In life, as well as in journalism, there’s always that question of who is the best being put out there. Who is the best producer, the best live act, the best DJ or, to turn the subject towards this feature today, who are the best techno labels. But sometimes putting a twist on the perspective that this ‘Best Of’ surmising comes from has interesting outcomes, ones that are special, specific and personally tailored to a person’s taste. And when you’re asking Blawan, a producer whose done nothing but excite, amaze and inspire people over the last few years (from white label records selling out in less than a day to that two minute youtube rip of a gnarly, evil vocal sparking fevered discussion and collaborations with Surgeon), the whole thing takes on a different sort of shelf life. Even just tracing through a rare set (rare because it’s actually accompanied with a tracklisting) you can see how Blawan’s own knowledge expands throughout the ranks of techno history, taking in obscurities from the wider expanses of the scene’s output.
Ahead of his return to Room Two this Saturday night we asked the Sheworks label boss to narrow down his favourite five techno labels of the moment - a challenge for him and a treat for us providing us with a snapshot of what’s making it into his sets at the moment. We also appraised the challenge in hand in a quick catch up interview which lead to us into finding out how Room Two’s booth makes him feel so at home, even if he’s losing out on some of the technological wares that make Room One so fetishized for many.
Blawan's Top 5 Techno Imprints
Restoration Records - Powered by the Analogue Cops, the've stayed true on their vision for the label, I love the guys and their music. long live the Restoration.
Tip: Marieu - The River
Avian - Shifted has put some really brilliant material over the past year, from what am hearing the future output is gonna be even better.
Tip: MPIA3 - Squatters dog
Delsin - There constantly refreshing releases have been some of my favourite and most forward thinking house and techno.
Tip: Redshape - Shaped World
Creme Organization This label has to be one of the most interesting for me, with some really crazy and inspirational releases. It's yet another example of the constant quality music that comes out of The Netherlands.
Tip: J.T.C - Two Hammers
Semantica Records - Most of my favourite techno producers have a solid relationship with this label. some of the best techno records for me come from this label.
Tip: Svreca & Skirt - Hymen
How hard did you find it to narrow down your list to five? Or did they all stand out pretty clearly?
Very hard. Labels like Avian, Sigha's label Our circular Sound as well as Delsin and Clone I don't really like to compare as they’re doing equally as good work as their counterparts in a way, but the ones above are the ones I've been playing most tracks from recently.
What's your motivation for running your own label?
Definitely to have full control. It means what you get from the person making, releasing and selling music on their own label is the purest way to showcase their creative output, none of the vision is watered down or distorted by others making decisions for you.
You're heading up Room Two soon, what defines your experience of playing from that booth?
Well I have played there a few times now and have to say despite the fact I love the A&H V6 mixer in the main room it’s by far my favourite room to play. I've always had a great response from the people in there and playing long sets there is really comfortable!
What's on your agenda this year, do you have any projects in the works you can share with us?
I don’t really have much of an agenda this year to be honest. Working on the Sheworks label has been really rewarding so far and this year is looking like an exciting year. I’ve got a collaborative EP with Surgeon under the name Trade that is out next week on vinyl. Other than that the Karenn project is taking up alot of my time too which is nice, we are just gearing up towards this year’s shows and am already exciting for people to hear new material we are doing at the moment.
Catch Blawan in Room Two this Saturday, tickets and more info are here.