Around the world in 80 labels: Friends of Friends

Regular readers will know that Tomas Barfod, Who Made Who drummer and solo artiste du jour, has been a spring mainstay on these pages, with his Broken Glass single and The Salton Sea album equally bewitching us. As such it makes sense the imprint responsible for bestowing such greatness upon us gets some well deserved credit too.

So we move on with our globetrotting series, and arrive in sunny California for the first time this year, where we find the impressive Friends of Friends doing their thang, as it were. Here artists such as Shlohmo, Salva, Ernest Gonzales, and Daedelus have managed to achieve impressive things- the focus being on electronic music of a particularly diverse, consistently well-produced nature. After recently launching a sister label, Young Adults, it seems there’s a lot going on at the organisation, so we hassled bossman Leeor Brown to answer some questions. Eventually he caved, and responded as follows…

Friends Of Friends – USA – Leeor Brown

Describe your imprint’s output. 

Our output has been pretty varied but pretty much always electronic. I’d like to think nearly all the releases really merge the analog and digital worlds though. That balancing act seems like a pretty natural part of most peoples lives these days.

What would you say makes it different?  

I guess that we don’t really care about genres? I dunno, that’s a tricky question. More importantly than any sound though, is the idea that each one of the artists have their own sound and world in which they live and create. We ask friends and people related to them in some way to round out projects with artwork, videos, remixes etc to tell their story… We’re trying to present people with more than just “hey, they made some cool songs”.

What is it that makes you keep looking for new talent to expose? 

I just love music. A great record and even better yet, great artists have been able to help me through so much shit, triggering memories or feelings from everywhere. I’ve always wanted to be apart of that process and I’ve always wanted to help artists build careers for themselves if that’s what motivates them. We’re now in the lucky position to be able to help so I’m just running with that.

What’s the label’s pinnacle achievement so far? 

I’d say Friends of Friends European tour in February. Shlohmo and Salva did a date in a different country nearly every night to sold out audiences. There was even a billboard of them in Poland! I couldn’t stop smiling when they told me about the whole thing. One day we’ll be able to get more of the crew out for the ride. Resident Advisor’s Label of the Month last August was another major one. That really blew my mind…

If people were going to hear one release from your camp, what would you prefer it to be? 

Whatever we’ve got up next really. I’m beyond proud of everything we’ve released and frankly there are more than a few releases I think that have to be heard before understanding our approach. For me it’s just mainly about the artist feeling like they’re expressing a well rounded narrative. We try and convey more than just a few good tunes, something people can ride to. The hope is to present people with a whole world of things to discover if they take the time to look hard enough…

All being well, skip forward five years, where would you like things to be?

Who knowwwws. I’m just taking it year by year at this point. I’d like to think that when you work hard and present something interesting, things will just happen. You can’t really guess what, but you can feel it coming…


Recent stops

Germany – Items & Things – Troy Pierce 

Bosnia – Hija de Colombia – El Nino Andres