Imprinted:: Toronto

label

Whether you’re an artist sitting on a hot bed of creation and not sure what to do with it, or a total music junkie that just wants to know more about your favourite underground labels, our fresh Imprinted series is for you! We’ll be speaking with label bosses around the world, uncovering sound influencers city by city; it all begins here in our very own backyard Toronto! We’ve rounded up 4 labels who not only support home-grown talent, but also garner attention from artists worldwide, further cementing Toronto’s place as a creative hub for musicians. Welcome and thank-you to My Favorite Robot Records, For the People, All Blak Records and Aquaregia for being Toronto’s Imprinted ambassadors!

LABEL – MY FAVORITE ROBOT
FOUNDERS – JARED SIMMS & VOYTEK KORAB, © 2008

MFR LOGO

When was your label launched? What was the first release?

We launched the label in 2008 with our tune “In The Dark” with remixes by Montrealer Jordan Dare and Paris based Slok.  A dark electro doozie.

It still amazes us everyday that something we started without any grand expectations became such a globally respected brand and took us on such an amazing adventure in life. Very grateful to everyone involved in the last 10 years. Here’s to the next 10!

In four words, please describe your label’s sound.

Dog whistle for connoisseurs 😉

Can you share with us 1 or 2 releases that you feel most proud of. What makes these releases special to you?

Jori Hulkkonen’s Negative Time album in February of 2013 stands out as a milestone, as it was the first full length artist album we released on the label and it came from an artist we had always aspired to work with.

 Our EP Want Some that came out in April of 2017 is also a milestone, as it’s the first one since we went back to being a duo, like we were when we first started the project.

Who oversees the label’s artwork?

We both are involved in choosing the art work for the releases. The art work has been brilliantly done over the years by our good friend Avrom Coodin and more recently has included some great original work by Tatiana Pemova.

Growing up, one of the most influential labels for us was…

Factory, Creation, Parlophone, Paper, Playhouse, Turbo

The best way to get your music into the hands of a label owner is…

Do your research on the label you want to release on.  You have to make sure that your music fits with the style and concept of the label you’re after.  We try to listen to all the demos we are sent, but it’s always puzzling when we are sent music that is night and day from what we do.  And no need to write a long bio when sending a demo.  Let the music speak for you.  We don’t need to know that you have pulsating bass lines and that you first got the music bug from your papa playing you some Liberace when you were 4.  Although the latter would peak our interest for sure…

The worst way to try and get your music into the hands of a label owner is…

Spamming the label owners with demos on a constant basis almost guarantees you won’t get signed barring some miracle.  If you get rejected, take some time between sending a demo again and make sure it’s suited to the label.

Tell us about a recent release…

We were very excited to release Jori Hulkkonen’s 3rd full length album [September 15, 2017] Don’t Believe In Happiness. We’re grateful he supports our label and has become part of the family along with many other amazing artists.


LABEL – FOR THE PEOPLE
FOUNDERS – TALAL CHAUDHRY, AMAL PEERZADA & ASAD ZAMAN, © 2017

 

FTP - multicolour

 Explain the name behind your label — where did it come from?

Talal came up with the name “For The People” for a set a few years ago. We all agreed it was the perfect name for our collective, as we just want people to have a jolly good time and never compromise in the experiences we have to offer. Our showcases are immersive for this reason, so people can be surrounded by culinary treats, visual art and music.

[Genre] restricts experimental creativity and limits musical influences and inspiration that may otherwise elevate a piece of art. The best music transcends genres!

When was your label launched? What was the first release?

Our first release was February 2, 2017 with the Toronto family united. Between the Lines by Talal and Zoi with remixes by Alberto Jossue and Nature of Music that hit #5 on the beatport charts. 

In four words, please describe your label’s sound.

spacious. fresh. intelligent. fun. fruits.

Who oversees the label’s artwork? 

Amal Peerzada is the head art curator and Talal teams up with her to bring it all to life.

For the People art34) Lost Boy, Saqib - Nadiyan5) Aleksandar Kojic - Cashmere Sweater

The 3 most important qualities to have as a label owner/ manager are…

  1. Being selective
  2. Having the ability to spot talent
  3. Giving constructive criticism. 

The best way to get your music into the hands of a label owner is…

Be sincere!  If you hand a label owner a USB or even send a demo email, know what you’re talking about and don’t spam labels with all your tracks.

In the next few weeks, expect to hear ____ released on our label:

The Lost Boy album!

The problem with ‘genres’ is …

It restricts experimental creativity and limits musical influences and inspiration that may otherwise elevate a piece of art. The best music transcends genres!

The best part about being based in Toronto is…

Multiculturalism and the diverse identity expressions we are surrounded by!


LABEL – AQUAREGIA RECORDS
FOUNDER – EMILY NICOLL, © 2015

AQUAREGIA LOGO

Explain the name behind your label — where did it come from?

Ever since I first heard Phuture – Acid Tracks, I’ve been obsessed with the squelchy sound of the 303. This obsession inevitably injected itself into the label, and I wanted a name to reflect that. Aqua Regia is a mixture of strong acids, capable of dissolving noble metals such as gold. I also have a background in chemical engineering, so with being around acids in the lab all the time ‘Aquaregia’ seemed fitting.

In four words, please describe your label’s sound.

Acidic, melancholic, atmospheric techno.

