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In these days of near-weightless laptops and tiny iPhone production studios, the lure of vintage sounds, unwieldy analogue gear and physical media is hardly a surprise. The Hague-based Crème Organization embodies these tenants fully, issuing 12″ after 12″ of classicist house and boggy modular synthscapes. Born out of the 90s West Coast scene in the Netherlands, Crème’s embrace of Midwest acid-house has at once kept true to the genre’s origin while operating according to its own idiosyncratic rulebook. The label has gotten better (and weirder) with each year, and 2011 saw loads of top shelf jackers from names like Myriadd, Willie Burns and Legowelt’s Chicago Shags project released bearing Crème catalog numbers. With a very solid decade under its belt, Crème is heading into it’s next ten years strong, so LWE figured it was about time we got to know a little more about this South Holland institution. Label head Jeroen, aka DJ TLR, shed a bit of light on the label and in the process provided our 13th Talking Shopcast — one heavy in unreleased Crème-y goodness.
Let’s start at the beginning: how did Crème Organization start?
DJ TLR: Honestly? I don’t really remember. I have hazy memories of being at the old Bunker house, where a round cheese with a salami swastika embedded in it was sitting in the freezer that DJ Gitano made, I remember that. [laughs] I was with Guy [Tavares] from Unit Moebius and Danny Legowelt and talking about it, but that’s about it. I made some tracks with Danny, got some demos, pressed some records on the Acid Planet account at the plant, backdoored my way into distribution and that was it. Within a week I had to repress, so I thought that was normal. [laughs] Little did I know…
What was your original intention with Crème, and how has that evolved over the years?
Nothing, I just like doing things and making something that’s my own. Plus I was around a bunch of talented people, really — frighteningly talented — and at that time we were right in the action. It seemed logical or something, like riding a wave. But there never was any mission statement and if it evolved it is along the lines of my own taste and that of the people I’m interested in.
What was the relationship between Crème and Bunker records?
I’ve known Guy since the late 80s more or less. We come from the same shit towns/scenes. Back in those days the alternative scene around the west coast was really small and he was a character, so we’d hang around the same venues and squats and stuff. Later on I started doing Internet things and throwing some parties, right around the time Bunker started again with the 3000 series and I was working on some websites like Global Darkness which got quite big at the time. We decided to sham ourselves into a world tour by just anouncing it on the Internet and to our surprise it actually started happening and people wanted to book dates and stuff. [laughs] Wweet!
It seems like the Netherlands have always fully embraced distinctly American sounds (notably Chicago house and Detroit electro), while adding their own twist and really making these sounds their own. What do you think is at the heart of the relationship between the Netherlands and Chicago/Detroit?
Chicago and Detroit are the cradle of house and techno, really some of the last major musical paradigm shifts. It’s hard to imagine how alien and crazy and flat-out exciting that sounded some 20 years ago but it had a huge impact all over the western world. I mean, look at the Germans, they’re still not over it. A lot of it snuck in here through the UK back in the day. It probably sounded so distinct because the people copying it didn’t know what they were doing yet and acted more on their own romantic ideas about the music than anything else. The world held more mysteries back then and your own imagination was more important. A lot of music was more distinctly regional back then. It had to be. You couldn’t just type “Chicago House” in Google and get more info than you can process.
What is the scene like in the west coast of the Netherlands?
Depends on what you’re looking for. But if you mean the club scene I don’t know, I only go to clubs if they pay me. But there is enough cool shit going on here to make life pretty comfortable.
Crème has a very strong visual identity. Who does your designs?
Godspill pretty much. He does about 75 percent, unless the artist demands he doesn’t and comes up with something cool themselves. Sometimes I do it myself when the mood grabs me. But mostly Godspill is part of the package deal.
Do you think it’s important for a label to have such a strong visual side?
It helps, but the music wins in the end. I mean, I have skipped god knows how many records with cool sleeves because the music sucked, you know, and the other way around, too, so I have a lot of shit sleeves in my collection. But yeah, when you have a cool record with a nice sleeve, what can beat that? Also, on a more boring level, a consistent graphic image helps with the branding — it comes across stronger and its good for the recognizability. Anyway, that’s all peasant economics.
Crème often issues very pretty colored vinyl. How much importance do you place on the physical piece of vinyl as an object?
The artifact is important to me. I collect myself and it’s great when records are nice. You can drag them into your cave and look at them and stuff, touch them, smell them, project onto them all the things you lack in normal life. It’s better then a girlfriend, ’cause when she shouts at you it sounds like music in your ears. So what are you waiting for, boys!
How have you adapted to the shifting vinyl market over the past decade?
Digitally. And by making records less about the DJ market and more about the vinyl freak market — it has to be worth buying. The days of the throwaway DJ tool are definitely over.
What’s a typical day like running the label?
Like being a mid-level floor manager at a Walmart: paperwork, politics, manipulation, calculation, scamming, and hanging out with/talking to/charming/swearing at people, people, people, and even more people. If you’re really lucky you get some music stuff to do but even then it’s mostly drowning in mid-priced bargain bin quality reissues of the electronic equivalent of Barry Manilow paddling a beige canoe over a sea of mediocrity.
What are a couple of releases that really stand out to you in the label’s back catalog?
That’s like a trap, man. They’re all special to me in some way or other!
What’s coming up for Crème?
Lately I’ve really been into doing videos for our globalXdarkness YouTube channel — plug, plug. For the rest I’m really excited by the upcoming releases, they’re crazy: Orgue Electronique, Robert Owens, Parking Attendant, John Heckle, Tevo Howard, Legowelt, Trackman Lafonte, D’Marc Cantu. These are but a few of the names I drop into your collective laps, or mouse clickers. Also some cool parties and stuff coming up; seriously, I’m very excited about it all.
What can you tell me about the mix? How does it represent Crème as a label?
It’s upcoming Creme stuff, mixed with some things from people and labels I like these days, like WT Records, L.I.E.S., M>O>S, stuff like that. They’re all connected artists in some way or other, even if only musically. Most of it’s unreleased I think, at least at the time I got it.
01. Xosar, “2012″ [white]
02. John Heckle, “Last Magic Maker” [Crème Organization*]
03. Alex Israel, “Welcome To Guntersville” [WT Records]
04. Trackman Lafonte & Bonquiqui, “More Then A Cat Has Ever Seen”
05. The Actor, Picture 210 [Trumpett]
06. Marco Passerani, “White Dwarf” [Running Back]
07. D’Marc Cantu, “10x As Strong” [Lux Records]
08. Steve Summers, “Different Paths” [L.I.E.S.]
09. Trackman Lafonte & Bonquiqui, “The Feeling” [Crème Organization*]
10. Willie Burns, “unreleased remix” [Crème Organization*]
11. Chicago Skyway,” Marie” (Aroy Dee Edit) [M>O>S Recordings*]
12. Argy, “Daze To Come” [Versatile Records]
13. Orgue Electronique ft. Robert Owens, “Our House” (KiNK & Neville Watson Ruff Kut1) [Crème Organization*]
14. Xosar, “Bangladeshi Pagan House” [white]
15. Larry Heard, “Winterflower” [Rebirth]
16. John Heckle, “On the Fields” [Crème Organization*]
17. Trackman Lafonte & Bonquiqui,” Trackman Lafonte” [Crème Organization*]
18. DJ Overdose, “Fabriek” [Crème Organization*]
* denotes tracks which, as of the time of publishing, are unreleased
(info by LWE)
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