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.
In May 2010 a collection of swirling disco samples emerged from New York – under an unheard of alias, Malvoeaux (Aka Steve Summers) – initialising the Brooklyn based imprint record label known as L.I.E.S. (Long Island Electrical sound systems), although it wasn’t until 2012 that the label really got the attention it deserved.
Frontman, Ron Morelli, has being running the label for just under 4 years from his makeshift office and recording studio, just off of his kitchen. Even before founding the label, Morelli breathed music and accomplished many highly sought after goals: from working at A-1 Records to playing music in some of the best clubs across the world. Morelli’s talent as a label director is flawless; alongside his capability to release trains of high quality underground music, is his ability to fish out the best new producers from the current sea that we are drowning in. It’s not just the artists and the music that make L.I.E.S. so special, it’s the careful precision in the manner of release, diminishing pre-release hype and post-release evaluation. Instead, a blank canvas is left for the producers and their music to be judged alone, as they should be.
This unique release etiquette has resulted in the spotlight being shifted to the aura of the label – rather than the individual artists – guided solely by Morelli’s remarkable clairvoyance for perfection. It’s not that L.I.E.S. has one particular sound that it can be described by, there are many. Although wide and diverse, they all manage to evoke the same distinct phenomenal feeling. Tags on their Soundcloud read “Trust in Pain’, “parking lot and rent-a-cop jam” and “anti-beat.” Each of these capture the mysterious sounds coming from the label, every one different, meaning that no one knows exactly what’s going to surface next, nor can they predict it.
Many artists of the cult have received elevation from being pretty much no one, to being the name on everyone’s lips, just from their outstanding performances within the label. Florian Kupfer – for example – was brought to the public’s attention out of nowhere in March of last year with his debut white label on L.I.E.S. titled ‘Lifetrax’. The record sold out almost immediately, has been repressed twice already and one of its tracks appeared at number 2 in Resident Advisor’s top 50 tracks of 2013, proving it wasn’t just your average producer’s debut release. Whilst this particular type of reaction to releases is an alien concept to a lot of record labels, it has become almost intrinsical to L.I.E.S.. It’s not easy to say where the label will be this time next year but, as long as Morelli is in charge, it’s inevitably going to be somewhere interesting.
Words: Kirstin Valente