New labels are two-a-penny these days, but it’s rare that we come across one that’s made such an immediate impression on us in such a short space of time. Say hello then to Leipzig’s Vaertism, a keen example in how to do things the right way. Helmed by two local dance music fanatics, Submod and Mbius – and closely aligned with local club Kulturloung – the label’s inaugural release was a 8 track V/A that featured killer sounds from the guys themselves, but also from other astutely chosen up-and-comers such as Salomo, Janthe, Ore and more. The label’s latest endeavour is the similarly titled Vaertism002, and much like its predecessor, serves up a brilliant mix of electro and minimal tinged club tracks. We caught up with Submod recently to get the lowdown on the label, their vision for it as well as their upcoming plans…
How are you, how has the year been?
Quite well actually. The club lockdowns in Germany have disturbed all of us of and a lot of energy has piled up, which you could otherwise let out on the weekend. But this way we could finally take the time to plan projects away from the club and put the energy into them – for example Vaertism.
Talk us through your label and the intentions behind it, as well as the people involved?
We are a young label from Leipzig with a focus on minimal and electro. We founded in the beginning of 2021 with Submod & Mbius in A&R and Stefanie Wittrisch on artwork. Our focus was to support talented artists from our inner circle to present their music. For many artists it was/is their first release – so it’s even nicer that the response to the first sampler was so good and also the second sampler has received a lot of positive feedback so far. Almost all artists on the sampler have a connection to the Kulturlounge – a small club in Leipzig where we’re involved and have been hosting parties regularly even before Corona. Therefore we use the first releases as a donation project to give something back to the Kulturlounge in times of corona and lockdown.
How did you guys get to meet one another? Was it through a shared love of music?
Many contacts have been made in the Kulturlounge, as we were able to realize our ideas and projects best here. This is also the case now with Vaertism. Much of the planning and financing of the label is done through the in-house music publisher.
Of course, we also found each other through our common taste in music, because due to the small minimal scene in Leipzig, we ran into each other one way or another when there was one of the few minimal events. In the end, we supported each other, grew closer and closer together and from the many individual players, a large community of like-minded people emerged.
Do you release on vinyl as well as on digital? Is this important to you?
Since the first samplers are planned as a fundraising project, they will be released digitally via Bandcamp for the time being. In the long term, however, we plan to press records as well.
Can you tell us a bit about some of the labels who have inspired you over the years?
I can’t speak for all artists, of course, and the first two samplers are already a bit different musically. For example, the first sampler was much more electronic than the second one will be. Nevertheless, Wellness Records by Chocolate Grinder should be mentioned here, who were the first from our circle to start their own label and will soon release their already fourth record.
The label is based in Leipzig. Can you tell us a bit about the local scene there and your involvement with it?
The offer of Minimal was quite small in our early days in Leipzig and partly still is. Since you couldn’t go to Berlin every weekend to satisfy your musical needs, we started to organize our own events. In the beginning there were still different crews, which evebntually grew closer and closer together due to our musical taste. So Vaertism is one of many results of this coming together. As already mentioned, our homebase Kulturlounge also played an important role. In this small family club we were allowed to hold most of our events and it is still a frequent meeting point for our now larger community.
Tell us a bit about the first release you put out. What was the process like? And did everything go to plan?
Vaertism001 was released on July 2nd and was a compilation of those artists from our circle who tend more in the electronic / housy direction. Of course, not everything went according to plan, but we were able to learn from the initial difficulties and do better with the second sampler. Nevertheless we got very good feedback so far, which of course motivated us even more to start planning the second sampler right away.
Is Bandcamp integral to the label? How do you best utilise that?
For starters, it’s the most essential component, because we think that the personal connection from the audience to the actors is higher here than on other digital platforms like Beatport or Spotify.
Your latest release has won plaudits aplenty. What do you think has been the biggest challenge of running a label to date? Would you have done anything differently?
Our label is still very young, of course, which is why most things were a challenge in the beginning until routine finally set in. Accordingly, I could not answer such a universal statement, what is the biggest challenge in running a label. Our personal challenges were definitely time planning and communication. Communicating all progress and updates with 7 – 8 artists per sampler delayed some processes a bit. With existing deadlines there was of course a lot of pressure, which we were able to reduce a lot with the second sampler by having more buffer time.
Can you tell us a bit about your future plans for the label?
We’ll see how the Corona situation develops. As soon as everything has relaxed a bit, we want to orient ourselves more in the direction of vinyl. And in general, we want to continue to keep an open ear for up-and-coming artists. There is too much beautiful music from talented artists worldwide that unfortunately goes unheard.
Does the label have a particular ethos, or is it simply about signing music that you love?
The music on our label is based on the musical taste of the artists in our inner circle. Sometimes it goes a little more in the electronic, sometimes in the more minimal direction, but in the end it’s music that we would play.