Turbo Records has never been stronger than they are right now with some of the world’s most provocative, forefront artists and DJs signed to its roster (check: Clouds, Azari, Sei A, Matt Walsh, Boys Noize, Erol Alkan...)- but for DJ-slash-label boss Tiga that’s still not enough. Launching his sub-label Twin Turbo (a 100% digital venture) this summer with his own track Girl At A Party With Siren under The Dove, Tiga’s taking Turbo, taking the industry into wholly new territories. Pulse's Erin Kubicki caught up with the producer-DJ-legend to talk labels and the future.
Pulse: Why set up Twin Turbo? How’s it going to work? Tiga: We have two reasons to start; we’ve wanted to start a sub-label for a while because we get a lot of music, different kind of demos and I want to be able to release more of it. The other reason is that people would say Turbo is very eclectic, there’s wider range on our label which I think is good but at the same time sometimes it’s tricky for people who are shopping or listening to a label because they come to trust one style - if a label makes a right turn it's hard (for people to stay with them). Twin Turbo is more specifically club-banger-type main-room music released only digitally - I don’t think there’s much point of releasing that style on vinyl and that’s it. It will operate parallel to the regular Turbo catalogue.
Do you feel Twin Turbo is a statement against the industry at the moment, the pressures of the internet? It’s not really a statement it’s more like a reaction in the sense that I think it’s harder and harder for a label to be open minded. People are becoming more and more specific, specific in how they shop, their taste, they’re becoming more and more niche so less and less is there a wide-spectrum solution in all areas for it so I think Twin Turbo’s a reaction to that. I personally have no problem if a record label releases a huge main-room club track and then a strange ambient record, it doesn’t bother me, but I don’t know if that’s the current state of affairs. The other thing too is that we will never stop releasing vinyl (on Turbo), we enjoy it, but vinyl really doesn’t matter that much anymore so I think moving to all digital for some stuff especially for music that people don’t need the physicality of vinyl makes sense. I think if you’re doing deep house or more experimental stuff, collector-based stuff it’s still nice to have on vinyl because then at least the people that might play it, might play it in an environment where there’ll be turntables.. If you’re releasing big idiot banger tracks that should be all CD and digital..
Do you think it’s important for artists to have some kind of physicality like vinyl? I don’t know if it matters anymore. I mean, the good thing now is that if you make something great it’s just going to happen, people are going find it - word of mouth: it spreads fast. In a lot of ways all the success that used to take a lot more work, maybe not all the financial success, you can get it without physical product. I think for myself there’s artists and there’s records that I completely adore, I play, I develop whole relationships with and I have never seen any physical product. Something like Zombie’s records, I love his records, I’ve always loved them and I’m about to for the first time ever actually buy an album. Did I love them any less because I didn’t have the records? I don’t think so, they definitely didn’t get my £10... but I think it’s nice at some point to have the physical product for the collector’s, for the community people that like to still have something on their wall and touch it (it’s small numbers though). I know for myself I would never let it go, it’s sentimental.
After launching Turbo mark-1 do you feel you’re more business-orientated now, wiser starting up Twin Turbo? In all honesty nothing with an independent label is very business orientated - it’s all a bit of a joke. If you really sat down with you’re business hat on for even an hour you’d just say right okay let’s shut down all the labels and put all our time into, I don’t know, making an app. Although I think it’s a little bit business-like in the sense that you develop a representation as a DJ, a label and because of that we get a lot of stuff that’s in this big crazy build-up style (I call it idiot music, party stuff) - we get a lot of it, some of it we love and some of it we don’t but it doesn’t sit so nicely for example next to an Azari album or a Proxy album. It’s got a different feeling, it’s more disposable so in a business sense, this (Twin Turbo) is a way to get it out and have it reach people because it deserves to. It’s more disposable, and I don’t mean that as an insult it’s just it is what it is, it’s a little bit different from the regular Turbo stuff but I don’t know if it’s strictly a business as such, I don’t think so.
How are you celebrating the launch? What are the plans for the beginning? I don’t think there are any plans yet, we’re planning on another Turbo tour, a group tour of Europe in December but nothing specifically for Twin Turbo. We haven’t planned anything yet, I think we’ll probably build up and do some quick releases like 5 or 6 and then I would imagine somewhere down the line there will be some kind of compilation possibly with some events tied into that but for now it’s just getting the tracks out. I know for myself I’ve always personally not had a great attention span, I like getting things out, that’s how I am with my own music, that’s how I am with all the projects I do. You have an idea, you make it and you just release it and I like that cycle being very, very quick. That’s what I’ve always loved about dance music and 12”s. Twin Turbo’s like that; you get a cool track, you like it, you put it out and there’s not a big campaign built around it, there’s no master strategy it’s quite simple in that respect.
