Sushitech... In The Groove.

Words by: Hannah Briley
Posted: 26/3/12 9:46

Sushitech... In the groove.Run by Yossi Amoyal and Matt Du Jardin, record label Sushitech has been putting out some outstanding electronic music since 2005. Starting it’s life in London and now run from Berlin, the label has a refined and quality catalogue that boasts MakamAnonym, Brothers Vibe, Leonel Castillo, Mike Huckaby, Norm Talley and more recently, Delano Smith with his incredible ‘An Odyssey’ LP.

When I Voice decided to feature Sushitech in our ‘In The Groove’ series, instead of us telling you all about the labels history, present and future; we thought we’d do something a little different and let Sushitech do the talking with an in depth interview with Yossi Amoyal himself.

You were really quite young when you started up Sushitech – what have you learnt along the way that you value above all and make use of whilst running the label today?
I was 19 when the label was started, and to tell you a secret, we did it with absolutely no money! We just had the basic ingredients of passion, belief and hard work. Step by step over the years we have grown little by little in to the label we are today. As we have grown up from a young age, all our life experiences and energy have been fed back in to the label.

If you listen to each release, I think you can hear how I have grown, and each release has grown. Even if not all the releases are mine, the taste, sound and the selection follow a similar path to my own development. I love the fact that you can always learn something new in the world of music. Evolution for a musician is very important, this is why we never work with artists who champion one sound, this is what I like and what I love, the exploration in to new areas and trying new things.
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Yossi AmoyalYou used to be based in London – when did you make the nowadays common move over to Berlin and why?
I was born in Israel and always wanted to move to London. I really liked the city and the vibe. After I lived there for three years though I realized I couldn't make it and I couldn't fully concentrate just on music. The city is far too big and far too expensive and the house and techno scene is now days very small. It's very hard to make a good living from just your art - that is unless you are resident of a very big club or something. In London there is almost never any support of local scene, it always seems to be about guest artists coming from abroad. I decided to move to Berlin mainly because I have a lot of close friends here and also because it allows me to work fully on music. Also I think that the label has grown since we moved out here. I love the city in general, going to some museums, going for a coffee, it's got a great vibe. It's definitely the right place for artists! I love the fact that Sushitech is now a Berlin based label and I really like the fact that we are part of the scene. A lot of artists and people who I love and respect work and live here so it's great to show them what we have on offer as well.

Do you think the move has influenced or changed the labels ideas or direction in any way?
Yes for sure. I think any artist is influenced by his or her environment, that’s why I left Israel in the first place as I didn't feel comfortable there as I was mostly just at home studying music and not going out. Berlin is a very true, honest and raw place. This affects my music and the label music, no doubt about it.

What would you say has been one of your proudest moments for the label?
It's hard to think of a single proudest moment, however, starting from nothing and going to clubs like fabric and Panorama bar as a clubber, wanting to be part of this scene and then achieving it. I think that is a moment to be proud of, achieving your dream and your desires. I hope people who listen to our music are inspired by us, just as we were inspired when we started our journey.

The limited edition CD’s of Delano Smith’s recently released 'An Odyssey'album included The Detroit Story The limited edition CD’s of Delano Smith’s recently released ‘An Odyssey’ album included ‘The Detroit Story – through the eyes of Delano Smith’. Going that extra mile with production is quite rare in electronic music, why did you decide to incorporate that into the album release?
The album is a very special release, not just because Delano is one of the main artists on the label but also because Delano is a true Detroit House legend who has seen and been there from the beginning and seen the birth of many of the genres we know today. Delano has only been producing for ten or so years, and with that he has never received the recognition he deserves. Hopefully with the album people will take notice and fully appreciate him. As someone who grew up in Detroit, and helped develop the local scene I thought it would be very interesting to hear what he had to say about this time and share his story with the world.

The CD and booklet are available to everyone and there is a collector’s edition vinyl for the diehard fans but also a regular edition, so anyone can own a copy. For those who care about the history of house or the Detroit scene then I think it's a beautiful addition to the collection.

Tell us a bit more about Delano’s ‘story’ for those who don’t have the CD?
As the A&R of Sushitech, I am trying to achieve a period where each artist is given some focus, or if you prefer to look at it another way 'label spotlight'. Two years ago we released the first solo album of Makam, this was a big project in itself and also the first time we released three records and a CD.

