7 Mountain Records | About 7MNTN
7MNTN doesn’t make CD’s. 7MNTN creates ego documents.
7MNTN is an independent Dutch record label for classical music focussing primarily on the ego of the musicians. Though the word ‘ego’ has strong negative connotations, with selfishness, with arrogance, with self-love: all these things, 7MNTN is not. But we do concentrate on the egos of our recording artists. “We are interested in who they are, where they come from, where they’re going, why they do what they do. We want to create a product representing all these things. It may take the form of a CD, but it is more than that.”
Ego documents are autobiographical. They tell the story of the author. This is exactly what 7MNTN aims to do: telling the musician’s story. Dutch historian Jacques Presser coined the term ‘ego document in 1955. It denotes a group of sources, such as diaries, letters and travelogues. CD’s are not traditionally grouped under this term. And they shouldn’t, generally. But, 7MNTN’s CD’s, they are ego documents. Our CD’s tell the story of the artist, and his/her personal relationship to the music s/he plays.
What’s in a name?
7MNTN stands for 7 Mountain Records. The label’s name is a literal translation of the name of the street 7MNTN’s label owner Frerik de Jong and its graphic designer Herco Dijk grew up: the Zevenberg (Veldhoven, Holland). “Our CD’s are all about the artists’ stories, but the name of the label is about our own story.”
How we work
A musician who records with 7MNTN gets a musical carte blanche to choose exactly the music s/he wants to record. A 7MNTN CD puts musical identity on the forefront. It takes a closer look at both music and musician. We want to make more than just a great listening experience. We want to tell a personal story. A musician’s story.
The creation of the musicians’ ego document consists of 5 phases: inspiring – recording – editing – becoming a physical product – promoting.
During this process dialogue is essential to bring the musicians’ ideas to life.
First phase – inspiring, collecting, programming
Right from the start, musicians are free in their musical program they want to present. Frerik: “I live for music, I love musicians. That’s the reason why I’m making recordings for a decade now and why I started this label for classical music. If an ensemble or soloist has vibrant ideas s/he wants to eternalize on a CD, personally I find it of less importance which composers we’re talking about; unknown, undervalued, I actually don’t care. If music is played with true spirit; that’s what I’m aiming at with 7MNTN.”
At the first level, Frerik leads the recording process. Frerik worked with countless ensembles and soloists. His experience as a recording producer, paired with his vast knowledge of classical music and his background as a classical pianist all contribute to a smooth, but provoking recording process. “During the recording sessions I strive to create a productive and lively working environment, in which musicians can challenge themselves to make the best performance possible. I actively support them in that, by giving direction to the session. I feel lucky I was able to work with top-notch musicians and ensembles like Lucia Swarts, Willem Brons, Daniël van der Hoeven, Peter Nilsson and Cello8ctet Amsterdam. Just listening to them learns you so much about the profession of music making; it makes my job satisfying and addictive.”
After the recording, Frerik retreats to his studio to edit the music. This process is solitary and asks for great focus, however, he does keep in close contact with the musicians. “Editing music is much more than choosing which bits of music to use: it involves making deeply musical choices. This is often underestimated, you can really help a musician lift his performance if the editing is done smartly and with great care.”
Becoming a CD and promoting
Finally, a CD is made. Frerik strongly believes in physical manifestations of music, such as CD’s and records. “I love music, but I love musicians just as much. Who they are, why they make certain choices, both in choosing repertoire and in playing it the way they do. Those are the things I want to put in the limelight. I believe that a personal portrait of a musician is best offered by a physical object like a CD, rather than, for example, only downloadable tracks. This is why we choose to make CD’s in this day and age.”
It’s not just the story that matters: it’s the packaging as well. The physical representation of a CD for 7MNTN consists of two layers: visuals and text. Graphic designer Herco (Studio Kraft) creates the graphic to complement the music. “I communicate closely with the artist”, Herco explains. “I then proceed to create a visual identity for the musician. This includes artwork, type setting, and the use of pictures.” Finally, writer Marten van der Meulen (Bureau Moulin) creates the liner notes for the CD. “I talk to the musicians about what they want to express. Usually this is a mixture between history, musical analysis and personal background.”
7MNTN co-operates with a professional and experienced press agent and has a contract with an international distributor. Productions are published in digital format too, on e.g. Spotify, iTunes and Qobuz.
You can be confident your production will get noticed!