Fake Flamingo is a pseudo-record label/philosophical music project that asks musicians to release double singles, under false monikers. Escaping preconception, the artists are free to experiment. Below, I discuss the project with “Johnny”.
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Dingus: Who are you and where did this idea come from?
Johnny: Most of the folks behind Fake Flamingo Recordings are located in California. We are all involved in a number of different music projects, from labels to bands to publications. Late in 2011 we were having a discussion about the allure of being able to create art (be it music or visual) without having to worry about any of the ramifications of preconceived expectations, which tend to cloud the work itself. We thought that creating an outlet for musicians to just create was a worthwhile endeavor. This certainly isn’t meant as a condemnation of business-as-usual music, it’s just a pathway that chooses to leave out much of the less rewarding parts of making music in order to foster creativity and get rapid feedback.
Can you briefly explain the project for my readers?
Essentially, we are releasing a digital single each week of 2012, created by artists working under a pseudonym. Some of the artists are well-known, others are at the front end of their careers. The single is dropped on Bandcamp every Wednesday as a pay-what-you-want download. In order to encourage people to actually pay for the downloads, we will be pressing up a limited edition 12″ vinyl record each time the proceeds reach $1k and 100 people who actually paid for the downloads will receive the record for free.
What is the philosophical goal of releasing under a pseudonym?
This approach came about during a discussion with some artists who expressed frustration with having to constantly respond to their previous output. Their new work was always being compared, dissected, and analyzed based on metrics outside the merits of the music itself. Working under a pseudonym is a somewhat common occurrence in the visual art world where it is used by artists to explore styles and themes outside their known approach without alienating their core fans and supporters. We thought we’d apply this methodology to the music world.
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An interesting approach. How has the public been responding to the project thus far?
The response from the public has been great thus far, we are starting to see an increased interest and appreciation of the project. More importantly, the response from the artists has be phenomenal. The experience is proving to be exactly what it was designed for, a free and open forum to be creative.
With that said, it’s been interesting to how willing the public is to pay for downloads when they can’t see a person on the receiving end of their contribution. Even though it’s understood that nobody is making money on this little endeavor, I can certainly see where there is a structural disconnect between giving money directly to an esoteric project rather than a human being. We’re hoping that the promise of a physical object (limited edition 12″ vinyl record) dispels some of the feeling of sending money into a vacuum.
Will the artists ever reveal themselves?
I’ve been trying to think of a scenario where the curtain would be pulled back, so to speak, but nothing jumps out at this point. None of the artists have expressed an interest in doing so either. However, there have already been instances where the work has been recognized. I guess it’s all just part of the project, seeing where it goes and whether the artists behind the tracks get outed along the way.
The record sounds great. When do you think that will be coming out?
I would love to start pressing some records soon, but it all depends on the willingness of the community to pay for downloads. The theory is that a buck here or a buck there will add up and we’ll be able to make something archival to mark the project, but it remains to be seen whether we’ll be able to generate enough funds to start the vinyl series.
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Is there a time frame? An end to the project?
I think it’ll be a one year experiment; it’s kind of refreshing to have a start and end to things.
What have been some of your favorite projects so far?
Bypassing the expected response of “It’s hard to pick a favorite”, I’d have to say that my three favorite tracks thus far are by Muir Moor, Moss Point, and Oscar Llapso. Those folks really pulled together some amazing tracks that fit within the concept of the label.
Is there any future for Fake Flamingo as a label?
It remains to be seen whether the project will continue after we complete the 2012 cycle. There are a couple ideas floating around for another project in 2013 which would take a different approach. The label is just a platform for the artists, so if abother good idea comes around we’re open to it.