Beginning twelve years ago, the Sullivan Room has been at the forefront of New York City’s underground music scene. The Sullivan Room brand has launched an impressive imprint with a sturdy lineup of releases featuring Corey Baker (WildKats), Rami Deejay, Grass is Greener, The Scumfrog, Derek Marin, and a hand selected group of artists who have all at one point called “Sully” home. SoundPark sat down with founder Meandisco to talk about the vision for the imprint, future plans, and how they draw inspiration from their long running New York City tenure.
What is Sullivan Room Records? It's a musical outlet cultivated from events set up in unconventional manner to reflect on a wealthy 12 year history as New York City’s longest running underground house and techno institution. The label is an outlet not associated with today’s latest trends created by the ever growing EDM world. It will give way to the new generation of rising talent as well as the veterans who have already painted the path and continue to do so, a format which we have supported all this time. All of the artists on the label, whether well known or not have a connection through the Sullivan Room dance floor, and our support and will always be driven by sound not bias trends or hip brands. The direction and genres released on the label are diverse in the realm of house and techno, as any artists knows, when you have history behind you, the history will reflect the diversity of your sound…
Sullivan Room Records intergrades the mentality of an independent record store by introducing a series of “Sullivan Room Record Crates” released with ten exclusive singles as “picks”. Through this concept it's emphasizing the music it stands for, versus marketing the fame associated with given artists.
The record label will musically expose Sullivan Room and its sound by releasing EPs, which feature artists and music of its events, bringing the records played on its dance floor to the world.
Who makes up the creative core of Sullivan Room Records? The creative core itself has been cultivated from the inspiration of being involved in NYC nightlife. Between myself and my partner and co-founder Serge we have well over 1500 events and 30 years in music combined as event managers and DJs. The events, the talent, the support and brand recognition have given us a push forward. Serge has thought about having a label in the past, and so did I as well. The launch of Sullivan Room Records has been over two years in the making and has been my priority over other projects this past year. But as far as people behind it, it’s just me and Serge presently.
As many of our readers know, Sullivan Room (a mainstay venue in the NYC – running strong for almost 12 years and never giving up its core beliefs) recently was forced to shut its doors. Talk a little about this now that you’ve had a few days to let this upsetting news sink in. The wound is still bleeding so to speak. Since Serge opened the doors in December of 2001, the venue went through many transitions, I’ve left and came back, but it always remained a home. We planned to close this location in 2014, but being forced to shut down so abruptly against our will created a chaotic tragedy for us, mainly because our supporters and fans were not given a chance to say goodbye. We had planned a month of "closing" events with bizarre line ups and no door cover to take place as a way to say thank you to our fans, and without the opportunity to do so, we are most frustrated, as are the artists that were suppose to participate in these events... This loss hurts the most right now.
There’s a little gathering occurring in the city today regarding Sullivan Room, what’s this all about? Well, as I mentioned, our hardcore SR family was not given a chance to say farewell and we’ve received an overwhelming amount of messages (via fb, email, etc.) that a farewell ceremony needed to take place. Most importantly many of the people wanted a chance to say goodbye to AK, our legendary gate keeper since day one, and exchange phone numbers, hugs and stories. Many people have told us that they met their husbands and wives at SR, and had memorable celebrations and nights. On Friday, AK will film some of these touching and amazing stories to include in the documentary that he is currently producing.
While all good things must come to an end, we’ve been hearing that the Sullivan Room brand has big plans. Can you talk a little about this. What can we expect in the future? We didn’t expect to lose the location so abruptly, but we were working on taking the brand out of 218 Sullivan Street, hence the events in Sao Paolo and negotiations in my hometown of St Petersburg that have been taking place. And of course the label is part of that planned future. After dealing with the difficulties of canceled events and complications related to closing so suddenly we will be back on track. What can be expected in near future? Sullivan Room Records Nights, where we will take over a room at a club or venue and make it a "Sullivan Room." From certain decorations we took with us from the club to the talent that is part of our family, to the music from the label, we are looking into to hold such events monthly, and with the right circumstances bi-weekly perhaps, as a few venues and promoters are reaching out to welcome us. It's looking up internationally as well. Serge is making plans to go back to Kazantip, since 4 Sullivan Room events took place in the past there, and I have been securing record nights in Ibiza over the summer of 2014, as well as in eastern Europe, Russia, Germany, Spain and Italy.
