Label Love #78: Permanent Vacation
Permanent Vacation is a record label based in Munich, operating for over ten years it has been responsible for some of the most innovative moments in electronic music of recent times.
From the dizzying heights of Tensnake’s “Coma Cat” to Azari & III’s “Reckless With Your Love” the label has established itself as a major player amidst a saturated market. Many disc jockeys owe thanks to the pair behind the project for a lot of special moments crafted by the music that they have released.
Next month the label will release a compilation which features some of the artists whom have helped pioneer the sound of the label across a decade. Mano Le Tough, John Talabot, Joakim, Tensnake, Red Axes, Lauer and many more all feature as part of what is a comprehensive showcase of Permanent Vacation’s accomplishments to date.
Tom Bioly and Benjamin Froehlich go back many years, the label was founded through a shared love of disco and dance music, it was not born from an industrial perspective by which the pair set out to release and conquer but over jokes and table tennis. The pair reflect on what has changed over the years.
“The overall philosophy behind the label is that we release music we like and hope that other people like it too, it has not changed that much. It's still the two of us running mostly everything, but doing something for a longer time probably makes you more efficient and also more confident in what you are doing. Plus, having experienced certain procedures over the years also helps to put things into perspective and prevents us from making premature decisions.”
Throughout the lifespan of Permanent Vacation thus far there has been an evolution in sound, genres have come and gone, fads have passed in the blink of an eye and certain musicians have managed to maintain a structured presence thanks to their ability to adapt. Tom and Benjamin discuss the characteristics of running a label and the nature of change which can transcend time. They refer to dance music and the industry as follows:
“It has become a big business and very professional since we first started. Dance and electronic music is probably more popular than ever before. It feels a bit like everything has become more, more and more. More music, more clubs, more festivals, more DJs, more producers. There are, of course, up and downsides to this evolution and with more involvement of money there often comes more commerce. However, just when you think things might become a little boring, then you find new treasures that make your day. Also when it comes to festivals the trend for small independent great non-commercial festivals at special locations with well curated line-ups is a good counterpart to the huge multinational players. As a consumer you probably have a bigger variety of choice than ever before.”
The label has not fallen shy of commercial success at times itself. Tensnake’s “Coma Cat” reached the top 100 singles chart whilst Azari & III’s “Reckless With Your Love” was later picked up by Universal and Turbo. Most recently the pair have enjoyed witnessing a revival of Todd Terje’s remix of “Dolle Jolle” which was heavily played across the Croatian islands again this summer. The pair describe the roots of some of the labels biggest releases.
“It's funny, but we can remember exactly each and every situation in which we first heard the above mentioned tracks. Tensnake sent ‘Coma Cat’, the demo was titled ‘Morning Fever’, on a warm summer night. We listened to it, went to get some ice cream, listened again and then sent him a message to say that we loved it.
When Terje's remix of Dolle Jolle arrived we were at Tom's place working on something. As huge Terje fans we were very excited, listening to it and running around in the room like crazy all hyped up by the Terje magic.
‘Reckless With Your Love’ we actually heard for the first time on Tim Sweeney's Beats in Space, couldn't believe what we just heard and contacted Azari via Myspace. We were sure that it was already signed but we were lucky and they released the record with us. It's always hard to predict whether a record will become successful but with all three tracks we had a special feeling from the very first listen and that is a good sign.”
Tom and Benjamin come across as proud parents. The label is now fully grown, it has a sense of self and a wider understanding of where it fits within culture as a whole. Whilst there is a vast array of musicians whom have released records under their guidance there is still a delicate lineage within which the record label orbits.
“In general we would say that people often identify you with your biggest success and for the first years we probably got mostly recognised for our take on the Cosmic, Disco and Balearic Revival. But it’s actually interesting when you talk to people about this and they have a quite different view on our label’s sound, mentioning Chicago House, Techno, Soundtracks, Library Music and so on.. We guess we always felt very comfortable with being in-between things. One more aspect on the Permanent Vacation sound, sometimes it feels that the artists we work with have a special idea or sound in mind when they produce music for our label, such as the ‘Sun My Sweet Sun’ title by Red Axes.”
Few can contest the success of Permanent Vacation, a definitive sound accompanied by commercial success is further qualified by the desire of artists to release with the label. May we be blessed with another ten?
Visit the Permanent Vacation site HERE.