Image: Intrinzic x Fragment Flow
Few new brands have made an impression like Bristol-based Intrinzic. What began as an event promotion has now since become an exciting, forward-thinking label with some very impressive talent at the helm.
At their core, they aim to be the link between artist and listener, be this through the physical experience of an event, the auditory experience of a specially crafted release, or visually through their unique art style and explorations in immersive multimedia.
Intrinzic’s motives have been apparent from their earliest manoeuvres. Names like Seppa, Subp Yao and RefraQ have all represented at their physical events, with the brand never reaching for the more ‘obvious’ choices and sought-after headliners that people might associate with perhaps more ‘pigeonholed’ areas of electronic music.
2020 saw an expansion of Intrinzic’s multifarious approach with the launch of Intrinzic Music, a record label that has a true focus on quality over quantity, while expressing an impressive eye to detail across every element. In May they released their debut, the Initium LP, a word that in its original Latin form roughly translates to ‘beginning’ or ‘start’. From the hybrid, jazzy sounds of Vapour by Maynix, to the dystopian, industrial sounds of AENAK’s Watchu, the album felt like a serious statement to launch on. Even the highly sought after Culprate touched down on the debut with Eighty Six, showing off his signature glitchy, evolving sound design.
Ahead of their live stream on Twitch this weekend (March 12 – 14) UKF got in contact with Isaac from Intrinzic to discuss their unique outlook on music as an art form, and discuss their plans as we begin to to look back on 2020 and its knock-on effects.
Hello! First things first, how has it been starting a record label in a pandemic?
Hello, thanks for having us. So far, it’s been really interesting and exciting to say the least. Our first record dropped in May last year, which saw a compilation of some of our favourite artists coming together. Besides the uncertainty of gigs, it was nice to be able to dive into the label and focus on creative projects and releases with our artists. Our intentions were always to grow into a label alongside our events and media experiments, however 2020 has been challenging in some regards for everyone. That’s led us to now, where we’ve put together a three-day online audio-visual event, showcasing a variety of artists within our community, as well as releasing three really exciting records over the past year.
Do you feel like this situation has had an effect on the music you’re putting out? Are you wanting to adapt to a new environment, or does that not come into it?
We have always been focused on the more alternative side of music, whether that’s to be enjoyed in a dancing environment or not. We don’t believe that the restrictions on clubbing have changed our motivations, however, it definitely incentivises the appreciation for music that can be enjoyed outside of a club environment.
I mean, you’ve only been going for under a year, and you’ve done two LPs. Is an album format important to you?
I think in terms of the albums and EPs, it really is all to do with the intentions of the artist that we’re working with. Our first release Initium LP was integral to us because it was an album full of a lot of different artists that really resonated with our vibe and aesthetic. Moving forwards, we had our second release which was an EP from not yes which saw a more playful bass music approach with peculiar merch on the side. More recently we had our third which was the LP from Pure Shade, a more serious avant-garde album project. We’re very focused on working with our artists on developing the releases as creative projects with interesting art, side merch, limited edition vinyl runs, hidden tracks and more. This allows us to create a really meaningful package for the listeners out there who are interested in experiencing something more personal from the artist.
What was the concept behind the Initium LP? It definitely felt like a statement piece for the label to begin on.
Totally. The album speaks for our playful yet serious direction. It includes a selection of expression and musicality which is our more ‘colourful’ side, and then we have the dark, dancefloor and bass-driven part which is coming more from our dance and rave tastes. In the next year, we will see the album fully remixed by some very exciting artists.
Was it always the intention to start a label when you were first starting out as promoters?
A goal for us was always to facilitate bringing artists and listeners together. Primarily we’re invested in the experimentation of multimedia. Whether that’s immersive AV shows and dance music events, or record releases and fashion design. When starting out as promoters we were looking for a way to express these endeavours.
What part of your background do you think has led to this approach?
Our background and inspiration is predominantly from rave and dance culture. Growing up in the south-west of England and commonly going to forest parties and squat raves, our introduction to the industry was very DIY and underground. Lots of cross-influences of dance culture bubbles, psychedelia, technology and anarchism. With all this, we found ourselves naturally invested in creating something new and exciting which comprehensively showcases what we had experienced, or felt could be experienced with the collaboration of artists, producers and technology.
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In terms of the visual side, could you explain a bit more about what you’re doing at physical events and also your upcoming livestream?
The visual stuff is constantly developing. At the moment we are working with a lot of generative visual apparatus with MaxMSP/Jitter. We have a series of different systems which are reactive and generative to audio. This is mainly for our physical events to be experienced in real life, however for the online event we are producing reactive audio/visual compositions which will be composed using live performance videos and audio. When you combine this within an immersive physical event format – with live generative/reactive visual environments modulated by sound or interaction – it can radically change how people can feel or experience the moment or show. We’ve been developing these concepts over the last several years and look forward to experimenting more once shows are somewhat back to normality.
