Dayne S, Robosonic, Superlover, Format:B, Ante Perry, Dennis Cruz, these are just a small fraction of the kind of artists that have released on Tube & Berger and Juliet Sikora’s Kittball Records. Since launching in 2006 the German imprint has been responsible for some of the biggest tunes in European house music, and they show no sign of taking their foot off the gas.
We spoke to the label bosses for our Label Mates series to find out what they think of the music industry in it’s current digitally driven form, what records are to come on Kittball in the future and why they do what they do among other things.
Kittball Records first launched in 2005, tell us about the hustle of putting out your first releases?
Tube: It wasn’t too hard as the first releases were our own tracks. The funny thing was that we had prank call bonus tracks on the first few vinyls. God that was so funny.
And what is your typical day to day regarding the label, do you manage it yourself or is there a team behind the curtain?
Tube: Nothing works without a good team. We soon realized that there is much more work to do than just listening to music and deciding what to release. That’s when Juliet came on board and brought order to the chaos.
What is the hardest role managing a label that people might not know about?
Juliet: It has to be a labour of love if you decide to found your own label. All the extra work and stress, everything is timed and scheduled accurately, you have to work on point, but it’s not only the regular label management you have to take care of, tax office, PR, managing your own label showcases, handling the publishing, collection the neighbouring rights, merchandise, etc. 1 million tasks to handle.
What is your opinion on the current landscape of dance music, with the dominant power of platforms like Spotify and YouTube, in comparison to how it was maybe 10, 20 years ago?
Juliet: Around 2003 we talked about “Managing the downturn of physical distribution in electronic music,” we managed it well. The MP3 and of course the Pioneer CDJ changed the sales in our industry significantly. Even labels stopped promoting their releases by sending vinyl, sending an MP3 via E-mail was much cheaper and easier. We are still in progress of change, the MP3 market is dying nowadays, sooner or later it will be possible to stream your music in the club, I’m pretty sure about that and what this means for the market, hmmm… I don´t know, next time we’ll talk about “managing the downturn of downloads.”
Tube: Nothing to add here. We spoke about this a lot the past months. The industry makes it very hard to actually own music nowadays. We were shocked when we heard that Apple will close down the iTunes Store. Strange times…
And there are thousands of new tracks coming out everyday, what has been the key to keeping Kittball above water in a sea of mediocre music?
Juliet: Gold digging; finding new talent and new music, is like hunting for gold and if you’re lucky enough to discover someone, it makes all that listening to hundreds and hundreds of demos worth it.
Tube: Sometimes it gets a little bumpy and whenever we feel Kittball needs a refresh we sit down and changed things. We always try to stay dynamic and open minded for a change. In our opinion these are the reasons we still exists.
What record on your label are you most proud to have put out?
Juliet: Though to decide. LOVEBREAK is one of them.
Tube: Our charity compilation ‘It Began In Africa’ is something we are really proud of. There will be a third edition by the end of this year btw.
And who can we expect music from on Kittball Records in the near future?
Juliet: New music is incoming by Tube & Berger and me of course. Black Girl / White Girl serving the next release on Kittball incl. a remix by me. Then we have our next Kittball Konspiracy Vol.16 incl. exclusive tracks by various artists.
Tube: Josh Butler just finished a remix for our recent single E Samba 2018 featuring Junior Jack and our album remixes are in the pipeline as well. Here we have Illyus & Barrientos, Flo MRZDK together with Juliet, Teenage Mutants and many more.
Lastly, where do you see the label in a few years time?
Juliet: Still serving quality electronic music, we do what we love, and we do it with passion. If we lose it, we will lose Kittball.
Tube: Absolutely true. The day might come when none of us understands electronic music anymore and that’s when we will stop. But for now… we’re not going anywhere.