Eight Years of Synths: An Inside Dive of Werkstatt Recordings
Werkstatt Recordings should be a record label you are thoroughly familiar with by this point. We have featured many artists under the record label's roster and have praised their releases time and time again. Not only am I fan of Werkstatt, but there are also others on the site who enjoy the record label. My adventure with them began with Ex-Machina's Transhuman and from there I discovered a massive back catalog that's intimidating to say the least. With eight years solid, Werkstatt Recordings has become a huge hit with many people and there loyal fans and massive back catalog pronounce that. With that said we got an interview with Toxic Razor, founder and owner of Werkstatt, looking back at the label as well as discussing Werkstatt's most recent release Leather Predator. Read on below:Apr 08 2017
Werkstatt Recordings has been featured on Brutal Resonance time and time again, but this is the first time we actually get to sit down and talk with you. For those who are unaware of Werkstatt, tell us what music the label focuses on and who runs it.
Toxic Razor: Hello Steve and thanks for the invitation, Werkstatt Recordings is an independent net-label focusing mainly on electronic synth music and it is run by Toxic Razor.
When you first started Werkstatt, were you just interested in making a small label for your own personal tastes? Did you ever want or expect the label to gain so many dedicated followers and fans?
Toxic Razor: At first the label started in order to host my various projects and release my music under one platform, but eventually I started receiving demos from other artists who contacted me and decided to start releasing other artists’ music as well and help spread some tunes that I thought they needed more exposure. It’s really cool that the label gained more followers over the years and I truly appreciate their support, with some of them trying to collect everything the label puts out! Their dedication is the fuel to keep the label going.
I've seen everything from post-punk, synthwave, industrial, and even some black metal on Werkstatt. Out of all the genres you serve out to the public, do you have one preferred genre over another?
Toxic Razor: Synthwave is my favorite genre but generally I like to have variety in sound. I listen to various genres, from metal, techno, electronica, minimal synth, EBM, alternative, etc., with a preference always to the old-school sound and productions.
This may be a difficult question to ask, but is there any one release on Werkstatt Recordings that is your favorite? Or is that an impossible question to answer considering you have over two-hundred releases on the label to date.
Toxic Razor: Well it’s really hard to choose one release indeed, but I ‘d like to single out a few from the vast catalog; Breathe Before You Die by Ghost Patrol; Refraction by Kriistal Ann; Synth City, a compilation; The Kolour Kult EP by The Kolour Kult; Horror Workout by Megahammer, and Leather Predator by Leather Predator.
Werkstatt has always been a record label that serves out physical copies of albums in very limited quantities. Is there any reason why Werkstatt only puts out limited quantities?
Toxic Razor: When the label started, digital was the mostly common format in the synth scene with very few physical releases not to say, till at all. But we wanted to do it also in the old-school way for those who were still into hard copies, so each release used to come out in a very limited edition of physical copies. Was kept this way until now with the exception of only a few releases that came out in more copies and I think it turned out to be one of Werkstatt's trademarks.
Werkstatt is also coming up on its eighth anniversary. You started the label back in 2009 and now its even stronger than ever. Looking back on the eight years of Werkstatt, do you have any favorite memories running the record label?
Toxic Razor: It’s been eight years since everything started and I have great memories while working on the Synth City compilation back in 2013 with all these splendid artists from the new retro wave scene when the genre was still fresh.
Also I remember some comments about GOST in his first days that his tracks were out of tune but I felt something very promising in this artist and I’m really proud I got to work with him back then for the Nocturnal Shift and The VS Series vol.6 releases. Still remember the punch I felt after he sent me the final masters for the Nocturnal Shift EP and started listening to it! And I’m very glad to see the progress he has done over the years. Another great time was while working on the production for Kriistal Ann’s debut solo album Refraction, one of the most charismatic female voices in the alternative synth scene and a truly inspiring artist too. And of course the mention on DJ Mag about an article for the retrowave scene a few years ago was something to remember.
In celebration of the eighth year anniversary, you're also releasing a brand new, debut EP from a new act Leather Predator. Why did you choose this release to coincide with the eighth year anniversary?
Toxic Razor: This is a very special release for many reasons and I wanted it to be on the spotlight as an act of appreciation to the artists that got involved in this project for their precious help over the years.
The initial teaser of the project came about a year ago with a cut up music video of a title track 'Leather Predator'. Why did it take so long for the EP to finally drop? And what movie is showcased in the music video?
Toxic Razor: The EP was in the works for a long time and this due to the other activities that the artists which got involved in it, had. The scenes featured on the video are taken from the Lady Terminator movie.
Do you know what formats the Leather Predator EP will be in? And will it be as limited as previous releases on Werkstatt Recordings?
Toxic Razor: The EP will be out on digital and physical formats as well. Physical copies will come on a special edition bundle with 7’’ vinyl and cassette, a box set with CD and a floppy disc and as a stand alone Digipak CD, all of these in strictly limited quantities of course.
And what other news do you have from Werkstatt Recordings? Are there any other releases coming up soon? Any special news? Events?
Toxic Razor: There are also some new releases already scheduled, with one of them coming from a heavy metal synth fused band and we ‘re also working on a compilation about the synthwave scene in Greece. Concerning events there is also something in the works but I can’t announce anything till it’s confirmed officially.
Lastly, I'd like to thank you for your time. I can't wait to listen to the Leather Predator EP and I'm always looking forward to what Werkstatt will put out next. The space below is yours! Cheers!
Toxic Razor: I’d like to thank all the people who supported the label over the years and for their love on what we do. Also a big thanks goes to George Embryonik , one of the first people who believed and supported the label. He’s always there for any kind of advice and his help was really precious. Much respect to all the artists we’ve worked with, as I’ve said in the past the artists do a label, and of course Brutal Resonance, keep the underground flame burning. Synth on!
I've been writing for Brutal Resonance since November of 2012 and now serve as the editor-in-chief. I love the dark electronic underground and usually have too much to listen to at once but I love it. I am also an editor at Aggressive Deprivation, a digital/physical magazine since March of 2016. I support the scene as much as I can from my humble laptop.
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