Talking Shop With Oslo

Welcome to the ninth edition of our series of short interviews affectionately titled Talking Shop. The majority of media and fan attention gets showered on the artists who create the music we love to listen to/DJ with/dance to, and for good reasons. But without the hard work, keen ears and business savvy of label staff, we’d be stuck only streaming tracks on Myspace. This time we have to put on shades to talk with our next interview subject, the white hot Oslo. Though the Frankfurt-based collective got its start around the turn of the century, the label only released its first record in 2007. But within a few 12″s, the label’s trajectory has been positively meteoric. Headed by Federico Molinaro and Nekes, the label family includes Johnny D, Guillaume & The Coutu Dumonts, Mara Trax and Christian Burkhardt, serving up minimal, tribally influenced deep house that’s heavily influenced attitudes in 2008. Molinaro was rather tight-lipped, but we managed to get his views on vinyl and the essential qualities of a label, but not the meaning of that name…

Please tell me about the beginning of Oslo. Why and how did you start out? How did you decide on the name Oslo?

We started around six years ago, at that time we all of us met and our friendship began. In the beginning we were all DJs and promoters and the label was the normal development for us. Why Oslo? It’s a secret!

How did you select the artists for Oslo’s roster? How do you select tunes for the Love Letters From Oslo sub-label?

In first place, the person must be close to us, almost our artist are friends since long time. The music for Love letters from Oslo has to be something really special for us, and of course something that we wouldn’t release on Oslo.

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Do you get many demos? What are some qualities you look for when sorting through them?

Yes, we get a lot demos at the moment. And we really enjoy to see a huge feedback, even if the music doesn’t fit with our label philosophy. There’s not a rule to follow to decide if the music is good or not — as you can see every release has it’s own character — so basically there’s not a special sound aesthetic to follow. But there is, for sure, a sound aesthetic that we don’t follow.

What is one of your favorite releases on your own label? Why?

That’s a really a difficult question. Every release has something particular for us, that’s why we choose every EP.

According to many doomsayers, running a record label isn’t one of the “smartest” fiscal things to do. How do you keep Oslo running with sales “as they are”?

Very good question at this time! I mean, everybody knows that is not possible to make big money with a record label. I think that in the past there was not so much music like now (it was not so easy to have a studio before). Now you have much more music around, and much more platforms like the Internet or Beatport or whatever to find music. So basically the secret is, as a label, you have to concentrate in bringing out quality music and also very important: something fresh. That’s it!

Do you think mp3 blogs like mine hurt the music industry? Do you think blogs have a role in the future of dance music promotion?

I don’t think blogs can hurt the music industry, why? I mean, all these things about blogs can really help in all what is promotion about. But I really don’t follow blogs, so I can not tell you how important they are or will be; I am not really into it.

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There is no shortage of labels in dance music. What does Oslo do to stand out from the crowd?

Like I said before, the only thing you can do is release good music, all the rest is not important.

As technology advances further, vinyl is moving closer to becoming obsolete to many DJs. What are your feelings on this? Do you think the end of vinyl is in sight?

I do not agree with this. Vinyl was often announced to die and always became widely accepted again. We have to wait to see what the future does. For me personally it’s a a real shame if one day the vinyl completely disappears. Vinyl is the soul of electronic music, NO VINYL NO SOUL.

What are a few other labels you respect/revere most?

In the past it was Playhouse and Perlon, now Deep Vipes and Raum…Musik play a decisive role.

What can we expect from Oslo in the next year or so?

We are planning a lot of things at the moment, but we can’t talk about it. Be patient!

Rod  on October 6, 2008 at 5:19 AM

Do you think mp3 blogs like mine hurt the music industry?
He’s right. Many songs I heard on this blog I ordered on vinyl. And yes, I pray vinyl will never die. But we’re quite short on real (not in the www) record stores, where I still can touch it and listen to the whole song.

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