“Okay, I’m ready to send you that sex tape. Do you prefer hard copy or digital?”
My first interaction with the Greek label Live Adult Entertainment was through DJ LOSER, an elusive artist based in Thessaloniki, a port city 500 kilometres north of Athens. In the midst of exploring the harsher sounds his SoundCloud profile had to offer I happened upon a release entitled VOYAGE BLOOD TITANIA. What ensued were four tracks of blistering lo-fi trance that would spark an obsession with the label, its ethos, and the characters behind it.
To someone only recently acquainted with the more extreme side of electronic music the unrelenting pace of ’21’ was intoxicating.
Thankfully a link to the Discogs release was provided in the description. I followed it immediately to find that no copies were available, it had never been sold, and the only information provided read, “LTD copies release. not for sale. comes in a playstation case. two versions of covers”.
All of the label’s releases were similarly “not for sale”.
Ranging from industrial, concrète, and trance, L.A.E has a fascinating sonic identity, rejecting global trends in favour of a far more singular approach. A long list of comical aliases such as MC TERRORMACHINE, DJ Rohypnol, and The Clit Club tore down any assumptions of pretension, their DIY aesthetic further cementing the punk-like attitude that lay at the heart of the label.
Information on L.A.E was virtually non-existent. It was only by scrolling through YouTube comments on the handful of tracks uploaded that I discovered who was behind the label. An artist of many aliases – DJ Baptism when I first encountered him and firstname.lastname@example.org at the time I am writing this article, I shall refer to him as DJ Sex for the purposes of continuity.
Upon finding his SoundCloud profile where the majority of L.A.E.’s releases have been uploaded, I decided to ask if there was any way I could possibly get my hands on any physical or digital copies. A back and forth ensued over the course of a few months without much success.
DJ Sex was constantly poking me. Clearly, he was not interested in money, instead asking for bitcoin and homemade porn in exchange. Naively I persisted, politely navigating my way past these requests in the hope I’d eventually be rewarded.
This ultimately led to disappointment. Reluctantly, I let the conversation die.
This bizarre interaction made L.A.E all the more alluring. Such a blatant disregard for recognition and the commercial aspects that come with releasing music was very refreshing, although equally frustrating.
It just so happened that I had recently made a friend who is originally from Corfu, an island off Greece’s northwest coast. Over cigarettes and coffee, I vented my frustration in an attempt to understand why this attitude existed. He told me that it was simply a part of Greek culture, more provocation and teasing than a desire to be exclusive. If I had simply gone along with the joke and agreed to send him what he wanted, I’d likely have the music by now.
So, three months after our last messages, I agreed to his proposition. “Okay, I’m ready to send you that sex tape. Do you prefer hard copy or digital?”
To my surprise I received a completely genuine response. Puzzled by my persistent fascination, he asked to hear my perspective on L.A.E. I gladly detailed my obsession with the label, the ideas that seemed to inform it, and my desire to learn more.
Despite all my flattery, DJ Sex seemed rather apathetic. He quickly dismissed any glorifying labels I had attached to the project, revealing it was the first time he tried to think more precisely about what L.A.E really is. He concluded that it wasn’t even about the music: he only started it so he could design the covers.
Whilst this conversation was developing, I began thinking of alternate ways to track down a copy of VOYAGE BLOOD TITANIA. The only avenue available seemed to be via DJ LOSER.
I had already been warned the release was not for sale. Nevetheless I decided to message his SoundCloud profile.
He ensured me a copy would be on its way but it would take some time due to the sheer number of worldwide orders.
We engaged in a similar back and forth that would stretch out over several months. After my experience with DJ Sex, I couldn’t help but feel DJ LOSER was only humouring me at my own expense. L.A.E definitely didn’t seem like the label to entertain the idea of worldwide shipping.
During this time, I had learnt DJ LOSER was also involved in the running of L.A.E. Naturally I subjected him to another round of online pestering. I felt there was more to L.A.E than simply a provocative attitude and graphic design. Despite being reluctant to respond to my probing, revealing I was close to intruding on a very personal project, he spoke openly about the ideas he felt that led to the creation of the label.
It was at this point that I pitched the idea of an article to the duo. They agreed, but any formal interview was out of the question. It would have to be entirely from my perspective.
The general misunderstanding of L.A.E is quite perfectly summarised by the now top comment on their Discogs profile: “Why are these guys so exclusive I just wanna listen to their music.”
My own learning process tells me that this is likely the desired reaction.
By uploading each release to Discogs, posting tracks on SoundCloud in preparation for their ‘release’, only to tell you that it is not for sale, they are sarcastically playing the role of a modern record label. You could potentially say L.A.E is a satirical reaction to the commercial nature of modern DJ culture and the insincerity of music that merely appeals to global hype.
Rejecting commercialisation, long-winded promotion, and anything that is not directly a part of the creative process, they instead create music out of pure intention, focusing on the communication of ideas and self-expression without the necessity of profiting from it. From DJ LOSER’s perspective, it was a product of shared ideas and visions regarding dance, sound, and design. Together they are questioning why music as an art form obligates an artist to instantly send or share their creation with others.
Take for example a couple who choose to make a sex tape for personal reasons compared to a couple who share it online for financial gain. The impulse to create is very different from the impulse to share. This disconnect between the production of art and the capitalistic distribution of that art is what I feel L.A.E is trying to explore.
The truth is, L.A.E is not a project that was made to be understood.
Despite all these musings, you could easily say any philosophical links are not particularly relevant as they were not intended in the first place. L.A.E is also DJ Sex’s personal project created for the sole purpose of experimentation; certainly not a label or an attempt to be ‘DIY’ or ‘underground’.
In writing this article I have had to accept that I cannot fully unpack the mystery that shrouds L.A.E. All I can say is that it asks you to form your own opinions.
L.A.E do not share products, they share ideas.