What’s your role in the labels? Has it changed? Last year we set up a new office at home with a little studio too so that was kind of an effort to have me around the labels more. It’s changed over the years though. I used to really do everything. I’ve gone through every stage from physically stamping and mailing things to doing nothing at all and back again. My brother Thomas Von Party - he’s really in charge now, he really does the label. Traditionally anything that the world would see or hear was my jurisdiction so graphics, titles, words, how things were presented. Names, track-orders I’ve done with my brother, it was more 50/50 - but more and more now it’s unrealistic. If a Renaissance album is waiting for me to say what I think the title is and I haven’t slept in three days, I’m on tour- it’s not good business. The label has been growing a lot recently though, the crazy thing is that we probably had our best year ever last year which is quite rare: we’re hiring more people, it’s growing, it’s doing really well and I would say I’m trying to get a little further out. There’s a good staff now. What I find that’s really cool is that there’s so many kids that know so much, they're really, really, very knowledgable, they have a lot of good ideas and we’re just kind of getting more and more good ideas from them, from interns, finding interesting stuff.
Is there anyone your pretty excited about releasing this year? I’m really into Clouds right now. I’ve moved away in general from that harder, kind of chaotic stuff but still. For me Proxy always stood apart because of their quality and Clouds have grown to a similar place. They have a new record with 5 or 6 new tracks that will probably spread over 2 singles which are really, really great tracks. It’s taken a notch down in the chaos department and gone a little bit deeper and meaner. I think it’s not so hard to make a great record but to keep making good records and to improve it’s very hard and I think Clouds are improving. On Twin Turbo though, there’s a guy at our office who made a record he’s called Bordello, he’s got something coming out on the label - it’s a really great acid track. Twin Turbo’s also good because it’s nice to do things from more up and coming, newer names and artists so we’re working on a lot of that at the moment..
Are you ever influenced by the artists you sign to your own label? Yes definitely, for sure. I’m influenced by everybody. I have no problem.. I’ll steal from anyone. I remember when I was really young and I’d already been DJing for a while, I owned a big nightclub and every week we would book these very big established DJs from all over the world. At that time I was a nobody, nobody was booking me anywhere, I was getting a $100 a night but I knew every record, I really, really knew my shit. I would have all these big name established DJs and a lot of the time they were pretty mediocre: they didn’t know all the records, they had huge reputations, they had done a lot but it proves that the irony a lot of the time is the kids with no name and the kids with no money are the ones who are razor sharp, there’s exceptions obviously, but the kids are hungry and they’re spending a lot of time working on their tracks, they have a lot of good ideas because they’re not jaded, they’re not spoilt yet so definitely I’m influenced by them. I think in general if you surround yourself with new talent you’re going to get good ideas. Also it’s really important to get inspired by the energy. It’s nice when things are new to people. I remember when I started working with Brodinski and we started releasing his records he was such a breath of fresh air. He was so excited about everything, every party he would play it meant so much because it was new and that‘s contagious; that’s a nice energy to have around. I mean Boys Noize isn’t new anymore but there was a time when he was and right now definitely someone like Gesaffelstein are a big influence I think on a lot of people, he came out of nowhere but he’s very focussed, he’s got a really good sound, definite ideas and I’m specifically influenced by him.
What’s for you and the labels now? Me and the label are going in different directions: I’m finishing up touring then starting work up on my next album - it’s separate. Although there’s a ZZT album that I did with Zombie Nation that’s coming out on Turbo in November - I’m very proud of that one, that should be good. For the label, we have a lot of work up ahead because we have the ZZT album, the Renaissance Man album and the Proxy album which are all kind of on deck, we’re also very involved with the Azari & III album and albums take a lot of work. There’s quite a lot going on, I can’t really say but we’re getting a lot of fantastic singles coming soon. What’s amazing is that we’re starting to get demos from quite established people who I guess are starting to see us as a nice outlet, that really feels great. I think we’re probably doing something for Mathew Johnson, there’s a couple of big UK guys that I don’t want to say yet but that’s going to happen - there’s a lot of stuff on the horizon.
Do you guys feel content with Turbo right now, are you in a good place? I think we’re as happy as you can be considering the state of everything. Sales can be discouraging, there’s still things that are discouraging, that’s not gonna change. It’s a very, very strange state of affairs where you can work really hard, the artists, everyone can work hard on something and it can sell so little that it’s honestly like it never happened at all. You know, you ask yourself sometimes what’s the point of of it but overall we’re happy. The most important thing is I feel now is that we have a good bunch of people, a good bunch of talented people, we’re well organised and I think we’re happy.. I’m not pessimistic as long as we’re all working, everybody’s having fun - that’s it. Every day is music, we’re talking about music, we’re excited.
The debut release on Twin Turbo is out today from The Dove (Tiga and Jesper Dahlback). For more information, head here