Today, our trip is to the west coast of Ontario´s lake in Canada. Great Lakes is a zone well known to Detroit, Chicago and, in a way New York sound lovers. Today, we gonna talk to a reference to the other side of United States border. In particular to Toronto. We have the pleasure to introduce you to Mark Kufner (Toronto Hustler) that he is making Toronto a big fire quality mark inside House music. Since two year, his record label called Selections is stirring up north side of American continent and standing out to many people. To us, from the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, called our atention.
Hi Mark, firstly, How are you and how did it go you day?
I am well thank you! My day is nice and relaxing. It’s a holiday today. So I am preparing my next show.
Could you tell me which is your first record appear in your mind?
The first record I remember buying was Run D.M.C - Raising hell (1986) I started buying records at a very young age, 12 years old. I started collecting HIP HOP then eventually switched when I started to hear house music around 1992 or so... after that I was hooked and never looked back.
Inside House big range , Which is your favorite or interesting House music´s gradient that could interest you today?
For me personally I gravitate towards the deeper side of house music. I can’t say that it’s my number one genre of house because I personally see house music as a genre itself. I like various kinds of house ranging from the deepest to tech and all in between.
As a music consumer, principally house and jazz music, I can observe a huge wave of new music and new producers that they are creating an incredible material. In turn, reeditions that it was imposible to find since years ago, now you could. That, for vinyl music lovers is like an entry to heaven. What do you think about of vinyl´s fisical format reappareance after years of decadence or hypothetical decadence?
I am thrilled that vinyl has seen a resurgence. For me it’s something that never went anywhere. There was a period that I stopped buying vinyl around 2006 when digital music started to take over. Fortunately for me I never sold my collection so when I started making the shift back to playing vinyl only around 2012 I had all of my music still. From 2012 I started to shop for vinyl and have been that way ever since. I think people are getting back to enjoying the thrill of digging for music, looking at album covers in person, and loving the improved sound quality of a nice warm record. Plus there is the experience of being in a record store, and talking to likeminded people who also share in your passion for vinyl culture.
We know your record label, Selections, only press in vinyl format and this, in some way, is an answer to our previous question but . Is risky as a records label´s owner to press only in this format?
Yes, it is risky in regards to exposure. Obviously as popular as vinyl is today, I would say that around 90% of consumers still consume music digitally. So, in a way your limiting your exposure to a smaller audience. But, your also creating a much more exclusive element by making it harder to source unless you buy the record. For me, back in the 90’s the only way you could buy house music was on vinyl. I am addicted to vinyl so having a vinyl only label was the only way to do Selections for me. I won’t rule out some digital exclusives down the road sometime but for now Selections is and will remain strictly VINYL ONLY.
After so many years as a Dj and being a scene verterán . What have you taken to take the leap to Selections creation?
Well, after 27 years of DJing in clubs, warehouse parties and after hours clubs, I decided in 2019 to pursue a lifelong dream, to launch a VINYL ONLY record label. I have been inspired by a lot of the new producers in house music and also by the classic sounds as well. I created Selections as a label to showcase up and coming talent as well as the iconic names of the past. I am doing this by re issuing tracks as well as releasing new and original eps.
I guess many people asked you but, Why is Selections name?
I chose the name Selections because i want the label to have a wide selection of music. From deep, tech, acid, and even techno. Also, djs are known as Selectors, as we always play selections for the crowd, so there you have it! Selections!
Which are the features to Selections to choose a song, a producer, etc?
The selection process for the label is really quite simple. When I hear something that I love and know I would play, I know it fits the selections vibe. For me, I follow a-lot of producers and sometimes reach out myself and ask them if they are interested in doing a track or an ep for Selections. I also do listen to demos and have signed a few upcoming releases by artist who took the time to send material to the label.
Could you to us about Selections last reference and what do you expect about the future?
Our last ep was a Various Artist EP titled “The Movement EP”. This particular record came to me after the George Floyd video. I wanted to do something to give back to the black community and to the BLM movement so I reached out to 4 artists that I admire and knew would be interested in being a part of this special release. For this record I called on Nick Holder of DNH records, Kai Alcé of NDATL, Demuir of Purveyor Underground and the 83 west crew (Tyrone Solomon + Martino Lozej). We put together 4 original cuts and called it The Movement EP. Previously we released the “Stuttgart to Parkdale” EP by Tobi Danton of Rough recordings, as well as our first release by Nick Holder, a collection of iconic reissued tracks which we called “Selected works”. Our next release is coming out April 6th, it’s a super deep ep by Parisian artist Jamn Ensemble titled “The Snows of Yesteryear” and has a remix by Basic Soul Unit. Then, for our future releases we have eps and remixes by artists including Dan only, Black Loops, intr0beatz, Jason Hodges, Evenn, Nico Lahs, Yann Polewka, Toronto Hustle and a few more that I can’t mention just yet.
Thank you for taking the time to have a chat. I really appreciate this. I am looking forward to being able to travel again and taking Selections on the road! Hope to see you in person soon! Peace!
Stunt Keaton ( musician, producer & writer )