Carhartt WIP Radio proudly features Public Possession; a record label, clothing brand, graphics workshop, exhibition space and infamous hang out spot, which, since 2013, has been based in an iconic shop in Munich, Germany. Formed a year prior by DJs Valentino Betz and Marvin Schuhmann, the concept is to combine music, art, clothes and events to create a cultural hub. The store features a mix of in-house and curated products, as well as other commission based work. Musical artists on the label include Bell Towers, Obalski, Anton Klint, Samo DJ, GlamouRatz and Hysteric to name a few, each reflecting the label's eclectic approach, which sees it dabble in a host of genres, including electronica, hip hop, disco, Italo, folk, eclectic and ambient. Enjoy this exclusive mix for Carhartt WIP Radio and immerse yourself in the world of Public Possession as they detail their work and vision. Here is what Marvin and Valentino told us.
Hi Marvin und Valentino, can you introduce yourself and your work a bit for us?
Marvin & Valentino: Hello, we are Marvin and Valentino running the label Public Possession. We are both from Munich, where we used to go to school together for a bit. After that we kind of lost sight of each other for a while. Valentino went to the Art Academy in Munich and Marvin studied Philosophy in Vienna. During that time, we already used to play as DJ together quite a lot. At some point we realized, that we had a lot of other shared interests besides playing records. We needed a platform where all these could clash. And that`s basically what’s been happening at Public Possession over the last five years.
What is your musical background? What was the impetus behind the start-up your label and shop Public Possession in 2012?
Marvin & Valentino: Valentino has more of a classical background, with his parents being concert pianists and himself playing the violin from an early age on. Marvin grew up listening to hip hop and reggae. (We started to DJ together out of a mutual attraction to old Disco records.) Through playing records, we eventually ended up in our friend Beni Brachtel’s (Bartellow) Studio. There the three of us recorded some music that we needed an outlet for, that`s how the label came about. We opened the shop more or less simultaneous, for similarly pragmatic reasons – we just weren`t really happy with what Munich had to offer in that sector.
What do you do for Public Possession on a day-to-day basis?
Marvin & Valentino: Next to handling the production process, ordering new records for the shop and trying to cope with the email traffic – we try to spend as much time as possible with gathering ideas and news that help us to figure out what to do next.
What musical qualities do you look for as "curators" of music? What process do you follow for getting new artists?
Marvin & Valentino: We were really lucky so far – we already had some friends and acquaintances that were doing amazing music when we started the label and have met many new ones since then. Usually it happens naturally, getting introduced by a common friend, or meeting at a gig. It is hard to analyze our criteria for choosing music that ends up being released on the label. Maybe the most important thing is that you can really hear the artist in the music. We would like to think that all the artists on our label have a unique style in the way they make their music.
How is the Public Possession record shop linked to the label?
Marvin & Valentino: Through our taste – we only present music we really enjoy ourselves. Next to that we are focusing more and more on PP products.
Public Possession has a strong visual identity. Can you tell us why and what is so important for you about this?
Marvin & Valentino: As said before, Public Possession was never planned out to be only a record label / shop. We always felt this was going to be something where we could bundle all our interests. Music, visual, text etc … It`s just a lot of fun to provide the music you like with a packaging you feel is suitable.
Public Possession cover artworks, flyer and store pics ( / )
The label’s releases are very diverse – from techno and house to leftfield, experimental, folk, ambient or disco. Can you tell us what unites all this different styles in your opinion?
Marvin & Valentino: The answer must be a fusion of previously given answers. Next to the fact that we like all this stuff, we feel that the artists doing the music really have some news (good ones) to tell.
What is one of your favorite releases on Public Possession? Why?
Marvin & Valentino: Impossible to tell! Always the one coming up next!
What exciting stuff do you have in the pipeline currently?
Marvin & Valentino: Musically there is a lot coming up, new records by GlamouRatz, Mr.Tophat, Sano, Obalski, Bell Towers only to name a few. And a special one in collaboration with Olaf Nicolai, as part of his contribution to this year’s Documenta. We just did a book with the help of you guys. We have a new and improved version of our PP Selección hitting the shelves any minute, starting off with various limited editon printed T-Shirts. We just launched our Radio Station in collaboration with Radio 80000 where you can listen to local DJs and artists spreading the news (non stop)…
Do you have a "wish list" of musicians you'd like to see on Public Possession?
Marvin & Valentino: Since we try to work with artists that haven’t had too much exposure before we release their music, we probably don’t know her/him yet! For now, we are very happy with who is/has been involved.
Can you give some advice to someone who is interested in starting his or her own label?
Marvin & Valentino: That`s hard to tell, because there are so many different approaches on how to make it work. It also really depends on what you want to gain out of it. In our case it sure didn`t hurt that we already had a rough release schedule lined up for the first couple of releases. But we also learned and improvised a lot along the way.
You are also offering the services Audio Consulting, Audio Branding & Instore Music – can you tell us a bit about this adventure and what kind of clients do you have?
Marvin & Valentino: We recently curated the soundtrack for a documentary about classic bar culture that was shot around the world over the last couple of years. We selected existing music (incl. Haruomi Hosono, Dave Brubeck, Jimi Tenor, Bill Evans etc…) and produced some additional motives to accompany the lead character throughout the movie. It pre-premiered at this year’s Berlinale and will be in cinemas later this year. We made playlists for a couple of shops in Munich that are supposed to stimulate the customers (sales exploded). We are currently working on expanding in those fields.
How does living in Munich shape the work at Public Possession?
Marvin & Valentino: Next to the day-to-day life that has a good balance between nature relaxation, traditional beer & sausage habits and a small, but healthy nightlife scene we have a lot of friends doing great things that keep inspiring us.
What are some labels that have influenced your work as DJs and label head-honchos?
Can you remember where you first started DJing and the kind of music you were playing?
Marvin & Valentino: At a small bar in Munich, Tuesdays, summer was peaking, we carried our records there in plastic boxes that usually broke down on the way, a wild mix of hip hop, Playhouse and affiliated, Disco/Italo and everything else we could get our hands on was very unskillfully “mixed”.
How do you strike a balance between preparation and spontaneity?
Marvin & Valentino: Since it’s always two of us it usually is more spontaneity than preparation, but obviously after such a long time we kind of know what to „expect“ of each other – if one fucks up the other one saves it with a solo.
What's your preferred setup in a club and how hung up do you get about beat matching?
Marvin & Valentino: 2 x 1210 Technics, 2 x CDJ, Mixer, no stage = DJ booth on same level as dancefloor – selection trumps the mix, but some skills in beat matching can be useful in creating a vibe/suspense.
How do you think your generation is going to leave its mark on electronic music?
Marvin & Valentino: There is a lot of amazing music going on. Maybe more than ever! Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see if the new ways of communication and data memory will make it easier to detect good stuff, or if the mass of potential information will make the filtering much harder for future generations.
What are your favorite places to play / hang out in?
Marvin & Valentino: Our new office, our shop, our homes, the kitchen, Charlie Bar where we have our monthly residency, an Italian Piazza, the sea, a cottage near Cornwall / wearing a tweed sakko whilst having an afternoon tea …
What can music which all other art forms cannot?
Marvin & Valentino: It has a very strong physical component – it “moves” you.
How did you select the tracks for your Carhartt WIP Radio show?
Marvin & Valentino: We tried to give a good overview on the label’s past, present and future.
If you could spend a night partying with any of your icons, who would it be?