There is welcoming warmth in the aesthetic of Public Possession. The Munich based record label has become known for its lighthearted sense of self, its exotic imagination and its penchant for the eclectic far from centre world of club music.
Palm trees sit profoundly in the window of the backstreet shop amidst the Bavarian capital. Records sit balanced on shelves alongside an assortment of odd bits and bobs. Etched into the shop window is a small cartoon hand waving a name card and a large red leather armchair sits proudly propped by the record racks.
It’s been three years now since the early traces of a label began to emerge from Munich. It began with black and white imagery emblazoned across twelve inch EP’s from miscellaneous names and figures.
Marvin Schuhmann and Valentino Betz are the owners and founders of the Public Possession label, which is now as much a family as a musical platform. Personal relationships are the foundation of the music that they release and the ethos that they represent. Even the web store makes this clear before you are permitted entry:
“Ideally likeminded and interested people will appreciate the output. Collaborations, events, parties and shared beerz have been and can be the outcome of this.”
Recent outings on the label have seen the likes of Samo DJ, Baba Stiltz, Bell Towers, Obalski and Hysteric all feature but originally Public Possession acted as a means for Marvin and Valentino to release music under the guise of Tambien.
The pair first met back in fifth grade as Marvin explains. However it was some time later before they began to experiment with music as a duo.
“We lost track of each other for ten years, at the beginning of our twenties we met again. I was living together with a friend of his and when I left Munich for three months he moved into my room. We both started DJ’ing and kind of hit it off; it’s been ten years now.”
The pair’s tastes have evolved since the days of their early twenties in which they first began playing music together.
“Valentino was already kind of into electronics and I was more into hip hop but then we started DJ’ing a lot of disco stuff, like old seventies, early eighties stuff, I really got into italo, we kicked it off from there and since then we have always been exchanging new music. It was a relatively natural progression in terms of musical history.”
There is great attention to detail in the visual representation of Public Possession. The understated use of two tone artwork and typography has crafted the label a brand image in its own right. Their visual representation is striking yet underplayed, enticing yet subtle. Highly professional visual design was accompanied by a collection of unfamiliar yet striking artists who helped kick start the momentum of the label.
Marvin describes the fruition of early releases.
“We released an edit record from Tambien, our project with Beni Brachtel. We gave it to some friends who DJ, and whoever, and people seemed to like it. From there on we had more music of our own to release and we knew enough people who were musically interesting to us. We thought, why not give it a go? It was never planned to be what it is now, we are now almost twenty-five releases strong and it’s kind of just happened naturally. People just kept giving us good music…”
Since its formation, personal relationships and friendships have been very important to the pair behind the label. They hold a connection to the artists that release their music with them.
“Out of all the stuff we have put out on the label, none of it is actually demos. It’s come through people we knew already or people we met through the label in the last three years.”
They explain the relationship with one of the earliest artists to feature on the label, Bell Towers.
“Rohan is from Australia. Valentino lived out there for three or four months, which was way before Public Possession even, existed. He met quite a few people whilst staying there and some of them were making good music. Once we started the label we thought we would ask him. From then everything developed, I think he was happy with how we worked and we are big fans of his music, gladly we made it happen.”
Based in Munich the label’s rise to prominence has been a strong look for the cultural music scene in the city. There is talk of a flourishing and diverse community alongside the ups and downs of club closures and changes in landscape.
“For a city which isn’t really that big, it’s nothing in comparison to London or Berlin, we have quite a few clubs which you can go to every weekend where they would book good artists, and a lot of good local DJ’s as well. I think the scene is pretty healthy. It’s difficult to say where we fit but what we’ve definitely noticed that the interest has grown over the past three years. There’s a lot of people who supported us and came to our parties, who shopped at the store, its been really satisfying.”
There is a charming sense of humbleness about the Public Possession pair. Their label is running smoothly with a profoundly individual sense of direction and design, a back catalogue full of releases from friends and a future filled with opportunity and exploration. These are exciting and intriguing times for the Munich scene and their role within it. Time holds the key as to what further good can come from the Public Possession family, more than likely a whole stack more.