Small record labels. There’s loads of ‘em to choose from when spending your hard earned cash on MP3 files, vinyls and (possibly) CDs. Gone are the days of a few imprints being committed to a scene or cause, rigorously following a linear output of similar music. Instead, we’re faced with the challenge of whose music to buy, the overall sound of the label and the quality of the productions.
In a world where anyone can produce a dance track from the comfort of their bedroom, we have to wade through droves of crap to find the stuff that’s honest, well planned and of a high quality in both writing and production ability.
Ralph Moore is a man who knows about spotting talent and also nurturing it; he also knows his way around a quality tune, after spending considerable time filling the role of editor at Mixmag and previously, at Muzik.
For Ralph, his championing of new music and talent has taken form in a new lease of life, that of More Music, a record label dedicated to releasing quality, exclusive music from some of the largest names in house and techno.
Spearheaded by Ralph and the team behind This Is Music, every release and its remix package is given painstaking attention to detail, resulting in top notch sounds from the likes of Toby Tobias, Death On The Balcony, Marc Romboy, Midland, Timo Mass and more.
I Voice caught up with Mr Moore before the release of the label’s very first compilation, chatting about head starts, quality over quantity and the natural progression from journalist to A&R.
Ralph, considering your career as a music journalist, how did you start up More Music? Why did you decide to start it?
I was approached by Oli Isaacs at This Is Music a few years ago. He’s got a very broad taste – like me – and he could see the sort of stuff I was championing at Mixmag and the people we did cover mounts with, whether that was Switch or Richie Hawtin. He proposed that we start a new label, More Music (a bit of a pun on my name there) and I said yes.
What was the first release on More Music?
The first release was by Timo Maas and that came out only on vinyl. But the main point I wanted to make from the get go was there’s some important things that make up the label; first, the quality of the music. Second is the calibre of the artist. Thirdly, the remixes, which are always very important to the label, to deliver a solid and complete package.
Do you think your trajectory as a magazine editor and then eventually a label manager / A&R is natural? It’s not very often that a journalist moves into the record label business…
I think the reality is that for most people running labels now, it’s a labour of love, you don’t do it for the money, but for more the excitement of it. From that initial release, we’ve had as many people coming forward and offering us stuff as we approach them. We’ve had a great run of releases from Toby Tobias to Edu Imbernon; Midland put out an early release for us too.
So it was a step, yes - but it wasn’t a sacrifice. Anyone who is passionate about electronic music from the outset knows you just don’t think about these things. You just want to get your point, ethos and philosophy on music out there.
And what is that ethos? A diverse and eclectic range of house and techno sounds?
Yeah I think so. We release who we really like and admire. Luke, Oli and Simon at This Is Music all share the same philosophy. All the labels that we admire like Permanent Vacation, DFA and Aus Music, we feel that we have something in common with these guys. People are starting to get to know the label no, and the fact that we stand for quality. The jozif record we put out [Twilight}, I remember hearing that as the first tune I heard when I went out for New Year’s Eve. That’s always a great validation for a label.
What was the biggest obstacle or challenge that you all faced when setting up the label?
Probably the biggest as the same for any label – getting yourself and the brand established. Getting releases out, working out the strategy and whether to release on vinyl, getting the logo right – it goes on. I have to say A&Ring Twilight was a joy, and it was an example of how the thought processes go into the releases and doing it exactly how you ant.
So what track do you feel as a big score for you guys?
I was chuffed when we approached Marc Romboy to do a remix for the label and he happily gave us an original track. Like I said, the remixes are a big part of the plot. With the Toby Tobias release, we had remixes from Bicep and Lee Foss and they both went down a storm. I’m sure that’s the biggest selling release from More Music so far.
Considering you have these great connections and friends, do you feel like you’re in a more privileged position than some other labels?
Part of my remit as a journalist has always been to help promote new talent and music coming through. Both Will Saul and James Zabiela were both guys I got behind from very early on from my previous magazine Muzik and they are probably the biggest discoveries I made in my time. This [the label] is the next step from that really, so I guess it has helped; since Timo released, since Midland did too, they all seem to be doing really well now.
On the new compilation we’ve got some great new names such as Waze & Odyssey, Death On The Balcony and ILGOT’N’GANE. If you help people early on, they don’t forget that and that’s what it comes down to.
It’s a big step for any label to release their first compilation… how would you sum it up?
I’m really glad we’re doing this now. Simon Gold and This Is Music have been totally integral to this compilation. I’ve put a lot of time and energy into this compilation and he’s done the same. CD1 – actually I don’t think I can call it CD yet as Im not sure it’s coming out on that - but let’s say the first half of the Zip File is exclusive new music, and the second is the cream of the back catalogue. It’s a big thing for us, because it’s half exclusive and half round-up. It isn’t 100% retrospective and this is the only place that you’ll get the tracks – on the exclusive mix.
Do you like to help the artists to stretch their sound and style and perhaps do something different?
Yeah, plus we don’t mind sending stuff back to them either ha ha. Mentioning no names, we’ve sent remixes back to get more punch or drive, or to generally re-edit and recapture the vibe. It’s all about the final product being the best it can possibly be - we’re all looking for the next big record which is a healthy thing.
Finally, what’s been you highlight this year in terms of Ibiza season? There’s been a lot of change on the island, like ne nights making a big stamp in their debut year…
Ibiza is absolutely cleaning up this year. It’s all been change at Pacha and places like that. Diynamic has been doing great, you have Richie’s new ENTER night too… We Love... have always done well. I think they’re always gonna have people like Woolford and James Zabiela, but you know they’re listening to what’s going on and booking people like Scuba which has been a big jump.
Address: Studio 2 Excel Building, 6-16 Arbutus Street, E8 4DT London, UK
Timo Maas, Arthur Baker, Little Boots vs Mighty Mouse, Gingy & Bordello, Rachel Barton, Mowgli, Midland, Matt Walsh & Zhao, Toby Tobias, Michel Cleis, jozif, Drum Talk, Baunz, Edu Imbernon
TIMORE012 - jozif Feat. Terri Walker - Twilight
TIMORE013 - Drum Talk - Silver and Gold
TIMORE014 - Baunz - The Same Thing
TIMORE015 - Edu Imbernon - Imberlove ft. Sutja Gutierrez
TIMORE016 - This Is Music Compilation