Everything started in 2000 when my best friend Ruggero Isacchi and I decided to start a web-site to speak about independent artists, we came from the youth-punk scene of our town, we had the idea to create a place where most unknow bands were able to find a space to expose their music to the people.
A lot of alternative music magazines were a cross between mainstream and independent, we have not anything against bands like Radiohead, PJ Harvey or Pearl Jam, we love their music, but instead of we donít think they need someone else have to spend time to speak about them. They have a lot of money and big organizations beside, that do that for them. So we decided to create something for independent artists and labels and also DIY (do it yourself ) bands. We tried to find a name to cross all our tunes; in 2000 Ruggero was really into this kind of new french house music such as Daft Punk, Laurent Garnier, Les Rythmes Digitales, and I was much more oriented to the new indietronic scene from Germany, such as Lali Puna, Notwist and relatives, we had an alternative/punk background and everything was like we had to open our mind to new music visions, discovering that all tunes are ok, if you are able to mantain the right approach to do some things. Looking for a name it was impossible to cross the world INDIE, itís a kind of word abused everywhere often in situations where Indie is nothing, so we thought that in some ways this kind of era in which noisy bands crossed tunes with sophysticated electronic music had to gave us a new kind of style, crossing Hi-Fidelity music made with Low-Fidelity possibilities, so why not Hi-Lo Tunez?! A way to share different rules to make great music. 2000 was the year of a meteor project called Stardust, often attached to Daft Punk, they made this disco pop single The Music Sounds Better With You, that we changed in The Music Sounds Better With Hi-Lo Tunez, cause that was our wish. We found a lot of local and foreign contributors that joined our thoughts and helped us to develop the project: making reviews, interviews and specials, we started to contact indie labels: I remember Steve Shelley was the first to send us promos of his Smells Like records, I was shoked about it cause we had not contacts with press offices or labels managers at that time. This forced us to think that we were making the right thing.
Across the last century a new music revolution called MP3 was changing a lot of things and many small labels were starting to put free mp3ís of their bands on their own web-sites to give a best promotion to the crowd, I am a fan of the hardcore zines of the early 80ís, that often included compilations tapes of unknown bands. We were digital and I thought that I had to find a way to create the same mood using new technologies and so I had the idea to create a free compilation using mp3. ITunes was not this kind of worldwide master-seller of today, it was the period in which the people had the wish to spend money for a physical support and not for a download, no i-phones or relatives objects. I had not the idea to create a collection of songs but a real compilation such as I did for my schoolmates to share new tunes. I thought it had to have a real cover to press and a real mood. It had to be like a real album and not a collection of random songs. It had to include many contributors and specific rules that showed our intentions. At first we had to include quiet famous indies, with most unknown indies, giving promotion to their indie labels cause they were and Ďareí really important for indie artists, and then I thought we need to have an unsigned artist in every album (our first was Ratatat one year before they signed for Mute). All tunes had to be crossed to make a real album with a real mood.
A digital album was not so fashinating as a cd or a vinyl so I thought that a good way to make this digital album cool, was to find great artists to make the covers. Often painters, photographers, illustrators and designers follow the same music we love all over the world, so why not? We found great artists worldwide that made the covers. I didnít want a name such as Hi-Lo Compilation, (bleah!!!). This is a collection of albums a strange suburban project, we decided for The Hi-Lo Tunez Plan! It was not easy in the beginning and is not so easy right now, but we were lucky to find indie labels really excited for the project, Tomlab, Monika Enterprise, Sub Pop it was such incredibleÖ everything legal and with the support of artists and labels; we thought about every album as a STEP of the plan, after years we have made a lot of Steps. Weíve never done this for money, HLT is no profit, weíre doing this cause we love to support small people with big hearts. We changed Hi-Lo Tunez a lot of times in ten years and in this 2010 weíre launching a new face of the web-site. The music world is really changed and sounds like that what was strange in 2002 made with mp3ís is quiet normal today. Itís like every day something change so fast, we are in a period in which a blog generation is able to change the information, creating a connection between minds worldwide, thatís the reason why the new version of Hi-Lo Tunez is in Blog format, continuing to use our free-time to support indies, cause indie is not a genre is a different approach to the music, a different lifestyle.
Think Independent! Act Independent!
If you want to contact Hi-Lo Tunez write to:
themusicsoundsbetter [at] hilotunez [dot] com
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