.jpegArtefacts is an independent record label based in Naarm run by Joe Buchan. Since its inception in March 2019, the label has already released 19 projects spanning LPs, EPs and even a compilation.
When did you first connect with the Naarm music scene? What do you love about it?
Around 2013, I met a bunch of artists while studying at the Victorian College of the Arts. I remember I’d rock up to lectures every week and someone would be passing around a hard drive with gigabytes on gigabytes of the wildest music I’d ever heard.
Up until then I’d never really strayed past what Pitchfork recommended or whatever, so pouring through those archives of recommendations was a revelation. It’s those classmates and artists - Darcy (Baylis), Nico (Niquo, Haji K), Jordan (OBA, Body Clock) that gave me a point of entry into a musical community that I could be a part of. I’m very grateful for it.
I think what I love about it is also why I continue to engage - it keeps life interesting. Much better to be putting out records, going to shows, and meeting new people than just watching basketball on YouTube ad nauseum (although a little bit of that is always good too).
What inspired you to start jpeg Artefacts? How has the journey been since then?
I just always had the feeling that my closest friends were making incredible music that nobody seemed to know about. I feel pretty vindicated that I was right about that too, it’s wild to see truly how many people care.
The journey has been remarkably cruisey. Behind every record is an artist that I’m truly a fan of, and a friend who I love dearly. Couldn’t get much better than that.
With the first release in March 2019, there's already been 18 more as of May 2021! Was it always a goal of yours to release that many so soon?!
The original goal was one release every month, so I’m actually a bit behind on that key performance indicator. I remember starting the label I was just so afraid that it would fizzle out, that I’d put out two releases and then forget about it or whatever.
I didn’t want that for myself, or for the artists who have trusted me with their releases.
Now I’m just starting to slow down. I feel really happy with the catalog so I’m kinda just focussing on maybe one or two more releases this year. The artists that have released on the label have left a pretty remarkable back catalog, so I’m trying to honour that and keep the curation tight.
Many of the releases on the label have physical counterparts. Is this an integral aspect to the label?
Absolutely. It’s in the name - they’re artefacts. I like that they exist beyond zeroes and ones. The physicals are there for someone to uncover years from now - for someone to find at an op shop, in their parents record collection, in some other time capsule.
The releases are also very diverse. Was this always a conscious goal?
Yeah, for sure. The label is a pretty solid reflection of my taste. I’m trying to jump in the car and know that whatever mood I’m in, there’s something on jpeg that I wanna blast with the windows down.
Nearly all of the releases are mastered by you! How did you get into engineering? What do you love about it?
I started mixing for my friend Darcy (Baylis) about seven years ago, on his suggestion. I’ve mixed a lot of records now, and I’m very proud of all of them. Without Darcy’s ongoing faith in my ability, I’m not sure I would have gotten there - I can’t thank them enough.
Recently I’ve been going back to records I recorded or mixed a few years back. There’s something very beautiful about hearing those tracks you were so intimate with again and being transported back to that time in your life, reliving very detailed memories.
The label isn't active on social media, is there a particular reason for this?
I wish I could say it’s part of the ideology, but truthfully, I just always never think to. Hopefully that will change soon. The best way to get updates is through the mailing list on Bandcamp which I update semi-frequently and occasionally over-share on.
Plug upcoming stuff!! What's coming up for jpeg Artefacts??
I think Yunzero and Third Space will release on the label either this year or early next. Probably some merch will come out before any records, which I’ve wanted to do for yonks. I might have a record of B-sides of my own at the end of the year too. It’s all pretty loose at the moment, which is a good way to be.