Londoner Ben Gomori is a very busy guy, heading up multiple projects he now runs the growing Monologues record label, parties under the Choose Love banner and dark room listening sessions with Pitchblack Playback.
We caught up with the UK trendsetter to discuss his different ventures, finding out which albums are due inspection for Pitchblack Playback and who’s coming up on the Monologues release schedule, keep reading to get the full scope!
Ben Gomori! Great to catch up, how are things at the moment?
Things are good and I can’t complain but I’ve had a bit too much on my plate recently and no time to make music. That’s not right is it? I’m a bit frazzled but things are going well and been having a blast recently getting engaged, becoming an uncle for the sixth time and letting off some steam and the ever-wonderful Primavera.
You have some impressive projects on the go at the moment, let’s start off with your Monologues imprint, why did you decide to launch a label, and what has your experience been so far?
I was getting frustrated with the experience I was getting from some well established labels who had a good reputation but did a poor job of promoting my releases and keeping me in the loop about what was happening. Then a well-known producer sat on two of my tracks for the best part of two years telling me this and that and then eventually stopping replying to my emails completely. Jamie from Hypercolour etc suggested I release them myself so I thought—fuck it, why not. I already had my Monologues Podcast, where producers mix an hour of their own material, and that was building nicely, so Monologues Records felt like the logical next step.
My experience has been rewarding but frustrating—as most small label owners will probably tell you. I’ve really enjoyed giving younger artists platforms early on in their career in the way others did to me. People like Laurence Guy and Leon Revol—who this weekend played at Pacha Ibiza alongside Kerri Chandler, Heidi and Hot Since 82—had some of their first releases with us. It’s been amazing getting support from some of our favourite DJs. And it’s been really gratifying hearing people say they like what we do with the label, and to build a presence in Berlin with our parties at Farbfernseher. It’s also amazing getting some scene stalwarts on board like Nail, DJ Aakmael and Melon.
Vinyl is really where the stress comes in to be honest. It’s a losing game unless you can do some sizeable numbers. I don’t mind losing a bit of money here and there but when it racks up over time and pressing plant delays screw your release schedule and the momentum you’re building, you do start to question whether it’s worth it. But I love vinyl, and the fact of the matter is that certain DJs only listen to and play what’s on vinyl. So basically, you’ve got to be in it to win it.
You have been organising some Choose Love parties to bring the likes of Ben UFO, Midland, Dusky, Simian Mobile Disco and Basement Jaxx to Corsica Studios in London in aid of Help Refugees. It must be nice to give back while throwing great parties?
Sure is. I am the son of two Hungarian refugees who fled the country in 1956 so it’s a cause that’s very close to my heart. My mum always says the UK welcomed her with ‘open arms’ back then, and it’s absolutely tragic to see how certain politicians and media titles have demonised refugees and use them as either a scapegoat for their failings or a sceptre of fear to sequester votes with.
It’s great to see people come together to have a good time and make a difference in the process. The three parties that me and Resident Advisor have put on there have raised £14,000, and that’s all down to the DJs and punters giving up their time and money. I have to say a big thanks to everyone who has played or been involved in the events and to Corsica for giving us a home for them.
Do you have any Choose Love parties in the works? Any info on guests?
I’m working on a couple of dates for later this year with some very big names but I’m afraid I’m sworn to secrecy for now!
Perhaps the most unique project you currently handle is Pitchback Playback, where you host album listening sessions in the chilling setting of a pitchblack room. How do you choose the albums and venues? And what has the reception been like thus far?
So yeah, that’s basically it. The idea is to listen to music in a concentrated, meditative state on a loud, clear, immersive sound system so you feel like you’re inside the music. We host playbacks in cinemas around the UK and soon Europe too. We play classic albums and premiere upcoming ones—which this year has included first plays of Daniel Avery ‘Drone Logic’ and Henrik Schwarz & Metropole Orkest’s ‘Scripted Orkestra’. They have proved immensely popular, so much so that it’s basically fast becoming my ‘job’.
The programming has largely been focused around my own (very eclectic) tastes, but I’m widening it out even more from my personal favourites. More importantly than me loving it is that it needs to be an album that benefits from the setting and setup. It needs to have some drama, something cinematic, some light and shade. Coming up we have albums from Radiohead, Fleetwood Mac, Mount Kimbie, Sigur Ros and The Weeknd…
Going back to Monologues, tell us which artists will be releasing there in the near future?
We’ve got two killer releases lined up from an Aussie newcomer called A Most Wanted Man with a damn cool breaksy remix from fellow Antipodean, Jad & The, and a third EP from Danvers which I think will be his best for us yet. We’re also working on something with Polish producer, Richu M, which is some very musical more downtempo gear. Then we’ll return to Berlin for our 3-monthly residency in Autumn at the lovely Farbfernseher.