Friday Records: BBR Resident Artist Takeover (BRAT) session hosts

Friday Records: BBR Resident Artist Takeover (BRAT) session hosts

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Sydney based Tech House and Techno label Friday Records have been hosting the weekly BBR Resident Artist Takeover (BRAT) sessions for December 2016 (tune in Fridays 8pm-10pm AEDT).

It has been a trail blazing two years since the label started, and an upcoming Summit DJ’s release remixed by Alberto Ruiz is expected to take things to an even greater level. BBR catch up with co-founder Aron Chiarella

BBR: Who are Friday Records? Where did it all start? What are the influences?

AC: It was around 8 years ago through mutual friends that we first met. Simon was fresh off the boat after only a week or two here in Sydney. His cousin was throwing one of his renowned tequila parties and they wanted decent music. I ended up taking all my equipment down, we span tunes into the night and discovered our mutual love of electronic music. Simon blew my amp that night though and ended the music quite swiftly which became a subject of banter for quite some time but also formed the friendship that eventually evolved into Friday Records!

It might sound strange to some but the initial reason for starting the label was not one of inspiration but more so out of frustration, desire, and control. As budding producers, we read many articles about record labels and the submission process, then wondered how will we ever know if the demos actually get heard or not. All the labels we wanted to target were receiving hundreds of demos per day and when you do the math, it’s clear, not all of those demos can be heard, but even if they do, your destiny lies with that one person who may have a completely different taste in what’s submitted, therefore could be cast aside in a heartbeat without any form of feedback. This element of not knowing is what drove us to control our own path as we simply couldn’t wait for the unknown.  Unbeknownst to me, whilst we had these thoughts, Simon was already researching the methodologies and requirements needed for a small start-up model and when he presented it to me, there wasn’t a second thought. We started Friday Records as a Tech House and Techno label and the initial focus was to simply create a channel for us to release our own music, but that changed so quickly because demo’s started coming through fast after our good friend Jaceo wrote a remix for us, and the rest is history.

There are so many artists whose styles we love, and that is always changing as their sound changes as their production skill sets grow. At the moment from we’re big fans of DJ Fronter, Prok and Fitch, Wade, Jaceo and Miguel Bastida to name but a few and there are so many others that we follow!

BBR: Take us through a brief timeline? What is on the radar for 2017? 

AC: We started the label in December 2014 and the first release came in January 2015. Looking back now, it clearly wasn’t our best work!!! But, it was about testing the process and understanding its flow. Once we saw that first release land on all the digital platforms we were hooked. We quickly churned out a second release which was far better. After receiving great response from our good mates (BBR’s very own) Summit DJ‘s on how the track performed out to the masses, it was game on. We quickly reached out to our now good mate Jaceo about remixing a track for us and by the end of February 2015 we had released three tracks including a feature EP from a well-known international artist, which meant we hit one of our major milestones very early in the piece. We gained a lot of local support in this time which we’re very grateful for and it then seemed to cascade overseas quite quickly. As mentioned just before, after that Jaceo release, demos came flying in which is when we heard the talents of Dave “Kovaxx” Smith and asked him to join the fray. He is now a regular on the label and always delivers quality tracks but also in a timely manner as well which is very important. We also wanted to reach a different market so looked further afield in South America and that’s when we discovered DJ Smilk and Juan DDD from Columbia who are both quite prominent in the scene over there, but also well favoured by many European DJ’s. Between these artists and us that was 2015 done with ten releases under our belts, some valuable lessons learnt and new goals set for 2016.

We put the feelers out in Europe next to kick off 2016 and found Juan Santacruz. It is an interesting story with his demo and one I’ve told so many times. He sent us a demo over, but his synth line sounded very poor and unharmonious at best. However we both loved the bass and drum elements so much and heard great potential in it, so I sent it back to him with that feedback and he took it on the chin and turned it around in 24 hours with a completely different track and that was when “Gaiato” was born. It just goes to show if you give someone the time and feedback it can go a long way. Zak ‘Dubsco’ Barford came next, followed by a group of very talented local Sydney producers James Petrou, Dimi Nuendo and Aaron Smith (co-hosts of BBR’s Late Nite Shopping), Peter ‘ZI0’ Ziola (co-host of BBR’s Digitize), Jay Maguire,  Adamwah, Dimitri Michas, Rouss from Chien D’ours, as well as Romanian producer Luca M joining our roster over the course of the year.

