When we look back at the history of Highgrade, and look towards the future of the label, we have put special emphasis on one key statement: “We will continue to produce music on vinyl until the end of its existence.” This almost provocative and affectionate commitment to vinyl is typical of a Berlin label who knows where it comes from, and aims to act with passion and commitment in every instance. Highgrade is one of the labels that has built the musical soul of Berlin, and the city would not be the same without it.
But back to the beginning. As if prompted by the „ millennium bug ”, Tom Clark decides to start his own record label. The commercialization of Techno, with the mass marketing of the Love Parade and major label exploitation had reached a depressing new low. Tom describes these as the darkest days for House and Techno music. At the same time, many artists were searching for a new and better platform to release their music in Berlin. Tom Clark’s “livingroom” label had always been more about passion than being a well structured and carefully organized business operation, and in many ways this served the label perfectly. Today, Tom sees part of the purpose of Highgrade to act as a driving force behind the reinvention of the Berlin Techno scene.
Tom Clark signed the first wave of Highgrade artists, Sebo K, James Flavour und Guido Schneider from the ranks of his friends and fellow DJs in the ever expanding Berlin club scene. Todd Bodine, Jens Bond, Dub Taylor and Daniel Dreier formed the second generation of artists to join the Highgrade family.
There have always been important to discover new artist, like Format B and Heinrichs & Hirtenfellner. The first goal: The sound must first survive the bar, club and dancefloor test. The spectrum ranges from deep House and minimal till techno. “We don’t release music that armchair philosophers can chill out on the sofa with, our records have to work in the club”, says A & R man Todd