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The Music Comes First with Noir

Behind the Scenes with This True Techno Lover (and his ‘babies’)

Hi René, how / when did you start Noir Music? Is there a story behind the name?

I started the label in 2007 and I wanted the label to be a reflection of my taste in music. I wanted to be the only A&R and decision-maker behind all the music released. That’s why I chose to call it Noir Music, so I couldn’t hide behind a different label-name and have people run the label for me. To this day I still write all press releases myself and try to make every release special and not just another catalogue number.

Does your label have a distinct sound and how would you describe the label’s vision?

As it’s a reflection of my taste in music so I guess it has a distinct “Noir” sound. But… Just like my taste in music changed over the years so did the label’s sound. I have always had a broad taste in music from soft deep house to banging techno. Over the years I released different genres as I liked different genres and in general just love good electronic music. Today I narrowed it down to be techno only and therefore I feel the sound of the label is more distinct and the vision is definitely more clear, direct and focused now.

I like techno that is edgy, industrial and has something distinct that makes you remember it. Something that makes it stands out in a DJ set. The stand-out flavor can be anything from a melody to the way the beat is constructed. I’d like to think that Noir Music reflects that today. The vision of the label is to always evolve, always find new talent, always sound fresh and forward thinking instead of being stuck in one specific timeframe, have one specific formula and do the same thing over and over again (just because it works).

What are the main differences between Noir Music and the other labels you also run (NM2 and Klimaks Records)? Both musically, and work dynamics.

The differences have not always been as clear as they are today but Noir Music is strictly techno. The harder, industrial, edgy, very clubby sound. NM2 is for the more melodic house and techno. It’s softer, more polished and something that is as much for listening pleasure as it’s aimed for club plays. Klimaks Records is what is today described as Dub Techno. Back in the days it was just called deep-house, but deep-house today is something quite different. Hypnotic sounds, very good for warm-up hours in the clubs, pool-side and afterhours. The productions are focused on “attention to details” as it doesn’t carry too many melodies but more of a groove thing.

The work dynamics between the labels are not that different. I am the sole A&R, I sign the music, I write the press, etc.

We’ve noted the label(s) have changed a lot in the past 2-3 years…  How does it aim to evolve the strategies and directions in the remainder of 2019, and above all in 2020?

The focus on each label having its own identity and sound is my main priority. I want the label’s to stand out in each of their own genres as described above. For example, I do not want Noir Music to sound like the other popular techno labels. I don’t want Noir Music to sound like the trends going on in the Beatport techno top 100. I’d rather not follow the trends or at least be one step ahead of them should the Noir Music sound become the new trend. More and more the past 2-3 years as you mention I have become aware of this and made it a priority. I don’t want a label that just sounds like all the others….. What’s the point? I don’t want to release music that is disposable 2 weeks after the release date because another label released something similar and now that’s newer and cooler to play/support.

What is your major dream for the pivotal label (Noir Music)?

I just want DJs, producers and techno lovers to hear and feel that the music we release is inspirational and special. My goal is to make every release exciting, strong and “individual”.  I honestly don’t have any goals of making Noir Music a global party brand or the biggest techno-label on the planet. The music comes first and I believe that if its special and good enough the rest will follow.

Besides the label you are always on the road. What do you still love most on touring and playing?

It will always be back to square one. The feeling of being one with the crowd and creating a special vibe together. I never plan my DJ sets and I never have a specific playlist. I feed off the crowd so the vibe in the club or at the festivals is everything to me. Just like the first time I felt going to a club in my hometown. Fell in love with it and knew this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

What was your favorite memory during the last months and what are you looking forward to?

On the top of my head it was 2 weeks ago when I played De Marktkantine in Amsterdam. Always such a great vibe in that club. Playing the closing set and ending with a still fully packed club, feeling the love. That’s what it’s all about. I have a special relationship with The Netherlands as I played there a lot the past 10 years; have a great following in the country and lots of friends.

Right now I am very much looking forward to be back in Australia around New Year’s Eve 2019/2020. I love the country and last time I was there was very much in/out – so I am looking forward to more gigs on this next tour + more time to enjoy the country.

Can you share with us your personal top 5 tracks from the label so far?

It’s gonna be almost impossible to pick 5 tracks out of 12 years of releases so I will just go for what I feel today.

Thomas Schumacher – Stella

I feel what me and Thomas build together with his “Natural Rhythm” series on Noir Music in 2017 was very special. Not only the great music but also our friendship and trust in each other. Stella (from volume 3) is such a special track. Nothing else sounds like it – At least not at the time it was released and even though I am not to affected by sales and charts………To see that track hit #1 on Beatport after all the work and time we had put into the series that year was an amazing feeling. It was an unusual sounding #1. That’s what made it feel so special.

Noir – Eruption

This is me being comfortable in my own skin with my own sound. No compromises just 100% Noir. This is the track from my back-catalogue I enjoy playing the most (these days) and to see the reactions it gets is amazing. New people discover the track each week and write me on Youtube, Soundcloud, socials etc. That’s a great feeling. The track is called Eruption because it reminds me of a volcano. The brutal bass line and relentless beats (like a volcano breaking though and erupting) and the heavenly melody (like beautiful lava sliding down from the top) just reminded me of the contrasts a volcano creates when erupting.

Olivier Giacomotto – Bipolar Star (Victor Ruiz Remix)

Bipolar Star is a classic Noir Music track that many people recognize from the wonderfully weird constructed synth melody created by Olivier. It was a big tune when originally released and the Victor Ruiz Remix recently prolonged its life and Victor showcased perfectly how to revamp a classic track (which is easier said than done). For me this was a match made in heaven and that’s one of the jobs of being A&R = Finding the right remixer for specific tracks and make magic happen.

Spektre – The Maze (Robert S (PT) Remix)

And here is another example of finding the right remixer. Sometimes music just works really well if it’s simple. It was almost last minute when I had the idea of making Robert S (PT) remix the Spektre track “The Maze” but i followed my gut and wrote Robert and asked him to make something more underground from that Spektre tune. A perfect example of stripping things back to make them work in a more underground, small club, sweat on the walls environment. Not only did Robert make the remix sounds exactly like I wanted it to but the speed of which he made it was incredible. We are talking 2-3 days. When magic happens in the studio – music almost writes itself.

David Granha  – The Gates

Another special track I feel sounded so different when it came out. It’s a quite minimal techno tune but when the drop hits it turns into an epic melodic affair. The breakdown almost pause people and put them into a trance on the dance floor. It sounds like an alien invasion. Something from a great sci-fi movie. It’s a surprise breakdown and I have really enjoyed playing this track waiting for people’s reaction to that breakdown. The way David executed this idea is exceptional and once again made the track sound special. Made it stand out from all the other techno released at the time.

What do you think?

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Track IDs: Les Plages Electroniques 2019