20 Record Labels to Keep an Eye on in 2020
- Published on Saturday, 04 April 2020 17:40
Earlier this year, we took a look at 20 artists we thought you should be keeping an eye out and now it's time for us to turn our attention to record labels...
Running a record label is not an easy task and the people who have taken the plunge into running their own imprints are to be admired. The number of hours of hard work that goes on behind the scenes to make sure the tracks they're signing is getting out into the wild and recognition they deserve is a thankless task. There are many pieces to the puzzle of signing a track from the initial A&R phase of finding the right artists and the right music to release, to getting all the paperwork written up and signed, then sending the tracks to a mastering engineer to get the music sounding perfect. Then it's off to the pressing plant to get those lovely 12" copies of wax made up, then into the distribution chain to make its way to all the physical record stores as well as all the online outlets before it can find it's way into the hands of the customers who have been waiting months, sometimes years to get their hands on their favourite tracks!
In this article, we'll be taking a look at both up and coming labels, as well as some more established names who are consistently at the top of their game who we think, will be worth you keeping an eye on throughout the year and further (going A-Z).
If there's one thing we can be certain of in these uncertain times is that music really does bring us together whether we like it or not. Music is not going anywhere and for that, we should be thankful. We'll sign off this intro by reminding you to keep checking on our friends and loved ones and if we make sure that we stick together through all of this then we'll come out the other side in a much stronger place.
Addition By Subtraction
Sydney based imprint, Addition By Subtraction believes that less is more and that in order to add, one must subtract. These guys really caught our eye throughout 2019 and we're predicting them to have a great 2020! The guys over at the label have done a fantastic job with the music they've released so far. EPs, VA's and remixes on both digital and vinyl format have come from the likes of; Giorgio Maulini, Stussko, Voigtmann, The Willers Brothers, Stephan Bazbaz, Monika Ross and Michael James.
Here, you'll find delicious pieces that go from the groovy deep house through to some heavier techy numbers and minimal rollers being put out so there will be something to suit all tastes. They also have a fantastic podcast series that has seen guests include the likes of; DJOKO, Javier Carballo, Toman, Dubfluss and Ray Mono amongst others - as we're sat here typing this we're currently listening to the talented Joren Edwards who has served up the 13th edition of the series, make sure you go check this one out...some seriously good grooves inside!
BEEYOU Records is a vinyl-only label that was created on the white isle of Ibiza but nurtured in London by co-founders Laidlaw and Jamie Mannion. The guys say that each selected artist has personally connected with them on their journey on earth and their aim is to share their part of the story in music form. The guys say that each selected artist has personally connected with them on their journey on earth and their aim is to share their part of the story in music form.
Garage influenced house vibes coupled with rhythmic minimal textures are the order of the day for the BEEYOU crew who have released music from the likes of; Den Haass, Per Hammar, Julian Anthony, Rossi, Jake Flory, Casey Spillman and Mehlor amongst others. The London influence is strong with the music they put out but everything has an infectious groove that you'll find hard not to move to! They also say that the world they live in can sometimes be dull and a place of control so they are aiming to spread light and life by showcasing the talent & individuality of each artist and to be a platform for people to express and 'BEE' themselves.
Berg Audio is a label most people have come familiar with over the last 12-18 months. They've been releasing consistently solid music from some of the best artists around - go check out their latest outing from DJOKO to get a real sense of the style and sound that the label pushes for. They are also the home of Traumer's amazing 'Assembling Pieces' album - try and pick up a copy of this on wax if you can get your hands on it, it's a real masterpiece!
Alongside these two, they have also released tracks from the likes of; Malin Genie, Chris Stussy, iO (Mulen), Pavel Iudin, Priku, Mihai Popoviciu, Silverlining, Ada Kaleh...the list goes on! Their 'Construction Tools' Volumes 1, 2 and 3 are some of the best music the label has put out! You seriously need to check these guys out and keep an eye out on everything they put out... marvellous!
Blind Vision Records
Blind Vision Records, the London based deep underground house label, has been releasing quality music for the past 4 years. The man at the helm, Alejo Galvez has a keen eye when it comes to spotting the perfect artists and tracks to release. A nice mixture and blend of minimal, deep tech and deep house can be found strewn throughout the labels back catalogue.
