Thursday May 30, Ascension Day: Noisia confirm that Invisible Recordings will cease to release music. The label was launched in 2010 as the experimental and new-talent-championing leg of their label operations, complementing the multiple genre label Division and their original, flagship imprint Vision.
Often serving up unapologetic V/A EPs, Invisible launched with 001, a four track release that comprised Noisia & Phace’s timeless glacial wriggler Floating Zero and Icicle’s Darkness. Over the years it’s been home to a rollcall of respected and innovative producers; Alix Perez, Hybris, Mat Zo (as MRSA), Xtrah, Subtension, Nickbee, Fre4knc, Signal and many many more have passed through the Invisible doors. They even released the first ever track Sabre, Stray and Halogenix created together (Askari in 2011)
All good things must come to an end, though. Invisible’s last new material was the Solids_3 EP earlier this month and the label will wind up with three compilations to close the catalogue over the coming months. And while it seems like the end of an era, it’s actually the start of a new one. Nik and Thijs explain:
Invisible RIP! What’s the story?
Nik: We originally set the three labels up with three very separate purposes. Vision was mostly for our own stuff, Division was for stuff in other genres and other artists and Invisible was for other drum & bass artists and up and coming guys. But then we started releasing other artists on Vision, The Upbeats first, then Mefjus. So because Vision has done that we might as well make Invisible part of Vision. And besides, what artist has three labels? It’s a little absurd to have three anyway. But the Invisible name will stay as a V/A series on Vision and if we release any artist EPs, they will simply be on Vision.
This is just a formality then. No big drama.
Thijs: In a way. A lot of thought has been put into this but it’s definitely not a drama.
Nik: It’s nice to take the opportunity to reflect on the label and reconsider how we do somethings, though. Invisible label nights won’t run, for example.
Thijs: But that’s cool because it’s just Vision nights. So before we could technically not ask people to play on our Vision night because they’re on Invisible but that’s such a bullshit distinction. Let’s get rid of it, keep the Invisible name but put it all under the Vision umbrella and everyone’s welcome on there.
Nik: I think we’ll probably be even more picky on artist EPs now. There was the prestige of Vision which we want to maintain. In our A&R process we might look at things a bit differently because we can’t get away from our own image of Vision as well. We’ll have to meet in the middle somewhere.
Did you often find artists would want to be on Vision and kinda see Invisible as a consolation prize?
Nik: Yeah there was an element of it feeling like a second tier, even though it never was in any way. So it’s cool to move away from that. Like Thijs said, it’s a bullshit distinction for artists to make with their labels.
Invisible brought through and championed a lot of new talent. Give me some proud moments…
Thijs: Working with Hybris for sure. Nickbee, too. Current Value’s album was a big one. Xtrah’s EP. The first ever Ivy Lab track. Before they were called Ivy Lab. Sabre, Stay & Halogenix released Askari. That was cool.
Nik: And also Floating Zero with Florian Phace, which was on the first release and it remains one of my favourite Noisia collaborations. There’s a bunch of things on the V/A EPs; one of Subtension’s earliest releases, Break & Go. Every V/A EP has a real standout track for me. And the releases by Signal, Fre4knc, Abstract Elements, Proxima. I’m proud of everything we’ve put out on the label…
And the V/A EPs will stay as an Invisible series on Vision
Nik: Yeah the only thing we won’t have will be the Solids and Outlines series, they’ll all be Invisible. With artist EPs we only ever sign something we think has something special and that we know we can offer something in the A&R process, that we’re up to the task and are able to do that.
When you’ve got the time to do that, which I imagine isn’t always the case…
Nik: Exactly. If we A&R something we’ll invest everything into it. Mefjus’s album, for example, was a lot of feedback and conversations about it. It’s a very thorough process and it’s the same with The Upbeats albums. We get quite deep with the A&Ring on some projects. Most projects really.
There’s a lot of commitment there isn’t there? It must lighten the load to drop one label in that sense?
Nik: The commitment will still exist on Vision but one thing that’s happened since launching the label is Noisia Radio which has become a brand of its own music-wise. That’s made us think we should bring them under the Vision brand because that’s another beacon. Simplifying is key.
Thijs: We’ll release less though. We don’t ever want to release something for the sake of it. If there’s nothing, there’s nothing. If we sign too much, then people have to wait until places are there. So having multiple labels does mean you can put out more of the same type of music and kinda ignore how your releases get in the way of each other. Really what you’re doing is putting another name on it and releasing it at the same time. We can release more or less on Vision, it doesn’t influence much.
Nik: I think it’s a nice upgrade for everything. For the artists who appear on the label but the label itself in terms of consistency of output.
Thijs: And a bit more diverse. Invisible for us was always a more experimental label, so putting those records out on Vision is a big upgrade for me. Having a Hybris EP on Vision for example is really cool and makes it more eclectic. Maybe unified.
Is the first Invisible V/A EP already sorted then?
Nik: There’s definitely a lot of material in the pipeline but we can’t tell what it is quite yet. We’ve put out a little obituary for the label, we’ll have a mourning period and come back with the news.
What will be forever etched into Invisible’s gravestone?
Nik: Good question. I don’t think we want to take it seriously. We want to celebrate it. For me Invisible is about the scene we feel part of and that scene is all about new producers. We’ve always wanted to judge music on its own merit and not who made it. That was very key for Invisible. If it’s a good song, we’ll put it out. That’s always been the way.