Control Freak Recordings are a London based label run by Will And Tal, who also run the Cabin Fever party. Having curated their first release this summer, Translucence by Keplrr, which was full of dance floor heater such as “Translucence” and “4DRK”, we are extremely excited to see that they are on the verge of their second release, this time from the talented Guava. We were lucky enough to get a few words from them ahead of CTRLFRK002.
Hey guys, thanks for chatting, firstly how did you come about from running nights as Cabin Fever to setting up this label?
Will: Hey Tom, our pleasure! A label is something we’ve talked about for a while and a project I’ve wanted to be working on for a number of years now… there’s loads of great music that deserves to be put out and so when we both graduated and started to take things a bit more seriously we thought we’d give it a shot. I spent a bit of time behind the counter at Phonica and am currently on the product team at Rough Trade, which has helped a bit! We also both want to release some of our own music soon too.
Tal: We’ve both been obsessed with vinyl for such a long time, so I think doing something like this was always on the bucket list – it was just a question of finding some music we felt really deserved the attention – when we heard the first Keplrr record I think we were both confident pretty quickly we’d found something worthy of putting out.
What are the best and worst things about running a label?
Tal: The best thing for me is absolutely having a platform to release music which I really think deserves an audience – seeing people’s reactions so far has been incredibly rewarding, especially as the artists we’re releasing haven’t necessarily had this kind of a platform before – ‘Translucence’ was Keplrr’s debut record, and ‘Lift’ is Guava’s first solo EP. On the flip side, the worst thing is definitely having to make the financial side of things work – I’m a real idealist when it comes to music and it’s sometimes hard to reconcile that with balancing the books!
Will: It’s a bit hard to say this early on when it’s all been a bit of a steep learning curve thus far! The whole process of putting record out is really exciting from listening to the initial dubs to finalising the artwork, receiving the test pressings and then holding the finished record. Also getting to meet new people you wouldn’t otherwise of course! We’ve definitely felt a bit out of our depth though, which is never fun, but this project is really also about challenging ourselves, and all in all its been a really enjoyable thing to work on.
What would you say is the ethos and sound that runs deep into the Control Freak Recordings ethos?
Tal: I think the ethos of the label is something that will necessarily develop over time, but one thing we’re definitely both quite attached to ‘deep’ sounding stuff – not necessarily in exactly the conventional sense you might hear people use that word to talk about dance music, but absolutely in terms of a sound and an aesthetic. It’s important for me that the stuff we put out is a bit different too – I wouldn’t really like to release a whole EP of straight club cuts. We definitely do release music for the club, but I like tracks that have a lot of unexpected twists and turns – The Guava EP in particular is brilliant for that.
Will: My personal tastes are constantly changing – much faster than ever before. But what I’m always looking for is whether or not it achieves what it sets out to do, regardless of genre. With a loopy or minimal track I’m looking for whether it has that hypnotic quality that gets stuck in your head, which is not necessarily what I’m looking for in a bassy banger. One thing I’d like to avoid is putting out stuff that isn’t quite there yet and just needs a bit more work (which can be a hard thing to tell an artist sometimes), or adding on a mediocre track to bulk out an EP. What for? All the music that goes out on the label is stuff we personally love.
What made you choose Guava for your second release and what was your input into the construction of the EP?
Tal: I met Bradley (Guava) at a party I was running at Grow Tottenham over the summer and we got chatting about music and production. After that night he sent over some unreleased stuff he’d been working on and we worked out a track listing of the tunes we thought would be a good fit for the label – initially he was quite hesitant, as I think he had a lot of stuff earmarked for releases elsewhere, but we were very enthusiastic about putting these out, and he came round to the idea pretty quickly.
Will: I feel we were quite lucky to get our hands on these to be honest – Bradley’s a talented musician who tours as a session guitarist and he’s already released on more established labels than ours. Essentially he sent us over a bunch of (mostly) complete bits and had a back-and-forth about what would work for an EP. He also had cool ideas about the artwork which is always helpful. The second track ‘Segelflugzeug’ is the German word for glider, and Bradley has a pilot’s licence, so we based the theme on that.
Thanks so much for your time guys!
Take a listen to CTRLFRK002 out on the 6th December!