Artists who have made appearances, both with their own originals and remixes include the likes of; Julenn, Mikhu, Arkady Antsyrev, BADEO, Javier Labarca, Alex Ranerro, Legit Trip, Dirty Culture and Parsec amongst a whole host of others. Blind Vision is a label that consistently produces the goods from both up and coming names alongside more established artists and we find the balance really great. We've been introduced to some fantastic talent thanks to the label and we hope it continues!
Botanic Minds, run by Ted Amber is one of the labels at the forefront of the new ro-minimal movement. Ted has ensured that his very own imprint is one of the go-to labels for all the latest and greatest upcoming minimal tracks. A very distinctive sound and taste can be heard throughout the back catalogue that make a BM release recognisable.
The Lithuanian label, which is now based in London, has pressed various releases and remixes to wax from the likes of; Direkt, Barut, Camelia, Arapu, and LIZZ. What you get with a Botanic Minds release is pure quality and these slabs of vinyl will be sure to stay in your record bag for years to come! Make sure you keep an eye on the label as we can tell you that Sepp, the master of hypnosis will join the Mind's ranks very soon...!
Bucharest based digital and vinyl outfit Capodopere is a label we have had our eyes on over the past couple of years and they deliver the goods every time! If you're looking for pure minimal goodness with splashes of jazz samples and meticulous attention to the details, then look no further, these guys have you covered.
They're unearthing and showcasing some fantastic talent with each release and they all have that special 'something' about them that makes us keep going back for more, getting hyped for each release. They have put out music from some great names; Stefano Zampone, Hendriks Toth, Atemporal, Alfij, Kikuya, Dieru, Pedro Duarte, Suolo, Incolor and so much more. If you haven't taken a listen to a Capodopere release then we suggest you do it right now!
Burnski's Constant Sound has put out - no jokes aside - a constant quality output over the last 5 years or so. During this period, the label had the chance to explore all the facets that the 4/4 can offer, ranging from dub techno to raw minimal, deep house, electro, UK garage and everything in between. It is precisely this last genre that Burnski has turned his attention to, starting the INSTINCT project which synthesizes his work both as an artist and a homonymous label.
The variety of genres explored has led to the inevitable opening of 3 more sister labels: Constant Black, dedicated to the most underground techno and dub vibes, Infiltrate, designed for the breakbeat heads, Aesthetic, for rolling deep-tech groove specialists where some lush deep pads can finally do the work. In the vast panorama that the label offers, we can see veterans such Subb-an and Okain but also upcoming producers like frequent collaborators Michael James and Nick Beringer, Pakzad, Niko Maxen, Kepler and Iuly.B to name a few. Last but not least, the label has officially opened the doors to a digital-only label, exclusively dedicated to introducing young talents onto the scene.
Daydream, run by Frenchman Clement Valdelievre in our opinion, is one of the most exciting labels around at the moment! The label seeks to offer an intelligent and efficient vision of house music in order to provide perfect DJ cuts. Release after release, they are building a family of vinyl lovers passionate about strong beats, spacey dreamy sounds, and bouncy rhythms.
The family consists of talented artists such as; Nick Beringer, Noah Skelton, MJOG, Kepler, Casey Spillman, Worker Union, Steven.aint.leavn, The Willers Brothers and many more! Clement also launched 'Ethernal' as a sublabel focused on the micro side of house music with a more intimate approach, with releases being available in a very limited hand-stamped edition. The latest offering from the impressive Mbius is a release we think you'll really like!
An independent record label operating both in digital and vinyl distribution, Eagervision is based in London but works with artists from all over Europe. Its goal is to cultivate and support creative talents within the scene and has started to gain attention for introducing new artists bringing something different to the table. That’s why the basis of their approach is building a genuine relationship with the artist, taking into account their influences and their original ideas in order to explore new horizons and provide authentic sounds through original productions and remixes.
They have so far enjoyed support from BBC Radio, Trommel, DJ Mag Spain, Grainy and of course ourselves here at Meoko. as well as getting plays from artists such as MJ Cole, Archie Hamilton, Rich NxT, Marco Carola, Laurent Garnier and prominent Romanian artists such as Sepp and Mihai Pol.
Wlad and Mancini's hedZup Records continue to go from strength to strength! The Paris based label has a string of releases under their belt from some of the best producers around and their catalogue is very strong! A no-nonsense house and tech label who pump out thumping, driving records will have no doubt already found their way into most DJs records bags by now!
Artists you'll find putting their music out through the imprint include; Ray Mono, DJOKO, Nolga, Nolga, Rowlanz, Alessio Viggiano, Niko Maxen, James Dexter, Josh Baker, Rich NxT and Lee Burton amongst others. Make sure you keep an eye on these guys as they'll no doubt keep rolling out the tunes as the year progresses.
