Vakant will celebrate its tenth anniversary with a two-part compilation.
The label was founded by Berliners Alex Knoblauch and Stephan Bolch, but is now managed by Knoblauch alone. 10 Years Vakant features new tracks from most of Vakant's core roster, which includes longtime crew members Livio & Roby, DeWalta and Nico Purman, plus more recent signings like Avatism, CW/A, Premiesku and Sons of Tiki. The tracks will be spread over two 12-inches, released in February and March. The first is stripped-back and house-focussed, while the second explores darker, more techno-oriented territory. RA's Philip Kearney caught up Knoblauch to find out more about the upcoming compilation, and Vakant's past, present and future.
How did you compile the tracks for the release?
I initially wasn't very keen on releasing a compilation for the birthday. Since the scene is naturally ageing, ten-year (or even higher) releases are happening a lot. I didn't want to release something just for the sake of it. But when I got my hands on a few incredible tracks, and got hyped from the 10 Years party at Watergate, I changed my mind and everything came together quickly.
In recent years, much of the music you have put out has been by a group of artists new to the label, such as Premiesku and Avatism. Has this been a natural growth, or are you actively seeking out new music?
I have never really reached out to find new artists or music. Everything happened naturally through friends or associates who found their way to the label who I thought would be great to work with. An ever-changing roster never seemed attractive to me. I would rather work with a core group of artists to develop things hand-in-hand. The 14 artists featured on this compilation are from the total of 18 I've signed to Vakant in ten years, which speaks for itself I think.
What attracts you to sign a record today?
That's hard to say. It's pretty much just my taste and vision for the label, which I can hardly put in words. The music we release somehow needs to make sense to me, sometimes without having an obvious overlap. However there’s a certain coherence I think.
Would you say having your base in Berlin has been important to the development of the label’s style?
Yes and no. Working in Berlin clearly has many benefits, which everyone has talked too much about. But our artists, especially the first ones, have been spread across the world and I never found it tempting to settle with a local roster. Of course, Berlin had a big impact on the scene's sound, but we took our inspiration from a global connection we established in our earliest years.
What is your relationship with the artists on your label? How important is it to you that you are able to foster a core group of artists on your roster?
We have a good relationship. We're friends, which is the only way I see this working. When time allows, we like to hang out, miss flights and bitch about everyone outside the room. In my opinion, the core group of artists makes up the label’s identity. And at the end of the day, it's also a lot of fun.
Do your motivations for running the label today differ from those that led you to create Vakant?
No. I chose this very complicated and sometimes annoying way of showing people what music I like. Recently someone told me that they like Vakant because it seems "real," and I found that a nice (and motivating) compliment, especially when parts of our so-called scene have recently turned into an image and marketing-led circus.
Has your role as label owner changed much since that time?
Not really. I know a few more people and learnt a few more things, but in the end I’m still my own intern who by now does excellent coffee.
What do you see for the future of Vakant?
We’re following up with a consistent flow of well-picked releases. The next three are being finished as I type, topped with a few label nights here and there. But I suggest you get your ears on this compilation first, which should be in your mailbox any minute.Tracklist
10 Years Of Vakant: Part 1
01. Anonym – Midnight Hour
02. Premiesku – Orchestra De Calculatoare
03. Livio & Roby – Machiner
04. Mathias Kaden – Deep & Wise
05. DeWalta – Rewind
06. Sons of Tiki – Loraine
07. Tolga Fidan – Cam Kale
10 Years Of Vakant: Part 2
01. Alex Smoke – Executive Realness
02. Cesare vs Disorder – Monasterio
03. Avatism - Bones
04. Anonym pres. DLS – Organ Donation
05. Nico Purman – Ferroxide
06. CW/A – Loop 19538
07. Quantum Entanglement – What Do You Know About Acid House Music?
Vakant will release 10 Years Of Vakant: Part 1 and 10 Years Of Vakant: Part 2 on February 16th and March 2nd, 2015, respectively.