Cécille Records, a renowned label known for its distinctive style, is making a comeback. Founded in 2007 by Nick Curly and Marc Scholl, Cécille gained fame for its warm and deep techno and house music, offering an alternative to the dominant minimalist techno of that time.
Photo credit: Cécille Records – Bandcamp
Cécille quickly became popular and launched artists like Nick Curly, SiS, Markus Fix, Robert Dietz, and Johnny D to stardom. The label’s focus on innovative sounds revitalized the music scene, receiving widespread praise and winning numerous awards. As the imprint expanded, it attracted established artists like Lee Burridge & Matthew Dekay, Matthias Meyer, DJ Sneak, Livio & Roby, Huxley, Uner, Einzelkind, and Sebo K. The label’s showcases took place worldwide, from Amnesia Ibiza to venues in Miami, New York, Frankfurt, and Mannheim.
After a short break, Cécille is now ready to make a comeback, reigniting the passion for underground music and showcasing their distinctive sounds. EG had the chance to speak with Nick Curly and Marc Scholl from Cécille Records to find out more and get insights about the label and their upcoming projects.
EG: Hi Nick Curly and Marc Scholl, thank you for taking the time to talk with us. We have followed your work at Cécille Records for many years now. For those readers who may still be unfamiliar with your imprint and its aesthetic, could you please tell us a little about the sound it represents and what the label means to both of you?
Nick Curly and Marc Scholl: First, we would like to thank you for having us. Cécille has been our baby since 2007, with a brief interruption, but we embarked on the journey of revitalizing it in 2019/20. Personally, both of us have diverse musical tastes in various genres. We firmly believe that emotions can be expressed in numerous musical forms, and it is essential to explore and appreciate the art created by others. Our label has been a symbol of our friendship for nearly 25 years, growing increasingly precious to us over time. It is also important to us that we get along with our artists and are transparent and honest with each other. We always try to keep in touch with everyone. Especially people like Reboot and Fabe have been close friends of ours for more than 15 years due to the proximity where we grew up. This is also important to us with the label.
EG: The label was established way back in 2007 and was, at the time, a pioneering imprint for what became known as the Mannheim sound, the German city where Cécille was born. This sound was associated with tribal rhythms, hypnotic loops, and a deep aesthetic. Could you maybe share with us some of the major hits from this time that really put the label on the map?
Nick Curly and Marc Scholl: Every era or time period has its own style, and people often believe it to be the latest trend. But if we’re being honest, it’s merely the ongoing evolution of the niche genre we’re a part of. When viewed from an outsider’s perspective, the best styles from the past tend to resurface and make a comeback. And that’s precisely what happened to us. We achieved incredible success during a time when there wasn’t the big hype or heavy use of social media with simple loop house music. It was a time when tracks like Johnny D’s ‘Orbital Life,’ released on our friends’ label Oslo, made waves. Hits like Butch’s ‘No Worries’ also resurfaced 12 years later. SIS’s ‘Nesrib’ marked the resurgence of integrating ’80s vocals into house music. Reboot’s remix of Sebo K’s ‘Saxtrack’ celebrated loop house.
To be honest, we didn’t introduce anything entirely new in the Mannheim-Frankfurt music scene. Instead, we revived house music with loops during the deep minimal techno phase when dance floors were dwindling. Listening to some of those tracks today, the impact they had on the scene back then becomes even more apparent, especially when you consider the 20,000 records we sold.
“Our label has been a symbol of our friendship for nearly 25 years, growing increasingly precious to us over time”
EG: It’s now been over a decade and a half since your inaugural forays into releasing music. How have things evolved for you as label owners, as curators for the sound of Cécille, and in the industry in general?
Nick Curly and Marc Scholl: In the electronic music scene, we appreciate the diversity of styles, but we also have mixed feelings about the way things are today. It seems like people are more focused on DJs as brands rather than the music itself. Young producers often make tracks just for the drop, catering to quick sets and influenced by the brevity of social media, where an InstaStory clip that lasts just a few seconds is the norm. This shift has also affected how we enjoy music at festivals, with an impact on the club scene.
In the past, DJs would play complete tracks, and we used hypnotic house loops that would send people into a frenzy. There was no need to take out your cell phone and take pictures because the experience gave goosebumps over the course of the entire six-minute track. Anyone who has experienced the authenticity and excellence of a proper house party should feel a responsibility to pass on that experience to the next generation and help them understand its significance.
That goes back to the first question and was the underlying reason for why we embarked on this journey and what the label truly signifies to us.
EG: Recent releases have seen the label shift back towards a more classic sound, embracing original house tropes of organic instruments, raw jacking drums, and big house keys. Have you both found yourselves gravitating back towards the roots of house music in recent years, and is this why the label has stepped further in this direction?
Nick Curly and Marc Scholl: We must acknowledge that we enjoy experimenting, and in the past, we’ve released songs that didn’t necessarily align with our usual style. Being the label owners, we have the liberty to explore different directions, although we haven’t always taken full advantage of this freedom, striving to maintain a consistent line for our loyal fans. However, at the core, we are actively seeking demos that resonate with our beloved loop house sound – a sound we believe is timeless and embodies the essence of a great house EP and the spirit of a house club party. So you can definitely expect more of this from us in the future. While we appreciate various styles of electronic music, especially the current trends, we see them as passing fads that won’t last. We firmly believe that the depth of house music, its heartfelt classics, and timeless tracks hold a greater appeal than trendy drops and factory-made beats.
“We firmly believe that the depth of house music, its heartfelt classics, and timeless tracks hold a greater appeal than trendy drops and factory-made beats”
EG: Talking about roots, can you please both share with us what yours are in music, when you first began discovering electronic music, going out clubbing, buying records, and what were some of the influential artists, club spaces, or stores you used to frequent?
Nick Curly and Marc Scholl: We both grew up in the Mannheim area, which, after Manchester, was a significant hub for drum and bass music. Additionally, venues like Milk and Vibration featured breaks, happy house, and techno. Nearby Frankfurt boasted iconic clubs such as Omen and Dorian Gray, while Stuttgart had a thriving house club scene. Notably, the drum and bass scene had strong ties to the vibrant hip-hop culture, with Frankfurt, Stuttgart, and Heidelberg being key musical hotspots during that period.
EG: What’s next for Cécille Records and the brand in general that you can share with us? Any plans for label showcases in clubs soon also?
Nick Curly and Marc Scholl: With our upcoming release, we’re thrilled to present an exceptional EP by a talented young artist, D Stone. He’s delivered the exact vibe we’ve been seeking. What’s more, we’re actively working on four parallel releases for the coming year, featuring a mix of fresh emerging talent and iconic figures from the house music scene. This combination of young talents and house icons makes it something to look forward to. Speaking of label events, we recently hosted our first label night at ADE in collaboration with Hush. For several months, we’ve been collaborating with People’s Agency in the Netherlands, and we’ve got some exciting plans in store for 2024.
EG: Lastly, could you share with us something outside of music that’s been a highlight for your personal lives in recent times, maybe somewhere you’ve been, a new recipe you’ve discovered, a film you saw, or anything else you’d like to tell the world about?
Nick Curly and Marc Scholl: Outside of music, we’re just regular guys. Besides our strong family bonds, Marc enjoys cooking with friends and his PlayStation, while Nick goes for a morning walk in the park with his four dogs at 5 am.