Torben Schmidt gained some experience about label activities working as A&R manager for the legendary Zoth Ommog and Bloodline. He set up Infacted Recordings in 2001 and signed bands like Orange Sector, Namnambulu, Frozen Plasma, Reaper, X Marks The Pedwalk, Prager Handgriff, Heimataerde, Grendel, ES23, Ruined Conflict, Xotox, NZ, Aircrash Bureau, PreEmptive Strike 0.1, Shiv-R, Torul, IC434, Vanguard… but still the own bands he’s involved with Lights Of Euphoria and Binary Park. Twenty years later Infacted Recordings became a reference when it comes to EBM, Electro-Pop and Dark-Electro artists.
(Stéphane Froidcoeur / Courtesy by Inferno Sound Diaries)
Q: Was there a kind of ‘philosophy’ when you set up your label and did it evolve over the years? How would you define your label activities today?
Torben: My main aim and intention when I started Infacted Recordings back in 2001 was to get independent and release/support the music I love, whenever possible detached from the economical side (which of course is not always possible). I was working for other people/companies before I started my own record company and experienced many good, but also quite some things, which were to be improved. I think the big advantage I had from the start was that I knew both sides, working in a record company and being an artist, producer myself.
Q: I can imagine you must have specific and explicit criteria to sign an artist/band. Can you give us more details about this aspect and how important is it for you to know the person(s) hiding behind the ‘artist(s)’?
Torben: Well, to be honest, for me it is basically a matter of personal taste. One rule I had from the start was to get to know the human behind every band/artist whenever possible to make up my mind about the individuals. If there is a good chemistry in between label and band/artist, that’s the most solid base you can get for a strong work together.
Q: You are already active for numerous years now so you must have seen a lot of things changing and evolving; think about social media, streaming platforms, Youtube channels… but also economic crisis etc. What are the pros and cons of these changes/evolutions and in, which way did you had to adapt/change your strategy and activities?
Torben: I think you already hit the point with the question. Time changes and we, as the motors and creators of this scene had the task to step up with the changes. We are innovators to a certain point, always at the pulse with being DJs, musicians, producers, people who initiate ideas and start projects. For me personal it was always a moving experience to be part of creating something. I think you really have to be where the heart of the scene is, at clubs, at festivals at concerts, meeting fans and supporters and have a good communication.
Q: The ongoing pandemic has affected all artistic life and activities so what’s the true impact on your label activities and do you think it will also affect your long term objectives?
Torben: The main problem we all seek is that one big part of our scene is missing, that’s the live/club thing we have with our bands and our supporting DJs. Many plans we had with touring and release events for 2020 and 2021 had to be shifted. There are fresh ideas with streaming events, but this rarely compensates the feeling most of our scene loves and lives. So well, we honestly hope that there will be perspectives again soon. On the other side I am very happy to have so many supporters out there who continuously aid me/us as a label and the bands and DJs directly.
Q: Do you think media (magazines, online platforms etc…) still have an impact and a role to play today? What’s your relationship with ‘journalists’ and how important is their work?
Torben: I can only speak for me personally here, but I think that print media is losing more and more of its impact due to various factors. Time is running fast and news are spread way more easily digital then in print media. It’s not really blaming, but print magazines concentrate too much on the same bands over and over again (of course often due to demand).
There are exceptions of course and I truly appreciate the support we get and a lot of still really enthusiastic journalists, but I experienced so many people stop buying magazines in the last years and change to digital media to get there information. For me as a label, social media and online media in general is an important key for my promotional work.
Q: What do you consider as your biggest accomplishment(s)? Do you have specific goals/dreams you want to achieve and how do you prepare and see the future of the label(s)? And what are your biggest regret(s)?
Torben: During the years I had the opportunity to work with so many talented artists, known/not so knows, small/big, which is/was truly an honor. So many relationships were started, collaborations occurred and friendships actually did result. My dream to live & work with music did already happen, so I am pretty thankful for this. I have to say that I do not really regret anything. Being in the music scene was great in almost all time periods and every phase had it great moments. Even on bad experiences you grow and make internal progress.