ILM x Klasse Recordings

check the label

With the second Berlin chapter of Independent Label Market in front of us, we’ll portrait a few labels close to our heart that exhibit at this event. Obviously we wanted to do a lot more of these features, but time sure flies when you’re basically busy non-stop and suffer from ADHD. First in line is Berlin based Klasse Recordings, which is run by Lucas Hunter aka Luca Lozano.  

Lucas, in a climate where people tend to download tracks only instead of listening to whole albums, what made you decide to actually found a label that's also rich on vinyl releases? : I think first and foremost it’s a selfish thing, I've collected vinyl since I was in my early teens, so it wouldn't make sense to me to only release digital music. i have a fondness for it, you could call it a certain kind of nostalgia. It’s nice to see a physical product on your shelves and in record stores, it would feel empty somehow without. It’s the same feeling with tapes, my GRAFITI TAPES label is purely for fun, there’s no money in it… it’s just a nice way of materializing the creativity.

Your label might touch a certain genre superstructure but certainly crosses over to other styles - and hopefully therefore a different audience - as well... was that a quintessential point on the label's agenda from the very beginning or did that actually develop through the “work in progress“, so to speak? : The music we released in the first years is a little different to what we put out now, as i'm taking care of the a+r... it’s a reflection of my personal taste and that is constantly shifting and re-focussing. I never wanted Klasse to be only one style and direction, I’m too restless for that discipline. i imagine it will change somewhat in the future, too.

Besides building a unique artist roster, how important is the visual side of the label to you? : As important as the music is, i enjoy the design side of the label as much and sometimes more than the music side. Over the years it has developed and changed and I’m really happy with where it is now. The look of the label represents the music in my opinion, innocent, rough, influenced by the past but still new and hopefully unique in the landscape of other similar labels. 

Any artist you wished you would've signed when you had the chance to? : I don’t listen to much new music these days so I’d be hard pressed to choose someone contemporary. I’m obsessed with the early Warp era stuff and would have loved to have been around when the first Forgemasters stuff came out. In 2015 it still sounds like the future so I cannot imagine how impressive it was in the early 90s. An EP from them on Klasse would have been amazing.

Is there actually a release on your label that you're particularly proud of? : Recently there have been two, I released a GRAFITI TAPE from Swedish Graffiti writer NUG and that was a landmark. I grew up looking at his pieces in magazines and books and it was a real trip to be in contact with him directly. The tape is experimental, dark and not the most accessible piece of music, but it represents his work perfectly... and I was proud to see it be released and then immediately sell out. Klasse Wrecks also recently put out the first EP from Phran, a Barcelona based producer originally from Venezuela. The EP is so consistent and refreshing, it’s a perfect balance of functionality and originality and there’s something so funky and unique about it. I'd be happy if all Klasse's releases sounded like this one.

If you knew back then what you certainly know now, would you consider founding a record label again? : I’d be a bit stricter with direction and try to keep within certain lines with the music and art, I'd also try to have a bit more patience. I'd avoid spending all that wasted money on PR and narrow my sights at the start... it’s nice to have peoples feedback but at the end of the day, if you release good enough music, it will find its way to the right people.

On September 20th, Independent Label Market will open its doors at Berlin's Teppichfabrik, offering everything and beyond a true vinyl aficionado needs: exclusive releases, rarities and actual people to communicate and share the passion with.