Embarking on the rhythmic journey where beats meet innovation, Club Forever, a sub-label under Her Majesty’s Ship (HMS) Records, emerges as a dynamic force dedicated to the pulse of club music. In this feature, Justine Forever and Charlotte Decroix, the minds behind Club Forever, take us behind the scenes, offering insights into the label’s genesis, ethos, and the unique challenges that come with launching a new venture.
From the monthly digital track releases to the eclectic curation influenced by Justine’s diverse musical journey, Club Forever stands as a playground for experimentation and a testament to the joy of creating without constraints. Join us in this interview as Justine and Charlotte share their vision, the intricacies of their selection process, and the exciting plans that lie ahead for Club Forever.
EG: Hello Justine & Charlotte! Welcome to EG. It’s a pleasure to have you with us and to get to know about Club Forever! To get started, where are you right now?
Justine: Hi there, right now I’m at home, working on fixing some details on my live set and working on the label.
Charlotte: Hello! Thanks for the invitation. I’m at home, working on the next releases and doing my emails. I have another job as well as the label, so Sundays are often studious for me.
Charlotte & Justine Forever
EG: We’re excited to learn about your label, artists, and upcoming releases. First, how would you define the ethos and vision of Club Forever as a sub-label dedicated to club music?
Justine: The essence of Club Forever is music dedicated to DJs, it’s also music I would play when I go to gigs. And I see the label as a family affair, so far we’ve mostly been working with friends.
Charlotte: For me, Club Forever is a real playground, where we can try out lots of things, and create new encounters, with no constraints. It’s our laboratory, and we give ourselves a lot of freedom.
EG: Can you explain your decision to release a new digital track each month? How does this align with Club Forever’s overall mission and goals?
Charlotte: We wanted to create a new habit so that our listeners can have something new to discover on a regular basis, and so that we can establish ourselves in the club music landscape. DJs need to keep their library fresh all the time, so it’s important to be able to offer something new often.
Justine: As said by Charlotte, DJs are always looking for fresh new music and over time we hope we could become a monthly RDV for DJs and even for club music lovers who want to discover new stuff.
EG: Justine Forever, your journey from punk and new wave to electronic music has shaped your curatorial vision for Club Forever. How does your diverse musical background inform your selection of artists and releases? What do you hope to bring to the forefront with this label?
Justine: As for the artistic direction of CF, I’m really going with my heart. Every track I’m picking for the label, it’s really a personal crush. A bit like a musical love story. And in a way, It’s also a panel of my music taste.
Through the years in the music scene, I had the chance to meet many talented artists. When we created the label, I contacted some of them and asked them if they’d like to be part of the adventure.
EG: Charlotte, can you share the genesis of Club Forever and its role within Her Majesty’s Ship (HMS) Records? What motivated the launch of this sub-label focused specifically on club music?
Charlotte: You have to know that Her Majesty’s Ship, the main label, was already about indie dance and club music at the beginning. Then we explored other genres, more pop, cold wave, rock… and lost sight of the purely electronic side. After the lockdown, I was very nostalgic for club nights. So I had this very simple idea: create a new label to share this love of club music, release danceable music, do something fun… and above all do it with great joy, pleasure, and simplicity. I proposed the idea to Justine Forever because she has very good taste, and we had a great experience working together on her first album. I’m very happy to run this project with her, we make a great team!
EG: What criteria or themes guide Club Forever’s music selection process? How important is it to consider an artist’s background and narrative when making release decisions?
Justine: There’s not a particular criteria when I’m selecting the music, I love every track we released. Maybe the main thing is that it has to be DJ friendly and I tend mostly to select music I would play as a DJ. As I mentioned earlier CF it’s also a family affair, so far we’ve been mainly working with producers I met through the years, some I met during my travels, and some I never met yet but we’ve been chatting about music and life for some years with some of them.
Charlotte: When I suggested this project to Justine I said to her: let’s not put any barriers in terms of musical genre, just choose the music you want to play, that’s the most important thing. Also, we prefer to solicit artists ourselves, mainly new talents, trying to have as varied and international a panel as possible.
“Even if today artists can completely do without a label, and produce and distribute their music themselves very easily, I think that labels will always have an important place in the development of their career. Labels are essential curators for discovering the talents of tomorrow”
EG: Launching a new sub-label is a complex undertaking, with many challenges to overcome. Can you share some of the lessons you learned during the setup process? Were there any notable collaborators or mentors who helped you along the way?
Justine: For me it’s a new experience, doing the AD of the label, it’s one thing I always wanted to do but there is so much more to work on to keep the label on track. I love to work with Charlotte, we make a real power team, and we spend a lot of time brainstorming and discussing our ideas for the label. And I’ve been learning quite a lot from her about all the work there is behind a music label.
Charlotte: I already had solid experience with HMS, and I made a lot of mistakes when I started! Twelve years later, I’m still learning every day. Also, I’m much more inclined today to go and ask for advice or share my difficulties than I was before, and I think it’s very important not to be left alone with your questions. The real challenge is never to rest on your laurels, because the music business is constantly changing.
EG: What can we expect from Club Forever in the coming months and years? Are there any upcoming releases or events that you’re excited to share?
Charlotte: We are doing a winter break after the Voodoo Meluk release, and we are currently working on our second season which will start in February 2024. We would love to start our label nights next year, and also to have more female producers on the label.
Justine: Everything Charlotte said. We really care to have more women on the label and we hope more women will send us demos. Also, we will be working on some new merchandising items.
EG: Charlotte, given your experience working with various organizations in the music industry, how do you see the role of labels evolving in the next few years? Will the focus remain on music, or will labels play an increasingly important role in building brands and communities?
Charlotte: Even if today artists can completely do without a label, and produce and distribute their music themselves very easily, I think that labels will always have an important place in the development of their career. Labels are essential curators for discovering the talents of tomorrow. On the club music scene, this is even more true because a track does not need to be produced by a superstar to be played. If it’s a good track, regardless of the level of fame of the producer, it can work. And this is what gives great freedom to electronic labels: success can come from anywhere and it can very quickly spread internationally. It’s very different for pop music, where the investments are much heavier and the development time much longer. Because of this, pop labels are much more cautious about new things and many artists find themselves managing everything on their own.
EG: Finally, is there anything else you’d like to share with the audience about Club Forever, its artists, or the broader vision of Her Majesty’s Ship Records?
Justine: The last thing I’d like to add is a massive shout-out to all the artists we are working with! I couldn’t be happier about this first season of CF and all the music we’ve been releasing. Massive thanks to Macaulay, CT Kidobo, ID_UA, Rosa Rous, BEREZA, Cate Hortl, and Voodoo Meluk.
Charlotte: I hope that this interview will have made you want to discover our music and follow our adventures. It’s always a pleasure to receive feedback from our listeners, so don’t hesitate!
Club Forever’s latest release “Voodoo Meluk” will be released on November 24th. Stay tuned!