Can you share with us 1 or 2 releases that you feel most proud of. What makes these releases special to you?

I’m proud of all of our releases – but I usually have a bias towards the latest release.

For example, the Aurora Centralis EP, released in June 2017. The expertly crafted EP from 747 explores the different personalities of the 303 – from robotic, alien communications to natural, voice-like melodies. The release, especially the title track, are so surreal and entrancing; an emotional cosmic trip that I just can’t stop listening to. As a label owner it’s also been super exciting to see some of my favourite DJs playing out tracks off the EP, like Dr. Rubinstein at Berghain and I Hate Models.

Aqua Regia is a mixture of strong acids, capable of dissolving noble metals such as gold.

The best way to get your music into the hands of a label owner is…

If the label has outlined a demo procedure, then definitely follow that; include a few tracks that could be an EP – it’s hard for a label to do much with just one, and make the message personal. If it seems like you emailed the demo to 100 different labels, then that’s usually an automatic no for me.

It’s also important to ensure that your music genuinely fits with the label’s musical direction, and that you as an artist believe in the label’s vision. I can’t tell you have many demo EPs I’ve gotten for Aquaregia where 0 of the tracks are acid…

Aquaregia is such an emotional and personal project to me, and in order to bring a new artist on board they need to show a sense of commitment to the label. I think it’s really important for the label and artist to entwine their visions and to build a symbiotic relationship.

Who oversees the label’s artwork? 

I do : )

AQR005 - VinylsAQR005 - 747 Ammonite EPAQR006 - 747 Aurora Centralis EP

In the next few weeks, expect to hear ____ released on our label.

747. The second instalment of the Vancouver/Berlin artist’s four-part Paleo series will be out on February 23. The series explores the geological past of our planet through ACID, with the final segment on wax as a double EP. Paleo Pt. II delivers a duo of hypnotic, acid-drenched cuts and embodies 747’s signature emotive style of organic acid lines over celestial pads. This is definitely one of my favourites! 

A label that I deeply respect/ admire is ___ because…

Ilian Tape. The Zenker Brothers don’t follow any trends and always put out great music! You get quality over quantity with this label and can clearly see the Zenker Brothers following their passion. I really respect that.


LABEL – ALL BLAK RECORDS
FOUNDERS – PAUL QUZZ & STEVE MARTO, © 2014

all blak logo

In four words, please describe your label’s sound.

Groove based house and techno.

Can you share with us 1 or 2 releases that you feel most proud of. What makes these releases special to you?

Our two Various Artists compilations have both served as important musical and artistic milestones. They’ve helped us forge some great relationships with newer and upcoming artists and have also set the tone for the following releases. A third VA is set to be released very soon and the timing couldn’t be any better! We’re very excited to share it with everyone.

Some our favourite releases have been from artists that spontaneously messaged us.

In the next few weeks, expect to hear ____ released on our label.

We will be releasing an EP from Steve Marto as well as a Various Artists compilation to close off our yearly cycle.

The best way to get your music into the hands of a label owner is…

Direct communication is always the best way in our opinion. Forming some sort of relationship/correspondence with somebody allows for more musical transparency when communicating with each other. It will always give you better insight into the musical common ground that you share together. Having said that, if distance is a factor, then sending an email/message with streaming links to your music can also work. Some our favourite releases have been from artists that spontaneously messaged us. We always listen to every demo that comes in and we always respond back. The most important thing to remember with this however, is to do your research on a label prior to sending your music. If that EP you’ve been working on has a strong nu-disco flavour then you have no business sending it to a minimal/dub techno label. This seems like it’s common sense, but you would be surprised by some of the music that comes in.

Who oversees the label’s artwork? 

We all discuss the general artistic ideas and concepts together, but Steve oversees the design and illustration of all our visual assets.

VA 1VA 2

The problem with ‘genres’ is…

Primary genres can be too vague and sub-genres tend to get too pretentious! This is a bit of a touchy topic for some… it’s hard to classify dance music into specific genres these days because there is so much cross-pollination that happens within different styles. While a genre can give the listener a general direction of the sound it can also hinder the music with the negative connotations that are associated with that particular category. We saw this happen when “progressive house” was associated with the EDM movement a few years ago. For a while there were a lot of true and time-tested prog artists that were releasing their music under the “deep house” category just to avoid the repercussions of being labeled as prog-house (which in turn makes another mess entirely).

More recently, we’ve seen this with the general backlash against “tech-house” and it’s stereotype as “attention-demanding” and “generic party music”. Is this true for a lot of releases in that genre? Yes.  Does this mean that everything under this category fits that stereotype? Absolutely not; but how else do you classify a song that has influences from both house and techno? In our opinion, it’s best to take these categories with a grain of salt and just let the music speak for itself.

One artist we’d really like to work with one day is…

There are a ton of artists that we respect and admire who are coming up or already established in the scene, so to name just one is a little difficult. Some artists we would like to work with are 2Vilas, ADMNTi, Akyra, Einzelkind, Janeret, Nick Beringer, Nitin, Oshana, Paolo Rocco, Priku… the list goes on and on!


My Favorite Robot is on Facebook// Soundcloud
For the People is on Facebook// Soundcloud
Aquaregia is on Facebook// Soundcloud
All Blak Records is on Facebook// Soundcloud