Slow Town Records has been a name synonymous with quality for the last five years. The vinyl-only imprint is based out of Madrid and run by Joaquin (aka Rhythm&Soul, who has had a couple of releases on Slow Town himself) and Julio, a music industry veteran. With fourteen releases under their belt, their fifteenth on the way and no sign of slowing down soon, it’s clear that they’ve got a knack for spotting talent. Grooves and catchy samples are a staple on their records and it’s no different on STown015, featuring two tracks by Nail and Jonno & Tommo.
We got around to asking the label bosses some questions to find out more about them and their success thus far, while also having the privilege of premiering the A side from the forthcoming record by Nail called “Shake Back”.
Neil Tolliday aka Nail has been around for over twenty years but has been somewhat of a cult favourite among house music fans. He may be relatively unknown to some, unless he’s introduced as Bent, the widely successful Nottingham house duo who split in the mid 2000’s.
As Nail, his productions range from deeper cuts to more jackin’ tunes and “Shake Back” leans a bit towards the former. In essence, it’s an eight minute journey that effortlessly weaves through a collage of samples. Spacey chimes and bells smoothly merge with an elegant horn to form a dazzling ambience, while a steady rhythm with the occasional congas complements the overall groove. A faint male vocal makes a clandestine appearance and a string-like synth line slowly creeps in, helping to ramp up the tension right into the song’s only break.
Pre-order the forthcoming Slow Town Records, out the 03.10.16
First of all, who is Slow Town Records and what made you decide to start a record label in the first place?
We are Joaquin aka Rhythm&Soul and Julio. We met 6 years ago, and after some parties together we decided to create Slow Town. Vinyl trend was there but did not explode yet. Joaquin was living in Paris, and he was really well connected with the heart of the house scene in the city. I’ve been working in music business since ages. We just wanted to put out some music. We never knew we were going to be here 5 years after!
Was there a certain sound you were going for that maybe you felt was underrepresented upon your inception?
We both love House music, but also other genres. I could say our meeting point was that, and we have been moving forward from there.
Why did you choose to be a vinyl-only label and not enter the digital market?
We’re not against to digital world. I’m (Julio) a heavy user of digital and streaming platforms. As said, when we planned Slow Town, vinyl wasn’t on the hype it is actually. We just choose the format we love. It was kind of a dream. Actually we have lots of request to release our music digitally. It is something we need to face soon, but we need to do it properly, as the main soul of Slow Town is wax.
When some of your records sell out, they end up going for very high prices on Discogs. Do you try to keep on top of demand for represses and are there any of your previous releases that are due for one?
We don’t like the over price in our records. When we see those high prices we try to repress that release and answer to the demand with reasonable price. It’s crazy to pay 70$ in a release. And yes. We have our own plans to repress the full catalogue. We did it with the 03 (The Groove Maker – Rhythm&Soul and Jef K) as prices were too mad.
You’ve released fifteen records in five years and are still going strong. How do you manage your A&R? Do you reach out to artists you want to feature yourself, receive a lot of demos or a combination of both?
It is actually a combination of both. We let it flow. We are proactive in searching and reaching the artists we’d like to have in our labels, but we also are open to demos of new comers. For example Hans (Junktion) sent us some demos, and we both felt that we needed to put that out asap. It was first Junktion Ep ever, and our best seller release to date.
Almost all of your releases have been best sellers at stores like Juno and Decks. Does the commercial success give you extra motivation to put more music out as your brand is now synonymous with releasing quality music, or do you try to not let it get to your head?Commercial success means more relevance, and also that you are reaching more people. Also, makes the project sustainable. It is for sure a motivation to grow with each release and reach more audience. But need to say that it does not change our mind in terms of change our style or do more mainstream music.
Are there other labels or artists out there that you look up to or that really inspire you, perhaps someone that really influenced your decision to start your own operation?
There’s a lot of labels we love and we follow and inspires us. But if I have to mention one, it would be Roundabout Sounds, handled by our admired Joe Babylon (San José, California). Basically because it was our inspiration to create Slow Town. Our First EP is kind of a tribute to that label, and that “raw” sound.
Finally, is STown015 the last release for 2016 or do you have something else up your sleeves that you can maybe share with us?
It will probably be our last release of 2016. We’d love to be a bit more faster, but vinyl world has its own timing. Is different to the here-and-now culture of the digital world. This does not mean we’ll be doing nothing these months, as we are setting up big things around the label, Stay Tuned!
Interview by Igor