It was a slow start into 2012. So slow – and silent – that some of our listeners have started wondering whether Roof.fm is still in podcast business. Thus, let’s at last light the torch for 2012, and turn ebb into tide. One grand night last summer, we found ourselves sweating in a small and darkish location in Geneva, a rogue, now sadly defunct place. It was here that one CCO delivered a riveting liveset, simultaneously tweaking a 101, a 303, a 707, a 808 and more oldschool gear. Sparkling machine funk, iron-clad beats, sentimental, rolling techno of a lost age. An absolutely pristine sound experience, one advocated by Lux Rec, which boasts releases by Jared Wilson, Jori Hulkkonen as dRUMMAN guise or Italian Joe Drive. We spoke to Cosmo and Faber, who are behind the Zurich-based label and who did the latest mix for Roof.fm. Analogue is the name of their game.
ROOF.FM: This mix is kind of a double-ticket…
Cosmo: Yeah, it represents our two souls and what we play in a Lux Rec club night…
Faber: As we share the same passion for the origins of electronic music we somehow moved along contiguous paths in our musical explorations. I’m playing more of the early 80s disco stuff, while Cosmo is more on a raw and acidic tip.
How did you guys meet?
Cosmo: That was in August 2008, when I was playing in a small gallery/club in Zürich, an Italo Disco night. Faber and I soon learned that we shared the same interests in music, same roots, similiar thinking. A few weeks later I got asked to play at another party, I asked Faber to come along. Since then it’s the two of us playing out, Cosmo & Faber.
And why did you decide to start a label together?
Cosmo: We both were kind of disillusioned over the state of club music. A lot of the sounds played out in clubs came just as post-minimal disguised house. Plain boring. We had two possibilities: either making music ourselves or releasing music by others. As we are no musicians, we decided to put out music that we believe speaks a certain language, that is our language.
So there was a kind of over-arching concept?
Cosmo: Yes, in fact, the label output obeys to some rules: What we release has to be produced analogically, using physical machines instead of software tools; it has to relate, to the past, the pioneering days of dance music. But it shouldn’t be a mere copy of what is already there, it should further the dance discourse. No space for remixes of any sort, each EP or LP is a complete work in its own, with a beginning and an end. And it goes without saying that we release on vinyl only.
Faber: I don’t think anyone was as much into what we liked, and still like. That was also part of the reason, to promote what we think is good and deserves to be heard. With time we got to know more same-minded people, like Florin Büchel (CCO): people who contributed to the label with some of their finest work.
Lux, that’s latin for light. A theme that’s quite apparent in the label artwork too, which you Cosmo fathered…
Cosmo: Right. I very much appreciate the iconic value of such short word, only three letters, which fits the second half, Rec. Lux implies so many things, and still has an elusive character. It comes from the broadcasting and cinematographic office that curated all Fascist propaganda transmissions during the Mussolini Regime. The office was called Istituto Luce, one of the most recurrent quotes was “Dux mea Lux”. Far from having any fascist sympathies, I have an aesthetic fascination with any type of dictatorship, in which the surface has a major role. The design I did for Lux Rec reflects all this, I guess: it has an austere modernist attitude, it’s not visually overburdened, and not minimal as well.
Why bother running a vinyl-only-label in these record-unfriendly times?
Cosmo: Because it’s all about validity. And beliefs.
How did you guys meet?
Faber: I guess it’s just what we feel represents best our passion for the music. Though digitally distributed music is a logical step in technological evolution, we’re just not interested in that. Vinyl still has its place and best reflects our downright physical approach to music.
You are very much involved in every aspect of the EP. God is in the details?
Cosmo: Yeah, I like to picture ourselves as orchestral directors. While the interaction with our artists is very important to us, we like to give great care to the track selection and the design. And the words: I fancy titling the EPs and the songs myself if possible.
Faber: You are an absolute control freak, Cosmo…
Do you see yourself as a local record label?
Cosmo: Our local background is important to us, but we never really belonged to any family in the Zurich scene. On the other side, music is there to be discovered independently of any geographical constraint.
Faber: It’s thrilling to discover what lies hidden in the most unlikely places…
What else is important when running a label such as your own?
Faber: Making no unnecessary compromises, most of all music wise. Also, it takes some organizational skill to keep everything tight, especially the release schedules. It helps if you don’t have to do all by yourself. I’ve got my talents and Cosmo has his, I guess we complement each other pretty well.
Cosmo: Knowing that we can contribute to a scene by staying true to ourselves. And yes, without Faber’s managing and organizatory skills Lux Rec would not have come this far.
Why a vinyl-only label these days? Because it’s all about validity. And beliefs.
Jori Hulkkonen did a highly-lauded EP for you guys…
Cosmo: Yeah. While listening to a CD he released on Turbo, we fell for this one track, “Man from Earth”. So we asked Jori to do a record with us, and he told us he had this very special, analogue project he wanted to release under the moniker dRUMMAN. We were blown away by the tracks he sent us.
Your current release is by Joe Drive…
Cosmo: Joe Drive is this Italian guy who did a great record for Mathematics and one fantastic track on Simoncino’s Hot Mix label. He’s a high quality artist, but still underrated. It was really a great collaboration, he was giving great concern to our requests. And we’re particularly thrilled with the final result: it blurs the boundaries between house and techno, mingles old attitude with a fresh approach.
I just checked your catalogue on Discogs: What ever happened to LXR01?
Cosmo: We reserved this one for a very special occasion…
Faber: For a very special release. Possibly our own record. An EP by Cosmo & Faber, sometime in the future.
What’s coming up next on Lux Rec?
Cosmo: The very next release is by Meschi, a guy living in London, but born and raised in Glasgow, as he likes to stress. We asked him to do an EP using a Korg DMX drum machine rather than a Roland 707 or 808 which have been very present on our releases so far. Then we have a very special EP up our sleeves, coming from two brothers from central Switzerland, they’re called Echo 106. It will be the first Lux Rec to come with a picture sleeve. The track selection was a long and tough process. Beautiful winter music!
There’s a new project in the making, called Music for Cosmonauts pt.1 and 2. Also, we’re planning a release by D’Marc Cantu. You’ll find out soon enough.