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Challenging music for people with an attitude: the London based label Berceuse Heroique stands out with music away from the usual. Since 2013 Gizmo, founder of the label Berceuse Heroique, is bringing out artists like Dutch producer Ekman, Gesloten Cirkel from Russia, UK producer and DJ Koehler, Berlin based Don't DJ or M GUN, that stand out in terms of sound, adventurousness and originality. Furthermore the man that once moved from Greece to London releases rare stuff from the archives of the South London Dubstep producer Loefah, thrilling edits from the US-American DJ and producer Jamal Moss or Japan Blues, or reissues sought-after stuff from artists like Cousin Cockroach aka Dego or Smackos aka Legowelt. For Carhartt WIP Radio he prepared a mix consisting of unreleased stuff that soon will hit your local record stores. He also been so kind to answer some interview questions, that reveal some nice insights on his label, it’s sub divisions, music in general and some other stuff he likes beyond the sound. Enjoy.
Hey Gizmo, what is your musical background? What was the impetus behind the start-up of Berceuse Heroique in 2013?
Gizmo: I started listening music through my cousins and they were in charge of my taste when I was young. They were skaters so they started playing me mostly hip hop and US Hardcore punk. After that, I went to some of my first parties and I was into Chicago House, Detroit and the early UK Hardcore stuff. I have to say that the early jungle / Drum ‘n’ Bass music and the Dutch techno and electro scene of the 90's are a big influence on the label's music but also on our own aesthetics. I was always a musical sponge so I would go to people and ask them to play their favourite music and I was trying to find something that would take me out of my safe zone. A good example is that the sampling on certain jungle and hip hop records got me into stuff like Jazz, Funk and Reggae and that is why the discography of my labels is kind of vast when it comes to genres. As for the way that I started the label, I moved in London and I just wanted to start something so I won't commit suicide. My regular work was really bad and I didn't (and still don't) like it here so I thought I should do something creative instead of nagging.
Can you name us three favourites out of the Berceuse Heroique catalogue, which are very special for you personally and tell us why?
Gizmo: All of them are my favourites because I never sign something that I don't believe it would stay in my collection for ever but records by Dego, Horsepower Productions and DJ Overdose are very close to my heart because they were heroes of mine when I was young.
What exciting stuff do you have in the pipeline currently?
Gizmo: An amazing LP by Don't DJ, a sick 12" of music by Jordan GCZ and Ilya Ziblat Shay as Mei Tahat (with a bonus remix by I:Cube), a double pack Ossia and a new Herksull 12" which is a collaboration we do with the label Happy Skull.
Do you have a "wish list" of musicians you'd like to see on Berceuse Heroique?
Gizmo: T++ and Mika Vainio on a Philus 12".
What process do you follow for getting new artists?
Gizmo: I have to know them really well and they need to understand the ethics of the label. They can play the game, but when they come to BH they have to think about music and only music. Also, they have to understand that I don't give a flying fuck about their agent and their manager.
How does living in London shape Berceuse Heroique?
Gizmo: It's not my favourite city. The weather is bad, the food is shit and the people are cold. London has changed the last few years. It's not that creative because the creative people are leaving the city, as it is so expensive to live here. The good thing about all these problems is that they helped me work double as hard because if I didn't I wouldn't survive. London is cold and unfriendly, but it keeps you on your toes. I'm more of a Bristol Guy.
You did some great re-releases like the Cousin Cockroach track This Ain't Tom N' Jerry. How do you choose the tracks you re-issue and anything new planned?
Gizmo: I don't go for stuff that are expensive or Discogs. I prefer tunes that were neglected or I prefer re-introducing them to new people. The repress of the Horsepower Production remix was made because the original 12" wasn't even mastered and it was squeezed with another tune in one side. I just wanted a clean copy of that. The Cousin Cockroach repress was made because I thought that this project was very underrated and I just wanted to introduce some people to this one. The Smackos repress was one of my favourite CDs from back in the days and me and my crew used to rinse that one hard in the summer. I just wanted a vinyl copy for me and my friends, so I did it because of that.
