Very few new imprints have received such a warm welcome from all sides of the spectrum than Room With A View. Respected dj’s, worldwide music media & retailers have all been deeply impressed by the quality & vision transported by the label founded in spring 2009 by Dairmount & Anja Knupper in Hamburg. Relocated since 2012 in Berlin, the label’s ethic has always been aiming to display timeless “emotional content” club music with a futuristic flair, while breaking the pattern of “functionality” that club music too often slips into. Room With A View is known to present a subtle mixture of House & Techno with a twist of freshness & Black Music influences. The label’s status & reputation remains untouched thanks to a timeless catalogue including works & remixes by Motor City Drum Ensemble, André Lodemann, Art Of Tones, Fred Everything, Atjazz, Dave Aju, Iron Galaxy, Detroit Swindle, Basic Soul Unit, Aaron Carl, Marlow, Sasse, Andreas Saag, Joel Alter & more.
It is quite a little performance to have convinced a large range of dj’s to enjoy the same sound - Techno mammoths such as Carl Craig, Laurent Garnier, Deetron or Ame, Deep House heavyweights such as Detroit Swindle, Axel Boman, Jimpster, or Move D, Tech House masters such as Steve Bug, Joris Voorn, Leftfield wizards such as Mad Mats, Peter Kruder, Jazzanova or dj legends such as Danny Krivit or Francois K have all embraced the sound of the label with real enthusiasm…
Yet again Daniel Leseman and Hans 'Junktion' Peeman joined forces under the Fouk with the impressive “Heavy On The Bacon” release. Along with this release, the label kindly offered us a free track from the artist Andre Lodemann. You will also find an exclusive mix from Room With A View’s Fouk, perfectly resuming the label sound.
WE SPOKE TO PHIL DAIRMOUNT, ONE OF THE FOUNDERS OF THE LABEL
Anja Knupper and you founded Room With A View in 2009, your label has I could say an impressive pedigree, producing constant source of quality house and techno and rightly respected around the music world. Can you tell us a bit about the years running Room With A View…
It has been an amazing journey for 6 years with lots of love, sweat & tears involved. It is an incredible feeling to realise entirely such a project by ourselves and being to decide & shape every little single aspect of it. I am taking care of everything (A&R, marketing, promotion) and Anja is taking care of the administrative side of the company. We always worked with a tight family of contributors for graphic design, mastering & distribution. We are really happy & proud to have worked along the years with talents as Hannes Pilz, Sandra Leidecker, Alland Byallo or my girlfriend Kristina for design work, Calyx, Ebony Cuts and Atjazz as mastering engineers and our distributors for long years, finetunes & Prime Direct. The label would not be what is is without all of them. I strongly believe that creations are the sum of energy & dedication of all people involved. i'm really attached to this vision.
I’ve often read and feel your label give us a feel good sound, which is again the case with your latest release by Fouk, is it the image you are trying to project about your label?
Thanks a lot Dave. i take this "feelgood" trademark as a huge compliment. My goal has always been to create an imprint that would allow me to go back to a certain feel, a certain “emotional content” in club music, without caring much about sub-genres or anything. You know, actually go back to a time when House and Techno were not so stigmatized and when club music was transporting a strong sense of spontaneity and honesty.
Honesty has probably been the most important element of our success, and I truly believe that people can really sense this in artistic works. There has never been a big plan behind the label, but rather clear ideas and inspirations and friendship have been a major part of our story. Most of the artists who released on the label or did remix work have been friends for years, and everything happened very naturally. When things happened this way, i think they naturally transport good feelings. Also my ideal of club music is to transport something that lift up your mind and body. This is probably where the natural " feel good" ingredient is coming from...
How did you find the label name? I would guess there is something related to where you lived at the time, am I wrong?
Interesting thought but actually, the name appeared one day to me as a vision, not as a direct consequence of my surroundings. With this vision as a start, I extended it to a meaning connected to what I wanted to be with the label. Imagine people in a symbolical room with a wide view letting be them be free of the feeling the view gives them & the interpretation of what they see. Music is a fantasy subject to different interpretation but first of all, it is feeling. I'm still very proud of our logo where the RV became a window...
6 years is a long time in anyone’s books and you must have experienced some incredible and thrilling events over this period. Could you give us a little insight in to this by telling us one of your ultimate highs?
