Local Talk has cemented its place as one of the leading house labels in the world over the past five and a half years. Responsible for numerous successful releases, including HNNY’s Tears and Kyodai’s Breaking, they have gained a much deserved prominence in the industry, built upon nothing but the underlying love of house music.
We were able to catch up with half of the brains behind the brand, Tooli, renowned for starting the highly acclaimed 24:HRS parties in Stockholm. Tooli met co-founder of the label, Mad Mats, back in 2010 when he was invited to play at the club Mats was running in Stockholm, Raw Fusion. Discovering their mutual love for house music, the pair decided to start up the label, and this year they celebrate a legacy of 5.5 years as well as their 75th release.
Here’s what Tooli had to say about the label and the work they’ve achieved.
Flux: What’s the story behind how this all started? How did you guys meet and when did the label become a reality?
Tooli: We knew of each other from the club scene, I was invited to play at the club that Mats had been running for 15 or 16 years called Raw Fusion. We became good friends, and music wise we realised we had the same ideas of what we wanted to do within the house scene. After that night we hooked up again and Mats suggested we should start a label together. He was previously running another label but he wanted to put that on hold, start something new, and I wanted to start one as well. For about 6 months we started to work on the foundations of the label: the sign, the name, which artists we wanted to work with. In the summer of 2011 we had our first release out, which was a band called Bassfort. We worked pretty hard, we set up 5 or 6 released we knew we wanted to put out. We got really good support early on, Giles Peterson played our first release which helped a lot. From there on it’s been the same ideas – we wanted to release all sorts of house music, we didn’t want to limit ourself to just deep house, chicago, or disco house. If we like it, we will release it. It’s pretty straightforward. If you listen to our catalogue you will see that it’s pretty diverse in terms of influences. When the label’s anniversaries came we didn’t want to do something that defined ‘oh this is 5 years’ and ‘this is 10 years’. It goes unnoticed. We wanted to do something different. In terms of the artists involved, we didn’t just pick everyone that we’ve released, we wanted to find some new people. We’re constantly trying to find new stuff and look ahead of what’s coming.
What are the good things about working collaboratively? Do you work together on everything or do you have different roles within the label?
I would say from the start we had a pretty strict schedule of how we work. In terms of finding new artists, I’d say these days most artists find us because they know about the label. When we started we tried to find them through different channels. I’d say these days I have the role of being label manager – taking care of being in touch with distributors and sorting all of our plans. But everything that we do, because we’ve been sharing everything throughout the years, every decision we make is made by both of us. It’s never been an I wanna release this, and he doesn’t want to. We share everything.
Have you ever encountered a situation where you’ve been torn about a release, and wanted to release it yourself rather than on Local Talk?
Not really, I would say for my own label I usually release… weird music. With Local Talk it’s purely house music. This hasn’t happened to me yet, if I was in a situation where I felt like “I wanna have this” it’s something we would have to discuss, I would never take an artist away from the label.
Could you tell us a bit about your sub-labels, 1nceAgain and One off?
One Off came from the fact that artists would send us 1 or 2 tracks, where 1 is really good, the other not so much. Instead of waiting for more music or choosing who to have remix it, we thought we would start doing mini compilations with different artists and see it if works. It paid off, in a year we did 4 different series.
1nceAgain is a reissue label. You know when you find a record and think ‘why don’t people play this’. Usually it’s not so easy to find, so we thought why not release it again? It’s very easy to do this, the only thing is that there is so so so much music out there that sometimes you tend to forget to go back.
Do you have any other plans for more sub-labels? How about like a local talk… empire?
Empire… [laughs]. We’ve tried quite a lot. We had a group called Kyodai who had a track called Breaking that was one of those early releases that really went big. We did a remix series where we let other artists to remix there stuff. We also have a sub label called Tune which is on it’s second release. It only has one track per release, because sometimes one track is enough, we don’t have to do a special remix, or a double. If the track is strong enough, that should be the release. We also have techno label called Telefonvägen, which is the area that we have our office. We want to try to see if it’s possible to start something, and work with different artists. We did 10 releases, and there should be others. Maybe an ‘Empire’ doesn’t sound right… But we’re building something that’s for sure!
I read that you guys always release your tracks on both digital and vinyl. I feel like because music is so accesible now, you get a lot of people who appreciate having music that no one else has, or labels that limit themselves to a certain number of vinyl-only releases. I often think it’s all rubbish, but did you guys ever think about making your releases more exclusive or is that not part of your philosophy?
Yeah, it is all rubbish. It goes back to when we first started the label, it’s the old cliche: we want to release something that we think is good enough, but that isn’t out there. When you start doing it you realise there is so much good music, and you want to share it with everyone. You want to make it accessible. I never understood, sure you can do exclusive releases with nice artwork and vinyl books, but there’s no point in putting all this work into it if it’s not available for other people to enjoy. Especially with the artists as well, everyone wants to go big. Maybe they can’t go big, but at least we can use this platform to make it accessible.
Last question: is there anyone in particular that stands out to you at the moment?
We have a new artist that we are focusing on called Marcel Lune, he’s a young producer from Bristol. I remember when I heard his tracks the first time, I called Mats within 30 seconds saying ‘you need to hear this’. He kept sending music and everything was so good. For me it was like the first time I heard Floating Points, someone who is really musical and has different ideas, it’s incredible that he’s just started off and no one has ever heard about him. We’re focusing on him at the moment, he’s releasing an EP and he’s about to do an album for us as well. We’re hoping to help him as much as we can.
Willie Graff & Tuccillo – Sunday Morning
For me, this track has everything and yet it feels like it’s very simple with just a few instruments. The melody and harmonies is pure magic. It could go one and one for hours, it’s one those you play over and over again tracks.
A recent release that you’ve particularly loved.
SMBD – Nuwhat
It’s a perfect combination, Apron keeps on delivering great music and Simbad aka SMBD aswell. It doesn’t matter what style or mood he’s in, it’s always great to hear. This EP is pretty stripped down but the vibe is 100% . More of this please!
I’ll pick anything by Spencer Kincy aka Gemini. Anything. He’s one of my favourite producers and has a very unique sound. This track is taken from his “Le Fusion” 12″ released on Cajual 1995. There’s some sharks trying to sell it for $$$ on discogs but recently there was a repress – you should get your hands on it. Anything by Spencer. You’ll thank me later.