Delano SmithFor the Delano Smith album, we started planning back in 2010, straight after the Makam album came out. Because Delano is an artist with a rich history, we both decided to take things a bit further and produce the 16 page booklet with pictures and the Detroit story told through the eyes and ears of Delano Smith. This is his own perspective on things, and it's from someone who grew up in Detroit and contributed to the music scene.

The project includes 13 tracks ranging from deep house to techno, you are basically getting a flavour of the sounds Delano likes to champion today, all fused together with the sound of Sushitech. I worked together with him very hard on this project and it took us more than a year to finish it.

I work very closely with the other artists on the label too and we are all best friends, even before the music, this helps a lot with the direction and flow of the project, and where we wanted to go with it.

Before we release a record to the market I try to think if it's something I would like to own in my own record collection. The Delano album to me personally is very exciting and I would buy it even if it wasn't on my own label. It's a project that means a lot to me and to everyone on the label.

Delano Smith, Makam, Brother’s Vibe and more – you’ve built a pretty solid set of artists over time. What are you looking for in a producer and personality when it comes to your A&R?
First of all it's important to have a good basis with our artists, this usually starts with a friendship and develops from there. We have never worked with an artist who we didn't know in some way before hand and we never signed artists from demos. We try and run things in a family way as opposed to a business. If we like someone and we become friends, we usually go from there. Musically we appreciate our artists for having an open mind and we want them to produce a wide range of music and not just use the same formula in their productions all the time.

The Sushitech artwork is continually outstanding – how do you go about dreaming up ideas and then designing the artwork?
Thank you! The art work is indeed very important for us as a label and it’s something we really care about. For us the art work is something that completes the project. It complements the music and the vinyl and turns it in to something 'classic' that people, and we, love to collect and have a physical connection with. It has taken us some time to reach exactly what we had in mind, the same with the music.

If you follow the art work of the label from day one until now, you will see how it has evolved. This is a mixture of our own evolution and personal development as people and as artists. When working with our previous designers, we always started with the idea and then the designer would put that in to an art form as best they could. We started working with Kerry Roper (our current designer) a few years ago, Kerry really understands the music on the label, we can give him a short description and he always comes back with something that fits perfectly to the release. We have a strong connection with him and trust him on each release and we’re at a stage now with the artwork where we are totally satisfied.

Sushitech - Limited Numbers
                            Sushitech 'Limited Numbers series'
                            Limited vinyl only releases of the label artists.
Is the artwork done upon hearing the music or do the artistic wheels start turning with no sound influence?
We always finish the music first, and then work on the art work. Kerry knows the sound and the direction and he always takes things to the right place. Then we tweak it slightly, say with the colours or with a texture we want changing and then hopefully it's finished. The artwork is very important for us, it's something that today people aren't usually willing to put the time, effort or money in to but it really means a lot to us.

You’re known for putting on some rather epic Sushitech label parties – what atmospheres and results are you trying to achieve when you do this?
Our label parties are growing larger with each party and it's something we believe goes hand in hand with the releases and the sound that we are representing. It's a platform to play our music to the people, and also to share our sound and passion with them.

We are trying to attract a loyal following of fans, fans who feel the same music that we do and can share these special dance floor moments.

It's important for us that the parties are promoted in the correct way and that people are coming for the love of the label and the music, not for hype. It's a very thin line, because of course without promotion you don't attract as many people, but, we try to attract the right people and if it ever got to the hype stage we would probably stop.

IParitern the near future I will have a project of myself together with the other main label artists playing on the same stage as one, an electronic band which will represent the label as one solid sound. For our parties and for the people who come, we try not to have too many guest DJ's, because then it just becomes another party. We try to showcase the label artists and if we do book a guest, then he or she will always have some connection to the label sound, such as remixers. We wish for people to come to our parties and experience something different so this hopefully imprints something positive in their minds and stays in their memories. Essentially, we want people to be inspired by coming to one of our parties.

What are the differences between Sushitech and Sushitech Purple for us...and why the title ‘Purple’?
Both are the exact same label, but we created the sub label Sushitech Purple which is mine and my partner on the label Matt's favourite colour (how surprising – haha!) just to create a border between the darker and lighter sides of music. So for instance on Sushitech Purple, Makam or Delano released a lot of their more light sounding tracks, but they also release on Sushitech with a darker sound.