Oh Jeez! There has been so many highs & moment of satisfaction. The first coming to my mind right now is the fact of travelling around the world and having met so many people of all kinds that knew already & appreciated the label. I have always been stoked that the label reached obviously so many people without having been a "hype" label. That's amazing to me!
Also in a very simple way, I’ve been very lucky to work directly with many people that inspired me over the years as a DJ and record collector. Basic Soul Unit, Aaron Carl, Sasse, Motor City Drum Ensemble, Andreas Saag, Jimpster, Atjazz, the list is long. When it comes to people I respect enormously that became strong supporters and fans of the label, the first names coming to my head would be Laurent Garnier, Move D, Deetron, Kink, Trevor Jackson. We also owe a lot to people in far away places such as South Africa, Turkey, Lithuania or Kazakstan. The proof that music is a universal language.
And your ultimate lows of the past 6 years?
To be honest, I don't see any coming to my head. Except maybe the disappointment or frustration of doing some artist development for a certain period of time of 2 or 3 years and seeing them changing their mind or own plan about what they wish for themselves. I learned to accept that, even though lots of energy & care was put into them. Respecting other people's decision & lives is important, even if it is sometimes hard to understand.
What has been the best advice you’ve had regarding running a label?
More than advices, I would talk more of inspirations. People like Sasse, Jimpster, Atjazz and Mad Mats (from Local Talk fame), whom I’ve connected with along the way in the last 15 years always suggested me to start my own label. After a while, I felt ready to listen to them. And without realising it themselves, Martin (Atjazz) and Jamie (Jimpster) have been kind of "mentors" for me. They represent best what the music scene can offer at its best : talent, humility, courtesy, respect & high level of professionalism. I'm also very proud to count them as my closest & longest running "music friends".
What would be the best advice you would now give to anyone who want to start running a label?
Always work hard & believe in your vision. Don’t forget that making music is about self-expression first, not about business, not about bookings. Be honest about what you do & don’t be afraid to ignore trends. Spend more time to strengthen your craft than on social medias. Everything takes time to nurture things, so accept it, even if it feels the world is running faster. There are enough hamsters running in the wheel! Do good things with good people, don’t waste time with opportunistic people & energy suckers. Also have a good plan of action & keep in mind that, even a labour of love, is still implying lots of responsibility economically & humanly.
What criteria do you look for in an artist for Room with a View?
Without hesitation, people with strong identity and a strong need of self expression. For me there is a huge difference between people making music for the sake of it and people deciding to dive into an activity for the factor of coolness. I'm only interested in the first category... I always chosed the people I want to work with, or they come to you naturally.
The main drive to continue the adventure is to love to share interesting music with identity to listeners. It is an amazing feeling when you know people are hungry for that all over the world. And the pleasure I have with my A&R work & exchange in the creative & production process with the artists is something that motivates me a lot. As long as the flame of passion will shine, there is no stopping point in my eyes. This is valid for anything in life.
Is there any artists you haven’t worked yet but would like to do so?
Of course, there are plenty of them as there are some many amazing people out there. But again, I believe that some things are bound to happen sometimes. I'm still dreaming to welcome a legendary French DJ for a very personal project (but timing was never good so far even though he is a fan of the label). Outstanding new talent like Harvey Sutherland is also a special wish. Friends like Carlo, Snacks, Ouer or X_1 are also part of my strongest wishes to appear on the label in the future...
What can we expect from you for the rest of 2015, any upcoming projects?
2015 has been the year where vinyl manufacturing over rulled any kind of release schedule planification. This huge lead time to release a record has become insane to release as much and as freely as you want. I would have like to release more projects this year but vinyl kept us back. even though we have reached super satisfying sales results. A bit of a bitter sweet symphony. We will not release anything this year for this reason but got lots in stock for next year. Trust me you will not be disappointed...
Northern Irish duo Bicep has built their production career on blending, repackaging and reimagining classic house influences. It's little surprise, then, to find that this latest 12" does the same. Hammer collaboration "Dahlia" sets the tone, combining the bold pianos of vintage Italian house with the kind of dreamy pads and snappy drum machine rhythms that recall the Halcyon days of late '80s/early '80s Balearic house. There's more of a sweaty warehouse feel about "Rays" - all yelping female vocal cuts, booming garage bass and skipping beats - while "Seagulls" sits somewhere between the two tracks, offering both bottom-end bump and eyes-closed sweetness.
