The unlikely chemistry of two distinct artists is the key to Azimute’s success thus far. Serialism founder Cesare Marchese (aka Cesare vs Disorder) and Philippe Quenum met in Berlin in 2012 thanks to a good old friend, Sierra Sam. Quenum had already released an EP on Marchese’ label, but the pair had not yet met.
After finally crossing paths in person, the two began working together and travelling for label showcases before deciding to start a joint project. “We realized we had a lot of things in common and definitely matched as friends and brothers,” says Marchese. “We have different point of views on music because we come from two different decades but the common liking for the same type of music gels us together.”
Marchese’s label has gained massive international recognition for its artist roster and wide array of eclectic releases and collaborations. The label’s productions vary from elegant refined house to slow techno and soulful grooves. Since its beginnings in 2007, Serialism has released and collaborated with names like Maceo Plex, Cassy, Mathew Jonson, Quenum, Tale of Us, Maayan Nidam and Cesar Merveille, and gained support from Loco Dice, Sven Vath, Marco Carola, Derrick May, Tini, Seth Troxler, Laurent Garnier and more.
We spoke to Serialism’s head honcho on the key ingredients of the label’s longevity, market saturation and if the two of them make a good tennis duo.
You’re celebrating 10 years of Serialism this year, how true have you stayed to the music policy you established in 2007?
2017 marks a milestone for Serialism Records. It is a big goal for me and the family: 10 years in this industry is a long time. I’ve got to say I've always kept the music policy special from the first moment. Of course the main idea has developed through the years but the way we research and select the music is the same. Always with the same passion but with that experience we have accumulated in 10 years travelling and playing and learning all over the world.
You’ve constantly mentioned that your differences inspire you. Can you explain how those differences help you as collaborators?
We are total opposites, Quenum is relaxed and picky in everything he touches. He is always studying something before throwing himself into it. Cesare is always full of energy, working on loads of ideas at the same time, with that hint of confusion (hence the Cesare vs Disorder moniker) that inspires him in every move. We have learned a lot from each other, balancing one another daily but consequently helping the whole process of making music to be a defined product.
What are the key ingredients in sustaining a successful record label?
A lot of work, a lot of love and passion and a stubborn persistence to make and promote what really represents you.
Has selecting artists for the label becoming more of a challenge with more producers sprouting at a faster pace?
Not at all, but as a personal policy we prefer to produce artists we love and share similar experiences with, who we know are real and live and “eat” the music as we do on a daily basis. That is unless something magical comes along and in this scenario we make an exception and are open to meet the creator.
Azimute Music is meant for limited edition releases, how often do you see the label dropping new records?
We have released three records to date: Azimute RED, YELLOW and GREEN. The BLUE is still a work in progress. We’re planning no more than two or three records yearly; we don't want to over saturate the market. The same rule is applied in Serialism but because it caters to a larger crowd, we will be releasing more production.
Does the music criteria differ from Serialism?
Yes and no. Firstly, Azimute Music only releases Azimute’s productions, which are limited editions on 12” vinyl. The label leans towards a more minimal direction featuring strong and elegant grooves with a story behind. Since the beginning Serialism has churned out multiple genre releases, more eclectic I would say. It’s always classy and special but it varies from deep house to minimal, and techno with hints of dubstep, hip hop, break beats and jazz. Each artist bring their own signature style so we don’t even try to pigeonhole our music policy..
Electronic music artists release music on various labels unlike pop artists. Why is it necessary to release material in other labels when one has their own label?
We produce so much music and our own platforms wouldn't be enough to showcase it all. But I guess nowadays releasing music on different good labels can open doors to new possibilities. Like every party. Every label has its own followers and if you release or play with different teams you will have access to a wider pool of people. It also works the other way around. Artists who are recognised for their distinct style are grouped to a certain music collective and this can create a loyal following.
Advances in technology have allowed more producers to create and release music, but do you think this has made the market over saturated?
Technology has made music and creative fields like fine arts, photography and visual arts pretty accessible. When it comes to music the new generation has a much easier process to go through, which is a good thing because makes it gives them an unlimited quick and dynamic way to produce and create. But, at the same time, it has also helped the spread of a "too easy" way to achieve a complete product, which doesn’t mean that it is always good.
This could confuse listeners from recognising real innate talent from those who seek instant fame through rushed production processes that lack a lot of research. The ones who have knowledge in music generally understand the difference right away but those new to the scene won’t be able to detect it. This will create a complete mess in the industry by creating an oversaturated market in the club bookings and the music releases.
You make great music together, is there anything else the two of you would be great together? Tennis maybe?
We do a lot of things together! For instance, we run and train together when we tour, we love to discover local delicacies and cultures, we love to try the local food wherever we travel together, we love watching movies and getting inspired from it, to talk about it and observe it and go deeper into it. We love going to museums and art galleries too. Overall, we are good mates but what we do best together is definitely music.
Summer is where people get excited for festival season, do you feel the same way? Do you prefer club or festival gigs?
It's a different feeling for us to play at clubs and festivals. Clubbing is a more intimate affair while we are a bit detached from the crowd at festivals - it’s a bit more “impersonal”. Having said that we don't get inspired by a particular clubber or their dance moves in front of the booth but at festivals we observe the large crowd of people moving in and out. They radiate a lot of energy on a much bigger scale.
We love both because of the totally different experiences and the different energies we get out of it. And no, we are not just excited for summer - it’s always festival season when you travel all throughout the year.
Which festival(s) in your opinion are still worth the fuss today?
Sonus Festival in Croatia is a cool experience for sure, Off Sonar in Barcelona is always at the level, ADE in Amsterdam is a very professional experience and of course DEMF in Detroit is a classic although we haven’t participated in it for a few years now. I would also suggest Epizode Festival in Phu Quoc Island in Vietnam. It is a brand that will grow fast especially with the amazing location and lineup. Air Festival in Gili Air (Indonesia) is also worth mentioning, Umbria Jazz Festival in Italy is undeniably dope and we can name many more.