"Having the music and label loved is a special feeling, there’s a lot of hard work that goes into running something like this but those moments are the driving force behind it all"
The Paradiso Records project is the result of the work of Adam Rees, whose taste for art and music has led him to create a platform with sound that captured his attention and took his creative curiosity. Since then, it has not stopped being recognized internationally, without losing fidelity to the music and its message: raise the rhythm, lower the differences.
What was your first foray into the world of electronic music?
Listening to Synth Pop and New Wave from an early age was the first exposure into the electronic world, this grew into discovering more underground music as I grew into my teens, coupled with attending a lot of local events with amazing artists has born a lifelong passion.
In and out of the electronic music circle, who is an inspiration to you?
Inside electronic music; people like Gerd Janson, Benjamin Frohlich and Jenifer Cardini who have spent years building amazing record labels, whilst equally achieving great things through their own music career. Outside of music, the biggest inspiration probably wouldn’t be a who, but a where! My home town of Middlesbrough and the whole of the North East England in general, it’s an amazing and very motivating place to be from with so much talent.
When did the idea of starting a label begin to take shape? Has it always been something you’ve wanted to do?
Summer 2017 the idea first came, then Paradiso was born a few months later in October of the same year. I always wanted a creative project of my own, I didn’t really know what it would be until that point. I had ran some blogs and similar things, but this was the project I had been waiting for.
Can you pinpoint any early inspirations for Paradiso in terms of artists, aesthetics or otherwise?
The aesthetic of the seventies and eighties has always been appealing to me, you can see this be prominent throughout everything the label does. Abstract art is also something I always enjoy, so I try to have that incorporated into the design and feel.
Similarly, can you highlight any formative experiences that led you on the path to its inception?
As an artist, the whole experience around dealing with a label, sending demo emails out, waiting to hear back (if you do at all), waiting for details etc can become frustrating. Starting my own label gave me back that freedom to be at all the decision making for my own music, I’d recommend that to anyone.
What is your criteria for choosing artists, projects, releases...?
We just want to sign great music from great people. We’ve been lucky enough to put out some very talented artist’s debut releases, it’s so exciting to introduce an artist like that to the world with huge potential.
Since you started Paradiso until now, how much has the concept of the label changed?
It’s changed a great deal. To be totally honest, the label has only really started to mould into it’s true self within the past 12 months. Until late 2019, it never had its own identity. We took a break at the beginning of the year to rethink the ethos and come back focused and stronger, we’ve done exactly that.
What’s the most satisfying and unsatisfying thing about running a label?
Having the music and label loved is a special feeling, there’s a lot of hard work that goes into running something like this but those moments are the driving force behind it all. I can’t say the constant attention, daily/weekly deadlines and money draining outgoings are very satisfying but it all goes into the bigger picture.
What have been your personal highlights and lowlights?
We’ve welcomed some big names onto the label this year; Theus Mago, Juan Maclean and Daniel Monaco amongst others have joined us for remixes and we’ve also put out a killer EP from Man Power. Also, considering the gig-less year we’ve had, we have managed to get some great DJ support from artists like Âme playing out our music. Lowlights are when a release doesn’t reach as great as we may have anticipated, but it’s just one of the many affecting factors of Covid.
What is missing from the dance music scene nowadays?
Individuality, and perhaps a grounded attitude. I think a massive downfall of the scene and it’s artists these days is that it’s all became so embodied with instagram culture and this ‘attention economy’. Success or talent is becoming judged on followers, and records are promoted by an online persona. Social Media is a wonderful and vital thing don’t get me wrong, but this isn’t love island, this is underground music culture - treat it with respect.
Do you think that after the Covid-19 event, the music industry will change?
I really hope so! Artist fee’s need to drop drastically, especially with the likelihood of a recession in most countries very prominent. Small, grass root clubs I can imagine will be hit hardest in the music venue world and no small promoter should be paying ridiculous fee’s from their hard worked day job. Hopefully we see this put the ball in back into the court of the promoters and clubs negotiating these fees.
What tracks would you recommend us to liven up the confinement?
For something new, definitely check out Rapaik’s Space Gangster EP - a very fun cosmic nu-italo release, and absolutely anything from Franz Scala’s debut album, truly incredible! Something old, stick on ‘Modem - Valerie’ for some classic italo. Other than those, I’m loving everything Pablo Bozzi and Curses are doing lately.
What’s your favourite “save the dancefloor” song?
Palms Trax ‘To Paradise’
or Inkel Jet 880 by Lauer; two instant classics.
What are your future plans?
GIGS! I’m desperately excited to get back to gigging (whenever that may be), with a lot more label shows too. We also have Paradiso’s first vinyl releases coming this 2021 so look out for those!
Describe the label in 5 Words.
Italo, Energy, Eighties, Cosmic, Retrofuturism.