Feel good deep house on offer here yet again from Hamburg imprint A Room With A View, adding to their illustrious discography which this far has included such greats as Andre Lodemann and Joel Alter. This cheeky Dutch duo present us with "Heavy On the Bacon" which is further testament to their sense of humour in all its sultry and funky late night sense of groove. On the flip "Coconuts" is on the deeper side with all its funky mono synth leads doing their magic over a funky bassline. This would be ideal for fans of other Hamburg imprint Dessous; there's something about the north of Germany, what more can we say!
Since first pricking our collective consciousness back in 2011, Adam Ratana, Preslav Lefterov and Thomas Cox's Pittsborugh Track Authority project has gone from strength to strength. Following a wealth of releases on Further Records, Argot, Rotating Souls and their own Pittsburgh Tracks imprint, they've been snapped up by Jimpster's Freerange Records. This label debut features a trio of tasty treats. Opener "Your Situation" is a breezy delight, with classic sounding synthesized strings and bubbling electronic riffs smothering a snappy groove. "RT28" is a deeper and groovier, Jus-Ed influenced affair that features some brilliantly spacey synth solos, while "Gold Trim" is a surprisingly live-sounding fusion of loose, organic drums, cascading flute solos and smooth boogie bass.
Veteran French electro-disco dude Damon Jee is back and we're glad to report he's still keeping things goth. The Summer No Summer EP features two slow and deep body music cuts. The title track is minutes of depressed electro-pop, in the coolest possible way, whilst "Cuir Rouge" is a suspense-filled slice of menacingly throbbing new beat. Also the former is given a post-punk overhaul by Hardway Bros, whilst the latter reappears as a livelier Giorgio Moroder-esque "Il Est Villaine Cuir" reinterpretation.
Spanish deep house/disco fusionist James Rod has enjoyed a productive 2015, releasing a wealth of material on labels such as Midnight Riot, Hot Digits, Cosmic Sumo, Audaz and Rare Wiri. Here he returns to the latter with more colourful, summery dancefloor fun. Lead cut "Afro Gerops" is particularly potent, with Afro-centric vocals, funk guitars and rubbery nu-disco synths wrapping themselves around a rolling disco groove. It's arguably stronger than title track "Disco Rocket", which successfully blends alien chords, P-funk attitude and slick, nu-disco attitude. There are a number of remixes to enjoy, too, with Situation's spacey electro take - all delay-heavy drum machine hits and intergalactic electronics -impressing the most.
Given his usual productivity, Mobilee man Sebo K has been rather quiet of late. This is his only his third outing in three years, and sees him make his belated debut for Phil Weeks' Robsoul Recordings. It's arguably more solid than sensational, with Catalyst delivering a trio of floor-friendly DJ tools. He offers a nod towards classic French filter disco and vintage Mr G productions on the bumpin' title track - all bold bass, relentless rhythms and a few choice effects - before wandering off in a more obviously soulful, dusty direction on the Andres style bumper "It's Alright (Raw Mix)". Finally, he delves deeper into deep house/tech-house crossover territory on the smooth and intricate "Ojo Rojo".
FINA Records presents Terrence Pearce's Last Night Lover EP featuring Francis Inferno Orchestra on the rework. Having previously released on a number of prominent labels including Futureboogie, Wolf Music, Petfood, Kolor, Dark Energy and Freshmeat, Cape Town based soul Terrence Pearce has emerged as a talented and sought after artist. The long and drawn out spacey synths of the title track fade in and fade out with subdued strings, while "Come On Yah" provides a warm and effortless disco edged groove, characterized by its infectious low-end throb and clever concoction of playful rhythms, punchy hats, staccato strings and off kilter chords. "Taxi" is wonderfully leftfield amalgamation of horn beeping, door slamming, taxi hollering madness, and Francis Inferno Orchestra returns to FINA by remixing the track with his signature drum machine rhythms, early rave like samples and rainforest atmospherics.
