The underground’s newest upstarts, Premature Records are determined to bring their ethos of intimate physical distribution over mass consumption to the forefront of quality record production. Both a record label and a club night, Premature Records have two dynamic releases coming up this year, the first a debut from thomas9000 featuring melodic electronic arrangements alongside complex modular synth work, and the latter an EP featuring a collaboration between Terre Thaemlitz a.k.a. DJ Sprinkles and Robin Rimbaud a.k.a. Scanner and label founder, Ben Galyas. Both works will be available on 7” and 12” vinyl respectively, reinforcing the label’s ethos of quality in the physical domain.
With a night at Elephant and Castle’s premiere sound system encasing Corsica Studio’s launching tonight (“all vinyl, all night”), Premature Records are set to springboard upwards or rather, downwards into the rich and vibrant chaos that makes up London’s electronic scene. So we thought we’d meet and greet.
Where did the idea to make a label and live night focused on physical distribution formulate?
For me, establishing a label was the only resolution to a problem I was facing, in terms of audio production and dissemination; the online outputs, Youtube and Soundcloud predominantly, offered very little in terms of compensation, emotionally and economically. Online platforms also limit the kind of work that could be published; for example, to post explicitly queer or anti-capitalist material onto Youtube would act as an exposure to fascism and homophobia, not just from individual users but from governments. That isn’t necessarily something I, or the artists that I am working with, are comfortable with.
In terms of formats, do you think it’s important to continue supporting vinyl?
I think so, although I wouldn’t go as far to say I’m a vinyl fetishist or whatever. Physical releases provide artists with some degree of sustenance and allows for a wider breadth in creativity. Imagine the kind of audio you would have to produce in order to earn a living by Spotify royalties, you know? Imagine how homogenising that would be for artists as a whole, to have to compete for streams and attention in that way. The sheer amount of singer songwriters has become… more than enough for me. There is a very neoliberal sense of competition that has characterised online music distribution, and that is why I am pro-physical as it were.
How did you choose which artists to support and release?
It’s a combination of elements, maybe the audio is secondary most of the time. I think it’s about context; I’m more interested in what is trying to be achieved and how that is realised via process. I’m currently working with thomas9000, an artist from London who works predominantly with modular synthesizers but who I would say, is also very interested in technology as a mediator for both violence and tranquility – this is reflected in his release. The second release features Scanner and Terre Thaemlitz (a.k.a DJ Sprinkles) and myself. On the A side, Scanner has intercepted a phone conversation where a guy is essentially masturbating, you can here this whimper throughout, and Terre has scored it with a really beautiful piano solo. That work in particular touches upon a variety of issues surrounding private space, modes of communication, exposure – I think in many ways that is more important than the audio itself.
You’re launching the live show at Corsica tonight. Great expectations?
I don’t know! I hope people dance! But if they don’t want to that is fine.
What should we wear?
Haha! I don’t think it’s that kind of night.
Fair enough. Who will we be hearing?
I’ve invited Jembut (Jem Wraith), who is a very good friend of mine and an amazingly talented producer and DJ to play, and Coby Sey, who has just put out an excellent EP on Nic Tasker’s Whities. We’re all going to play all night.
For us, the scale and capacity of Corsica is probably just about right. It has an excellent reputation for supporting less conventional projects, especially in terms of electronic music. Obviously, its sound system is pretty great too.
Are there any live nights or labels that are inspiring you at the moment, or particularly pushing boundaries?
I went to see Will Bankhead and Ben UFO play a few months ago in The Flying Dutchman in Camberwell, which is the tiniest basement you could imagine. They played facing away from the crowd, with this large black curtain surrounding them and to be honest I found that completely refreshing. At Andy Blake’s first World Unknown parties, in the same venue, he would DJ in a completely different room, perhaps they were echoing that; I’m
not too sure, but it reassigned the focal point of the room to the crowd itself. I think that’s an interesting notion, especially in the age of millionaire EDM DJs in Las Vegas or whatever, to defetishise the DJ.
Is there any iconic club or night you wish you could have attended? Anywhere that inspires you today in terms of club culture?
I used to like Plastic People, unfortunately I came to London three months before it closed. Maybe, sonically, the early days of The Kitchen in New York, although that is by no means a club! I don’t think I’m really experienced enough to say you know, if only I could have been here. There is nothing like that I really dream about. When clubs immediately around me are closed or are threatened with closure then I feel that I wish I could go there again, especially with Plastic, but for as other cities and past generations of club culture, I can’t really
Headlines suggest London nightlife is shutting down but new nights are appearing every week, what’s your opinion as one of the instigators?
There are massive problems in London in that its economic set up is so heavily reliant upon the financial industry and real estate; and within the constant development and ‘progression’ of real estate there is an expectation of areas that clubs occupy and have always occupied, to make themselves ‘habitable’ or ‘friendly’ or whatever bullshit language developers and councillors are using. This is basically a facade for moving working people out of an area to allow for the middle classes to swamp and invest. I think clubs should stand with the communities that are facing these issues on a daily basis. It’s certainly something I think that Bussey Building does very well in
Peckham. Nightclubs have the opportunity, not only to present themselves, but to actually become a focal point of and for communities. In terms of social action, I think that is incredibly important to achieve.
Premature Recordings takes place tonight from 11pm; tickets can be found here, while you can pre-order thomas9000’s record here.