Our series Label Love highlights (newly discovered) independent record labels.
Madrid-based label Glossy Mistakes was founded earlier this year. With an instantly sold-out spiritual jazz re-release and an introductory mix by BeatPete, we were intrigued to find out more about this young label by Mario González R.
(Header photo: Glossy Mistakes founder Mario González R.)
What’s a ‘glossy mistake’?
The name of the label and our first release have a bit of a faith story. At first, we contacted Tom Schäfer, the band leader of ethnic percussion group Om Buschman, to reissue their highly demanded Total album. Once Tom told the original label about this new project, they found a box of a few hundred copies of the original vinyl in their office’s basement! Back then, in 1988, they had not been distributed due to their matte finish—instead of glossy, as they were supposed to be. A printing error that connected the dots for the idea for my label’s name.
Also, I just got fresh information that it’s really a 1991 rendition mastered for Hi-Fi systems. I had no clue about this!
Your SoundCloud says you want to “democratize the vinyl acquisition” with Glossy Mistakes. What does this mean to you? Do you feel like the majority of other labels don’t do this enough (yet)?
Glossy Mistakes presents itself as much more than a reissue label. The purpose of the whole project is to democratize music as much as possible. To avoid speculation in vinyl. As mentioned, music should be accessible to everyone, not something elitist or snobby! Some purists might disagree with me, but that’s part of the debate about collecting records.
Is that what led you to start your own label? Frustration maybe, even?
Well, I was really disappointed as a record collector about the increasing prices of some albums on Discogs. You see, it’s really frustrating when you are after one album that you recently discovered and someone decides to put an excessive price tag to it just because he or she is the only seller! Does the price even match the quality of the product? I also see that many great labels just dedicate themselves to only one genre. Which is great because it allows you to go far and deep. The point with Glossy Mistakes is to make a world trip through unusual sounds without having any limitations in genres.
Has your own taste in music developed or changed by running your own label, since you don’t focus on one specific genre?
Of course. It makes me dig harder and harder every day. It’s very stimulating. The feeling of what’s next… Where is the next gem hidden? In a basement or on YouTube? Traveling is great for that, and I think traveling is also part of Glossy Mistakes’ DNA.
Sometimes it happens I focus on one specific genre for a while. Then I become like a freak and only listen to certain artists for a while. After some time passes, I move to another thing. A few months ago I was hooked by Colombian salsa and Cumbia. Right now, I’m more into New Wave and Japanese ambient. It makes no sense, I know. And that’s the beauty of it all.
“Music should be accessible to everyone, not something elitist or snobby! Some purists might disagree with me, but that’s part of the debate about collecting records.”
What’s the hunt like to chase the actual artists for original material?
Really, it’s the toughest part of all. As a small label that has just started, it’s quite hard to have the Sony’s and Universal’s of this world paying attention to our proposals. Sending e-mails is sometimes not enough… For example, it was really satisfying when I finally reached a Mexican composer I was chasing for quite some time—via Facebook! I somehow felt that the music wouldn’t be forever lost in time. By the way. that will be our third release: proto-electronics Mexican psychedelia. But I cannot fully share it yet…
Since starting the label earlier this year, what have been some lessons or failures you’ve learned from the most?
I’ve learned to have more patience. I come from a working environment where everything happens very quickly: I work for a branding agency, doing project management for marketing clients.
When it comes to licensing, it’s a very slow process. So you need to calm down. Also: you cannot fall in love with the reissue idea. 90% of the times you are after one specific reissue, it turns out it won’t be possible or someone else is already doing it…
Glossy Mistakes is based in Madrid. In your experience, what do you think of the local music scene there?
It’s a quite vibrant city. I’m in love with it! Of course, you cannot compare it to other European cities like Berlin, Amsterdam or London… But it has so much potential. In the last four or five years, I felt a super effort from young collectives such as Chineurs, Tómbolo, Possible Others, Self Care, or Radio Relativa to push the city towards a more innovative approach. Madrid was traditionally a “techno city” and it is great to see how it is now growing and opening up to different sounds.
How does your own record collection look like?
It looks as inconsistent as my taste. At least I organize them by genre. I have lots of LPs and 7-inches from Colombia, Peru, Puerto Rico, and Cuba. I think around one-third of my collection is from iconic labels such as Discos Fuentes or Fania. Then I have some rare records from Brazil I am really proud of. And a good selection of jazz from the States and a separate section for weird shit from Japan. That last section is dedicated to ambient, disco music, and house and techno. Lately, I play less of the latter, though.
Do you have any specific record(s) on display in your home or workplace?
Yes! I basically choose them for the cover. I have one crazy Japanese record of J-pop with some great ballads and funky songs. It’s called Green Water by 村松邦男 (Kunio Muramatsu). Check the colors!
I also have Cumbias A Go Go by Roberto Ferrer Con Orquestra De Jorge Salguero on display, and Glossy Mistake’s first release, Om Buschman’s Total. Which I think has a fantastic cover.