Glasgow's Dixon Avenue Basement Jams offer us some more of their proper straight up house vibes; the way they were intended! Big Miz is up this time around with Midnight Man Handle. "Good Things" gets straight down to business with its stomping, swing fuelled beat and buzzing organ leads, proudly proclaiming "I don't play around with girls like that!" Enough said. Next up the soulful deepness of "Electrolites" still packs a hefty punch and you'll need your fill of said enzymes after dancing up a sweat to this one. On the B side there's no more Mr. Nice Guy; "Solange" throws together nasty 303 acid, a manic cowbell and some truly disturbed samples. Finally "Wurx" sounds like more of a restrained warehouse techno jam with its huge synth line, booming and hissing 909 and truly dark atmosphere.
Markus Lang's Eintakt imprint out of Berlin was been at it for the better part of fifteen years and showing no signs of stopping yet. It presents us with some more late night deepness courtesy of UK rising star Cottam who delivers something a bit different here in the form of the rather mysterious yet shuffling and infectious "All About a Groove Thang" but gets into more familiar territory on the sublime, acid driven "Feelin' No Love". Not much is known about Lohouse other than that he's done stuff previously on sublabel Townhousemusic. He delivers two beautiful cuts in the form of the dusty and lo-fi yet ever soulful "KIS" and the delightfully dreamy "Hopeukeilit".
The mysterious Auden drops his third EP for Scuba's label. The title track has a commercial appeal thanks to its 'give in to hunger' vocal sample, but the backing track is strictly underground, with dreamy chords and acidic pulses prevailing. On "Simmer Down", there are no vocals, and instead a dense, rolling groove and acid-soaked licks gradually move to the surface. Alan Fitzpatrick's version of "Hunger" is pure dance floor abandon as tough, grainy kicks underpin the vocal sample. Auden has another side to his musical palette however and "Sewer System" sees deep chords unravelling over a wispy, abstract rhythm.
More from the rapidly expanding - and always impressive - Melbourne music scene, as self-proclaimed "slo-mo disco" four-piece Speed Painters unveil their debut single for Cutters. There's much to admire throughout, as the Tig Huggins helmed outfit take us on a trip into deep space territory. Making great use of hazy sci-fi synths, deep grooves, ambient chords and intergalactic electronics, the quartet delivers a quintent of original productions that variously throb, shimmy and cascade from the speakers. As well as doffing a cap to pitched-down Detroit techno and ultra-deep house, they also offer up their take on Italo-disco on the excellent "Decided". The EP also boasts a deliciously jazzy, warm and soul-flecked rework of "Australian Boy" from the brilliant Harvey Sutherland.
Denver, Colorado based deep house imprint Hotbox Recordings are back with a full length from Dubai based artist Jus Tadi. He delivers a dozen shades of groovy deep house here that are perfect for the warm up or the afterhours alike. There's the funky and filtered (but definitely deep) floor fillers in the form of "Can't Take That Away" "Diskach" and "Wishing". But also the more driving percussive tech house of "Come Together" and "Sorcery Of Spectacle". If that wasn't enough there's also a bit of modern deep house style on tracks like "Waves Beyond" and "You Always Sing The Same" which sound reminiscent of stuff on Jimpster's Freerange label. Not a bad thing!
Big, bad Roska 's, Roska's Kick & Snares, is back this week with something a little more Germanic tha usual. Frederique is up on the UK label with three house tunes that verge dangerously onto the techno sphere, but seeing as they're his good then we're totally fine with it. "Just Me", the title track, is a fine example of subtle, driving tech-house with a minimal edge and some killer electronics. It's god to see our old Roska diversifying like this, hats off.
Sasse aka Freestyle Man's Moodmusic has been releasing sleek and sexy tech house of the deeper variety successfully since 1996. Having moved from Finland to, you guessed it; Berlin several years ago, the label has done a fine job of staying contemporary and here's another great example. Latest recruit Ed Ed delivers some progressive and atmospheric grooves on the Nunchi EP. First track "Zoo" is testament to this and will mix well between anthing by Recondite or Mind Against easily. The infectious and razor sharp bassline of "Delta" begs your attention too. "Monti" is a dark and brooding effort whose layers of rich synth leads and arpeggios build to truly captivating climax.
