Red Bull Elektropedia

Masters of grooves: Belgian labels and what they’ve got up their sleeves

Masters of grooves: Belgian labels and what they’ve got up their sleeves

As 2016 comes to a close, the cold month of December can be a great time to reflect on the warmest moments of some of the record labels our country has to offer. We’ve rounded up a couple of the head honchos for their personal highlights of the last twelve months, and a sneak peek into their plans for 2017.

EKSTER (Victor Robyn)

The past year has been very kind to us: we’ve celebrated our 3 year anniversary at Ampere and received gold in the “Belgium: the Vinyl Frontier” category at the Red Bull Elektropedia Awards for our EXO compilation. This award couldn’t have come on a better time, as we’re bringing out the second EXO compilation this month! We're also very excited to present the soundtrack Hiele wrote for a documentary about Saint Helena on December 1, at Het Bos in Antwerp.

We feel that we are growing at a comfortable pace with the help of our excellent distributor -Rush Hour- and positive reviews on stores and websites like Boomkat, The Vinyl Factory, Juno Plus, etc. As far as our plans for 2017 are concerned, we have some surprises coming up for the first months of 2017. Be sure to keep an eye on our social media if you don’t want to miss out.

PELICAN FLY (François Richelle)

2016 has been a very busy year for us with many highlights. After years of preparation, some of our releases with producers from all corners of the globe finally came to fruition: the Vera EP (from Denmark), the Anoop EP (from India) and the ATLxBXL collaboration EP with our own Mister Tweeks and Atlanta rapper Nina Blanka - just to name a few. But apart from that, it has been great to see loads of international attention for Lido and Cashmere Cat. Both gentlemen have been working closely with us since the early days – we can’t believe we actually released Cashmere Cat’s debut EP back in the day! With that being said, Pelican Fly has always enjoyed more attention from foreign audiences. If we look at the stats we see that the U.S. is in first position and Belgium only comes in eighth.

We’re back in full swing the coming months. This month, you can expect 1180’s debut EP, which is a collaboration between myself and Belgium’s most underrated producer of our generation, Mister Tweeks. You can also expect a solo album from this guy in 2017. Last, we’re focussing on being more present in (inter)national nightlife.

MOODFAMILY (Gert Beazar & Niels Blondeel)

2016 has been a relatively quiet year in terms of releases, but a great one for expanding our fanbase, exposure and scene recognition. We’re starting to pick the fruits of our work. With only 2 years since our inception, we’re relatively young, but extremely satisfied with the sound and vision we put out right now. We’re gradually getting more international attention – we’ve heard our music is being played on dancefloors in New York, Paris and Berlin – which we believe is a result of our careful curation when it comes to releasing tracks. We only work with artists and remixers whose work we truly believe in, no matter the size of their fanbase.

Our 2 year anniversary event (in Ghent) this year was a welcome comfirmation of the appreciation of our mission. The unique atmosphere created by our team and our loyal fans gave us a boost to continue in the direction we’re going, stronger than ever. As for our next steps, we want to reach out to our international community and release music on other formats than just digital. We only release music when we support it 100%, so quantity was never our aim – although we will try to bring out a little bit more than last year. Next to electronic stuff, we want to broaden the spectrum to more dancefloor oriented music. We don’t like to plan too much ahead as this would leave us unable to adapt to a fast changing music scene – but with that being said there are new releases by Stavroz and AMyn in the works.

FLOORFILLER MUSIC (Youri De Coninck)

Next to releases by Vertier, Joyhauser and our third Floorfillers compilation we’re really happy with the way our system has finally come together as a fun and efficient house machine: both as a record label and as an event organization. This allows us to host awesome productions featuring both local and international artists, amongst the countless releases following later in 2017. Developing the record label in a more professional manner is definitely our main aim for 2017. As for non-label stuff, expect Floorfiller to go abroad this year!

VLEK (Julien Fournier)

2016 was packed with highlights: Tav Exotic and Lawrence Le Doux playing Dour Festival and (in the case of Lawrence) MUTEK, being playlisted several times on BBC Radio 6 - basically all the releases we’ve done did so. But if I have to pinpoint one, I would choose the Baleine3000 EP. I'm happy with the way this release came along: good reactions from our audience and the press and yet another 90-degree turn in our catalogue.

Our label got more international attention than ever, but I guess that’s just the result of going our own way. It boils down to our A&R team making the right choices in terms of catalogue (and not getting trapped in a genre - we've released Drone, Psyche Electronica and Japanese Hip-hop this year alone) and having worked quite a bit on our international connections over the years. To be honest, we didn’t sell that much more copies than we normally do, but I believe it's a very nice reward for the work of our artists and ourselves too. It never hurts to see your work being praised at that level. In 2017 we’re launching a new subscription service as well as more music (obviously), but we can't really tell you more about that right now. Keep your eyes open!

TANGRAM (Joris Vaes)

To pinpoint one 2016 highlight would be too difficult. But who could complain when we had a year filled with some top notch releases and loads of shows in Belgium and beyond? Our latest compilation (The Gold Play), which we released on vinyl, is definitely what can be considered a perfect end note to an exciting year. The fact that our artists have an ‘international sound’ contributed to getting picked up more by a broad spectrum of DJ’s, like The Gaslamp Killer, Kutmah, Om Unit, Gilles Peterson, etc. The loyal and continued support of Lefto definitely helped us with that.

We’re excited to share new material in 2017 from LTGL, Up High Collective, Sokoto, Moodprint and Yellowstraps. So basically our whole crew is working on new material!

9300 RECORDS (Toon, Niels èn Jens)

Ever since our first release in early 2015 with close friend Innershades, we’re on a mission to bring out quality house music that we like. Featuring originals and remixes by locals such as Shin, or well established names like Willie Burns, Legowelt, October or Lauer. The label obviously has a strong connection with the city of Aalst (guess which number is the city’s zipcode) and the Spectrum events we have been doing there for over 4 years.

Currently we’re working on our fifth release, one that is keeping Phara busy (albeit under an alter ego) – and preparations have been made for a second Innershades EP.

FAKE RECORDS (Jef De Temmerman)

2016 has pretty much been completely occupied by the release of Brihang’s debut album, ‘Zolangmogelijk’. The album release in November was preceded by two showcases and the single releases of ‘Balanceren’ and ‘Morsen’. Slowly but surely we are rounding up the debut album of NTREK – and there’s new material in the pipeline by Uberdope. On top of that, we are confirming nor denying the signings of new artists on Fake Records…

COINCIDENCE RECORDS (Didier Beydts)

One of our highlights must be our yearly invitation to host a stage on Tomorrowland! Next to that I’m extremely happy with the way our compilation (The 8th Season) was received, without big marketing campaigns. Also worth mentioning, is the fact that we had the honor to have TWr72 and Charlotte de Witte releasing remixes on our label. For the near future you can expect to see regular label nights in our new home away from home: Ghent’s Kompass Klub