Label Mates - Apartment Records
Reclining on a sun-kissed beach off the back of his 80% cut, Kenny Hanlon throws down...
For the latest in our sporadic series of Label Mates features, we managed to get managing director of Apartment Records, Kenny Hanlon, away from the Pina Colada's long enough to get the downlow on the past, present & future of his musical paean to the ghost estates of Ireland.
Who are we talking to here?
When did you start Apartment Records?
Felt like doing more with music outside of djing. Never had the proper urge to produce, enough people pointlessly clog the place up 'cause they think it's the logical progression from djing or whatever. No need for me to add to the pile. I also knew some folk making some pretty great music, some of which wasn't getting the attention I thought it deserved. My life probably needed a sense of purpose too. So what better way to do it than throw a load of cash into a black hole.
Who or what was your biggest influence ?
Probably just mates, Lunar Disko, Feel Music, Love What You Feel and some others. Not in what they do with their labels but I suppose it showed me that, well, if they can do it why can't I? Before I knew anyone doing it themselves I really didn't have a clue what all went into running a label and maybe I thought it was too daunting or out of my reach.
And Underground Resistance will always be the benchmark for me as a label. I don't stroll around in army surplus gear and a balaclava helping junkies get their lives together, I'm too middle-class for that but their back catalogue is amazing. One minute it's searing acid techno, the next soulful house, electro, whatever. It's that willful eclecticism coupled with real soul and a total lack of compromise. Doing a label that stuck to one genre or style; wouldn't even cross my mind.
What was your biggest record ? And your best ?
Tr One - Drum Dance. We had some heavyweights in on remix duties which certainly helped a big deal but it far exceeded my expectations. Getting John Heckle's debut remix on there was a nice thing to have but the most satisfying thing about it was that the original probably got more love than the other 2 versions. People weren't totally blinded by the marquee names (Juju & Jordash provided the other version) so I was really chuffed for the lads. The record would never have happened if the original wasn't so brilliant.
Best? I'm sick of the sight (sound?) of all them by the time release dates come around. So, yeah, as the old saying goes, like your children, I love them all equally. That is if your children are a total pain in the arse who never shut up screaming at you 'til you wish you were deaf.
Can you make a living running a label ?
I make so much hard cash from this shit I don't even have to bother selling digital. I gave up my day job less than a week after the first NCW 12" went on sale.
(Off the top of my head I can't think of a business model less lucrative than a small scale, vinyl only underground dance label).
If you could sign any artist, who would you go for ? And why ?
"When I first talked about doing this a few years ago someone asked me, within reason that is, who'd be that one act. I told him Juju & Jordash. Ok, they haven't done original material but if you'd told me back then that they'd be appearing - in any form - on just the 2nd release I would have rolled my eyes and hit the pipe again.
In fantasy land it'd probably be a collaboration featuring Shake, James Stinson and Giorgio Moroder or something like that. Never mind that Stinson is dead those sort of ""super-group"" things invariably turn out to be a load of shite regardless of who is involved so it's probably for the best that it can't happen. I've so far - in my eyes - managed to not put out any crap yet, but knowing my luck that'd probably end being fairly rubbish.
Upcoming plans ?
Pharoah And The Goose by NCW has just dropped. It's a little bit more out there than previous stuff so having no qualms spamming everyone in sight at the moment, hoping it'll get some notice.
After this it'll be time to get on a disco tip and then rack up the pace with some techno. Hopefully do an Irish only Various Artists 12" too. All I need to do now is get some finished tracks to put on these releases. It's the most annoying aspect of the job tbh, the actual music.
Then world domination blah blah break even more than once blah blah
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