But our defining moment is about to happen with a release we’re so proud of for a number of reasons – firstly BBR’s very own (and our good mates) Summit DJ’s debut on the label with their original track Atmosphere; secondly, we had the pleasure of remixing their track for the EP; and the third reason is our biggest achievement to date – the track is also remixed by Techno’s number one producer of the year Alberto Ruiz so we couldn’t ask for more really.

Next year is already looking great from an international perspective as Summit DJ’s track has just released as a Beatport exclusive, ready for the New Year festivities of SPACE on NYD and CODE on NYE, whilst the main release drops just before Electric Gardens so it times nicely for the boys and their promos. As a result we have Alberto working the crossover into the new year and we also have Oscar L’s EP ready to go so it’s already going to be a strong start to 2017!

BBR: Any thoughts as to vinyl?

AC: With Vinyl there is an element of nostalgia in us that would love to see a newly pressed Friday Records vinyl with a fresh sleeve to boot, but vinyl is a very high risk path and can be a costly one if not done right. There are new things on the horizon though so who knows what else may pop up from Friday Records!!

BBR: There is a lot involved in running a label, although like all things in music, technology has probably made this somewhat easier? Between the two of you, is there any natural split of responsibilities? How do you stay across the developments in your scene?

AC: Technology has definitely made things easier and without it, it would be a completely different ball game. One of the most important tech tools we use is Dropbox. Being able to work remotely is essential and being able to instantly access any music project, document, image or any other file instantly saves us so much time. We both have a hand in everything at the moment as it’s not a full time gig for us yet, but its slowly starting to shift towards Simon focusing on the social media side, myself on the back end with distribution, contracts and admin! We both scout for talent and based on one of our main reasons for starting the label discussed earlier we always give all demos a chance. We both have to listen 3 times each before a decision is made and both have to agree before any track is a yes!! Production is where both our passions lie though and also where we have a formula that seems to work and has worked with every track so far. Simon builds the initial groove, I’ll work the arrangement and additional content, then we both get together and banter for hours on effects here, volumes there, noises everywhere, sometimes sumo suits and fisticuffs are involved!!!! Eventually we agree and finalize those elements and then credit to Simon, he finishes the tracks off with his exceptional mastering abilities. This is also why there’s an another avenue for Friday Records to explore as he is often asked to master tracks for a few of the local producers which is great for all involved as it keeps everything localized. These days’ social media has a massive part to play in how we maintain our currency in the industry. Gone are the days where we’d all go hunting for 3D world magazine and flyers at the local shops to find out what’s going on, everything now seems to revolve around Facebook and other social media channels. If you’re not using Facebook and Instagram these days you’re in limbo! Even websites we feel are starting to fade a little, especially in this space.

BBR: on the radio station our shows consciously look to adopt a local / global mindset to on air content, with interesting local vibes for our local listeners that will stay equally relevant to our global listeners, which always raises the question: does Sydney have a genuine local electronic scene? 

AC: This is a great question and always subject to opinion. Sydney has always been an interesting market and has always gone through waves from what I’ve personally noticed since 2003. Back then and up until 2011 it was pumping everywhere and the scene has been fairly solid but it was also a time when globally it was good almost everywhere. We’ve tended to follow suit with other countries the entire time but around the time when “EDM” started to become a thing is when it started to change here drastically and we seemed to follow suit with the U.S. mainly, which I thought was a bit strange considering all the Europeans that move here, then it was Beatport’s manipulation of genres that seemed to cause even more confusion and it all went up in the air for a good couple of years. Don’t get us wrong, the underground was still going but it wasn’t as thriving. So up until 3-4 years ago I’d say we generally mirrored what was going on overseas. Then the lockout laws hit us and BOOM, we were all lost for a year thinking what are we going to do now and couldn’t mirror anything!! However, no matter where in the world there is electronic music, the underground never gives in or gives up and this year has seen an immense upturn in our scene and I’d say one of the quickest turnarounds in the industry ever, in any country in fact. In just under twelve months Sydney has gone from an almost dying underground electronic music scene to putting ourselves back on the map as one of the best places in the world to party, all over again. We’ve had a massive influx of high caliber international artists from all over the globe hitting our shores this year, so we can categorically say that Sydney now has its own thriving electronic scene once again and we’re now in a position to shape our future, our own way and have now firmly created our own identity and will build on that next year for sure. This is nicely pushed along with a huge array of local talent that we have right here in our great city and we really are on the way up in this space.

