Will Saul – A Simple Retrospective

February 2011 marked Simple Records’ 50th release – the label run by house and techno aficionado Will Saul. 50 vinyl releases from a small indie, ran entirely by one man is quite an achievement to say the least. In fact, a label with a back catalogue of 50 releases is not only an achievement; it is ‘simply’ something to celebrate.

Will started Simple way back in 2003, a time when clubbers sported mullet’s, partying in warehouses was still a novelty, broken-beat was in-vogue and TV’s only played black and white images.

It’s funny how much changes in such a short amount of time, isn’t it?

In just over 8 years Simple Records has seen releases from some of house and techno’s most interesting figures, including I:Cube, Gui Borrato, Mike Monday, Ian Pooley, Steve Bug, Deetron, Sebo K, Adultnapper, Fink, James Priestley & Dan Berkson and Jesse Rose. As well as an illustrious release schedule with Simple, Saul also managed to squeeze in time to set up a new label AUS which focuses on the more experimental, leftfield sounds of electronic dance music.

Currently preparing his forthcoming album, which from all accounts is another distinguished effort from the produce, it is planned for release in Spring 2011 and features collaborations with artists as diverse as Joe Dukie of Fat Freddy’s Drop, Ninja Tune acoustic hero Fink, Charlene Soraia (new signing to Peacefrog), Detachments and Paul St. Hilaire.

I caught up with Will to discuss Simple Records, the birth of his new love Aus Records and how feels to reach the grand old age of 50.

Who is behind Simple Records, other than yourself ?

Just me! I originally started the label in 2004 with 3 other people but we parted ways 5 years ago and since then it’s just been me. Melissa and her team at Tailored Communications do all our PR.

What was the main reason behind you starting Simple?

Mostly, as an outlet to release music by my friends and me. An outlet where I didn’t have to rely on other people’s release schedules and where there was no compromise required.

What were you guys trying to achieve with Simple when you first started the label?

Our initial intention was pretty Simple (sorry, couldn’t resist) – to release good music of whatever genre.

In hindsight, how do you think those early releases went down?

They seemed to go down very well with the press; we got a lot of great reviews and support from key DJ’s. These were the days when you mailed out vinyl promos and we decided that we would mail out finished copies rather than promos so people could get a feel for the labels visual identity too. We were able to do this as my business partners in the label at the time all worked at Sony Music (where I worked too before leaving to set up Simple). I would drive into town with the records, park out back, then they would bring down 200 of Sony’s vinyl mailers, I would put all the records and reaction sheets in the mailers and they would come and collect them and stick them in the Sony post room! It used to save us a fortune in postage! Thanks Sony!

We over manufactured on the first 4 records as obviously we had no idea that deep futuristic breaks and broken beats wouldn’t sell by the bucket load (!) and if it wasn’t for the 5th record (one from me with a huge Infusion remix) then we would have gone bust, no question.

(text: Kazim Rashid, info by Electronic Beats)

Will Saul – Mbira (Original Mix)

SD…to feed the soul


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