This is a question we get a lot. And it's cool, considering how unhealthily design-obsessed we tend to be. So here is the first of a series of posts attempting to answer that question. I'll try and be thorough by covering not only the designers but also the photographers, illustrators or artists they worked with. All art direction at the label is done under the aegis of House of Kids, under the influence of the music, with input from the artists of course (who so know what they want most of the time).
It's only fair to start with Akroe who designed our logo and did all of our early sleeves. Recently, he delivered the ghetto-psych meltdown for Cuizinier's latest street-tape. He's currently at work on Tacteel's forthcoming record.
Forgot to tell you about that: Teki Latex is also a DJ, a good one at that, and he just did a summer podcast for the great dudes over at Modular (third door on the left, knock hard). It's called Teki Latex Summer Jams.
Let me tell you a story about the day we met M.S.K. It was when we were in Tokyo, Para One, Surkin, Tacteel and I, we had this label night at Club Yellow (RIP). Went great, except when some French-looking guy came up to the stage and gave me a piece of paper that said “Your music sounds like the apocalypse is upon us.” I honestly thought it was a compliment, until said French guy and a small horde of Roppongi scumpats met us at the door a couple hours later, VERY angry at us for hastening Armageddon. Or something. There was this English girl, gurning hard, who started to beat up our Japanese friends and handlers. Then Surkin did something totally necessary and deserved but totally unacceptable and gruesome at the same time and that was the end of it. In the course of the night I had amassed a good stack of CDs, demos, promos and the like, and M.S.K.’s demo was in there.
M.S.K. is, fittingly, shrouded in mystery. He's called MASK, after all. We know he’s been active on the Japanese scene since 1994 and that’s about it. And now, in the waning hours of civilization (see below for evidence), we give you Lunar, one of our heaviest records, and urge you to see it as a sign in the sun, a flaw in the moon, a dimming of the stars.
Doom is here, sure, and a number of great tortures are visited upon us, but Lunar is also a redemptive record, with the title-track and its edit managing to fuse melody and terror, like when it's so dark and noisy in the club that even the walls seem to heave and quake, that your friends look blurred and messy, but at some point the music shifts and shivers and here they are, your friends, faces glowing, kind and benevolent and always willing to help out if you happen to stumble, get ditched or pass out.
Just a quick word: check out Teki Latex's myspace NOW and for the foreseeable future. He launched a big freestyle summer campaign, jacking beats left and right, from Ratatat's Mirando to Wiz Khalifa's Make it Hot, and weaponizing the fuck out of them. We will follow the man as he delivers an album worth of punchlines in three minutes helpings. To all rappers out there: Teki's week beats your year.
And, oh, he's also streaming Orgasmic's effortless rap remix of Surkin's White Knight Two, featuring himself and Cuizinier.
Yeah I know, the big news of the day is that Rihanna has puffy nipples. We definitely can't compete. But we can try for the next best thing by giving you some new tracks. The Juggers have a new single out in a few, Into The Galaxy, and they've asked cool French kid Danger and next big things Chateau Marmont to reframe the holy alliance of dark disco energy, half-falsetto, half-goth vocals and synth curlicues that makes the original such a great song. There's also a disarmingly elegant Metronomy remix on the vinyl we're putting out.
Danger delivers a too-cool-for-school, hardcore-gamer mix, the aural equivalent of a hyperspeed powergloved romp through a deadly wireframe maze, at boss level.
Chateau Marmont are a Parisian quartet dedicated to make things all better. When I say "things", I mean life, obviously. It's only normal, then, that this remix is mandatory listening for fractured families, PMSing social workers, shell-shocked army troopers and waterboarded undercover operatives the world over. It's a universal translation of "All Will Be Well". Look out for their debut EP on Institubes this fall.
Our first Institubes Nihon artist, Tokyo masked man M.S.K., released Lunar a couple months ago. House of Kids found some footage that perfectly encapsulated what M.S.K.'s music was about, so we decided to put together a video, with Das Glow providing his unique editing skills. Here goes (come back in a few to download the track):
So, for all you who ask about Tecktonik, to settle it once and for all, check out what it came to in France. It's from a show supposed to teach kids to dance that dance of doom, and I can assure you it sounds every bit as ridiculous as it looks. The apocalypse is upon us, civilization is fucked, and so on and so forth. Kill the kids first.
Bobmo and Jean Nipon (joined by homeland hero Curses! on select dates) are coming for a quick rampage within the US borders. It will be, as you Americans in tight white jeans say, "rad".
Go say hello to our friends at The Fader to cop a brilliant teaser mix put together by Jean Nipon, featuring exclusives such as his new single '4WD', a remix by Bobmo of Surkin's 'Kid Gloves', a snippet of Teki's verse from Orgasmic's take on 'White Knight Two', a taste of Laidback Luke's remix, Feadz' track from the upcoming Eurogirls go to Baltimore part II comp, David Rubato's remix of 'Lights Out' by Santogold and some other goodies.
As we pride ourselves on doing everything before everybody else, we took some much needed time off, and offline. Now we're back with way too much stuff to announce. So in the week or so to come, expect one post a day, as I have lots to get off my chest, and a manly chest I have, so that means, in a word, VOLUME.
But first, a quick shout-out to our friends Goon & Koyote who, after schooling most of us in the ways of booty-clapping and big ole titties, just released their much-anticipated debut EP, Wellness is Wild via Disque Primeur. Featuring a banger ("Pussy Out") and the aforementioned hyperdeveloped female appendages:
PLUS: they are remixing our own Bobmo for his forthcoming (and I use the term loosely, it's not out next week, please don't email asking for precise landing coordinates) 4000% YES EP. More on this later.