Label Mates: Spektre / Respekt Recordings

Few names have resonated throughout UK techno during the last decade or so as that of Leeds natives Spektre. The pair have not only released original music with some of the genre’s biggest imprints, but grown their own Respekt Recordings into a serious player in club music as a whole.

Since their last appearance on our Label Mates feature, Respekt has brought us music from the likes of OC & Verde, Gary Burrows, Sam Kitt, and Shay De Castro, and they’re about to roll out a massive double-header from the label owners themselves.

We welcome them back to Inflyte for a chat about all things Respekt, where we touch on how they handled things during the different periods of lockdown, how they approach the topic of signing new music, and what else they might have coming to our speakers in the near future, Read the full interview with Spektre below.

We previously had you on Label Mates back in 2019 and things have been quite eventful since then, how did you find running things with a label throughout a pandemic?

Rich: Obviously it was a difficult time for us, as a label that releases dancefloor focused techno. When there are no dancefloors, it becomes a little challenging. But when you are thrown into a situation that you can’t control with so much uncertainty, sometimes the way forward is to focus on the things that you can control. Because we work six to nine months ahead with our release schedule, it would have been hard to just put things on hold indefinitely. The general consensus from the artists on the label was to continue releasing to get the music out there despite the situation. In the end we chose to slow the release schedule slightly but keep things moving nonetheless. Most artists continued to put out live streams, mixes, and generally stay productive, so the music we released still had value, albeit in a slightly different way.

And since then, you’ve released music from names like Gary Burrows, OC & Verde, and Shay De Castro, what’s your typical approach to signing new music?

Paul: We’re always listening for tracks that strike a chord with us musically, while also sounding fresh. If we get a demo that sounds like a carbon copy of the Beatport top 100, then it won’t be getting signed! We love working with artists to get the best out of their tracks. So, if we get a demo where the idea is killer, but the production needs a bit of work, then often we’ll give feedback, and help to get it to its full potential.

Rich: The most important thing for us when signing new music to the label is the desire to play the tracks in our sets. We always try to test the demos we get sent to see the reaction on the dancefloor, and this is the real decider as to which music we want to release. We are always looking for tracks that stand out from the norm, and have something memorable that draws you in and makes you want to listen again. Hopefully this translates to our followers and leads them to listen, stream, and support the output of the label.

As artists you’ve released your own music with imprints such as Drumcode and Filth on Acid, what lessons have you transferred from working with those guys to running your own label?

Rich: It’s difficult to say what lessons you learn from other labels, as you never truly know what they are looking for. Communication is key when you are running a label, as it’s important to make sure everyone involved is informed and on the same page. Planning ahead to achieve the desired results is also important. But to be honest, we first must be true to ourselves, and the ethos of the label. Respect the artists and the music that we believe in, as it’s always a team effort.

Paul: Through our many years in the music industry, we’ve worked with loads of labels, some like those you mentioned do things professionally, but there are others that don’t. Whilst we’re not a huge operation, all our artists get their statements on time, proper contracts, and are paid what they’re owed. I know that probably sounds like it should always be the case, but it definitely hasn’t been in our experience, so we try to do things right!

Who might we expect to see releasing on Respekt in the coming months?

Paul: The next two EPs are actually both from us – we haven’t done two Spektre releases back-to-back since the label’s early years, but we’ve got so much new music to get out that we decided to schedule them thick and fast.

Rich: Yeah, and following on from those, we have releases from rising talent, a debutant by Crossbow from the US, label regulars Bolster, and a Respekt Reworks EP with some remixes by artists from the label’s family.

What labels, besides Respekt, are you keeping up to date with the most right now?

Rich: I’m particularly feeling the output from Victor Ruiz’s new label Volta which has had some huge releases so far, also Oliver Heldens latest label project HILOMATIK.

Paul: I’ve loved Enrico Sangiuliano’s Nine to Zero concept, and Thomas Schumacher’s Electric Ballroom always delivers.

What goals have you set for Respekt? For the next 1, 5, 10 years, etc.?

Paul: We’ve never had a masterplan to speak of, but always get a kick out of seeing music that we’ve signed or produced get support from other people, so the only real goal is just to keep on keeping on.

Rich: Respekt was always meant to be an outlet for our own music while also being a platform to showcase other musical talent that we believe in. We love signing music by people from all parts of the world, and to fulfil the potential of the label we will continue to do this for the longest time possible.

Is there anything else you want to talk about before we go?

Paul: The first part of the Spektre double-header, Our ‘Delusion of Choice’ EP is out on October 13th, and we can’t wait for the world to hear it.

Rich: We’ve also dug deep into our vinyl collections and put together a special Mutual Respekt podcast to coincide with these releases, which features a whole host of classic records from the late ‘90s and early 2000s that have been a huge inspiration to both of us over the years. There is a healthy dose of nostalgia for your listening pleasure.

Spektre – Delusion Of Choice EP is out October 13th on Respekt Recordings.