Well what can we say about FINA? Treated by many as a sub label of the legendary 2020 Vision, FINA Records Simon Morrell and Matt Long’s FINA imprint continues to impress since its birth. When I Voice decided to feature FINA Records in our ‘In The Groove’ series, instead of us telling you all about the labels history, we caught up Simon and Matt to get the low-down on FINA's past, present and future.
Tell us about how Fina first came about. Why did house and techno need another record label? What did you have to offer?
Simon: Myself, Matt and Ralph all know each other from Leeds. I’d come to the end of promoting my night (DDD) and was looking into doing something new, which Ralph knew and suggested getting involved in a new label he was thinking of setting up.
Matt at the time was promoting mono_cult and had done an internship at 2020, so Ralph suggested getting together and having a chat and it just went on from there. We were fully aware another label out there was going to be hard work but I think we are quite different in terms of our releases.
We don’t mind mixing styles and tempos up, one release might be more techno based stuff, the next a more deep disco track. People might find that frustrating, as they’d like us to keep on a deep house tip or whatever but for us that just gets boring.
How do you split the duties between the three of you? What do you each bring to the table?
Simon: FINA is run by myself & Matt. I run the day-to-day running of the label and we both work closely on A&R. Matt’s still an active promoter so he deals with the event side of things and between us we have a great network of contacts that we bring to the table. Ralph is quite busy with 2020 but is on hand if we need anything from him.
You're milestone 10 releases in. How do you look back on what you've achieved so far? Do you think you're where you wanted to be in terms of your position in the scene?
Matt: Yeah its gone really fast and for a relatively new label we’re pretty chuffed with how it’s gone so far. We’ve had some amazing feedback and press. This year we really want to raise the profile of FINA so we are really concentrating on getting some solid music out as well as some more regular events.
Ten records is pretty good going in just under two years. Was five a year the rough plan from the start? Will you keep this up in 2013?
Simon: No - we actually wanted to put out about 7 or 8! But I suppose it doesn’t always work like that. As I mentioned above we are concentrating on signing more music this year so hopefully we’ll be back on target.
You've certainly managed to put out a strong string of records. Once your reputation precedes you a little bit, does the whole process get easier or harder? More pressure I'd imagine.
Matt: It's just as hard, with so many labels putting out on wax and digital at the moment producers have so many options with labels so we have to be at the top of our game with the A&R and we always strive to keep our quality on the releases.
You've thrown label showcases in Leeds and several in London. Why gravitate down to the capital? Are there plans for more events in the future?
Matt: Although the label was founded in Leeds we’re not technically a Leeds based label. Simon is living in London and I'm based in Leeds. Both cities are really important to us musically and so it feels right to be throwing them in both cities…Keep an eye out for a couple of intimate parties we have on the horizon.
Tell us a little about Tom Taylor, whose forthcoming These Things EP marks your 10th release.
Simon: I’ve known Tom for years as he used to be part of Electric Press who were residents for me at DDD. He’s now doing solo stuff and we also work together on productions. He’s had some great eps on 2020 and more recently on Dessous, Poker Flat & Compost. We were in the studio together and he played me 'Don’t Give Up', I loved it and signed it straight away.
Great to see Rui Da Silva of 'Touch Me' fame making an appearance too alongside Clive Henry... How did that come about?
Simon: They’ve been friends for years and have hung out quite bit in Ibiza. Rui had had his success in the charts and was a bit fed up with all that so started working on more underground material which Clive heard and suggested working together which makes perfect sense, I think we’ll see a lot more tracks coming from them this year.
Is there any scope to release original material from any of the the label bosses in the future?
Simon: Yeah as I mentioned I work with Tom on tracks and we’ve had a release on Dessous and are busy working on new material. We’ll be doing a remix on FINA in the future and we plan to get some more tracks out this year.
Are there any plans to have previous guests return with their second EPs for Fina or would you rather keep the rota constantly fresh and exciting?
Matt: Yeah for sure, Roberto Rodriguez is going to do a follow up EP and Cottam is planning on writing a full EP for us at some point.
Finally, what else does 2013 hold for Fina? Anything exciting you could let us in on...
Simon: We just signed an amazing EP from DFRNT. We picked him up after hearing his amazing album last year. He’s also an ace graphic designer so we’ve passed the whole creative side of things over to him for his release. We’re really looking forward to seeing what he comes up with. There are also loads of good people we are planning to work with this year but I can’t say too much at the moment...
Started: Feb 2011
FINA010- Tom Taylor EP
FINA009 - Francis Inferno Orchestra
FINA008 - Simon Baker EP
MOST SUCCESSFUL TRACKS
Roberto Rodriguez – I keep Thinking Of you
MAM - Crushed Ice
Simon Baker - Riker
Lief – So Long (Move D remix)
In talks with Borrowed Identity, Zoo Look, HNNY but nothing has been confirmed as yet. Still listening to demos.
Cottam, Mic Newman, Leif, Roberto Rodriguez
MAM, Move D , Morning Factory, Steffen Deux
Simon Baker, Francis Inferno Orchestra, Tom Taylor