Superlux Records opens up its 2021 release schedule with a fourteen-track VA. Superlux 004: Lost In The Future – both the first compilation and digital release on the label. Featuring a myriad of artists making their debut including Subb-an, Clive Henry, Voigtmann, Rob James, Luca, Thoma Bulwer, Krywald & Farrer and many more, DMCWORLD checks in with Superlux founding-member Mike Gill for the full lockdown lowdown…
Hi Mike, great to have you with us today! How are you doing and whereabouts are you based at the moment?
I’m great thanks, I’ve been quite lucky and managed to avoid a lot of the madness, my wife and I had a baby in August 2020 and we’re just hanging out with him as much as possible. We moved to Tulum a year ago as my wife got stuck outside the UK during lockdown (she’s American) and it ended up being one of the only places that has kind of stayed open.
So Superlux Records, the label run by yourself, N-Gynn and Johnny Hunter, is about to drop its 4th release and first compilation, and it’s a monster of a compilation indeed! Before we get on to that, can you tell us a little bit about Superlux Records itself? What’s the link between the three of you and what’s the story behind how the label came to be?
All three of us have been hanging out in the same social and musical circles for years. I met Johnny at Garden Festival in Croatia in 2012 and we instantly hit it off. Nick and I met a few years before that. We’ve all been producing music for years and were hanging out a lot at the same studios at one point. When I returned to London after a couple of years in the states there seemed to be a lot of amazing tracks being made in our circle; with Nick and Johnny releasing a bunch of material on Bobby’s ‘Pleasure Club’ records. We sort of fell into creating music together naturally and it just worked from the get go.
The first three releases on Superlux explored some super interesting sounds, the most recent of which coming from Taymor Zadeh and featuring Subb-an on remix duties. The upcoming Lost In The Future compilation pushes the boundaries of sounds explored on the label even further. One thing we love about this comp is that each track feels worthy of leading a release of its own, something that can be hard to find on compilation releases. What was the initial idea behind this compilation when you set out pulling it together?
We really just wanted to put together a sampler of the work done by our musical circle. There’s so much cool music coming out now after what I felt like was quite a long period of stagnancy, at least with the music I was collecting/ listening to for a while. The new stuff which was kind of pioneered by labels like Tonedropout, NorthSouth, Pleasure Club, Limousine Dreams, Haws, Klasse Wrecks, Art of Dark just to mention a few really felt really, really fresh. A lot of people we know have been massively inspired by this emerging sound; Producing a wealth of super high quality material and it made sense to consolidate some of the best of it onto one playlist and push it out to the world!
The compilation features artists that have previously released on Superlux, such as the aforementioned Subb-an and Thoma Bulwer, as well as artists new to the label, such as Desert Sound Colony and Robert James. How did you go about deciding who was going to feature on the label and what’s your relationship like with the artists that do feature?
We’re really just kind of building the family slowly, Thoma does all our mixdowns/ mastering, as well as being a sick producer and label owner in his own right, his track The Lions Moog Implant kicks proverbial arse and is def one of my faves on there. Subb-an also shares a studio with Thoma, and is obviously a legend in his own right. It’s all been super organic. Desert Sound Colony is an artist who we’ve followed for ages and has been putting out seriously original material, which is well produced and also accessible as fuck, so when he offered to remix my track that was an absolute no brainer and an honour to have him as part of the comp. Robert James is an old friend of ours who’s been producing amazing stuff for ages, as well as being an incredible DJ. We’re also super buzzed to have Clive Henry on there with his first release in a fair while. Everything came together super loose and organically, and we plan to keep things moving forward in the same vein. We have the next few releases all lined up and we’re pretty sure they won’t disappoint!
Pulling a compilation like this together is no doubt a big task. What was it like working it logistically and how does it feel to see and hear the finished product now that it’s set for release?
The logistics were definitely fiddly, there were a multitude of tasks that kept us all busy as we created the compilation. All of the tracks bar one or two had to be mixed down, quite a few using our reel-to-reel which was a really fun, but also arduous process (100% worth it though, every time). There were a few tracks where the artists weren’t happy with little bits and pieces – which is always bound to happen – so there are always going to be things that need doing over. Then there were tracks where we had to select from 4 different tape cuts due to the nature of the process. Some tracks also had to be finished by the artists themselves, for example – they felt they still needed to add an element like a synth line or a drum-sequence to complete their arrangement.
Honestly, there were definitely more than a few headaches at points but once the results were achieved every one felt more than worthwhile. There are always bound to be obstacles with whatever creative process you are involved in, but if you really enjoy what you’re doing, you won’t really be affected or phased by them as much.
Props to your visual artist on this release too. The artwork is awesome. Can you tell us a bit about that?
Our in-house artist is called Charlie McFarley, he’s the man – he’s done all of the illustration for all of our releases. He’s originally from London but now he’s a family man living in the countryside painting sick street art for a living. If you wanna check his bits out you can on his website: https://www.charliemcfarley.com/
A funny story connected to Charlie, when I used to live in Hoxton, East-London in around 2011, one of the local pubs was called the North Star on New North Road which had a bunch of his pieces all over the place. Whenever I was there I used to walk around just being sucked in by his work and used to think how original it was. Fast forward about 7 or 8 years to the start of Superlux Records and N-Gynn’s recommendation for our in-house illustrator was his good mate Charlie, serendipitous or what!?
Looking forward to the year ahead, is there anything else lined up for the label that you can hint at yet?
We have the next 4 or 5 releases all lined up which is super exciting, we’ve really been working hard, getting everything mixed down and ready for 2021. All I can say is, we have a super solid, vinyl-only EP coming from one of the new additions to the family for SPLX005. (One of the contributors to SPLX004). It’s some 4:4 Detroit inspired madness and in my honest opinion it’s our strongest material yet. You’ll be hearing more soon – the initial release date is anticipated for April, but depending on the crap we’re dealing with from Covid19 we’ll be lucky to see it come out in our lifetime.
Thanks a lot for chatting with DMCWORLD today Mike! Was great to hear some more about this compilation. We wish you all the best and hope to catch up again soon!
Thanks for having me guys, wishing you all the best and thanks so much for the support.
Superlux 004: Lost In The Future VA is released 19th February on Superlux Records