You also run the sub labels Ancient Monarchy, Herskull and ΚΕΜΑΛ. Can you tell us a bit about their function and substance?
Gizmo: Ancient Monarchy started because I wanted a sub label that would focus on the UK sound. I believe that UK always has something to say and I wanted to do my version of Metalheadz or Reinforced without copying these labels. I'm not an English guy so it would be really bad if I was trying to make something like that, so I try to infuse some different aesthetics to it. Herskull is a label that we started with the Kelly Twins of the mighty Happy Skull clan just because I played for one of their parties and we hit it off straight away. I love their label and I consider them as one of the best DJ's in the UK, so it just happened. KEMAΛ was supposed to do no dance music stuff and be more of a label on that I would release LP's from artist that wouldn't exactly come from dance music. But I stopped doing more releases because I had to focus on Berceuse Heroique and Ancient Monarchy.
Please recommend two artists to our readers, which you feel deserve their attention.
Gizmo: Sam Kidel aka El Kid from the Young Echo crew, because he just made a conceptual LP that has a sense of humour and that doesn't sound pretentious. Then there is O$VMV$M, because their releases on Idle Hands (and especially their remix for Creta Kano) is the most beautiful thing ever and also it makes me try harder to find stuff like that.
How did you select the tracks for your Carhartt Radio show?
Gizmo: Its all unreleased Berceuse Heroique stuff minus one I:Cube remix from a Cosmo Vitelli tune. I just wanted to make a mix for my girlfriend because she was telling me that she needs one for the tube.
I just wanted to make a mix for my girlfriend, because she was telling me that she needs one for the tube.
What are three albums that you'll absolutely never get tired of listening to?
Nico - Desertshore (Reprise 1970)
Popol Vuh - Aguirre (PDU 19752)
Laurie Anderson - Big Science (Warner Bros. 1982)
Townes Van Zandt - Delta Momma Blues (Poppy 1971)
Dadawah - Peace and Love (Wild Flower 1974)
What old albums you rediscovered lately and what makes them special?
John Cale - Slow Dazzle (Island 1975)
Because his version of Heartbreak Hotel is the sound of my brain.
Whitehouse - Erector (Come Orginazition 1981)
Because they were confrontational with an amazing sense of humour that people forget
Spacemen 3 - Playing With Fire (Fire Records 1988)
Because this band could write amazing songs, but also they knew how to put a lot of amazing layers on them. Plus, Lord Can you Hear Me is one of the most beautiful tunes ever made
What is the biggest influence on your work and who inspires you?
Gizmo: Music with attitude. All my favourite records and artists had that thing in common. With our releases I want people to love them or hate them, but I just don't want them to think they are boring. Attitude is what inspires me the most in music, cinema or art.
Attitude is what inspires me the most in music, cinema or art.
If somebody gave you a million quid and you had 24 hours to rinse it, what would you do?
Gizmo: I would go to Mika Vainio and pay him to make a Philus LP.
If you could spend a night partying with any of your icons, who would it be?
Gizmo: Brian Jones, John Cale, Nico, David Bowie, Werner Herzog and The Kelly Twins.
Can you name us people that should collaborate for a better world?
Gizmo: Rupert Murdoch and death.
What’s your favourite film quote?
Gizmo: Ich Bin Der Zorn Gottes
Your favourite heroes/heroines in fiction?
Gizmo: Patrick Bateman and all the female characters in every Philip K. Dick book.
Your favourite heroes/heroines in real life?
Gizmo: I'm old and cynical now so I don't have any new heroes. Most of them come from the past. It's not healthy but it's the truth
Who would you want to play you in film about your life?
Gizmo: Toshiro Mifune or Mickey Rourke in Barfly.
You are located in London. What are your favourite spots and secrets in your hometown that you would recommend to somebody that comes around for a visit?
Gizmo: Honest Jon's. If I'm not there I'm back at the house working on stuff. I am not a very social person any more.