Maybe electronic music and the DJs who are supporting this scene had an important role in the recent resurgence of the 100 years old vinyl format. Or maybe not. The thing is, in this digital world we’re living, music is consumed in 2 minutes chunks on Spotify and nobody gives a fuck about the artist’s name
Vinyl records have turned into cult objects, or as a sign of appreciation for the artistic effort done by the composer. Of course, lots of producers and record labels smelled the opportunity of milking the vinyl cash cow and started to flood the record shops with music that nobody will remember in 2 months from the initial release date, but that’s another story.
This story, called Label Inside, is about a few imprints that have managed to bring something extra to the electronic underground culture. Some of them invested in anonymous artists who have proven to be visionary. Some are reviving old records and forgotten producers. Yet, each one we will present here has a story to tell and left its mark on the electronic scene, one way or another.
And where is the best place to start this series than Paris, France, where we discovered Rue De Plaisance, a small record label run by Varoslav. Rue De Plaisance features a pool of amazing artists, including revived names like Seafoam or Norm Talley. As for its sound, eclectic is the least we can say: jumping from electro to breaks, but with a subtle touch of deepness, just the way we like it ;) We chatted a bit with Varoslav about the electronic underground, the Parisian breakfast and the smiles & tears of running a record label. Here is what it came out of it: a very insightful X-Ray scan of today’s dance scene. As you’ll read through the extensive interview, check also Rue De Plaisance official Spotify account, with a handful of carefully curated playlists, ranging from Hip Hop or to Abstract / Experimental and House Music.
I suppose that, when you thought of starting the label, you had an idea or aconcept. Was it from the beginning the idea of imprinting this raw sound to RdP or did it change over time from an initial image to how it sounds today?
At first the idea was to be able to release my music at my own pace. I always wanted to release the music that I like with the vinyl influences that I owned but also the ones that I could buy at that moment. I never tried to have “a Rue de Plaisance sound”. That in the idea of being able to leave several styles of music and not to lock me in a box.
To my ears, the sound has gone from a lighter side of house music to a deeper and darker one nowadays. Did your perspective on house music change from the first release, in 2011 to today?
I think the sound has always been and remains house after time, with passage by different styles the last output of Hdv is just very house and varied. My vision of house remains the same after almost 10 years of activity for Rue de Plaisance musical currents can sometimes harden but the base remains well house. Production quality is evolving and artists are returning more and more to analog. I can say that after the time I become more difficult for the choice of a project.
What’s driving you to run things at R2P?
What motivates me the most in this project is the investment of each; my wife and one of my best friends Virassamy. It is very stimulating to work with close people and we imagine many new projects related to music or not. After almost 10 years and around 50 vinyl outings (if we add our bootleg/edits series) we want to do things differently for our future.
Has the French electronic underground transformed in any way from 2011, when you started the label? Does it receive some sort of support from the French government?
When we started it was the worst time for vinyl in terms sales. Discogs was starting to take a lot of ground and sales went up without really getting the stats back. Today what has changed is that vinyl has become a luxury product; people are willing to spend 100 euros in an old vinyl but they slow to pay a record 12 euros in the shop! Also a lot of labels make small pressings… you can see recent records without packaging or particular artwork-cover that comes from Europe for the price of 15-17 euros even more … Some do not repress while there are hundreds in waitlists I just can not understand what’s underground today. Electronic music became a big industry and even the underground has now some Mac Donald’s marketing flavors. I can say that we try to do our own thing till the beginning and we will never change that. As far as government aid is concerned, I know there are some but I have not had the chance to benefit from it.
Take us a bit through the whole process of releasing a new EP: how do you choose the artists / tracks (do you search for something specific in the sound of the tracks?)
Today we have changed our way of working a bit and we are releasing less records by choice. Over time we have become more selective and we want to release specific projects. We want to introduce more art and illustration projects . We take advantage of the 30th release of the label to pass the step. For the selection of artists and EPs I always preferred to approach myself the artists that I love since the beginning of our history. I am not looking for a particular style of music.
Do you accept demos or do you scout by yourself for good music?
No rules for the demos i try to check them all even i can’t reply to all .sorry guys if you read me.I have always chosen the music myself. I think i have never signed a demo from somebody I didn’t know or ask before or rarely if it happens…
Trippy artwork that fits perfectly the R2P sound. Who’s behind it?
My beloved friend Cedric Virassamy who did Beaux Arts School in France years ago.
A vinyl without a cover is a bit sad for me i couldn’t imagine our story without any artwork. We got to know each other in the work after these years for R2P and we want to develop new visual and sound arts projects and exhibitions of drawings by Cedric
What’s the story behind the Etoiles Filantes imprint? Is it still on?
After making several anonymous series on stamp vinyl I wanted to develop the idea of the project and make a serie of original trax made by anonymous artists instead of edits or bootlegs as we did before.
Yes it’s still on. Etoiles Filantes means shooting stars so as their name suggests: they are rare. We’ll keep this projects to release some more club trax drum trax DJ trax…We’ll reveal all the artist’s names at the 10th outing.
You brought Seafoam at the surface again, after more than 10 years from his last releases. How did you do it?
The magic of the internet! I had in my collection several EPs Seafoam. One day, trying to buy one of his old references I came across a price too.I decided to try to contact him. I was lucky to fall on a great person and things naturally came.I first thought about releasing one ep but it’s finally a lot more we did together. Don’t miss our next Re issue coming out soon, it’s also a very special one by old Uk artist « Simple but effective »
How does a R2P label showcase sound like? What type of location suits best a R2P showcase?
We had parties in different clubs for a while inviting great DJs. With time our projects evolve and tend towards art and illustration events exhibitions and collaborations.
Owning an electronic music record label: does it have the slightest profit margin or is it just for the love of house music?
Vinyl market is hard and there’s no so much money to get from it . Selling around 1000 copies today is a great score and could seems a lot for some people but it’s nothing compare to the world. There’s a few labels who can take profit from it but i think that most of them hardly survive.You need to work on other things on a side and try to get money from other projects.
A few of the EPs’ were released under the no repress policy…
We always repressed quickly the records that had a higher demand. Otherwise we do not repress the old references We like to move on to new projects.We’ll have a new policy of sales in the near future.
Is the VA released in 2016 the essence of R2P sound?
“Le Son de la Rue” was our first project more eclectic with a variety of influences. The trax are all well produced and I think this selection will be good after years too. This compilation completely reflects the sound of the label.
Pick up one record shop, one small venue for a nice electronic music weekend and one breakfast spot in Paris.
Yoyaku and Dizonor for the record shopping.
Dehors Brut or La Station gare des Mines to go for a dance.
Without any doubt don’t miss the best croissants in Paris at mom’s bakery for the greatest breakfast.