There has been a couple of great local labels on the go here in Sydney for a while now including ‘Trojan House Records’ and ‘Pushing Trolleys’ which were already well established when Friday was born, and now we have a whole posse of labels that have started up in 2016 which clearly shows our scene is on the rise and our producer pool is growing fast as part of a sustainable and growing local industry. We’re all collaborating and helping each other out, rather than being precious and hiding things from each other. Each time a new label starts up here, we’re excited because each one seems to hit with more impact than the next which then motivates us to maintain our own traction. It’s exciting to be a part of this quick turnaround and be involved in such a thriving scene again.

BBR: Lockout laws and the wowsers pulling the strings in NSW at the moment have ripped the heart out of the traditional cultural landscape in and around Darlinghurst, Kings Cross, and the City. We’ve also seen the collapse of a number of large electronic festivals including Future Music and Stereosonic. Yet at the same time there has been an incredible amount of underground parties evolving, and new more boutique festivals are springing up. That must be encouraging for you?

AC: Whilst we’re not happy with the lockout laws anymore than the rest of you out there, the key to survival is to work around them. 2015 was tough for every DJ in Sydney as everyone was scrambling for gigs, and with all the venue closures and cut backs there just wasn’t enough venues or hours through the night anymore for everyone to have a set, let alone 2-4 like most full-time DJ’s would. Our whole livelihood/passion was in tatters. But we have to say there were a few promoters in our scene grafting VERY hard during that year despite these new policies being imposed on us and without these special crews, it could have been far worse. So it’s worth a very big mention and shout out to Nick Reverse and Anais Dubois from We Love, Franky Tapia & Elinor Williams at Chinese Laundry, Ben Nott from Blueprint, Dave Stuart & Alex Dimitrioff from Something Else plus Matt Weir & Kerry Wallace from SASH who all managed to keep what little we had left of a scene pumping away, and in ‘Human Traffic’ terms “keep the spirit alive yeah”!!

These amazing crews kept their regular nights on point and because there wasn’t much else in the underground scene, these nights gave us all that glimmer of hope we all needed to hold on, while the larger events started to reshape.

Everyone who loves electronic music always makes that natural journey of progression from small club weekly event, to a monthly larger event, then boat parties, small outdoor, big outdoor, small festival and then big festivals, so without that natural progression, the hook and mind-blowing experience that becomes our musical passion is lost. So whilst these crews were grafting away, Paul Strange and Scott Robertson at Paul Strange Presents and Division Agency were offering that next step of progression by running their own large scale bi-monthly events at the Greenwood Hotel (now known as ‘Days Like This’) which gave everyone the next step in their musical evolution and these events are now happening more often and now selling out every time.

Also Damian Gelle and Anton Marmot at T1000/CODE took a huge punt when they announced Electric Gardens debut event for Australia day. In 2016 they put together one of the best line ups for one event this country has ever seen, and have followed up again in 2017, which for us, set this year up for everyone else to follow suit and also take that punt. From the way it appears, everyone has. The scene will only get better as we have a few more new promotor groups who have hit the ground running in Eclipse and Spectrum, so with these teams adding to what we already have; things will definitely improve. It’s very encouraging to see how quickly its turned around in such a short space of time so as you can imagine we’re really pumped for next year!

BBR: Thanks for the time, and for holding down the BRAT sessions for December, we are looking forward to the last one on Friday 30th December 8pm-10pm 

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