Yoyaku's Roger Gerressen is a master of his own. Being famous for delivering interstellar dub techno trips and electronic emotional pieces that cross every genre, the Dutch producer launched his own imprint Irenic back at the start of 2017, but he's been on our radar for a long time! Roger started this label to promote music aimed at peace for the heart and soul and he certainly has delivered with the material put out.
Here you'll find great dubby house sounds from the likes of; Novio Dub Tribe, Alex Jansen, Bas Amro, Noah Skelton, Matt Thibideau, Tm Shuffle, Jeigo, Highkin and Roger Gerressen himself. If you like deep minimal dub then Irenic is a label you'll want to get to know!
MTM (More Than Music)
Ibiza based MTM (More Than Music) is owned and run by 2VILAS. They're not just a label but a physical record shop as well you can actually go and visit (when we aren't all in lockdown!) They have a selection of hard to find, and second-hand vinyl for those that like to do a bit of digging. For producers, you can check out their stock of second-hand vintage synthesizers and drum machines. They also supply accessories for the professional DJ, including cartridges, records bags, and headphones.
The guys don't hold back either on the amazing roster of artists they have releasing music on the label. Here you'll find some great house cuts from artists such as; Lorenzo Chiabotti, Topper, Herck, Giuliano Lomonte, Triptil, Silat Beksi, Miroloja, Nu Zau, Vincentiulian, Mihai Pol, Viceversa and lots more! We can't wait for the lockdown to be over and jump on the first flight available over to Ibiza to check out the store and buy lots and lovely new wax!
Normandy Records boss Gunnter launched the label back in 2018 and has been on our radar ever since. A total of 7 releases have been pressed and put out to the public and each one has been impressive! We absolutely love the latest outing from fellow Parisian Vitess who has compiled 4 straight-up house thumpers for his very own EP...go check this one out right now!
Other artists to release on the label have been the likes of; KA One & St-sene, Mara Lakour, R.M, District 9, Julenn, Sichuan, Vendi and Stan Claud. We're really looking forward to seeing that this label has up its sleeve for the rest of the year and further into the future!
Leeds based rising star Kepler launched Perspective back in 2019 with an amazing release from another rising star in the shape of Nolga. The Manchester-based producer served up 4 rolling minimal house slices for the dancefloor that really hit the spot! Fresh from a release on iO Mulen's Hoarder imprint alongside Michael James, the 'Ventura EP' gained early support from the likes of; Nick Beringer, Monika Ross, Arapu, Chris Stussy, Chris Stussy and many more!
With 002 due to land sometime in June, a release confirmed from the mysterious Jaques Jardin as well as an EP from BE9 crew member Tim Etzel, it's safe to say that we're really excited to see where Perspective goes with its future releases...
Politics Of Dancing Records
Parisian S.M.A.L.L. and PACO got together as a proper duo 7 years ago and since then they've literally been smashing the scene with powerful house anthems under the Politics Of Dancing alias. The pair founded the homonymous P.O.D. Records, which has recently celebrated its 5 year anniversary with a special compilation, including tracks by Chris Stussy, DJOKO, Boris Werner, Djebali and Jamahr among others. The label gained immediate support since day 1 from the likes of; Ricardo Villalobos, Marco Carola, Apollonia, and Tuccillo to name a few.
P.O.D. Records' sound has evolved from raw party house vibes with sharp vocals and noisy 909 drum assaults into a more sophisticated blend of melodic deep-techy grooves, without ever losing sight of what this music is the primary goal: making you dance! Politics Of Dancing Records had the pleasure to release beauties from top-notch groovers such as Dan Ghenacia, iO (Mulen), Chris Carrier, Janeret, Shonky and D'julz, affirming itself as one of the leaders in the groove industry, also thanks to the sub-label P.O.D. CROSS which is exclusively dedicated to collaborations between the label bosses and some close friends. Make you sure to keep an eye on it as they're going to have big stuff coming from Diego Krause, Stephan Bazbaz and Silverlining, while the next CROSS wax-sides will be shared between Okain and Rowlanz.
Conceived along the beautiful Italian coasts, RE.FACE Records was born in 2013 with the aim of promoting the finest Italian clubbing experience. A couple of years later, this constantly growing and evolving crew felt the need to do take the next natural step, founding the digital RE.FACE own label, which has become the home of renowned and upcoming artists in the underground panorama. The label's style can be described as the perfect mixture of evolving deep house and minimal, without ever being afraid to explore breakbeat sonorities or dreamy house numbers.
