This months label mates feature goes in depth with Cesare Vs. Disorder to find out about his Serialism imprint, which since launching in 2007 has featured some incredibly talented artists which have released beautiful music.
We asked him about the early days of Serialism, how the label has managed to survive one of the most dynamic decades in the history of the music industry and what they have coming for us in 2019.
Serialism first launched in 2007, tell us about the hustle of putting out your first releases?
Serialism was launched with the very first Various Artists EP in 2007, but the label was conceived in 2006. It all happened in London, where I was living for a few years at the time.
I was organising parties (mainly after-hours and warehouse parties) and had a very special music partner in Stefano Pellegrini, a leader in the East London underground community. We became very good friends and decided to open the label, showcasing the sound of friends and artists who were around our parties.
It’s actually rewarding to see that many of those artists now are known worldwide and have made a strong career out of the music that started from our little family. So big shout out to guys like Cesar Merveille, Marco Shuttle, Pablo Tarno, Rudolf from BirdsMakingMachine, Onirik and Rainier.
But it wasn’t really a hustle, more a label of love. Besides that, I know what I was doing as I’d been running another label at that stage for a couple of years, Mean Records. So we just sent the music to the same distribution company we worked with, Rubadub in Glasgow, which employed a young Jackmaster at the time.
They loved the new concept and music at first sight and decided to produce it and distribute it.
What is your typical day to day regarding the label, do you manage it yourself or is there a team behind the curtain?
There isn’t a typical day, we are a small label and are not fully organised as a major. We have a team spread worldwide in different cities (between São Paulo, Berlin and London mainly but also other major cities all over) with collaborators and partners working on different parts of the process. There’s work behind the vinyl production process, the social media accounts and internet marketing, the A&R and of course our events.
I supervise it all together with a few key components of the family, my main partner and co-owner since a few years Quenum in London together with a small team, our A&R and resident in Berlin, Weg, our production manager in Frankfurt, agents in different territories, South America, Europe, Asia and Australia, friends and partners who help us produce parties and carry the brand.
What is the hardest role managing a label that people might not know about?
There is a lot of things to manage when having a proper record label. I say proper cause nowadays there is different ways to own a label. There’s people who think are running a label but what they really do is getting music from artists (sometimes talented but most of the time not that much) and upload it on the net. This is not what I call running a label.
There’s a very passionate A&R behind the music we choose, there are a lot of expenses and it’s time consuming. There is marketing behind it (we are trying to keep it real but marketing is a must nowadays, whatever form you choose, there will be good marketing behind a good result), there is a complex process of branding through the artworks, videos and general image.
There are production and manufacturing of the records and then worldwide distribution. There is parties to present the label all over the world.There is a real connection between the artists and the label, like a family during the years. It’s a proper job 24/7, it’s a life style basically.
You have put out some physical releases, how have you found the transition to the digital age?
Actually we have released almost 50 vinyls and as you can imagine the transition has been pretty hard but we have found ways to stay alive. First of all giving priority to music for its soul and quality rather than for its hype or sales power. I guess this it the ‘secret’ behind out longevity. From one day to another everything changed, vinyl wasn’t the media used by the majority of the industry and the music quickly became disposable.
What made the difference in our run was to keep our musical choice timeless (trying to, at least) and avoid seasonal selection. We love the music we release and never really thought of it as a stable income. That’s why we never played the ‘compromise’ card, we never lost our soul. Of course now we also see a financial side otherwise the work that’s needed behind it cannot be done.
We live in a time when there are thousands of new tracks coming out everyday, what has been the key to keeping Serialism above water in a sea of mediocre music?
Real passion, experience and a bit of talent still can make the difference.
What record on your label are you most proud to have put out?
I’m proud of almost all records I’ve released on the label. I must say I made some mistakes in the past, fortunately not many so I generally love each record I put out. I have a few favourites of course but each piece goes hand in hand with the period when it was released, our general taste and mood in the moment and different experiences around that record which make it special. Saying so I prefer not to mention any favourites. Find your own favourite piece.
Who can we expect music from on Serialism in the near future?
We have a lot going on for 2019. We just signed a distribution deal with Yoyaku from Paris and are very happy for this step as they know their game. We are going back to vinyl only on one side and digital only on the other side.
We are releasing in a few days a beautiful EP on vinyl by the always amazing The Mole, then an EP from myself with a remix by Romanian brother Dan Andrei, then Quenum with a remix by the master Luciano, a re-make of a 2005 tune by Jin Choi with remixes by Baby Ford, Dubphone, myself and a surprise guest.
An EP by Monika Ross, an EP from our A&R Weg, an EP from Loquace, a couple of EPs (part1 and 2) with big remixes from myself and Quenum as Azimute and a 3 x vinyl compilation confirmed with Cristi Cons, DeWalta, Dan Andrei, Alexkid, Quenum, Weg & Loquace, East End Dubs, Denis Kaznacheev, myself and more tbc.
On the digital side we have the second EP by young Italian talent Reclame, Brazilian boss Rods Novaes with his collaborator Nik Ros, Japanese Sound of Vast boss Red Pig Flower, Ukrainian house masters Orbit & Belogurov, Puerto Rican talent Cali Lanauze and Ibiza based Handcrafted head Nazt and more eps tbc.
Lastly, where do you see the label in a few years time?
Not sure, I just know we are here to stay!