theartofla recently interviewed Carl-Marcus Gidlöf, founder of Swedish Label, Icons Creating Evil Art, (ICEA). Carl discussed in detail how he started the label and why, the artists he choose to work with and more. He brings a unique perspective and viewpoint to how conducts the business which involves experimentation and disrupting old structures of music.
The following artists are on the ICEA roster: Eliot, “a predominantly a lo-fi solo artist, who produces his own version of music resembling art rock of days gone by. His writing ironizes and dissects music, but also shows great affection for the form Elliot takes his influences for art from more than just music and peers.” Louise Lemón, who “joins the ultra-growing power of females with attitude; sounding sonically similar to PJ Harvey, whilst also hints of The Dead Weather appear.” Danish electro-pop, Feel Freeze, features Mathias Vinther Liholt and Raymonde Gaunoux, who follows in the footsteps of the likes of The Knife and Lykke Li. Emmecosta, featuring band members Alfonso Fusco, Aldo Axha and Claudio Pallone, characterize the genre they are going for as “Post-club tropical indie soul.” Flora Cash are a Scandi duo “sonically explore the diversity of human relationships.” The duo “skillfully blend their deep love for acoustic soundscapes and layer it with just the right amount of ethereal production hinting at Mt Wolf, Poliça, Vogue Dots and Kings Of Convenience.”
How did you how start the label and why?
I started a label 10 years ago called Despotz Records which I’m still a part of and it’s gone well, we’re successful, but in growing we’ve changed directions a few times and now mainly (not exclusively) focus on more hard rock than pop. I really enjoy where that label has gone and the work I do there, but felt I needed to have a grown house where I could go and be completely free to try new things, experiment and focus on developing new talent within a broad interpretation of pop music. The statement we chose to work with says “ICEA is a boutique music label and publisher with the intention of evoking feelings and reactions, we want to provoke, inspire, create, destroy, and disrupt old structures while having fun doing so. We sign and develop new talent from the ever-evolving field of pop music”
Why did you choose the artists to work on your label?
My gut has a lot of say. I need to feel something. They also should have an edge to them, preferably something dark or twisted, or just something we believe could be interesting or fun to work with.
Do they represent something significant about the music movement in Sweden?
Kind of. Too many bigger labels focus on the more commercial ‘cleaner’ artists or artists that have the ‘numbers’ and statistics. My goal is to show that now is the time for independent labels to invest and develop new talent. There is money in streaming and to compete you need a bit extra punch and to go out internationally from the start (we take in PR teams in Germany, UK, US and our local Scandinavian markets.
How did he come to pick the name for the label and why?
The name had been with me since the late 90s when I first dreamt about going into the music business. www.icea.se was the first domain name I registered in my life and then paid for yearly for over a decade before starting this label. Music has not always been seen as the hip industry it is nowadays. It used to be sinful and have an edge. I want to embrace that!