We catch up with Castro Moore & Nemo Ripoll of Berlin's Sound Metaphors record store, to discuss their labels of love - MISSYOU & THANKYOU
Tell us where it all began… What made you think I want to start a label? What was that experience like?
I guess throughout the years we realized how much of our finances ended up being spent on often pricy records. A record in itself is only worth a few bucks in terms of its manufacturing, but somehow certain grooves can really price things up. We figured maybe it makes sense to be able to offer certain music at an accessible price yet again and at the same time also divert some of the money being spent on Discogs to the artists that actually made the music. And in that process hopefully also get more insight regarding how the music came about via contact with the artists responsible for the music we're so enamored by.
What were the genres you first thought it would cover? Where did the name come from? When was the first release?
The first re-issue was DJ Dove (Capote Barbarito), that came out on Sound Metaphors, it did great in terms of numbers and eventually got extra attention because some hot shot producer (Calvin Harris I think?) mentioned it as a fav on social media or something. We put out a few more on Sound Metaphors (like “Throw Down” by Carmen) before we started to realize it could make sense to make some other more genre specific sub-labels. So, we started MISSYOU as a means of bringing back some older dancefloor oriented titles with a more organic sounding (pre-MIDI) prodcution techniques. MISSYOU was launched with a bit of a digger classic - “Stardance” - by Dealer/Whizz by the British library maestro Alan Hawkshaw along with Barry Mason. Being a library track, we included an extended edit for the floor, and put “Do You Hear Me” on the B side. We got everything neatly remastered at manmademastering here in Berlin and did a small run to see how it would do. Copies sold pretty well so we moved on to more titles.
We started THANKYOU (label name following the same vein of appreciation for the music as MISSYOU) - another sub-label that would focus on more synthetic sounding, post-MIDI productions, mostly stuff from around '83 to early '90s. Although MISSYOU started off as mainly disco-oriented stuff, we've re-issued other genres, like the Jorge Ben album, and even some reggae, lovers-rock type stuff.
Although we struggle with a lot of contemporary productions, we wanted to at least try to not be boring old curmudgeons stuck in a past we were never part of. So we did BLESSYOU as another sublabel that would focus on stuff being produced today. The first one was with a hero of ours – Dea Barandana – from Bali. Besides being an extremely educated DJ many of you might know he's also a multi-instrumentalist producing some really interesting stuff, so it was quite an honor to have some of his material on our label.
On a mission...
What is the mission of the label? Who do you hope plays the music?
The mission is just to make music we're personally passionate about accessible to those who might appreciate it as well. Hopefully also remind people of these artists, a lot of these smaller private pressing type releases were kind of unorthodox at the time and didn't really follow the rules of charts and radio stations and bigger labels, so they didn't have very prominent careers in the end, but they were still pushing boundaries in subtle yet interesting ways. So we'd hope to celebrate that a bit.
A lot of this music was originally released on vinyl, so we try to respect that, and of course, we run a record shop, so we're biased in terms of this medium.
Another thing we try to make these records sounds as good as we can, we've worked with a number of different restoration experts that can really get the program sounding great, also manmade mastering here in berlin does our mastering and lacquer cutting, they have very high standards. So there is also somewhat of an audiophile side to our mission.
We hope everyone plays this music! We think it's really great stuff, it wouldn't be out again if it wasn't in our opinion...every single release is absolutely beautiful to us.
What was the inspiration for the artwork? Who did you get to do it? Was the first idea the one?
Castro is handling all the layout and whatever artwork decisions there might be. For the most part, we just try to use the original artwork (unless it's completely terrible) or photos of the artists, that's usually the priority, no fancy concepts here.
What has been your proudest moment to date with the label? When did you think ‘fuck yeah! This is on!’?
Every time we manage to sign a contract with an artist it leaves us quite proud really. But I think Simone – Mebsouta on THANKYOU had somewhat of that effect for us. It got quite a bit of attention from a few different music head circles, so it especially felt like we must be doing something right.
I think working with Jacky Ferreira, and kind of “discovering” a facet of what could be seen as Portuguese late 80's/early 90's house music felt relevant. Castro is half Portuguese and we always wondered what was up with Portugal in terms of dancefloor music around that time, we knew of a lot of wavy synth stuff around that time, but we really wondered if Portugal too had followed suit with “house” in some way. Finding a copy of Jacky's first album at a flea market and hearing “Summer Night” for the first time felt really good, like we finally found something we had been looking for for so long. Summer Night was the last track on the B-side, had no vocals. When we found Jacky and were able to talk to him about it, his impulsive and simple explanation only paralleled the honesty heard in the production, it made a lot of sense. We made an extended edit which Castro played at Dublab a few years back, this led to being held hostage by Dirty Dave until the file was shared with him, and we think it eventually even came to strike Harvey's fancy according to some less reliable sources – that felt like we were digging the right hole..
What's coming? What are the future goals of the label? Comps? You’ve recently done a reissue - any more of these in the pipeline?
This whole Apollo + Corona end of the world menagerie is being a real pain. But hopefully, we'll be able to keep on trucking along. We have some new stuff that got frozen halfway when the pandemic blew up which we're hoping to push along now. Some cool synthetic stuff that a lot of you in the UK will be able to relate to (back to basics vibe) along with some other cool US stuff from the late 80's produced as a side project thing by Chris Lord Alge who google can tell you all about. and then we have some really beautiful reggae stuff on MISSYOU. And our buddy Mogwaa from South Korea is on to some really interesting stuff he produced for BLESSYOU. Lastly, we have two new releases on H.A.N.D., more completely inappropriate edits, one is just a repress of a really limited 10” valentine's release we did, and then a new series called “Poppers”.
Do you do label parties, merch, or anything else around the label? Time to plug your stuff...
We play around with some Merchandise production here and there, we've done a few release-specific T's. But Have A Nice Day is where we put our money in terms of merch and parties. H.A.N.D. was a monthly party we held for 2 years and hope to be able to continue ASAP. We try to keep a regular stream of fresh merchandise output in memory of the party vibe. All can be found at our webshop and we usually give a heads up on Instagram.