Among them, we can find Techu, Ephem, Cerec, Bauch, Cristi Murar, SY, Ted Amber, Fabrizio Maurizi, Vern, Peshka and lots more! In 2016, the label landed on physical format, releasing music from the likes of; Topper, Vincentiulian, Sakro and Fabrizio Maurizi to name a few. Lastly, fascinated by the peaceful oriental landscapes and delighted by the smell of Sakura flowers, they’ve found their inner peace in the KOI Series. The label has already good plans for this year, which include majestic works by top-producers Sublee, Arapu, Sepp, Los Bastoneros, Lorenzo Chiabotti, and label co-owner Togué.
Dominic Smith aka Laughing Man's Standalone Records has been a label releasing consistently solid music since its inception. Dreamy, moody, spacey vibes are the order of the day here and we can't get enough! Check out their latest 'Complex Eight' release to get a real feel. Showcasing some great up and coming and lesser-known artists alongside some more familiar names in the business are helping the label in becoming a reliable source for a variety of high-quality music for music lovers everywhere.
You'll find music from; MDC (Italy), Mysa, Kepler, Vedran Komm, Parsec, DJ Moonbeam, Fawnic as well as the ever-impressive Harrison BDP and head honcho himself, Laughing Man. In the future, we'll see music coming from; Dan Goul and Barrow as well as a VA which will include music from; Nier, Fawnic, Two Dotts and Laughing Man. A seriously good label, run by a seriously talented producer, releasing seriously good music...what's not to love!
State of Flow
Despite the small number of releases, Igor Vicente's State Of Flow got some first-class supporter such as Ricardo Villalobos, The Martinez Brothers, Seth Troxler, Jamie Jones, tINI, Guy Gerber, Nick Curly, Dyed Soundorom, Ryan Crosson, Shaun Reeves and Bill Patrick just to name a few! The first three EPs, which came from LYE, Brett Johnson and Jakob Seidensticker & Boronas, showcased Igor's deepest musical side, with great dancefloor cuts ranging from deep house to minimal with splashes of electro.
Despite a hiatus that lasted almost 2 years, the Belgian label is ready to get back in the game with a forthcoming release by South America's exclusive project Aire Terra (aka Manglus & Guillermo de Caminos) with Cesar Merveille on the remix. To follow, Pier Bucci, Francesca Lombardo, Jean Pierre, Trangaz and Igor Vicente himself will all provide some serious tunes, bringing the label back to the level it deserves.
Berlin-based Okain is the man behind the successful Talman Records. Since its very first release by the boss himself - which started back in 2015 - the label has given proof of what it was going to be capable of, delivering Berlin-ish deep house cuts with rolling basslines, majestic grooves, sharp synths, and minimal hypnotic percussions. After having provided the first five releases by himself, Okain led the label's throne to UK maestro Silverlining who got remixed by no-one-other than FUSE's main man Enzo Siragusa and genius live performer Sweely.
As time passes, Okain felt the need to have more space to share his ideas of sound, and founding Talman Digital and Retro Future Chapter was just a matter of time. On these labels, he has released quality cuts from the likes of Paolo Rocco, Stevn.aint.leavn, Josh Baker, Monika Ross, Malin Genie, Niko Maxen and Revivis, of whom we recently premiered his recent debut EP. For the rest of the year, the label's output will see the mysterious Debussy and Revivis going on vinyl, while Luuk Van Dijk and Hyacin will join the digital sister label. Make sure you check out their brilliant podcast section as well...lots of goodies inside!
Last and by no means least, we have the Berlin-based WE_R HOUSE. Founded by the amazing Cinthie, also known from her work with Beste Modus, Unison Wax and 803 Crystalgrooves, she's really defined a certain sound with the releases on this imprint. Deep, classic house as it should be, the 8th release which showcased the talents of San Francisco based Sam Haskin, is the epitome of what this label is all about. Check the release here. Previous artists and releases on the label have come in from the likes of; Carlo Gambino, Kevin Over, Toman, Akyra, Niko Maxen, Revivis, and The Willers Brothers.
Whatever CInthie seems to touch, turns to gold and there's no doubt that the same is happening and will continue to happen with WE_R HOUSE!
Words by Dom Fletcher & Francesco Quieti