In March it was announced that French Electro imprint Institubes, was to be disbanded, citing financial problems after eight years of sterling service to the underground electronic music scene. In bittersweet conjunction with the sad news, came another announcement: that the new Marble label headed by Para One, Surkin and Bobmo was to continue delivering tasty French electro in Institubes’ absence. This week we caught up with Jean-Baptiste de Laubier aka Para One, for an exclusive insight into the Marble imprint and what it has in store for the EDM community.
It all kicks off after the jump…
GDD™: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us Jean. Let’s kick things off: Institubes has left behind one hell of a legacy. In what ways will you guys seek to do things differently with Marble?
PO: Yeah, we’re really proud of what Institubes has accomplished in the past, but everything in the industry has changed during the last decade, so we wanted to start fresh and come up with a very different concept. Marble’s an artist’s label, we don’t need to make money with it since the three of us can earn a living by playing gigs, or producing remixes, and getting income from publishing. We just needed a new platform to develop our own “brand”, and our careers. It’s a much lighter structure, we don’t have many expenses since we don’t have to produce actual records. It allows us to be super fast, so we’re gonna release a 12″ every three weeks for the first six months! The end of Institubes was really sad but it taught us a lot, and we took experience from that. Now, with Sound Pellegrino and Marble we can keep the family together and move on.
GDD™: Glad to hear you guys are still a unit. Sound Pellegrino definitely offer their specific feel to a track, but is there a trademark “Marble” sound that you guys are gunning for?
PO: At first, there wasn’t. But with the times, some kind of trademark sound could reveal itself naturally. We just want to release fun & clever timeless dance music, with a modern twist. So it will be very diverse, style-wise, but the spirit stays the same. The three of us are very involved in all the artistic choices we have to make for the label, so I guess our taste will shape that trademark. For example, we just started producing together as the “Marble Players” and as we were doing the second EP – due to be out before the summer – we realized that we were starting to have “Marble Players” specific moves.
GDD™: So what roles do each of you play in the label?
PO: We share studios here in Paris and we’re in everyday of the week, so it’s really easy to discuss everything all together. We obvisouly have to split work into specific tasks but for the moment we operate as a team. We have to agree to all artistic choices.
GDD™: The big question that many are asking is: will the formation and running of Marble result in a reduced touring schedule for the three of you?
PO: On the contrary, because we’re planning on putting together Marble tours. We want to produce cool parties around, with guests.
GDD™: Very cool, we look forward to hearing more about those. Are there any imprints besides Institubes that you admire and look to as almost model labels, and great inspiration for Marble?
PO: In the past, obviously, tons of labels had a huge impact on us like Strictly Rythm, Dance Mania, Relief, Trax, UR, DJ International, Hardwax, and Warp. The other day we also realized how important International Deejay Gigolos had been in the late 90’s, early naughties for us. All those labels built a huge legacy, but our concept is much closer to recent labels like our friends Sound Pellegrino. The way to put out music and promote releases has to change, and we get inspiration amongst those new, lighter structures.
GDD™: The freedom and availability of digital distribution services has opened up the musical floodgates in recent years. How tricky is it to run an independent label successfully in present day?
PO: Our answer to the difficulties of the market is: don’t count on music sales income. We’re not expecting the mp3 sales to be big enough to keep the ship afloat. We invest money in the label, we will promote parties, build partnerships, keeping the outlays as light as possible. Expecting your label to become super big by selling records is a plan that won’t work anymore, not in 2011. We could sit and be sad about it, but we decided to push forward, as it’s no use trying to hold on to what the industry was like in the past. It’s a lost cause.
GDD™: What was the vibe within the French electro scene when news broke that Institubes had disbanded?
PO: We were surprised and moved to see how big the reactions were, actually. It looks like artists, other labels and fans were very affected by it. I guess everybody took it as another warning on how fragile those independent labels are.
GDD™: How do you view the current musical climate for a newly founded French electro label? And how do you see that climate evolving in the coming years?
PO: We’re at a turning point, definitely. but French electronic music’s history is all about that, right? We had “waves” for the last three decades at least, with lots of new exciting artists coming up every time. It’s true that in the underground at least, the bangey distorted club music is fading out. We saw that coming for a while, obviously, and now all eyes are on a new generation that’s rising up at the moment; along with Club Cheval, Sound Pellegrino, Youngunz, and others, we’re proud to bring our own vision to enrich this new sound.
GDD™: Has the resurgence of 2-step, garage and uk-funky influenced your sound or ideas for future production?
PO: It has, probably. It’s natural that after years of straight 4/4 house and techno music, the rise of these new styles and beat sequences is inspiring. The English scene is like a laboratory, with English producers frequently bringing new ideas to the table even if these are sometimes recycled ideas! For our part, we have been influenced for a long time by Todd Edwards who was the originator of that style, so it’s natural to come back to it. After all, there is a lot of new exciting dance music around us, we’re eager to play each one of our gigs because of all these cool new tracks we can test out.
GDD™: How active a part do each of you play in the creative process for the other artists on your label?
PO: We are very invested in the music we want to release, even when it’s from other artists. Most of the times we open the sessions at our studio and discuss it with the guys, sometimes we can even help with a mix, add a sound, or whatever. It really depends, sometimes we just want to release a song a friend sent us as it is.
GDD™: What exciting stuff do you guys have instore for 2011 and 2012?
PO: Too much to name it all! Like I said, tons of EPs will be released this first year, and probably at least a compilation, maybe even albums. Can’t say it all for now, but you’d better stay tuned!
GDD™: Thanks for taking the time Jean, and from all of the GDD Team, we wish the three of you the best of luck with the everything.
PO: Thanks! Don’t forget to check out the “Marble Players – Marble Anthem EP“, out now on every digital platform, and also “Para One & Teki Latex – 5th Dimension” – out today:
(MRBL002) Para One & Teki Latex – 5th Dimension by Marble Music