Label Love #19: Local Talk / Telefonplan
Local Talk is a record label based on the love of one common factor…house music!
The Sweedish duo Tooli and Mad Mats kicked off Local Talk records three years ago and somehow they're already on their 50th release. Over the course of those three years they've poured heart and soul into putting out release after release of high quality underground house music. Always wanting to broaden their horizons, a year ago the guys covertly started working on the Telefonplan label focusing on rougher house and techno. So, with the 50th release milestone and the guys heading to London Town for a label showcase this saturday we felt like it was about time the Ransom Note had a little chat with the boys. Our man Europe posed the questions…
FIRSTLY – INTRODUCE YOURSELVES TO OUR LOVELY READERS. WHO ARE YOU, WHERE ARE YOU FROM AND WHAT DO YOU DO?
Mad Mats: Ex b-boy from Stockholm, Sweden that been DJing since the mid 80s and have run numerous labels in the past but probably most known for Raw Fusion Recordings. Besides working with Local Talk and Telefonplan I travel the world DJing various styles of underground club music…anything goes really. On my free time I also coach youth football.
Tooli : I'm Tooli. I was born the same year Weather Report released "Black Market" (which might explain why I like Jazzfusion). I've been living most of my life in Stockholm and still do. My daily routine involves working, listening, reading and learning as much as possible about music….and food. I would lie if I said I was into sports.
Both of your careers in music go way back right? What prompted your move to start Local Talk?
Mad Mats: After my previous labels being very open minded musically I wanted to start a label that was more concentrating to one specific style…house music!
Tooli : Running a label has always been a dream of mine, from an early age. When I started buying records it was always about the labels so I knew I wanted to have one of my own. It took quite a few years before I decided to stop my daytime work but I knew that if I wanted to do this I had to focus 110%
Tell me how you both got into house music. What was the scene like in Sweden in the early days?
Mad Mats: I got into house music in New York in the early 90s when b-boys like myself started to get a bit more open minded and got curious about those funky rhythms coming out from clubs like Sound Factory Bar etc. Kenny Dope & Louie Vega was a big inspiration.
Tooli : I used to play in bands, spending hours rehearsing, going to concerts, tape trading and all that. It took a few years before I went to clubs and started listening to house. I remember not getting into the clubs first but the raves was no problem..haha. Listening to radio was a big inspiration for me and going to record stores listening to the imports.
You’ve just reached your 50th release with an EP from the excellent Lay-Far, this seems like a bit of a mile stone. Must feel like quite an achievement?
Tooli : I certainly does, if someone would tell me "release number 50 will be out in three years" back in 2011 I would not believe them. It's been hard work for sure, there's a lot of labels out there that deserves respect for keep doing what they do. But it's of course also fun and we've had a lot of fun thru our years, so far. The expression "time flies when you're having fun" is pretty accurate.
How long did it take with Local Talk before you felt like it was going somewhere? You set the label up in 2011, was it a slow start or did things pick up quickly?
Mad Mats : The hype started quite fast really but I remember the label got a real boost when we released "moody" by Dirtytwo.
You’ve had a pretty impressive release rate over the years. How important do you feel it is to keep releasing records thick and fast?
Tooli : It's never been about being "fast" or trying to have a much records as possible out there, it's about releasing good music and making sure it get's out there. There's a lot of talented producers that deserves to be heard. When we started we talked about which labels we liked and both of us mentioned Strictly Rhythm and they sure released a lot of records the first couple of years and they had some killer stuff too (I'm of course talking about the early years).
Have you ever doubted what you’re doing at any point?
Mad Mats: Yes, at one time I last a lot of money when a distributor went bankrupt with one of past labels. After this I was close going in another direction. But music have and will always keep behind the decks and in the office at some label I think…hope so!
You started your more techno focusing offshoot Telefonplan about a year ago right? What made you keep your involvement under wraps for so long? Did you want a chance to get it established in it’s own right without being linked to LT?
Tooli : Yes…I also like making up stories…so when we decided upon the name we also had a discussion about how to promote it. We started pretending it to be a German label. I made up some story on discogs about the label being from Leipzig by a couple that met in Sweden (hence the Swedish name) but moved back to Germany and started the label there. I even went as far as answering people in german when we got emails and music sent to us.
Bonus story – once I went into a record store and picked up a Telefonplan release asking the person behind the counter what it was and got the answer "it's techno but I'm pretty sure it's not something you'd like".
What made you branch out with the new label? Were you getting material sent that didn’t fit LT but you really wanted to put out?
Mad Mats : Yes, this was one of the reasons. We get sent a silly amount of demos, most are shit but some are good. But some of the good stuff just wasn't in the Local Talk spectrum so we thought it would be a good idea to create another label where this music could find a home.
Can you tell us what you’ve got coming up on the new label?
Tooli : Next up is a 4 track EP from a Swedish producer, Anders Hellberg. It's coming in September. It's techno sounds from classic and modern machines, no fuzz, straight up techno.
While LT and Telefonplan have generally distinct slants how do you decide on the more in-between releases that might work on either label? My case in point is the excellent release recently by Andeas Saag which feels like it could fit either side of the line. Is that fair to say?
Mad Mats : Yes, you're absolutely correct. In most cases we give this to artist where they want to release. We give the option and thy choose. In Andreas case it was simple as he already had two releases out on Local Talk so he just wanted to continue on his good run with LT 🙂
I’m not asking you to pick favourites but can you name some highlights from both labels over the years.
Local Talk : If we leave out the most recent stuff….how about Bassfort ‘Moon Shadow’, Dirtytwo ‘Moody’, Willie Graff & Tuccillo ‘Sunday Morning’, Chesus 'Special', Kyodai 'Breaking' DJ Steaw ‘Sky Hunt’, Claes Rosén ‘Daydreaming’, HNNY 'Yearning', Crackazat "Silent Sing".
Telefonplan : Being only six releases "old" so far it's pretty easy to pick all of them 😉
Where would you like LT to be when you reach release number 100?
Mad Mats : A label that everyone always check out even if they don't know that actual artist. I hope on our 100th release we're still a label that is curious and never too predictable. We'll always be a label that aims high but at the same time we'll never leave that underground mentality so we can sign both know and totally unknown producers.
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