It’s party hats and birthday cake at Neosignal HQ this week as Phace and Misanthrop celebrate 5 years of NËU MUSIC!
The label, which originally replaced NEODIGITAL back in 2018, was created to have its own stand-out essence and identity. Forgot sister labels, think bigger. NËU MUSIC is independent with only the core values of Neosignal being the thread between them. Values dedicated to pushing new music and sounds, focusing on new talent and giving artists a playground of limitless creativity. Bosh.
There was work to do, but even in the midst of a global pandemic, Phace & Misanthrop brought their vision into fruition, creating an output for artists who align with the brand and of course, have that futuristic NËU sound.
To celebrate the occasion, the pair carefully curated a two part remix project, bringing in producers such as Bloom, Visla and Matens to remix tracks from the likes of The Caracal Project, Buunshin and Subtension.
We caught up with Phace to hear all about it…
Phace! How’s life?
Pretty good, thank you! I had a show on Friday in Paris. It was Friday the 13th so it was a little hectic. Both of my flights were massively delayed. I nearly didn’t make it. Then, when I checked into my hotel at 11.30 pm, it turns out they’d given my room to someone else and there was no room available! Luckily, it was sorted but it was quite intense. I left three hours after I got back to the hotel in the morning from the gig too so I was pretty trashed when I finally got home on Saturday. The gig was incredible though. People from France have so much energy.
I’m glad it was worth the chaos. We’re here today to celebrate five years of NËU MUSIC. Looking back, how have the first five years of the label been?
Great! With everything new, of course, there are learning curves. You start something with an idea and over the years ideas change and shift but generally, we’re so happy we set it up. When it was Neodigital, obviously we only did digital releases but both the sound and the visual end of the brand was a bit too similar to Neosignal. It never got the love we felt it deserved because it felt like a little step brother or step sister. We wanted to create something that has more of its own identity. Our aim with Neodigital was for it to be a platform for young and talented artists to get some spotlight. Looking back over the 5 years, I think we have now achieved all that with NËU MUSIC. Especially taking into consideration all of the stuff that happened over those 5 years.
Yeah a pandemic happening two years into a new project definitely throws a spanner in the works. Neodigital was purely digital releases, did the resurgence of vinyl purchasing influence your decision to go back to releasing both?
We wanted to give the artists the freedom to do both, not restrict their releases to digital only. We started Neosignal when it was very common to produce vinyl. We did vinyl with every release. The purpose of Neodigital was so that we could respond faster when we had a release we wanted to put out. It was an uncomplicated method to put out music quicker with fewer production costs. It also meant we could work with smaller artists and not worry too much about recouping the costs; we didn’t have to think about too much budget for physicals that might not sell. It was unique at the time, but then everything went online anyways. So at first it had a purpose, but then it became obsolete. It became normal to do digital only releases. We started to feel like the label wasn’t getting the spotlight it deserved. The music on it was really cool. We had Mefjus’ first release on there. I remember when we put it out, we had labels like Shogun and Critical call us like ‘Who’s this guy?’. The vision we have across both Neodigital and NËU MUSIC was always about moments like that. Giving new, young artists a chance to have their music heard.
Mefjus’ first release is a pretty good example of that! Going back to vinyl, with streaming being the most popular way for people to consume music now, it’s also an important avenue for a label to make money too.
Yeah it’s true. It is not easy these days for a label to make money with streaming being so popular. I mean, we all know how it is right now. It is not fair how artists and labels get paid now, whereas if you look back at the late 90’s early 2000’s when there were vinyl sales that were massive, I mean, that’s when labels really cashed in! The days of CDs too. CDs were never expensive to produce but you could sell them with quite a big margin. Back in those days, if you sold 50 thousand vinyl, you got a good deal on it. We usually produced around 500 – 1000 vinyl so we wouldn’t get that much of a good deal. So where the demand was lower, the vinyl got more and more expensive. For the label to financially keep going was difficult. We eventually got to a point where putting all the time into extra artwork and the production of it wasn’t worth it, unfortunately. We still love physical releases. In the end, it was more expensive to produce everything and we would only nearly recoup the cost.
It’s not that easy to position yourself well in the streaming world. You have to pitch, do this, do that. The marketing is very social media driven, which is crazy, but we try our very best to play our part and keep our fans happy.
We all have to play the game a little bit. So, NËU V – PART I is incoming… Talk to me about the project.
It’s a compilation LP split into two parts. We wanted to celebrate 5 years of the label. It’s the first milestone, we have to do something! We went back and forth with ideas and thought it’s always nice to reflect. So we thought about getting new interpretations from other artists that we love, of our previous releases. We have a great amount of music from acts that have now broken through. For example, early Buushin, Signal (now IMANU), The Caracal Project. Really good artists. We had all this music sitting there and we thought ‘What artists would we like to remix these tracks?’. We wrote up a list of artists we love and approached them. It’s 18 remixes in total. Although it took a while – as you can imagine, working with 18 artists – we got some amazing remixes from people. We wanted special remixes from acts who fit the NËU vibe, and that’s exactly what we got.
Future plans for NËU MUSIC?
For this year, we only have these two remix parts incoming. We always A&R, but we’re not a label who have a constant output. We’re not on a schedule, we don’t have to put out a release every three weeks. It’s not like that. Sometimes we don’t put a release out for three months. You don’t hear us, you don’t see us. We always want to release music when we have something we’re really behind and want to push. We always look for artists, especially younger artists, because that’s the main point of NËU. It’s about fresh music from young artists. Right now, we don’t have anything incoming, but if we find something we love tomorrow then we might put it out next week. If a label is someone’s only business, putting out frequent releases definitely works and has to so that people make money, but for us, we are artists as well. I love music and I feel like the label has to represent what we love and who we are too, not just see it as a channel to make money with but as a creative output channel For us, it’s not about being noisy all the time at all, it’s about putting stuff out when we feel it’s the right time for us to say something.