Mark Barrott is founder of International Feel Recordings, a label that was, until recently, based in Punta Del Este. That Barrott should have set up shop on Uruguay’s Atlantic Coast rather than any of the more orthodox electronic music strongholds goes some lengths in articulating how unconventional the imprint was from the outset. This enforced isolation was used by Barrott as a means to divorce his label from external factors, to essentially opt out of an increasingly homogeneous music culture. Furthermore, it’s helped shape IF into one of the more interesting outposts in contemporary house and disco. Since its inauguration in 2009, IF has released records by the likes of Locussolus, Maxxi & Zeus, and Hungry Ghost (alternative guises for DJ Harvey, Matt Edwards and Gatto Fritto, to name a few), and, with its attention to detail, has ensured that many of their releases have become desirable artifacts in an age of disposable megabytes. This month all these sought after—and expensive if you’re in the Discogs or eBay market—tracks are collected together for the first time on the label’s first double CD compilation called, imaginatively, A Compilation. A move which also represents “a line in the sand” for Barrott. Fresh from clearing out his Uruguay offices and relocating to Ibiza, we got Barrott on the phone to talk about the label and what the new chapter has in store for this most boutique of boutique labels.
Mark, for the last couple of years you pitched your tent in Uruguay—quite an uncommon place for a label headquarters. Electronic music usually interacts with its social environment and the urban scenery in which it takes place. International Feel, however, seems to be independent of any backdrop.
Originally I left England twelve years ago for Berlin’s Prenzlauer Berg. Then we moved to the middle of nowhere in Italy, then back to Berlin and from there to Uruguay. Only two weeks ago we ran ashore in Ibiza.
It’s my wife and me. She’s a German from the Schwarzwald.
Why did you relocate so often with your label?
For economic reasons actually. In Berlin we had a really big house with a beautiful garden. But the owner would only do rentals in five-year periods, which meant that when we were edging closer to the end of the circle we began resisting a commitment for another five years. So we thought why not move somewhere exotic? We figured that all we needed was a really fast internet connection, so we started looking at interesting places. We had a list: Australia looked too expensive, Eastern Europe had too much corruption… Then we started looking more at South America until we finally picked Uruguay. We just bought a house, grabbed our cat and moved. There was no kind of major plan.
You lived there for three years.
It’s a long way away from everywhere. You get on a plane in Montevieo and it says, “Madrid: 10,000 kilometers”. Our parents are getting to point where it would be good for us to be close, you know?
Was it economic factors that drove the decision to move there too?
Uruguay people may find this really strange but the country became extremely expensive to live in. I don’t mean the countryside, but for us in Punte del Este—which is the most international place—it’s almost unaffordable. For example: The coldest month is August and our heating bill for last august was about 1,000 dollars!
I feel like a rich man since I’ve been in Ibiza.
And compared to Uruguay, Ibiza is well-situated on the map of electronic music. It seems important for electronic music enterprises to have an appropriate social backdrop—record stores, art collectives and a vivid club scene for example.
Right, there’s no such scene in Uruguay at all. The clubs in the high summer season play ringtone house music, and David Guetta is coming in too. But this can also be an advantage, because the limitation of possibilities sharpens your sense for what’s really good. My idea of a scene is fragmentary. I find this important in a world that’s becoming ruled by hermetically sealed conditions—whether that’s a person’s civil liberties or the way electronic music is going as a general scene these days. Staying individualistic is key! Led Zeppelin‘s old manager, the famous Peter Grand, once said: “You create a world and invite people into that world”.
As a label manager you created a world that people from all over the world want to access. Much of International Feel’s vinyl releases became sought-after artifacts.
I hope it was worth the effort, because part of my job is being a factory manager. Partly I’m a bank manager because I give money to the label in order to hopefully get it back somewhen. And I’m a curator too, of course, which is the most pleasant part of the job. I’m trying to leave behind a legacy, a museum. And for me this is a lot easier to do when I’m isolated, because then I don’t get infected by what’s going on around me.
What’s the story behind A Compilation, International Feel’s first retrospective that dropped in early October?
This compilation is truly a line in the sand. We’ve existed as a record label for three years, we’ve done 36 releases in total. One vinyl release a month is pretty full-on! The compilation is the marking point of that period. We won’t have that frequency of releases in the future. I’ve come to the conclusion that less is more. As a label we’ve done very well and we’re not one of these supercool labels who do a hand-stamped white label of 150 copies and use that as a shop window to advertise my DJ gigs. We’ve pressed an appropriate amount of a thousand units of pretty much every release and sold them all. After all, artists should get their work executed to professional standards. The compilation marks that period, and it also works as an introduction to people who haven’t heard of IF so far. The completists, especially in Japan, love it since it assembles some quite rare tracks that went for few hundred euros on eBay in the past.
Moving forward, what’s next for International Feel?
I really don’t know. If it’s going to continue to function then I need to be more excited about making music than releasing music. Because the original reason behind starting the label was to release my own stuff. I need to that excitement again. It’s something I definitely don’t feel while staring at a computer screen. I need to make spontaneous, visceral, raw music again, and that’s exactly what I intend to do in Ibiza. ~
IFEEL024 – A Compilation was released 8 October, 2012.
Photo taken from Mark Barrott’s private archive
We listen to a lot of music. Like, a lot. It’s pretty much the point of our jobs, of course, but there’s another reason: we love music. We love buying records, we love going to shows, and (okay, sure) we love finding spur-of-the-moment leaks of heavily-anticipated albums, just like (we hope) you. Music is pretty much our lives.