Of course it's no secret we been looking for a new venue to call our home, but until the right one is found, we will not pursue opening. Serge and I do not plan to stop what we have committed all our lives to thus far.
Let’s talk a little about the label, what’s the inspiration here? To answer the first question, the best way to describe the inspiration would be to take the 11+ years of Sullivan Room and combine our industry and music experience. Add a strong belief in supporting local talent and the desire to expose new artists or even give way to unknown talent, and of course the personal musical direction, being resident DJs, and growing a sense of a comfort zone.
When someone says “Sullivan Room Records” what do you want people to think about? Specifically, what’s your vision for the brand? In an ideal world I would want people to "ignore" the names on the label or "popular trends" in music and just get used to listening to each track from beginning to end. I want people to remember that Sullivan Room has always been about house and techno and expect sound diversity and nonlinear direction which would allow a well-rounded experience to build sets from opening to late nights. I guess that idea, the ability to find a record on the label for different time slots of gigs, is one of the important ones. We plan the label brand to resemble and incorporate the 11 year history and our format of going forward consistently with new and specifically NYC talent, which I think is an underrated concept. Many artists here are taken for granted and are not recognized at all or as much until they go and make noise in Berlin or London.
You’ve had releases by (Corey Baler (Wildkats), Rami Deejay, Grass Is Greener, (SR Serge & Ebar), The Scumfrog, Derek Marin, Filsonik, Monaque, Danielle Nicole.... ). What are you trying to say with your current catalog? The label is only two months young and well, I think the names listed give an idea. It was important for me to launch with local talent, the soldiers of the underground and long time Sullivan Room residents. We also wanted to make a sort of a statement that we stand behind and support our “family”.
Looking forward, what can we expect in terms of future releases? Can you tease us with anything? I’m honored for the request to showcase the label and have the pleasure to do the mix showcasing the sound with a few exclusive teasers. Specifically the amazing remix of Grass Is Greener "namedropper" by the very talented boys from Riff Raff, Spacebyrdz & Baule as well as Jay Tripwire’s Raw Mix of Daniel Wilde's " SMTNG FOUR" all coming in 2014.
As far as upcoming releases, you can expect to see productions by the talent we’ve had over the years, as well as new friends, our Russian comrade Julia Govor, whose live mix at Sullivan Room is featured on SoundPark Radio. It includes another exclusive unreleased track, “Ai Need You” with INXEC, coming out in 2014. Watch out for tracks from our most frequent resident from abroad. Silky. I’ve gotten to hear a preview of one with vocals by Cari Golden and it's a bomb. As far as techno, you can expect such names as Marco Bailey and Sven Tasnadi to make appearances. We plan to update our RA page with who is on board, once we get the music, so for those interested to see the names, I would advise to check up on it there. Another thing to look forward to is the vinyl that we will soon have available.
Thousands upon thousands of people have had some fantastic memories is the little basement we all called “Sully” (some of these memories were so good, we “accidentally” forgot them), anything you’d like to close with for all those happy feet and smiling faces? It's really tough to put the decade of memories in an answer... and like you said, hehe we’ve had some “hazy” times and “afters” in our days… that would take a moment to recollect, from Tronic Treatment events witch featured everyone from Richie Hawtin to Vladislav Delay and shenanigans with Swamy and Steve Lee. But I think what’s really important is to embrace the ever loving and welcomed diversity of Sullivan Room… while hosting Feel The Spirit with Jellybean Benitez, Libation with Ian Friday, Funkbox with Tony Touch, Verboten & PTN with global talent and our own PROPAGANDA! Nights as the longest running events, we loved and cherished every party, and the crowds that came along with them… We’re looking forward in supporting our friends further as they continue their journey… and hope to keep in touch with our fans, through music releases and events we plan to host.