We spoke with Nick Castleman about the launch of Labyrinth Records, a brand new musical venture with a debut release set to coincide with the end of the UK’s national lockdown. Focusing on emotive music drawn from a spectrum of genres, Labyrinth Records is an ambitious project with a promising future.
How long has your label been in operation?
The label officially launched on March 6th. However, I’ve been working on the project since last summer.
What inspired you to set up the label in the first place?
I’ve been fortunate through my Labyrinth events series to stumble across some amazing unreleased music. We hosted a Running Back showcase at E1 on Feb 2nd 2019 with Gerd Janson b2b Krystal Klear, Fort Romeau b2b Pional and myself. Pional played a beautiful melodic rework of Aphex Twin – Rhubarb that evening and I asked him what the ID was. Pional kindly pointed me in the way of a young French producer called Cédric Sheva. I found Cédric online and he sent me the track to play out, which is a rework of Aphex Twin’s – Rhubarb and features a sample of Bicep – Glue. I was opening before Âme at Motion in December of 2019 and I played the track, which got an unreal reception.
The next day I got back in touch with Cédric to see if he had any other music I could play and low and behold, there was a host of unreleased tracks that he was sitting on. I approached Cédric to see if he’d allow me to be a conduit between his music and the world around us and after many Zoom calls with a translator, we reached an agreement and the rest is history. The simple truth is that the label was born out of a deep curiosity to find an ID and consequently stumbling across music that I believed deserved a marketing platform. I never planned to set up a label – a lovely series of natural events made it happen.
How would you describe your musical philosophy and creative vision?
I will release music that makes me feel something and I hope will make others feel too. The label will be a multi-genre label and will work with artists from all over the world. We’ve already signed artists from France, Japan, Germany and the Canary Islands. Repetition is not part of our ethos and we will strive to learn, adapt and grow with every release.
Every release will see the shape of a labyrinth hidden in the artwork and I’ll run a competition to see who can be the first person to spot the labyrinth. The first person that spots the labyrinth, wins the release competition. Over time this will help the label develop a unique artwork series and a point of difference to others.
“We’ve already signed artists from France, Japan, Germany and the Canary Islands. Repetition is not part of our ethos and we will strive to learn, adapt and grow with every release.”
Tell us about your first release – what was special about that one?
The first release comes out on May 15th, so it’s a bit too soon to look back on it and I don’t want to give too much away. All I’d say is that the first release has intentionally been timed with the 3rd stage of lockdown lifting in the UK and my hope is that this track will make you want to dance. It’s an upbeat house belter with hints of acid running at 127 BPM that the heads will like, but the more relaxed music listener looking for a fun time will like too. The track will make you feel warm about the thought of a great UK summer of freedom returning.
“All I’d say is that the first release has intentionally been timed with the 3rd stage of lockdown lifting in the UK and my hope is that this track will make you want to dance.”
What’s been the highlight of your journey so far as a label?
Being able to sign Alex Medina, who’s released on Innervisions, which is an inspirational label to me is special. I’m deeply grateful to Alex for believing in Labyrinth Records, before it had even launched.
What advice would you give to anyone thinking of setting up their own imprint?
Follow your heart and just do it. It’s so easy to sit around and talk about doing something, or picture doing it, but actually investing the time into doing it is what ultimately matters and will give you great satisfaction.
“Follow your heart and just do it.”
What lies ahead for your label in 2020 and beyond?
Lots of wonderful coming out on Labyrinth Records for years to come.