Label Love #46: Zone Records


Zone Records have been calmly satisfying our need for dark electronic majesty for some 6 years now. Having kicked off by giving a break to the young, then unknown Gesaffelstein, the Zone family have since rarely put a foot wrong. Helped by the guiding hand of The Hacker, one of the four label bosses, Zone have constantly supported producers trying to take machine-made music that little bit further. Inspired by the '80s electronic pioneers surging forward in the industrial, EBM, proto house and electro scenes, they've made a virtue of working with artists who know that the best techno – even instrumental techno – is about song as much as rhythm. You won't find many 'DJ Tools' on Zone – but you will find tracks that pulsate with dark romance, glacial melodies, and digital sleaze. Label partner David Rimokh tells us more…

Who does what at Zone, and how did you all meet?

It's a Friendship story between Alex, Michel, Mike and Me that starts in clubs with Vodka and Liaisons Dangereuses.

More than 10 years on … Can we conclude that we share "strong & deep" values ? I don't know.
Regarding the organisation, there is no real hierarchy between us.
We take decisions together as a collective about everything, from Zone night programming to the art direction of the label, etc….

Zone kicked off with Gesaffelstein’s The Operator – was the label specifically started to release that track? How much did its success affect the future of the label?

Zone was created to support artists (young and old) that we liked, releasing  electro, ebm, dark disco, techno, dark wave, whatever you want to call it … music that we liked.

The Operator Ep was ready and it was natural for us to release it and to support our artist, especially  music from one of the co-founders.
Now we couldn't anticipate or plan the success of Mike…It was surely good for the label but quickly it became his own story and the development of his career had nothing to do with Zone after Crainte/Errance (Zone 4).

What were the labels you looked to for inspiration for Zone?

We were thinking about labels like Bunker Records and Gigolo.

How do you find new music to release? Have you ever put anything out that has come to you unsolicited?

We have our close artists like David Carretta, Maelstrom, Arnaud Rebotini, Djedjotronic and of course The Hacker.
We have had regular EPs from these acts but we are always on the search for new talent like Glass Figure or MxM, Keluar etc
We receive loads of music via our social network…And 99,9% of the time it has nothing to do with Zone or it's just shit EDM.
But, but ! One day…3 or 4 years ago we received music from a band called Mikron.
2 brothers from a small town in Australian, listening and making dreckxcyan music…We didn't know these guys, we received their music and release 2 EP with them. 
So everything is possible in this in this world!
So everything is possible in this down to fall earth.

You’ve only released a couple of 12”s, what’s the reasoning behind this?

At the beginning we wanted to release Vinyl and Digital but we had a problem with the first Ep 'The Operator' from Gesaffelstein.
On the Vinyl version we added a 'secret remix' of 'Je suis venu te dire que je m'en vais' from an unknown artist called Serge Gainsbourg.
We didn't clear the rights and we couldn't sell & distribute the Vinyl.
But now we are back with Keluar, Der Zyklus and the next one will also have a Vinyl edition.

Electro is such a strong influence at the label. When the sound first came round, it was all about looking to a future – do you think that can still the case now the original electro tracks are over 30 years old?

True ! It use to be a Sci-Fi and futurist movement but it's now a Vintage thing. Sometimes it's back in fashion and sometimes it disappears…
Consequently, sometimes we are "has beens" and sometimes an Avant Garde label…

But we are still inspired by this music and it’s hard to find something better than Kraftwerk…But who knows maybe we’ll be surprised!

Which records do you wish you’d signed (and why!) a) from last year, b) from any year?

a) I like 'An-I' he released last year an good Ep on Cititrax called "Kino-I".
It's 'metallic techno’, modern and not boring. This is not so easy to achieve.

B) Easy…I would choose Kraftwerk 'Computer World’!

 Can you ever imagine releasing an album on Zone? Do any of your artists want to?

Yes of course. We released The Hacker Love/Kraft album in two part as 2 big Eps.
We are not in an album era but yes…of course we could release albums.

What has been the label’s happiest accident?

I think Mikron is a good one.
2 guys from a small australian village sending quality electro ! That's a good a one.
On top of this we receive so much shiit!

And what’s been the hardest release to work on?

Der Zyklus. Was a lonnnnng process but really happy to work with him and looking forward to the next one! 

What's the best thing you've heard this year?

I like Tzu Tsing.

How do you fund your label? Are label parties important to keeping the whole thing afloat or do you do it purely through sales?

We are not rich and are still searching for the personal phone of any Emir from Qatar. We have PSG in Paris… We could cross them.
More Seriously, we are making money with Zone night, a little bit with Mp3s and merchandising.
We are now working on a new T-shirt and would like to produce our own parties, it's the better way to earn money.

If money was no object to the label what would you do with it or are you happy with the trajectory thus far?

We are not rich and are still searching for the personal phone number of any Emir from Quatar! We have PSG in Paris…we could approach them! 
More seriously, we are making money with Zone nights, a little bit with Mp3s & merchandising.
We are now working on new T-shirts and would like to produce our own parties, it's a better way to earn money.


What 5 tracks would be the best introduction to Zone?

Hard to chose… but here, in no particularly order: 
1) The Hacker & Gesaffelstein 'Crainte'
2) Arnaud Rebotini – Pagan Dance Move
3) Maelstrom – The Line
4) Djedjotronic – Abyssal Zone. 
5) Der Zyklus – Isometric Projection

Find out more on Zone Records on their website, Facebook, and Soundcloud