"There are definitely core fans
who seem to be into whatever
we do, but I’m sure that for a
lot of people, many of our
releases appeal to them while
others don’t at all."
The new releases you’re putting out in the coming months are mainly techno-oriented. That’s a big shift compared to the early years dominated by electro-pop, disco and house. What’s the reason for this change?
We’re just excited by a lot of the new young producers’ take on techno. There’s been a ton of amazing new music made in the genre over the past couple of years. That said, I think if you look carefully there have always been pure techno releases on Turbo, but yes, they’ve certainly been interspersed with other “electro-y” stuff that is something of a dominant strain. I think the issue is that when you put out something poppy or maximal, that leaves a big impression on anyone who is categorically into the minimal, detail-oriented world of Techno and before long you’ll be crossed off their list. Just like “open-mindedness” and “aversion to boredom” are crossed off their list.
There are still acid and electro records on Turbo— recently there’s been new stuff by ZZT and Renaissance Man. Do you have the feeling that the label has two kinds of fans, or that those fans are grown-up enough, and so committed to the label that they can perceive all those different styles as part of the same narrative?
There are definitely core fans who seem to be into whatever we do, but I’m sure that for a lot of people, many of our releases appeal to them while others don’t at all. We’ve never been super concerned about the narrative in the strict sense, and certainly not with pandering to anyone. We prefer the freedom to change and try new things.
Turbo has always been linked to Tiga as the primary force in the label’s foundation. What’s Tiga’s role at this moment, what does he do and what has he quit doing?
Tiga is still involved in the big creative decisions, mostly about which records to sign, and how to present them, i.e. the graphic design and packaging. As far as the day-to-day stuff, he allows himself the space to work on his own music and career, which ultimately fuels Turbo.
I’d like to focus on the new signings. Let’s start with Locked Groove. Who is he / they, if this can be said? There’s only one 12” put out under this name and it’s on Hotflush, without much information added.
He’s a super-talented young guy from Antwerp and I’m very confident he’s going to blow up this year. He has a knack for subtle arrangements and drum programming and his sound falls squarely on the lines between a lot of the trendiest dance music out there, like UK post-dubstep bass music, deep house, and stripped-down techno. He has an EP coming out with us in June and other collab tracks on a comp we’re putting out around the same time. He’s got a lot of music in the pipeline and offers from tons of big industry people in the past few weeks, so you should be hearing lots more from him very soon!
What’s interesting for Turbo about this purist / banging dark techno?
It has the same visceral appeal that artists like Proxy, Gesaffelstein or ZZT have, it’s all just a bit more stripped-down and bare, built for a club like Berghain rather than a massive festival.
Nautiluss is one of the rising artists of the new Toronto electronic scene, so I understand he’s pretty close to you, at a personal level. When did you know he had to join Turbo?
As soon as I heard one of his new tracks, it was a definite YES, an easy call. Our intern, Anthony (a.k.a. Bordello) knew him from Toronto, so he hooked us up. He’s an obvious talent, and again, it’s a pleasure to work with Canadian artists… easy to see each other in person, we’re in the same time zone, and we can often hook up grant money as well!
Nautiluss shares some of the ‘Finnish / Swedish’ aesthetic that has been linked to Turbo many times, raw house beats, acid basslines… Has Scandinavia been an important influence in the shape of the label’s sound, or on the other hand has Turbo been crucial for all those artists to emerge?
Our connection to the Scandis is a very important one. Jori Hulkkonen, Adam Beyer, Alexi Delano, Phonogenic, Renaissance Man, and of course Tiga’s long-time production partner Jesper Dahlbäck have all played big parts in the label’s success and the development of our sound. I think a lot of the Scandis haven’t really gotten their due. Jesper is one of the true techno prodigies. Jori is an incredibly prolific production-wizard. So check those Scandis out!
Are there any long-term plans for Nautiluss?
He can really write SONGS and I think he has a vision for the project that will develop into a proper album and not just a collection of singles, but we’ll see how things progress. These days, there is a lot less incentive to work as an album artist.
Duke Dumont is going to start a vinyl series for Turbo. The first 12” is going to be quite housey and pop-oriented. What’s the rest of the series going to be like?
The second one is massive… one track is a huge festival banger which got a lot of play from Tiga on his recent Australian tour. The second track is called “Arabesque” and it has a snake-charmer style, middle-Eastern hook. I think Duke Dumont is one of the most underrated producers around, and hopefully this series of EPs will help get his music out there to more people. He’s done some incredible remixes lately, but hasn’t put a solo record out in ages.
You’ve signed Marc Houle as well, for the Raid Over Moscow project. When did you know he had this kind of Black Strobe / Adult. alias? Was he easy to convince to join Turbo?
He sent us the tracks asking where we thought they could see a release and we said we wanted to do it… so that was an easy one. He’s an incredible producer and it was refreshing to hear that he’d done these cool lost synth-pop records. Probably not too many labels would touch music like that, but we’re comfortable with looking back at Electroclash, I guess.
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