drummer who has worked with just about everyone. He made a very clever campaign on his website offering all sorts of cool stuff. The button marked special packages will take you to the wild wonderland that is special things you can do with Collide... including things like have us sing you happy birthday... have dinner, or create with us and of course go biking with Statik. If you beat him to the top... we give you lots of prizes.

Statik:    You won't beat me to the top though.

How might readers navigate a web browser to explore any of the special packages in this innovative series?

kaRIN:    See above and poke and click...it's all there for your perusing pleasure.

Statik:    Noiseplus Music

SECURITY! SECURITY!

Using Authorize.net credit card processing services, "Noiseplus Music never has access to your credit card information, and therefore, it is not kept on file." Now that sounds like you really know what you're doing. Why is it important to provide this level of security when handling transactions via NoisePlus?

kaRIN:    It is really important to make any experience be the best that it possibly be at the Noiseplus Store. If you are going to accept the responsibility of people's credit cards, you of course what it to be as secure as it possibly can be. In general, our store motto is to go above and beyond to give people the best treatment that we possibly can.

Statik:    We just think it's important that we're trying to be as professional as possible.

COLLIDE:   IN FOCUS

Most engaging, I believe, is the wide selection of music videos available via Collide.net, some of which I believe are also accessible via YouTube.com For instance, the "Breathe" and "Time" acoustic music videos convey some aspects of the interactive process of creative development in the studio that were wrapped into the Like the Hunted DVD (2005). I read at Collide.net that such sessions proved inspirational for the subsequent production of your latest full-length album release, entitled "These Eyes Before" (2009).
How do you prepare for such interpersonal creative developments?

kaRIN:    Just dive in I guess.

Statik:    I guess the point is that sometimes you don't expect certain things, so you just go with it.

What approach do you elect to take or elect to avoid when developing toward the finished product?

kaRIN:    Try to put heart and soul in and give it all that you can until you are pretty sure that it is the best that you could make it.

Statik:    I do a lot of making reference CDs, or constantly updating an album on my iPod, so that I can constantly listen to how each song compares to the next one, and how everything sounds as a whole. Sometimes it takes me a while to decide on what I think about a particular song, so it's just listening and listening outside of the studio. Then, when I go back in, I know exactly what I'm going to change.

When did you know & decide that These Eyes Before would be a goal that you would pursue and accomplish?

kaRIN:    When I was growing up... I spent my time with my friends who all had guitars and we would play and sing every song we knew. Consequently I am that person who can sing a few bits to a million songs. Later, I began writing my own songs. Doing this cover album felt like an homage to all the people who had inspired me in music, as well as to my roots of playing and singing with my friends. When we choose the covers on These Eyes Before we picked songs that we loved. Although we could have totally mutilated the songs like we did on our cover of "Son of a Preacherman", we wanted to stay true to the songs integrity while still bringing our own flavor.

Statik:    I think kaRIN came up with it back around the making of our DVD. We had the next few years mapped out.

Had it occurred to you then in the studio during the sessions for Like The Hunted?

kaRIN:    I can't remember when the thought crossed my mind.

Statik:    Maybe not right in the studio, but right around then.

What significant details must be involved with any developments toward releasing a covers album such as These Eyes Before?

kaRIN:    Picking songs that you love and making sure to get the proper clearance to do them.

Statik:    I think the biggest thing going through our heads when doing most of these songs was just not to really mess them up. They were all so good to begin with, we could really go wrong, if we changed them in the wrong way.

Speaking of These Eyes Before, I just played the photoshoot teaser video for that album release; another example of the behind the scenes activities surrounding production and generating the almighty buzz about production. This one looks like it was really a lot of fun to develop.

Statik:    It was something that our photographer and friend Dave Keffer put together without us knowing, so that was kind of cool. A few days after the photo shoot, he just totally surprised us with video.


Thinking back across the many video productions that you've developed over the past dozen or more years, which one(s) would you pick out as the most fun and creative video production experience(s)? What made it all so enjoyable?

kaRIN:    All of them... because each one is different and has special things to it. We have worked a lot with Kevin McVey on our videos and he is always cocking up something totally crazy. On our first video he had stuffed animals fighting with stuffed fruit. It was so out there that it was absolutely hysterical to watch as they duked it out in front of a church. Things like having a huge water truck dump cold water on me in the cold desert. I was shocked when the water first hit me because it was so cold. Lastly, like filming the live DVD with a huge crane, as I sang I watched the crane swoop around the audience and come dangerously close to their heads.

Statik:    They all happened so quick, it's hard to remember. It's always like---go here, stand there, do this, do that, and before you know it, the day of filming is done.

So what's happening now? Taking a break? Or are you already working on the next Noiseplus Music release?

kaRIN:    We are slowly but surely working on new music. Too soon to tell any details though. We are just letting things unfold for now.

Statik:    The tough part of creating is that sometimes it goes fast, and sometimes it doesn't. We're just getting started on song ideas, and we really can't make it happen any faster than it happens. Sometimes, it's just working through it, and keep trying until something comes out.

And, how do you unplug? The proximity of Hollywood nightlife must provide a plethora of enticing opportunities. What comes to mind when you think about how would you like to spend an evening? What do you end up doing instead?

kaRIN:    Actually music is my unplug... I love to just sing to sounds I have never heard before and see what comes out. It is the making it all sound good part that is work. Other than that I just like to hang around with my dogs. I used to go out dancing in Hollywood all the time...but not so much anymore unless friends of ours are playing.

Statik:    like to go biking... fresh air, and a bit of sun, and some exercise.



Related Collide Music Videos (original song versions):


                 






[Like You Want To Believe]      [Razor Sharp]                  [Euphoria]


* Photos (credits listed in order of use):
1) Chad Michael Ward
2) Peter Benke, Artwork by kaRIN
3) from Euphoria Video by Kevin McVey
4) Chad Michael Ward
5) Matthew Cooke
6) Saints & Sinners - artwork Photo Courtesy of: DVS
7) Glenn Campbell
8) Chad Michael Ward