Our Record Label of the Week series allows our writers to connect with their audience in a different manner; instead of presenting a new song they enjoyed or showcasing an artist they saw live, they attempt to explain the relevance and powerful presence of an entire label. Whether it houses a plethora of genres, or sticks to a specific theme, this series aims to provide students with a glimpse backstage – at the men and women that devote their lives to offering us the music that we care so passionately about.
Inner vision [noun]: seeing one’s inner self
Innervisions record label was founded in 2005 by Steffen Berkhanh. Better known under his alias Dixon, Steffen was later joined by Frank Wiedemann and Kristian Beyer, who together form one of the most successful label’s acts, Âme. Formerly the sub-label of Sonar Kollektiv, Innervisions went independent and started to release outstanding pieces of innovative and profound house. Innervisions is all about a forward thinking and different approach to music. Label owners Dixon and Âme don’t follow up on successful releases and deliver the same music continuously. No, they hand-pick their music and release only something they love, something they think is the next step.
When it comes to Innervisions, quality comes before quantity. With an average of six EPs being released per year, you can imagine how much they have to filter their tracks. Luckily, Steffen, Frank and Kristian have very similar taste in music, so no major confrontations happen. Their EPs are mostly works of in-house artists including Dixon and Âme, Marcus Worgull and Henrik Schwartz. Although all their releases deserve recognition, I am just going to name my favourite tech-house: ‘Rej’ by Âme, ‘Lost in a Moment’ beautifully edited by Dixon, and Marcus Worgull’s ‘Lenoix’. Guest releases also make a frequent appearance: Ingenious Agoria’s ‘Scala’; Ten Walls with his hit ‘Gotham’; the classic masterpiece ‘Back to my Roots’ by Laurent Garnier and Innervisions’ latest EP, ‘Creep remixes’ (released yesterday) are clear representations of why quality matters to the label.
Because of the careful selection and personal approach to released material, you can feel the âme (French for ‘soul’) on every EP. You can feel the person and the face behind the music. This personal connection with the listener is not something that every label has. Innervisions’ artists support their EPs by playing the records in true label style – intimate, personal, innovative. Innervisions showcases are always sell-out events with people buying tickets or waiting in the long queues for hours just to be part of what is a night of magic.
The label owners pay close attention not only to the music that they release, but also to the way their EPs look. Every single EP cover is a piece of art. There is a clear link between the different EPs, yet every single one is distinct. Again, we witness the quality before quantity rule; Innervisions doesn’t save money on anything they produce. Everything has to be thought through, every small detail matters.
Innervisions is more than just a platform to release music – it is way of expressing of the vision of people behind it. The label have even published a book, ‘Lost and Sound. Berlin, Techno and the Easyjet set’ by Tobias Rapp, that discusses Berlin and electronic music, Berlin and rave tourism and Berlin and everything that happens there. The label also has its own web-shop where they sell their own releases, as well as the records by other labels. Needless to say, these records are carefully chosen as well.
Innervisions is definitely one of the most influential labels to date. With Dixon chosen as the best DJ and Âme being the second best live act of 2013, according to the readers of the reputed electronic music magazine ‘Resident Advisor’. 2013 was definitely one of the label’s best years so far. But they definitely still have a lot to offer in 2014, and beyond.
Words: Nazira Kassenova