This definitely sounds like something people will be needing after lockdown…
We think so as well. Hopefully, things can change for the positive as we come out of this, in terms of the way the events industry was going beforehand.
What do you see as those positives?
Promoters and attendees appreciating more alternative musical styles and media methods. Also, agencies re-evaluating their pricing structures would be really positive, because there was a negative momentum of value when it comes to electronic music gigs before Covid. Hopefully we can learn from that. It’s down to the fans being more open-minded for change and not to be shepherd by hype.
I did see a discussion online about this the other day. It’s whether promoters are going to take that leap and book these more interesting, alternative acts or if they’re going to play it safe and book the usual list of popular headliners.
Yeah, what it seems like is that the UK ravers don’t want to pay much for a gig, because for example there may be five other shows available in your area with similarly valued line-ups at a similar price. Larger promoters hold exclusivity rights for booking certain artists in order to be competitive, and smaller promoters’ prices are hiked to keep up the value of these ever “growing” higher-performing artists. What this does is saturate the events marketing space with bigger brand motives and pours petrol on the fire of hype. It makes it more and more difficult to host alternative yet cost-effective shows. Not only do the venues get gentrified, but also the promoters and fans themselves.
What you guys are doing with your events feels more like a gig than a club night in a way. Having that immersive experience makes people want to step outside their box a little.
Completely, this is really important. We found ourselves a bit frustrated at events because we really appreciated the energy and art form, but we didn’t appreciate the motives, lack of quality and overselling. It really tainted our experiences as dedicated dancers and ravers. After this we threw ourselves into events and collaborated with a load of crews such as YUKU, Jungle Syndicate, Balter Festival and more. This was in light of being more experimental and trying to advocate alternative styles on the dancefloor.
You mention Balter, are festivals something you’re looking to get back into soon?
Festivals are massive for us, it’s where we really found inspiration for being creative within shows. We have been invited to a festival this year, doing a takeover on the beach at Noise Test in Croatia alongside some really cool friends and artists. Fingers crossed we can get out there, shout out to them – more info at noisetest.org. We have our own stage here in the UK which we designed and further develop each year and propose to festivals. We did one at No Man’s Land festival a few years back and we really want to get some locked in and experiment with some fun festival ideas.
In terms of the music and the artists you’re releasing, you’ve got such a wide range of talent on there. You’ve got people like Pure Shade, a fairly unheard of 19-year-old from Russia and then on the other end of the spectrum you’ve got people like Culprate. Tell me a bit more about your philosophy behind choosing these artists.
It’s certainly eclectic and esoteric to somewhat of a degree, however, there is no criteria for our direction, we simply are massive music fans and appreciate lots of different qualities across many styles. When we first began, we didn’t intend for our relations to be so international, however, there seems to be a much larger and more dedicated community within alternative electronic music outside of the UK. Artists like Pure Shade, not yes and so many others we’re working with are mainly outside of the UK. Shout out to Pure Shade who has introduced us to the colourful and progressive culture of Russian bass music, big ups. And yes of course Culprate, we’ve always been huge fans and loved booking him for raves. This came about when we worked closely with the late MethLab Agency and their roster of talent. We’re super honoured to work closer with him on releases and other projects yet to come.
Could you explain a bit about what you’re doing with each physical release as well?
Yeah sure, for each release there will be under 100 limited edition vinyl packages made. This will be created by ourselves and the artists, exploring alternative creative endeavours. As a standard, every vinyl purchase comes with an artist and Intrinzic stencil pack for any taggers out there. There will also be a creative merch piece on the side, for example, for the not yes EP, the pair came up with the idea of including some bespoke game Dice. One is a combination of ‘no, ‘nah’, ‘n’aint’, and with the other its ‘yes’ and ‘yah’ and ‘yo’ and so on. This was super limited edition with only 15 made, and we worked with Green King Cuts in Bristol for that on the vinyl. The wooden dice are beautifully handmade with laser engraved text and numbers on them and come in a leather case. That’s the same with the Pure Shade LP, we put together the double 12″ vinyl package with stencils and a personalised Pure Shade flower brooch pin. With the releases in the future, we’ve got some really exciting plans like artist themed decks of card, fashion pieces and some NFT [non-fungible token] endeavours. There’s a lot to look forward to.
Love that, it makes every release feel personal to the listener.
100%. The music is still available everywhere like Spotify, Soundcloud and all the major stores, but there will be hidden gems, hidden bonus tracks in some of the vinyl, secret art assets, little creative things that the artists have come up with themselves. We’re looking forward to what we have planned for the year.
Look forward to Intrinzic’s online audio/visual event this weekend. March 12-14 with Culprate, Echo Map, Skope and many many more: Full details