In the world of independent music, the birth of a record label often signifies more than just a collection of tracks; it encapsulates a curator’s distinct vision and a platform for emerging talent. SAUDE! Records, a relatively new entrant into this realm, has swiftly established itself as a haven for artistic expression on vinyl.
Founded by Saudade! in 2020, the label has evolved from being a vessel for personal releases to a space that nurtures new talents. In this interview, Saudade! shares insights into the label’s genesis, its philosophy, and the meticulous process of selecting artists whose work aligns with the distinctive ethos of SAUDE! Records. Join us in this conversation as Saudade! delves into the journey, challenges, and aspirations that shape the identity of this burgeoning record label.
SAUDE is partnering with UMI to co-host a release party. The event will feature up-and-coming talents from the French and Belgian music scene, as well as the renowned artist Chris Korda. The UMI x SAUDE! release party is scheduled for Friday, November 17, 2023, from 23:00 to 08:00 at UMI. Get your tickets here.
Wooka’s ‘Somethin You Dress Up’ (Only Vinyl) is out now. Get your copy today!
EG: Hello Saudade! It’s an absolute pleasure to have you here with us. How have you been? What have you been up to?
SAUDE! Records: I’m doing very well! 2023 marks a year of transition for me both with the development of my label, my live hardware, and my sound. It’s a year of exploration in my sound, which I’m trying to work on in my new sound laboratory at Villette 45 Studios in Paris. It’s also a year of affirmation, with the creation of my first party for the launch of Wooka’s new EP on my label at UMI Club in Brussels the 17/11!
EG: Sounds great. Congratulations on the recent launch of your own label, SAUDE! Records! You must be very excited to be behind the label’s second release with Wooka’s ‘Somethin You Dress Up’!
SAUDE! Records: Thanks a lot! Until then, it was mainly a label for my own releases, but on the advice of my friend and mentor Chez Damier, I wanted to help new talents and to give what I’ve been given in the past: the opportunity to have a space for artistic expression on vinyl. It’s a pleasure and an honor to welcome Wooka for his very first EP.
EG: So, how did SAUDE! Records come together? Was the idea of having your own always there?
SAUDE! Records: In 2020, I was looking for labels to release my EP ‘Cantalo Conmigo.’ It had a very distinctive character, being both very minimalist and with a Latin foundation, so it was challenging to find a label that matched. It was at that moment that Brawther encouraged me to start my own label. This gave me the motivation to take the plunge. Having my own label allows me to think about a release in its entirety, on the audio side in the musical selection with the producer, and on the visual side in the selection of the artwork in collaboration with French painter Louis Stecken. Last but not least, on a human level in the choice of all the actors and creators who will work on the release and the imprint. This label allows me to release all the music I want in a completely independent way.
EG: What’s the purpose and the message driving SAUDE! Records? Musically, what are some of the specific influences that SAUDE! Records stands for?
SAUDE! Records: SAUDE! is defined as ‘Percussive music for synths & drum machines.’ At first, the concept was to convert traditional rhythms with analog machines, notably with the first release, ‘Cantalo Conmigo,’ remixed by Lowris. Eventually, I realized that my sound direction wasn’t defined solely by Afro-Latin rhythms but was much more diversified. Sometimes I can’t even figure out what it is that drives me to love or create this or that music, which is totally disconnected from my influences. But what unites it all is the fact that I like it. So, in the end, the most important thing is to sign music that I like and that hits the spot! Like SAUDE! means CHEERS! let’s say the message is to keep spontaneity in the musical flavors proposed. Most of all find strong musical personalities and nice people to promote 🙂
“Having my own label allows me to think about a release in its entirety, on the audio side in the musical selection with the producer, and on the visual side in the selection of the artwork”
EG: About Wooka’s release…What drew you to his music in particular? What makes his ‘Somethin You Dress Up’ EP a good fit for SAUDE! Records?
SAUDE! Records: I originally discovered Wooka on a Sweely story. The two of them were jamming together. Listening to Wooka’s music, I immediately heard that he had his own sound, very well produced, intelligent, and wickedly groovy. In talking to him, I knew right away that he was a really nice guy with a talent that people hadn’t yet discovered enough. I felt there was a gap between the quality of his music and his fame at the time. So I thought SAUDE! would be the perfect fertile ground for his very first EP! I was lucky enough to have a lot of choice in his demo pack and to be able to select with him the ones I found ultra-tight and groovy. So we have a perfectly balanced EP with ‘I Hope You Breathe’ that’s sunny and funky, with ‘People Fucked Up,’ a little masterpiece of jerky groove, and a second UKG side ‘London Somethin’ and ‘No Dress Code’ with a powerful dark track made with Acheel.
