An interview with Sprung Records

Sprungnacht is suspended somewhere between an amorphous black mass, a night in Berlin, and a Ridley Scott film – promising “over-sized strobes, a few smoke machines, a late licence, and a whole load of vinyl”. Descending into the basement, deeper into concrete sound riling up in the far reaching corners, every moment is felt with each pulse of the kick. The kick: the only defining element holding the entire night together from falling apart at its seams, syncopating the pulsing hearts of the sweaty participants. The packed bodies utilise all the space allotted to the spilling basement, movements shift illogically in the midst of the smoke-drenched strobe assault. And yes, each moment is felt–– but slowly each DJ earns the trust of the audience. No longer must time be kept by anyone but the records.

Sprungnacht is hosted by London based label Sprung Records. These parties have come to be known for two things: 100% techno, and always selling out shortly after doors open (no presale, tickets sold exclusively at the venue). Doppelate is the producer and mastermind behind both Sprung Records and it’s afterbirth, Sprungnacht.

The first time I met Doppelate it was a lovely London spring night almost two years ago. We drank a lot of gin (or maybe only I was drinking gin?) and we discussed what was so magical about London, its rain, and its music culture amongst pounding congos and slithering saxes. I’ve recently had the pleasure of speaking with him with regards to the multiple moving parts involved in Sprung Records.

How would you define techno?

I think it’s impossible to define which is what appeals to me. The easy answer to that question would be “go and spend the weekend at the Berghain” but there’s more to it. It reflects cultures, fashion, politics, history; for example, some of the early Detroit records I have are completely different to some of the industrial stuff coming out of the UK at the moment. What I hope Sprung does is take the bits that I like and combines them to get our final sound. Variety in life is good. I guess in the end it all goes “boom tsh boom tsh”.

How did the label start? Can you define your label? What is your mission?

I had been toying with the idea of starting a label for a while, but the whole thing was conceived quite spontaneously. Originally the plan was to set up a night in London, but I had some nice music waiting to be put out so that’s what I did. Everyone tries to create their own sound and I’ve tried to do the same with Sprung; there are undoubtedly a lot of things that have influenced the way our music sounds though. There’s a bit of hard UK stuff in there, a bit of Berlin inspired stuff, a bit of house, a bit of industrial, a bit of ambient stuff. My mission is for people to hear our music in a club and think “this sounds like a Sprung Records release”. As long as people enjoy listening to our stuff then I’m happy. Personally, the label can also serve as a good way of taking my mind off other things that might be going on in life and it’s nice to have something different like this to channel my energy into.

sprung 2

Tell me a bit about your label night, SPRUNGNACHT?

I had always planned to incorporate events into the whole Sprung Records project so last year we decided to put on our first label night down in Cardiff. This was the first night we’d organised completely by ourselves, so we really didn’t know what to expect; we were hoping for just enough people to turn up for us to break even but luckily it was a success and we ended up having to turn people away as we reached capacity. Plans to turn it into a monthly event after that were thrown about but I always thought that would detract from the whole experience. We’ve decided to return to Cardiff sporadically whilst also focusing on other projects elsewhere; it’s better to have short injections of activity rather than a prolonged burst which would inevitably fizzle out eventually.

Describe Sprungnacht viscerally & visually.

A typical Sprung Records label night would be in a pitch black basement with a big soundsystem, a big strobe light and a big smoke machine; basically we want you to feel as if you’re being rattled about in the dark. I feel that sometimes certain events can be quite intimidating for some groups of people so it’s been nice to see a diverse crowd at our events. We like to keep entrance fees to a minimum and book a mixture of Sprung artists, friends of the label, and artists from outside the label that we enjoy listening to. We also have some great photographers who focus on getting some nice abstract photos of the events. Apart from that we want to limit the amount of photography going on in the venue as we feel it sets a different mood to what we want.

How about the aesthetics of the label itself?

I’d like to think that our aesthetic is not only a representation but an extension of our sound. We have a strong analog focus sonically and I’ve always been drawn to monochrome visuals. All of the artwork is based on photos of unusual situation that either my friends or I have captured; in that sense there’s a personal attachment to each piece that’s made. I think artwork from a lot of Krautrock and 80s UK rock bands has influenced ours too; grainy, grey and gritty but with character. In the same way that I want the music to be recognizable, I want people to see our artwork and think “that looks like something Sprung Records would do.”

Why did you start your own label? What is it you have to say differently to others?

It’s a cliché to say this, but we just kind of do our own thing, and people seem to like that. As well as putting out music, the label is something that both artists and anyone else can attach themselves to; we put on nights, partner up with other labels and promoters, and try to maintain a focus on the aesthetic aspects of the label too. I’ve met a lot of good friends through working on the label and I know of people that have become friends with each other through the label too. It’s a very social project, so overall I think of Sprung as more of an entity than just an avenue with which I can release music.

sprung 3

What do you look for in your artists? Who are your artists and how do they define Sprung?

The music I put out is mostly a combination of stuff that has been sent to me, tracks made by friends, and stuff that I’ve found online myself. The artists are a big part and help shape the direction of the label, and I like to get them down to play at the nights where possible too. There aren’t any strict criteria when it comes to selecting tracks to release; I guess as long as I think it would work on the dancefloor at a Sprung label night then I’d be happy to release it. Then again, some tracks are less dancefloor orientated and are more suited to different settings. What I’ve learnt is to just trust my instincts and release the stuff that I like, following any kind of template would be pointless in my opinion. I listen to a lot of different kinds of music too which I’d like to think informs my choices.

Can you give any hints towards your upcoming releases & events?

We currently have some hefty releases lined up which you can keep up to date with on our Soundcloud page. Events-wise, there’s lot of exciting stuff in the works including a return to Cardiff this Christmas for another Sprungnacht, as well as parties here in London and also various radio appearances. I want to continue building on partnerships with other promoters too including Subterrain and our friends Krista and Raymundo at Corsica Studios.

Where will you be in the next few months? Next year? Ten years from now? Be definitive.

Over the next few months I want to keep on doing what we’re doing. At the moment I’m just taking it all as it comes and having a lot of fun. The main thing I want to achieve is to continue expanding the networks that we have here in London and beyond, keep on putting out music that we like and keep on putting on interesting parties. I want to start pressing vinyl at some point too and expand on previous ventures into physical releases with my friends at Nunhead Tapeworks. I feel like we’ve only just dipped our toes in the water so far and there are still so many things I want to explore. Even though I’ve always had a strong sense of what I want to do with the label, I feel that its identity is always being shaped and reshaped, which is a healthy thing in my opinion. Our sound and aesthetic is constantly (subconsciously and consciously) being influenced by the things I see and hear around me, the people that come to our nights, the artists on the label, my friends, and so on. It’s a bit like growing up again and I’m open-minded to any change in directions that could happen. Maybe in 10 years we’ll be releasing K-pop.

How will SPRUNG be remembered?

2025’s best K-pop label.

Check out Sprung’s latest release.
Keep up to date with Sprung Records and their events on their Facebook page.
Listen to their music on Soundcloud.