You’ve also got Pariter as another sub label – what musical direction does that nod to?
Pariter is dedicated to a deeper, more techno based sound. It's basically tracks that we love but aren't suitable for the sound of Sushitech. The artists on Pariter are also Sushitech artists but they'll produce a more Techno based sound for Pariter... a bit more 'big room' sounding. It's a very slow label and we just release something now and again. It's all part of the same family, if you look at each Pariter record, you'll see the Sushitech logo on there.

The most important thing for me though, is to have the separation between art & business. You never mix the two or you end of killing the art, & this is something I would never do...Why do you feel the need or desire to separate things and put them under different labels? Why not just have Sushitech as an open book for all musical styles?
As I said before, it's all the same label really. We never write on our records Sushitech or Sushitech Purple, it’s just the catalogue number. However, for collectors and DJ's it's nice to have this separation so there is a definitive boarder between one release and another. Also, as each artist isn't producing just one sound, having everything under one name becomes confusing. People start to think an artist is one sound, then he releases another sound and the people begin to wonder what happened. Having everything separated creates order.

 Do you find it difficult to continually ensure Sushitech is fresh, exciting and different – there are so many labels these days who, essentially, are all trying to do just that?
I am always separating my art and my work. My art is something that comes together naturally, I never try to use things which don't fit together. It's all about passion and desire, either if I write music on my own, or if I work with one of the label artists to help them design the sound of their record. When it comes to work, we need to sell our records to the shops and for people to listen to our art, this isn't an easy task these days. We are always keeping an eye out and making sure our records are available in all shops. It's really difficult and requires a lot of time, my partner Matt is doing an amazing job on this side of the label. The most important thing for me though, is to have the separation between art and business. You never mix the two or you end of killing the art, and this is something I would never do.

Yossi Amoyal (Sushitech) - Fabric Promo Mix - May 2011

          Yossi Amoyal (Sushitech) - Fabric Promo Mix - May 2011
Give us some insight into what Sushitech has pencilled in for the near future?
We always let the music lead us, and not just the name of the label. What I mean by that is we can have two releases a month or one release in eight months. If you look at our back catalogue, you'll see what I mean if you look at the dates. It all depends for us if we have music which fits and that we want to share with others. It has to feel right. As you know we just released the album of Delano Smith, and then in April we will have a double EP from Makam with six beautiful tracks, the name of EP will be ‘Dreams of Tomorrow’. I will release my solo EP and a new compilation around mid summer.

And as Yossi – what are you currently up to in the studio and clubs?
I am spending most of my time in the studio. I am working on some new, original material and of course the next releases from the label artists. We have some great label parties coming up as well. Panorama Bar, fabric, Rex and Watergate etc etc… I'm looking forward to a busy summer.

Can we expect any material from you on the label or elsewhere soon?
All of the material I produce will be released only on Sushitech. There is no point for me to release music on other labels because I want to develop and give my heart to our own family. Even if I love and respect other labels around, Hyperdub, 3024, Perlon, Trelik - These are some of the labels that release beautiful music and are very inspiring to me!

I am currently working on a new EP with my friend Nir from Israel. He is a true and amazing musician who does mostly rock and electronica with his fantastic band Noria. We grew up together and so decided to meet in Berlin and work on this project together. Aside from that EP, I am also working on a solo EP and a new compilation that will include some of my own tracks and also tracks from artists who have influenced me over the years. It will be a double twelve inch and come in two parts, the second of which will be collaboration with Julietta.

Sushitech
Sub label: Pariter

Started: 2005
Location: Berlin

Label Artist
Yossi Amoyal, Makam, Delano Smith, XDB
Mike Huckaby
, Norm Talley, Julietta
Brothers’ Vibe, Koljah,  & More...




LATEST RELEASES
SUSH17 - Delano Smith  - An Odyssey LP
sushp20b - Makam - Reconstructed Disc 2
sushp20a - Makam - Reconstructed Disc 1

FUTURE RELEASES

SUSH19 - Makam - Dreams Of Tomorrow EP

Website: www.sushitech.com 
Facebook: www.facebook.com/sushitech
Soundcloud: soundcloud.com/sushitech
Pariter Web:  www.prtr.co.uk

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