Label Love #75: Major Problems
Dublin has always found itself in an unusual predicament when it comes to electronic music and the associated culture. It is faced wth the same perilous restrictions and licensing laws which the likes of Glasgow and Bristol have faced and yet continues to flourish exponentially against adversity. The rose among the thorns if you will.
In recent years several artists have emerged from Ireland and new music continues to thrive. Sunil Sharpe, John Daly, New Jackson, Mano Le Tough and many others continue to fly the flag proudly on an international scale. However, behind the scenes there are a collective of people whom may in fact just be responsible for these ambassadors musical education, consciously or not.
Barry Redsetta is the man behind Major Problems, an Irish record label which has punched well above it's weight given it was only founded some four years ago. Across the course these years the label has been responsible for releasing music by the likes of DJ Après Ski, New Jackson, Lumigraph, Admas and many more. However, the label's most inspired work to date has perhaps come in the form of two quite genius reissues.
Last year marked the label's first compilation, a collaborative effort between Barry and Compassion Crew which led to the reissue of an array of rare and forgotten musical gems. Frak, Plustwo, Roger Davy and many more all appeared across the release. Barry is humble as to the roots of the compilation.
"I never had a plan for the label. For me music has always been to a certain extent about trying to look forwards but Compassion Crew was someone who i've known on and off through a couple of different projects. He's a fairly kind of shadowy character and he'd approached me about something else in the past and it wasn't the right time. He's a record collector and music enthusiast par excellence. He's got a really interesting perspective on things. The compilation was his vision, from start to finish it took years and once I got involved it took another twelve to eighteen months to actually getting it out."
Whilst Barry might reflect on the compilation with a view to it being made up of old music, it was perhaps not seen this way by those who consumed it. For many people it highlighted a great deal of music which they had yet to discover, opened a gateway if you will, into a new world in which older music could be presented alongside that of new Irish up and comers. In a time in which many record labels are focussed on reliving the past, it was wholeheartedly pleasant to be presented with a new "old" release amidst a series of EP's from the likes of Frank B, Terriers and Lumigraph. Music should not be categorically released as old or new but as simply music.
Barry has long since been involved in the Dublin electronic music community. The label evolved from natural roots, humble and locally inspired.
"I've been knocking around Dublin for a minute and some music came my way from a crop of young producers. I've worked in and out of music for my whole life and was inspired my some other Dublin labels like All City and Apartment. It takes two, three or four things to make things happen and I guess you feel that if someone else can do something then why don't you go for it too? There was no sense of reinventing the wheel, there was some good music coming out and I thought I could be the one to do that and try sell some records."
The label has evolved with promise, attracting more attention than ever before. This was perhaps epitomised by the recent feature of Ability II on the label at the start of this year. The infamous producer only released one record back in 1990 and then mysteriously disappeared into rave folklore. However, his music most certainly lived on and his track "Pressure" witnessed a revival of sorts across the last couple of years. Barry was about to enter the world of reissues once more.
"The process of speaking to artists who released one or two records and didn't necessarily release more throughout the nineties is incredibly interesting. David's track was one which i've loved for years, we haven't actually spoken. We have a traditional letter writing, pen pal relationship and being able to tell him about what we're doing and keep him updated is great. It's just really exciting to get his perspective on things and interesting to learn more about the personality of those behind records that you love. The joy which was in his story was amazing and we realised that that record was a perfect capture of a moment in time."
The latest release to feature on the label emerged this month in the form of a three track EP from Design A Wave. New music from a producer who has been around the block a fair few times. A fitting follow up to a release which was perhaps playing on the nostalgic love for days of rave past.
Barry reflects on the importance of the evolutionary record label, conceptually and musically. Perhaps having a plan is overrated.
"In music you have to take one step at a time. The loose idea was based on the fact that I like nightclubs, I like dancing in nightclubs and to release music which was to be played for people to dance to that was off the beaten path. That was the filter which i'd put anything through but along the way things can turn left and turn right."
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