Founded in 2012 by Valentino Betz and Marvin Schuhmann, Munich’s very own Public Possession has proved itself to be more like a creative outlet to channel the founders various interests than simply being a record label. The idea was to emphasize the relationship between music, text, graphic design and happenings. Ten years later it’s easy to state that their ambitious plan paid off big time. Needless to say that their entry for Lodown’s ongoing Monday Mixtape series is as eclectic and unpredictable as you hoped it would be - a laid-back antidote for another weird and hectic week that’s in front of us.
We’ve reached out to Marvin and Valentino in early spring to learn more about PP’s past, present and future, and you can read the whole thing in Lodown’s brand-new issue titled “Drifters“.
Would you say that PP these days is basically working like a full-service agency? M&V: Yes and no. Even though we do work on a commissioned basis, we try to limit us in that aspect as work on the label/brand hast started to become increasingly time-consuming. With the help of our team we are still looking for the right balance in that aspect.
Your artist roster might be united by its love for clubland and electronic music in general - still it feels a lot more diverse than what the majority of other labels bring to the table. What are the aspects you chose your artists from?
M&V: It’s a mix between us choosing them and and vice versa. For a long time most connections came through traveling and/or through recommendations by common friends.
This still rings very much true when we start collaborating with artists, these days though, now that we have travelled a lot less for obvious reasons, we did make some contacts purely by the means of digital communication. When choosing to work w/ somebody, the style of music really is secondary. It is much more about the vibe and attitude represented. Usually it clicks right away.
I’m also a major fan of the garment you release on regular basis… and I love it that you seem to take it very seriously on the one hand, yet don’t shy away from taking the piss on the other. How would you explain this branch of yours?
M&V: A good T-Shirt is something that lasts. We wanted to make our perfect version of it, so we started sourcing production facilities in Portugal, and did quite a few runs of samples until we were satisfied. From then on we did irregular runs of prints - up to the point where not only other people but also other shops started to show interest. Now we kinda try to follow some rules providing two bigger editions of items per year (spring/summer & autumn/winter), also offering a range of accessories and some other products as a side. In the end, it’s just another medium for our messages and it’s a fun way to explore ideas within certain parameters. So the idea of doing collections was not only appealing from a business approach, but also because we can set themes for ourselves and fill them up w/ visuals and text.
Just recently, you published your latest book WOW. Please tell me a bit what it’s all about and if this might be the first part of an ongoing series…
M&V: The idea came alive during the first lockdown. Some thoughts behind the project were things like displaying messages without any hierarchy and creating a platform for them to be received in a maximum unbiased way - hence the anonymity of the originators.
What will people send you when you give close to no guidelines? Will there be messages incoming at all? So we started to draw up these open calls to send us emails to email@example.com and we actually received many! Hilarious stuff, deep stuff, random, short, long, poems, claims, tips and so on… it’s fantastic. Now they have been turned into the first publication. All proceeds of that will be donated. Another part of why we initiated the whole thing: we were looking to start a charity project. Now we sell ideas (thoughts) of people, to help other people. Kind of a nice circle, no? The magic of the human mind!