Rather than operate as a music news source, EB.net operates more as a music information source. We want to share with you; we want you to know what we’re hearing. Welcome to Editor’s Choice: our weekly playlist of what’s making our ears burn.
Walter (Community Manager / Editor)
Connan Mockasin – Forever Dolphin Love (Erol Alkan Remix)
Wondering why it often takes a remix to discover the greatness of its original, but Connan Mockasin + Erol Alkan = killer!
Locussolus – Berghain
I missed DJ Harvey’s disco set during Berghain’s CSD party the other day, which is why it’s even nicer to listen to Harvey’s new Locussolus alias cut ‘Berghain’. Although this little cracker is more tech-disco than Berghain’s straightforward techno floor, it’ s still giving me goosebumps. Next up: brunch at Panorama Bar on Sunday morning …
Deathface – Body Count (feat. Star Eyes)
Off his upcoming From Beneath EP. Soundtrack for punching walls.
Animal Bodies – Thought & Consequence
Reminds me of the brief Bay Area period of death-disco like The Vanishing and Sixteens. Really, really hot.
Moritz (Duty Editor Online)
Copeland – B.M.W.
‘B.M.W.’ is a sexy little track with much cleaner lines, putting more focus on Inga Copeland’s smoky voice. Love this.
Boris Dlugosch – Cycle (VNNR Remix)
Boris Dlugosch? Yes, still alive and kicking. The track is about to be released within the next two months. Keep your eyes open, we’ll report about it!
The Replacements – Unsatisfied
Let Paul Westerberg scream your emotion – dissatisfaction never sounded so good. One of the greatest songs off one of the greatest albums (1984’s Let it Be) from one of the greatest bands ever. EVER.
Vatican Shadow – September Cell (The Storm)
A brilliant techdustrial addition to Dominick Fernow’s Vatican Shadow conspiracy series and the maiden release on his new Bed of Nails imprint. Previous VS 7″ and 12” covers have included portraits of former US Army psychiatrist turned Jihadist Malik Nadal Hasan, murals of Saddam Hussein, and action shots of the Pakistani Armed Forces, all framed by four black Maltese crosses. Wishful remix: Prodigy (of Mobb Deep) kicking calm, lengthy Illuminati verses over the top.
Beak – Yatton
This is what it sounds like when famous musicians such as Portishead‘s Geoff Barrow don’t try to break borders, but rather expand territories.
Matthew Dear – Her Fantasy
First it sounds like Massive Attack’s ‘Unfinished Sympathy’, then it morphes into a techno track, finally it becomes an eclectic yet straight-forward pop song.
Michael (Duty Editor Print)
Tame Impala – Apokalypse Dreams
Though being regarded as one of the most potent outfits in contemporary Australian rock (and also in contradiction to their name), Tame Impala are like a timid fawn on stage. But it’s alright, because this Perth foursome writes the most amazing songs about desert places, mushroom fantasies and unrequited love, which is enough for me right now.
Teengirl Fantasy – Motif (Actress remix)
In the current issue of EB Magazine, Thomas Fehlmann gave a formula to Actress’s tracks by comparing them to the works of sculptor Constantin Brâncu?i: “Actress’s endless compositions start in the middle of the action, and only built or progress very subtly, if at all.” That’s exactly the case with his remix of Teengirl Fantasy’s ‘Motif’, which focuses of the track’s most energetic part from the first bar on and loops it over and over.
photo by Max Dax
As we previously mentioned, DJ Harvey is set to present his debut album under his Locussolus moniker. It will be released on the 13th of June via the Uruguayan International Feel Records and it features remixes from Andrew Weatherall, Lindstrøm & Prins Thomas, The Emperor Machine and Time & Space Machine as well as an exclusive Dub by the man himself.
Today the super slow Balearic groover ‘Little Boots’ from Emperor Machine appeared online. And this is just the beginning, as we just learned that the label is about to drop one new track from the album on their Soundcloud page every coming Monday. We are really digging this abstract-dub crossover workout; it’s pretty much everything you love and expect from the great man.
Groovy, laid back, and awesome! Listen to it below:
Dance music’s biggest enigma, the man who spent the last decade or so of his career stranded in the USA due to not having a visa, therefore not able to leave through fear of not being able to return, has announced plans for an album to be released much to the delight of his legion of loyal devotees.
Dj Harvey’s presents Locussolus – The Album will be issued by Uruguayan imprint International Feel who made quite an impact in 2010 with a string of decent releases from the likes of Harvey and Coyote.
The album, the first of it’s kind from DJ Harvey will be released 13th June and features remix’s from Andrew Weatherall, Lindstrøm & Prins Thomas, The Emperor Machine, Time & Space Machine as well as an exclusive Dub by the man himself.
3.Gunship (Andrew Weatherall Remix)
4.I Want It
8.Next To You
9.I Want It (Lindstrøm & Prins Thomas Remix)
10.Throwdown (Harvey’s Dub)
11.Little Boots (An Emperor Machine Special Edit Version)
1. Throwdown (Harvey’s Long Dub)
2. Little Boots (An Emperor Machine Special Edit Version)
3. I Want It (Lindstrøm & Prins Thomas Remix)
4. Gunship (Andrew Weatherall Dub)
Dj Harvey’s presents Locussolus – The Album will be available 15th July in International Feel.