EG: How will you go about selecting music for the label? Is it just about the music, or do you guys consider the artist behind the piece as well? Is it hard to make it just about the music when the industry pushes us to look at numbers as well?
SAUDE! Records: I’m pretty picky about my personal musical tastes, so it’s the same when it comes to selecting music for the label. First of all, I try to find profiles of artists who are newcomers and not yet developed, with the idea of discovering new talent. I try to be fairly alert, and I don’t hesitate to ask around as well.
I always consider the person behind the art. I couldn’t sign music by someone I didn’t like on a human level. Above all, it’s a human project; music is an expression of oneself, a projection of oneself, so I prefer to find positively radiant personalities.
I try to avoid the logic of numbers. I want my label to be a place where people can express themselves without thinking about results. Moreover, I’m lucky enough to have a job on the side that allows me to be financially independent, which means I can concentrate solely on the music and pay little or no attention to numbers. There’s an element of humanist activism in favor of personal creativity that’s detached from mercantile influence.
EG: Can you tell us more about the upcoming release party for Wooka’s EP in Brussels? What kind of atmosphere can we expect? What other events does SAUDE! Records have in the pipeline?
SAUDE! Records: We’re celebrating the release of Wooka’s EP ‘Somethin You Dress Up’ at a brand-new exciting club in Brussels, UMI. This is the very first party I’ve organized, and I wanted to bring together strong, emerging personalities from the French and Belgian underground scene: including Louison, DJ Immortal (live), Wooka (live), Bendrik, Phil, the Beat-qui-nique and myself. With accomplished artist Chris Korda (live) at the top of the list.
I have paid special attention to bringing together a number of live performers, including myself in a full hardware dawless geeky setup. To talk a little about the venue, it’s a brand-new club run by friends who wanted to uphold the good philosophy we need more than ever in the night: the best sound system in Brussels, a respectful audience, pleasant lighting, and a passionate team. All the ingredients are there, and I hope the atmosphere will be as friendly, smiling, and musical as possible!
EG: As an independent record label, how do you plan to navigate the challenges of balancing artistic vision and commercial success? What are some of the strategies you plan on using to achieve both?
SAUDE! Records: I don’t aim to strike a balance between artistic vision and commercial success. I invest a lot of money out of my own pocket, knowing that I won’t get a return on my investment just for the beauty of the art. So commercial success seems opposed to a vision totally oriented towards freedom of expression freed from the pressure of profitability. During this time, my primary objective is to deepen this artistic vision as much as possible, even if it means not achieving this balance. I find meaning in it, and for me that’s priceless.
“I hope that creators will continue to create in spite of commercial constraints and that they will manage to free themselves as much as possible in order to be themselves and communicate it to others”
EG: In your opinion, what does the future look like for labels in the next few years? Will music still be the main commodity?
SAUDE! Records: It’s a frightening question. Even the term ‘commodity’ when talking about music, or art, seems shocking. I think maybe music is going to look more and more like a commodity. But what will make the difference is the emotional experience of both producers and listeners. It is this emotion that will distinguish music as an emotional expression of a human being from a banal commodity that is sold on stock markets. Above all, I hope that creators will continue to create in spite of commercial constraints and that they will manage to free themselves as much as possible in order to be themselves and communicate it to others.
EG: What would be the best bit of advice you’d give to someone looking to start their own label nowadays? What are some of the “obstacles” or difficulties you found along the way and how did you overcome them?
SAUDE! Records: Don’t hesitate to ask for advice. It’s easier than it sounds. Don’t hesitate to learn to do certain tasks yourself to save money. Otherwise, start small, but starting is like watering a plant. Ideally, surround yourself well.
EG: Looking ahead, what can we expect from SAUDE! Records in the coming year? Any upcoming releases or projects you’d like to share with your fans and the electronic music community?
SAUDE! Records: I’ve spotted some very talented producers and a lot of studio geeks with very powerful sounds. I’m working on various with some very strong newcomers and for the follow-up I have an EP ready-made with a producer friend around dub house. I’m totally open to demos if ever! Otherwise, with my graphic designer, we’ve created some great t-shirts that will be available on Bandcamp and for sale at the club on 17/11.
EG: Is there anything else you’d like to tell our readers, and where can they find more information about SAUDE! Records and Wooka’s ‘Somethin You Dress Up’ EP?
SAUDE! Records: The EP is out! You can find the record on Deejay.de our distributor. If you want to know more, let’s connect on our pages SAUDE! Records and Wooka!
EG: Thank you so much for your time! We wish you and SAUDE! Records all the best for the future!
SAUDE! Records: Thanks a lot for having me here! I wish you the best too 🙂
The UMI x SAUDE! release party is scheduled for Friday, November 17 at UMI. Get your tickets here.