"We’re always led by our passion for putting out really amazing music"
Every track published by Of Paradise is a reflection of their taste; the distillation of a life spent producing a thousand styles, and over the years, it's been proven right time and again. We caught up with co-founder Fade, to try and work out what holds together a label that defies catagorisation.
What was your first foray into the world of electronic music?
I’ve always been into a lot of different music, but it was mostly bands and alternative stuff (some electronic). But then I met Paul in 2014. We had a lot of music tastes in common, except he came from a much heavier electronic background, and that just opened up this whole new world for me to explore. I got lost in it from that point on.
In and out of the electronic music circle, who is an inspiration to you?
I find the artists we work with and the artists who closely surround us hugely inspiring. Some of the best new music is coming out on small labels like ours and there are artists making incredible music from their bedrooms. In a wider sense, I always draw a lot of inspiration from female DJs who have put a lot of time and dedication into music, really have a genuine passion for it and just do their thing (Josey Rebelle, Kemistry & Storm, Jane Fitz, Cassy). I look up to a lot of women outside of electronic music in this respect also (Kim Deal, PJ Harvey, Kim Gordon, Patti Smith, Courtney Love)…the list goes on.
When did the idea of starting a label begin to take shape? Has it always been something you’ve wanted to do?
In all honesty, it’s something I didn’t imagine I’d be doing. I’ve always loved music but thought the only way I could be involved was through making music or being in a band or something; the idea of running a label I just didn’t think was possible. When I met Paul he had an idea for a label and originally I was helping him with the design side of it. But I was getting more and more involved with each release until we were running it together. It developed very naturally. And I’m so glad that we are – I love doing it so much and it has opened up the opportunity to do so many things and meet so many great people as a result.
What is your criteria for choosing artists, projects, releases…?
It’s hard to pinpoint specific things that we look for because for the most part we’re guided by gut feelings when we hear something we feel is right for the label. But I guess the thing they all have in common is that the sound feels unique and exciting to us. When we listen to a demo if we are instantly moved by it and straight away want to hear it on a big sound system or can imagine going mad to it in a club, we know that’s for us. We look for music that is more club-focussed or generally has quite a big sound.
Do you ever have any difficulties deciding which artist should belong to which label?
Never. Paul and I pretty much agree 100% of the time on who we want to work with.
Since you started Of Paradise until now, how much has the concept of the label changed?
It’s definitely developed a lot since we started it back in 2016. But it’s all down to experiences in that time and naturally growing. I’ve always tended to like harder, darker sounds and I think that’s crept into the label aesthetic. But also, we’ve learnt so much in that period of time and all of that has helped us mature and become a lot more savvy. The one thing that hasn’t changed though is our passion for staying true to ourselves. One thing we’ve always prided ourselves on is not following trends in music or working with artists because they are flavour of the month. We’re always led by our passion for putting out really amazing music that deserves to be heard and working hard to do the best by the artists we work with and be as professional as possible.
Has anything changed in how you approach your work with the label since you started? Your general outlook or anything else?
Not much really – we’ve always approached the label very professionally and have the same creative ethos as when we first started. I think the only thing that maybe has changed is that we now devote a lot more time to it than we had previously been able to, which is great to be able to do.
What’s the most satisfying and unsatisfying thing about running a label?
The most satisfying thing is certainly working with really talented individuals. It’s so great to be a part of their creative process and also being involved with the wider music industry, which is super exciting in itself. The most unsatisfying thing is perhaps the challenge of trying to promote an artist who is maybe not so well known – a lot of outlets seem to only be interested in established artists.
What have been your personal highlights and lowlights?
Personal highlights are always when you hear a big DJ dropping a track you’ve put out. I think seeing the Zenker Brothers play Stratton (OP010) on Boiler Room was pretty cool. Also hearing that Ryan Elliott played Oall Hates (OP007) in Berghain, although sadly we weren’t there for that one. Other big highlights for me are of course when I get the chance to play out. Our label party at Corsica Studios in March 2019 was BIG and closing out Room 2 was amazing. Also headlining in Paris in Dec 2019 was a really special gig for me.
What makes a good mix to you?
A good mix for me is one that has a strong point of view. I’m not a big fan of mixes that include lots of different tracks in different styles. I like a mix to feel a bit more seamless and for it to create a certain energy.
What is your selection criteria?
I’m always led by my current mood when I sit down to make a mix. So it could be that the mix ends up a being dubby and introverted, or it could be that it goes in all guns blazing and is slamming from start to finish. I can always guarantee though that they will generally sound pretty dark and moody.
If you had to change one thing about the music industry that we inhabit what would it be?
I would like it to be a bit more open to embracing new/unknown talent. For the last couple of years there has been a lot of the same DJs and producers getting exposure and I think there are so many unknown artists that deserve kudos. I wish the music outlets were less concerned with getting likes and a bit more passionate about discovering great music.
Do you think that after the Covid-19 event, the music industry will change?
Perhaps. I think for a little while at least there will be less DJs travelling around, which I don’t think is necessarily a bad thing. I think it would be quite nice for local scenes to build back up again, so different cities have their own voice and personality.
What lesson should we learn from this paralysis?
That everyone could benefit from slowing down a bit.
What tracks would you recommend us to liven up the confinement?
Firstly, I would recommend Oall Hates’ ‘Tranceporter’ EP, which is out the 1st May on Of Paradise.
It will certainly liven up confinement for sure. Then perhaps I would recommend the latest VA on Shaw Cuts – it’s HUGE. My favourite track on there is Lazarus ‘Veichii (Farron Remix)’. And then maybe to keep spirits up, anything by Mr G.
What are your future plans?
So there’s quite a lot in the pipeline this year for us. I’m working on my own music at the moment, with a view to have an EP out this year, which is very exciting. I have a track on our next VA, which is out next month. And then we have a couple more EPs that we’re putting out this year that are fantastic and I really can’t wait to see them go out into the world.
Tell me one record that you wish you had signed.
Oooff that’s a tough one. Maybe the latest Galaxian EP ‘Coming Up For Air’ on Ilian Tape. It’s beautiful.
Describe the label in 5 Words.
It’s all about the music.