Jordan Nocturne’s Belfast-based Nocturne imprint has gradually become one of the cities most reliable and consistent outfits for well packaged, club-primed electronic music.
The label has been responsible for outings from names like Kornel Kovacs, Alex Virgo, and Zillas On Acid in the past, and more recently saw British DJ and producer Man Power make his debut with an energetic 2-tracker titled ‘Wallsend’s Finest’.
Joining us for this months edition of Label Mates, Jordan talks about the early days of Nocturne, his approach to signing new music, what lessons he takes away from other imprints, and more.
You launched Nocturne in 2020 with the release of your ‘From Belfast With Love’ compilation, what were some of the biggest obstacles you faced in getting the label setup?
Nocturne had originally launched a few years prior, with the first two releases being my own music. I guess the challenge then was to completely control the process of putting vinyl out on my own terms. I had remixes from Gerd Janson & Lauer as Tuff City Kids, as well as Adesse Versions & Borrowed Identity.
I found it therapeutic to commission the art – for example, I engaged a photographer to take photography of Belfast by night – we walked about the city as I pointed out bus stops and electric boxes, and we used this for the sleeve art.
Ironically this attention to detail is what could be regarded as a long-term obstacle. With the delays from pressing plants, and constantly receiving messages about missing deliveries – the label has ultimately gone digital. This has allowed for more consistent output, and allows me to risk more with new artists without the overarching fear of vinyl costs.
Since then you have released music from people like Alex Virgo, Kornel Kovacs, and Anatolian Weapons, what’s your typical process when it comes to signing new music?
Generally, it’s music from friends or people I’ve met on my travels. Kornel Kovacs played for us at The Night Institute in Belfast, and Alex has become a friend who I like to hang out with when I’m playing in London.
Most recently I met Man Power when playing together in Strasbourg. I love the idea of a label being a little global community – making the world feel smaller.
With that in mind, I do accept unsolicited demos – and try to listen to everything eventually. Usually what people think I want to hear isn’t what I want to hear. I like the music having a raw electronic edge, and generally, the sound of the label isn’t as uplifting as my own DJ sets.
Your latest release just came out, Man Power’s ‘Wallsend’s Finest’ EP, how would you describe the two tracks on this one?
They’re no-fucking-about, straight-up club tracks. I’m really happy with how these have been received across the board and really happy to have developed a friendship with someone who is so passionate about the culture.
Your own music has come out on Correspondant, Turbo Recordings, and Permanent Vacation, what have you learnt from working with these kinds of labels that you’ve carried over into running your own?
With Permanent Vacation, Benjamin Frohlich has nurtured a family vibe and he’s always checking in to see if I have new music (I will soon – promise!) and is always creating opportunities for the artists. Similarly on Correspondent – Jennifer Cardini is really passionate about the music she releases and road-tested my release in her club and festival sets. It meant she was able to even come back with feedback on the mixdown that allowed me to change it before release.
Besides Nocturne, which other labels do you keep up to date with?
Cormac’s Polari label is great – I love the new Boys Shorts on there, and there are plans for me to drop some music on there very soon (again – demos are ALMOST done!). I always check Optimo Music, Ritmo Fatale, Multi Culti, and Timmy Stewart’s Extended Play.
Who else can we expect to see on Nocturne over the next couple of months?
We’re just tieing some bits up with demos so I’m going to be confirming the schedule over the next few weeks – so I guess I’m not giving anything away.
What advice would you give to any aspiring label owners out there that are just getting started?
Start now – get better later. I spent a lot of time and money in the early years of the label investing in areas that weren’t crucial. It really is the case that if the music is good, people will play it. Build a network of trusted friends that you can send music to. If you’re on a budget, reach out to publications directly. Try and tell a story and build something that’s unique to you or your community.
And is there anything else you want to mention before we go?
Yes – check us out on Bandcamp and eternal thanks to Andreea Ilisai and Harry Card for continuing to work with me on keeping the good ship Nocturne afloat!
Man Power – Wallsend’s Finest EP is out now on Jordan Nocturne’s Nocturne label.