Wind your memory reels back to September 2012 and Northern Irish pair Bicep unleashed Vision Of Love on their own newly established Feel My Bicep label. Since then Andrew Ferguson and Matthew McBriar's project has arguably become a brand, they've released music on Will Saul's Aus label, played more festivals than Arnie's pumped pounds of iron at the gym and inspired a whole new generation of production talent. Just over a year since that FMB debut, Ferguson and McBriar return with a second 12" which is all set to match the records set by Vision Of Love. Lead track "Satisfy" discards with the 90s house aesthetic in favour of a breakbeat lead groove that's a bit 80s freestyle and a bit Baltimore club, whilst "Snackbar" demonstrates Bicep are increasingly willing to take a tougher approach - as anyone whose seen their recent techno heavy sets will attest. Head to "The Final Trip" for a taste of that classic pairing of jackin' 909 and Juno 60 in full flight.
On this latest two-track assault, Munich-based Portuguese producer Alkalino is back in re-edit mode. This time round, he's sidestepped the usual disco, Balearic, soul and funk influences in favour of two tracks that mine the dark, dub-informed worlds of post-punk and punk-funk. He begins with "Next Phase", a deliciously heavy blend of dub-punk bass, punk-funk attitude, trippy deep house touches and an annoyingly familiar, cowbell-laden sample. "Morph" begins with dense, African-influenced tribal drums, before building into a Liquid Liquid-style percussive banger with extra voodoo. Like the A-side, it's the kind of rolling, bass-heavy builder - with additional flashes of deep house wonkiness - that should keep dancefloors going in the wee small hours.
The US' Aphorhead has been churning out house and techno missiles since the mid 90's, hopping from label to label and consistently offering quality output in the process. He returns to action, however on Europe's Crosstown Rebels, an imprint which he has visited before and by now a pillar of contemporary house music that has seen releases by everyone from Cosmin TRG to Art Department and Damian Lazarus - not a bad list of names, if we may say so! His comeback in is the shape of an LP - or extended EP depending on the way you like to see it - and the title track "Resurrection" is itself a spacey, driving house number with subtle Detroit influences amid its chords and pads. The rest of the tunes range from more contemporary, commercially-minded house such as "Klymaxxx", to deep, jazzy house on "Come To Me", and funky minimal techno as seen on "Let's Prance". A diverse and playful dancefloor album for both the tool and non-tool users.
Having taken time out to establish his Interzona13 label - a job well done, all told - Tiago Miranda returns to DJ Kaos's Jolly Jams label for the first time since 2012. Perhaps unsurprisingly, there's plenty to enjoy on The Good Times Are Killing Me, with Miranda touching on a variety of sweltering, dancefloor-friendly styles. He begins with a heavy chunk of rolling disco revivalism, the action focusing on a killer clavinet line and some tasty percussion. The second track boasts more of a Balearic piano house feel, with additional disco percussion and breakdowns to accentuate the sunny moody. As for the B-side, it's a decidedly breezier affair, with Miranda expertly combining Latin-inspired drums, chiming melodies, and a (sampled) spoken word vocal from Doors front man Jim Morrison.
Bicep's ascent from a blog collective with obvious taste and passion for all forms of dance music into a fully fledged brand continues apace with the foundation of Feel My Bicep, a new label named in honour of their blog which promises to showcase their own growing production nous. Vision Of Love will probably go down as one of this year's most ubiquitous releases, given the advance clamour for its release and it's not hard to see why. Yes the three tracks here contain an obvious nod to the 90s New Jersey sound Bicep clearly adore, but there's a clear craft to their execution and the title track is massively infectious.
By their standards, 2014 has been a relatively quiet year for Belfast boys Bicep, with a remix 12" and the Circles EP on Aus Music their only releases of note. "Lyk Lyk" is, then, a welcome return to action. The title track is particularly sweaty and once again mines vintage rave influences, with fluid synths and cut-up vocals riding a classic late '80s/early '90s breakbeat groove. "Poly Pineapple" is a little deeper, with waves of wide-eyed synths crashing over a thumping house groove. On the flipside, the duo join forces with partner-in-blogging Hammer for a couple of cuts; the woozy, glacial, synth-heavy "Icebowl" and "Day 3", a stomping chunk of retro-futurist techno smothered in 808 State style synths. Balearic techno anyone?