Our series Label Love highlights (newly discovered) independent record labels.
Beat label Fennek Records is based in Mannheim, Germany and dropped its debut release one month ago: Poltergeist by Moshuss & Hanses, consisting of beats solely made with Japanese samples–including drums. The 10″ record comes in five different versions (editions of 50) with silk-screened illustrations inspired by Japan.
Poltergeist marks the start of Fennek’s own direction: a series of 10″ records, short beats, special covers and limited runs. To find out more about the things to come, we got in touch with Heinrich a.k.a. Shaga, one-half of Fennek Records.
Fennek Records is a brand new label. What do you strive to add to the huge wave of new independent labels?
Our concept is to release only 10″ records. We think it’s a special format and you don’t see them that often. We think it’s cool to have a clear vision and topic for every physical record we release. Like in the case of Poltergeist: only Japanese samples. We will work together with Czolk (design) and hopefully the silk-screen and print people at Antighost for further releases. Our plan is to have a continuous design and style for our future 10″ records.
Another part of our concept is to have short beats only (around a minute) put together in a mixtape-like set. So that listeners can enjoy a varied, entertaining record. For digital releases we don’t have a strict formula.
Who are the people behind Fennek, or is it a one-man-mission?
Fennek Records is operated by Hanses and I (Shaga). We know each other since we met in Stuttgart back in 2011. Since then, we’ve always shared our beats with each other, and one day we decided to start a label to share our music and the music of our friends. We are open for new artists, but we really want to connect personally. That’s also why we visited all record stores ourselves. We like the direct real-life contact and we think it’s very important. It helps to connect ideas and to gain friends and collaborators.
“We are open for new artists, but we really want to connect personally and as friends. That’s also why we visited all record stores ourselves. We think direct real-life contact is very important.”
Fennek’s debut 10″ is something special: fully using Japanese samples. Please tell us a bit about the digging process: was it a dream trip through Japan, or another type of quest?
Unfortunately, we never visited Japan. It all started with the idea of sampling only Japanese music. Around that time, Hanses and Moshuss found out that Zabbermusic–a record store in Mannheim–has a nice collection of Japanese records. This was the foundation for our 10″. But it’s demanding and expensive to find everything you need on vinyl, so we also used samples we found on the internet, especially for the drums.
Any personal highlights you’ve found while going through all the music?
There are a lot of gems we found while searching through Japanese music. To share a few:
And of course some songs not traceable via YouTube–at least not with latin letters…
You’ve never been to Japan, so what fascinates you exactly about Japanese music?
It was very interesting for us to find out that many Japanese songs and albums are western-orientated. There is a lot of 80s pop music, a lot jazz fusion, and all kinds of genres such as psychedelic music, rock, soul and reggae which were popular in Europe, the US, and all over the world, really. But at the same time, it was music we have never heard of before.
To me, that’s a fascinating combination. But it’s a pity that we couldn’t find too many records featuring traditional Japanese music…
“Stepping Stones by Twit One started my love for 10″ vinyl records.”
What’s next for Fennek Records?
We’re planning to release a 10″ with Kill Emil. We visited him and had a really good time. He showed us his first draft for the A-side a few weeks ago. With pressing and screen-printing the covers, you can’t really plan on schedule. So we have to see how many 10″ releases there will be this year. But the Kill Emil 10″ is pretty sure to be released in 2019.
Digitally there will be some output as well. The Intern and dédé have a remix project up their sleeves. Tonzeit and myself have an EP or mini-album ready to master. So things start to roll, but it’s a question when it all happens…
Assuming you’re a record collector yourself as well? How does your collection look like?
It’s around 1.000 records and it’s ordered by genre and alphabetically per genre. If I do not have enough from one artist to give it its own register, I’ll put it together with other releases from the same label. My most valuable record is the one my sister made for me. It’s full of my first beats with really bad sound quality. But it’s unique and I never hoped for a present that cool. Besides that, maybe Stepping Stones by Twit One, which started my love for 10″ records.