As many of us bemoan, there is too much music released these days. Now imagine if there were no record labels, the bastions of quality that act as the initial filter between producer and listener. While DJs and producers garner so much attention from the media and fans, the role of the independent record label has had an immeasurable impact on the shape of the music world. Our Label Liaison feature profiles the people who take on the role of creative director and commercial manager and wrap it into one difficult balancing act.
Lisbon is buzzing right now. A combination of stunning architecture, balmy climate, low costs and a load of media coverage, the city has undergone a renaissance in recent years, firmly cementing itself as one of the places to visit in Europe.
Whilst this foreign popularity may come and go, the locals have, and always will be creating and innovating and this is especially true for the Lisbon music scene. One such outlet is Groovement, a local label who’ve been releasing high quality underground house music since 2004. The label is the brainchild of influential Portuguese DJ Rui Torrinha, with additional input from rising star DJ, producer and record shop owner, Jorge Caiado. We caught up with Rui to learn more about the past, present and future of Groovement.
Hey Rui, how’s it going?
All good. Keeping myself busy with Groovement
How is the music scene in Lisbon right now? Which Lisbon artists, labels, record shops and clubs should we check out?
Lisbon’s scene is very vivid at the moment. Going strong with lots of festivals, good clubs and exciting new labels releasing great music. Carpet and Snares is becoming the hub to check. The record shop run by Jorge Caiado is now a very important reference point for vinyl lovers in town and for a whole new generation of producers that is taking the lead of the underground scene. Carpet’s own imprint and satellite labels are paving the way for the sound of the city. Check also specially curated Shift Imprint and of course Principe, the most visible of all of the afro electronic influenced sound.
You recently had Mike Huckaby to play at the Groovement label night at Lux Fragil, how was it? Any time in the studio with Mike?
It was a great night on the best Portuguese club. Mike is a very special person and we feel very privileged to have him collaborating with Groovement. It’s very rewarding to have this kind of energy and music on the label from like minded people like him.
Unfortunately Mike’s schedule was really tight for studio time but we managed to take him to a live radio show on Oxigenio FM. The show is now available online.
Jorge Caiado – Cycles (Mike Huckaby remix)
Can you tell me about the beginning of Groovement. What inspired you to start the label? Who’s in the label team and what do they do?
The label started a long long time ago when I was doing my weekly radio show at Porto’s Radio Nova early 2000s. I was pushed by some international artists I was supporting heavily back then, to release a compilation and I said: ok but only if give my some original/exclusive music and… they did! The name of the show was “Transcendances” and it baptized Groovement’s first release which was a compilation with a lot of exclusives.
Honestly I didn’t know what kind of trouble I was putting myself in but well we’re still here and growing internationally. I usually say that what gave Groovement the power for this longevity was the fact that I committed a lot of mistakes, otherwise a perfect story would have ended by now.
The team is pretty amazing. Jorge Caiado is the main man. We work and decide everything together but to be honest he’s the driving force of the label in the field right now. He’s going to be big. Then there’s Adilia Lima our brilliant artistic director that takes care of the label’s precious visual side. And Pedro Terror, the talented photographer behind all those beautiful pictures you see on the cover. So it’s a two men operation plus 2 other creative people.
How do you select the artists to release through Groovement?
Well, the name Groovement is a neologism fusing Groove with (Move)ment. It means a groove on constant evolution, so me and Jorge keep the label open for styles like disco, house and techno. We like to believe that our sound signature comes from the richness of a diverse ecosystem and the freedom given to artists but maybe there’s something else: a kind of astral element – music with sublayers that pull your spirit up while making your body move – that might link our most recent catalogue as one big constellation.
So departing from there it’s fundamental to say that personal connections play a very important role on our decisions. We see the label as a family therefore we try to release artists we feel we can support because they represent certain values of integrity and a genuine artistic vision that represent what we want to tell about our time. That’s why it either can be a newcomer or a more established producer we met through the years but there’s always for sure a chemistry behind it.
Terrence Parker – Stand Up For The Soul
From the Deep Detroit Heat Re-Edits Vol 2 EP
Who does the fantastic Groovement artwork? What is the process behind creating artwork for each release?
Adilia with Pedro supervised by Jorge and me. We’re a very solid team.
What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve had running the label?
Staying strong in a peripheral country like Portugal and wanting not to play the market’s game. Also being happy with the outlet and making artists happy too is, for me, extremely important.
And what have been the highlights?
There are so many great things I could point out. I’m very proud that we released Tiago’s first album under TNT Subhead (Ecstasy & release) which was a big step for the label and also launching Organic Series sub-label that this year put out the outstanding “Em Paz” LP by the great Japanese artist, Kaoru Inoue, was for us a great achievement. In fact the link with japan has been amazing. Besides Kaoru we have 2 more Japanese artists on the label, Stereociti and Sai.
I also have to mention our legendary “Groovemental” clubnight residency at now defunct Brownie in Principe Real, Lisbon, that we run for 3 years non-stop. It was an epic journey with an amazing crowd. I miss that place!
Finally, the complicity with Jorge has been so great and special.
Groovement release a lot of vinyl, why do you continue to support the format?
Vinyl is a beautiful medium. There’s an artistic dimension to the format that we do not want to give up. For us, music has to have a body and a certain sound. We do not like the idea of an artist working for long time on music that will be then carefully mastered, just to end up being compressed – not criticizing digital though – I think it’s a natural decision when you’re looking to build a stronger artistic identity. You incorporate elements in your work that help representing a deeper universe or vision.
Sai – To Be
Outside of artists signed to Groovement, which DJs, producers and labels are you excited about?
Concerning DJs, Harvey always amazes me. And Maurice Fulton or MCDE. But I also like a lot Move D or Levon Vincent among many others. It’s hard to do this!
Producers, I love Omar S., Move D and a lot more.
Labels, I always check Running Back, Rush Hour, Dekmantel, etc
One of the difficulties in being a new producer is getting labels/A&R to listen to your music. What is the best way for a new producer to get their music heard?
Well, one very important thing is to check the label’s ethos first, to be sure that the music would make sense being released there. Aesthetically, I mean. Then try to figure if someone connected to the label would be able to introduce you. And finally deliver your music to right person the most personal way possible and be patient.
In my case, I need to listen to the music a lot of times before assimilating its quality and taking a decision. Most of the music sent is online but I still like downloading it for my travels. Planes and trains are often moments when I dive deep into new music.
So I would say that there’s no proper formula to reach out… use your intuition to show your talent and never give up trying.
And concerning Groovement, after great music comes the personal side which is really important to us too.
Stereociti – Wee Hours
What’s coming up next for Groovement?
A lot but hopefully not too much. We care about every little detail in the process of putting a record out so we do not rush things in number. We’ll surely have new music from Stereociti and Sai between end of ‘18 and beginning of ‘19. We’re also having conversations with 2 known international producers but nothing has been decided yet. The next 12” is being mastered and should be out in September. It’s from a french producer Molly and it will make some waves, I predict.
So, yes our international family is growing very organically.
You’re asked to book your favourite DJs and live acts for a night at your favourite club. Who plays?
DJ Vibe, Rui Vargas, Jorge Caiado, Tiago
Omar S, Move D, Motor City Drum Ensemble
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