To celebrate the 10th birthday of his label Turbo Recordings, Tiga is releasing the two-CD retrospective mix Omnidance. We caught up with label manager and A&R guru Thomas Von Party to find out more…
“I started Turbo to put out my own mix CD and get a chance to work with the music I loved,” says Tiga. “Ten years later, it’s still the same – thank God. I hope you enjoy the fruits of our labour.” And those fruits have been falling at a fair old rate in recent months – after a decade of dancing, Tiga and co are apparently resting on their laurels. On top of Turbo Recordings’ usual stream of singles, there’s been the long-awaited new artist album from Tiga himself, titled Ciao!, and now comes Omnidance, a massive mix of the imprint’s finest moments. What better time then for EQ to corner Tiga’s righthand man, label manager Thomas Von Party, for a chat?
When and why did you set up Turbo?
Tiga started Turbo in ’98. It was a natural progression for him – DJing, running a record store, making friends with producers, wanting to release his own mixes… I got involved in 2006 when the label relaunched after Tiga took time to release Sexor. As the kid brother, I’d been DJing and keeping up with the label since the beginning, and it was the perfect time for me to get involved, where I’d get the right combination of guidance and freedom.
How would you describe Turbo’s output?
At immigration I usually say I run an ‘electronic’ label. I’ve always preferred ‘techno’ as a term – so I’m not sure if I’m afraid the border guard will call me out for not being minimal enough or if I think ‘electronic’ sounds more sophisticated – but the terms seem to mean less than ever before. Crucially, I think we might be the only label to have a foot in real techno (thanks to Cari Lekebusch, Jesper Dahlbäck…), more melodic, even progressive house (from Guy J, Compuphonic and Kolombo), and, of course, the electro ‘bangers’, or whatever people call the Boys Noize, ZZT and Proxy records that we are probably most famous for. Then there’s the pop crossover of Chromeo and Tiga…
Our identity is really built on that whole, and I think that’s quite an achievement. It takes a lot of confidence – and good A&R – to garner consistent attention and maintain respect across the spectrum of what’s become a very divided music scene. Anyways, when I look back at the catalogue I feel proud there’s very little crap. Almost all of the artists we worked with early on are still totally relevant today.
What’s been your biggest seller?
Tiga’s Burning Down was our biggest 12”. It did well because it was a great record and it came out before the industry started to collapse. The Sunglasses At Night remixes were a huge Beatport success, and our biggest hit of the digital age, but I guess that wasn’t much of a surprise. And Proxy’s Raven was a massive record in the blog-world, but big hype does not mean big sales – vinyl numbers were pretty modest, but that’s a sign of the times.
What’s the hardest thing about running a label?
What’s been the worst moment in Turbo’s history?
Let’s just say you could build a house with all the unsold Fred Everything CDs – and that house would be bigger than our current office.
What are Turbo’s plans for the next 12 months?
The big thing is Omnidance, a two-CD compilation of some of our all-time favorite Turbo tracks plus a load of new exclusives. It’s a very special package, 10 years in the making, with an amazing booklet that has all of Tiga’s press releases and lots of artwork in it. It’s pretty much 10 years of our lives for 15 euros or whatever. Other than that, there’s Tiga’s incredible Ciao!, an amazing Proxy album, new material from Jori Hulkkonen, some really massive new 12”s from Hugg & Pepp, Roman Flügel, Mike Mind, Williams, Zombie Nation, and lots more…
How do you go about tracking down new artists to sign?
I try to get in touch with artists that I love, try to get them to consider giving us tracks, but most of the time, they track us down. Bigger artists find Tiga, or give him CDs on the road, and I’m in touch with loads of artists who send me stuff all the time. Then there’s the sea of demos that flood in from MySpace and so on. I’ve always tried to listen to everything – after all, we found Proxy on MySpace – but the amount incoming is staggering.
Any advice for any budding producers looking to sign to Turbo?
Sure: only send us the good stuff! And here’s a real tip: mediocre ‘bangers’ have zero chance. If it can’t stand up to the big guns (if it sounds like Justice Jr), there’s no chance we’d release it. On the flipside, mediocre deep-acid-tracks always have a chance – we’re suckers for spaced-out techno…
Any other bits and pieces going on you want to tell us about?
There’s a new Turbo web store launching in May with, I dare say, a pretty revolutionary subscription service. Also check out our podcasts at sidlovesturbo.com and mynameistiga.com. We have a pretty great archive of them, all for free, with chapter index and artwork and everything.