Tracking Imprints: Tieffrequent
Deeper frequencies always stir EDHID’s blood and occasionally you can feel the enthusiasm behind a label’s philosophy. We recently discovered Berlin-based vinyl-only label Tieffrequent that immediately convinced us with an authentic vision. Having an interesting artist roster that combines scenes in Frankfurt and Berlin, Tieffrequent just released its catalogue number five by Rubrique few weeks ago so it’s time for an EDHID chat.
Hi! Who are behind Tieffrequent and what are their respective musical backgrounds?
Tieffrequent (TFQ) is run by Siggi Tunezia from Berlin who got his musical roots in his father’s funk and soul record collection and the golden age of hip hop around the late ’90s. He has a passion for all that Motown stuff as well as new music from artists like José James or the whole Daptones clique. His interest in electronic music actually aroused during his time in Frankfurt, where he used to live about 8 years before his move to Berlin in 2012. Siggi played the piano for quite a while, so he is familiar with theoretical approaches to music as harmonies and other musical aspects. He also had a little period when he was into this strange euro dance thing as a childish boy, but do not tell it to anybody (smiling).
When did you launch Tieffrequent and what is the vision of label?
Tieffrequent was launched as a vinyl-only label in March 2013 with a focus on deep house music simple because that’s the music we all like (smiling). At the same time, however, it also tries not to limit its view on musical genres too much. The main idea behind Tieffrequent was to create a platform for artists and mainly friends to get in contact about music and build a wider network.
How would you describe the label’s sound aesthetic? Should people be able to associate a certain sound with a label?
There is no specific sound aesthetic but a focus on musicality. If a track sounds interesting and catches Siggi’s attention, then it is a decision of the moment if a track fits in or not. TFQ004 by Mudegg for example got lots of discoid elements. In comparison to that, TFQ002 by Siggatunez or TFQ003 by Johannes Albert & Monosoul are pure (classic) deep house releases. The current release by Le Rubrique could also be described as deep house but if you listen to it carefully, you will recognise the diversity of it.
What is the challenge of A&R work nowadays?
Actually all the artists on Tieffrequent so far are out of a circle of friends but more and more unknown artists are sending demos to us directly via email. For a small label it is difficult to react to a bigger amount of requests and the Tieffrequent schedule is already sorted out for the rest of the year. However, the challenge eventually should be to give talented artists and musicians a possibility for an output as far as capacities allow.
What kind of stage performances (DJ/Live-act) can we expect from Tieffrequent artist? Do you plan label showcases?
We aim to have at least one release party for each catalogue number. For the TFQ005 there will be one release event in Frankfurt and another one in Berlin. Le Rubrique is going to perform his first live set in this context, where he is going to use 2 MPC’s, 1 synthesizer, effect pedals and a mixing device. We all are very curious about that (smiling). As the label, all Tieffrequent artists are passionate about vinyl and use it for their DJing.
We read recently a provocative quote as ‘when u release ‘vinyl-only’ you aren’t actually only releasing vinyl. You’re just letting someone else release it digitally.’ What influenced your decision to have only physical releases and how did your international fan base respond to it?
This is not easy to respond to. Sometimes people write a line via email or Soundcloud and ask for a digital copy. This shows that there is quite a big interest for what happens on Tieffrequent. If there is a connection to the ones who ask for it, we occasionally send out digital copies but this happens rarely. Siggi loves vinyl and for him good music needs to be released on wax. In the end, it’s a personal thing.
What is your approach to sleeve design and artwork?
It makes sense to think about something like a corporate design so that people associate and recognise music of Tieffrequent via the design as well. All artworks have been created by Vanessa Vadineanu, a female artist from Berlin. She often works with paintbrush, watercolour or acryl and uses different techniques to create an individual painting or collage for each release. Normally there is an unprinted paper cover with a hole in the middle so that you can see the colour print on the center cover. TFQ004 was the only release which had a different layout according to the releasing artist’s wish and imagination.
Do you have a preferred mastering studio?
All the TFQ-releases were mastered by Andreas Kauffelt at Schnittstelle in Frankfurt. The collaboration was always great.
How important is video, social media and the selection of the right distribution company for promoting the label’s output nowadays?
Somehow social media seems really important. Even more important than we all like, I think (smiling). It takes a lot of time and energy to spread a release and get all the people informed. Personal contacts to other musicians and collectives seem very important. It makes no sense to let an agency do the promotion for you because you lose the connection to the people then. Does it actually make sense for a consumer/artist to receive dozens of promotion emails per week? I would rather say that creativity is required (smiling). A good thing is getting in touch via personal contacts with artists, blogs, magazines and platforms which you like and try to sort something out about which both sides are happy with. Sending vinyl to people with a personal note has the best effect. In case you want to work with a distribution, it is really important to choose the right one. It is necessary that some aspects work out properly like the communication or the way your release is promoted by the distribution itself. Right now it is not too easy to find a distribution at all because of the huge demand from a plethora of labels. All Ears from Sheffield are doing a great job for Tieffrequent at the moment.
What’s next at Tieffrequent?
There are 2 or 3 more releases planned for 2015 but this depends on how all the processes (mastering, cut, pressing, delivering) are working. Right now, pressing plants got too many requests so that they’re not really able to get things sorted out quickly. Everything takes a little longer at the moment. Upcoming TFQ-releases will be by Jan Ketel, Sello & Ron Deacon & Filburt (RDF).
Le Rubrique’s The Art Of Loving EP is out via Tieffrequent since 01 January 2015.