Five questions for Pyramid Transmissions

Pyramid Transmissions takes a seat to respond to our Five questions. Learn more about this long-standing electro label, its roots, start-up and history.

Igloo Magazine :: When did Pyramid Transmissions start up and what was your inspiration?

(ADJ/Pathic) Pyramid Transmissions :: Pyramid Transmissions started in 1999 with our first release in 2000. I (ADJ) had previously owned another label called Analogique with some friends from 1995-1997 releasing our own analogue electro and techno sounds inspired by artists like Model 500, Egyptian Lover, Unknown DJ, Mad Mike, Black Dog/Plaid, Insync amongst others. Pyramid Transmissions came about when I had an electro/IDM record-store in London called Pyramid. Electro had been a passion since the 80’s and as I’d always played electro I decided to start another label promoting the nu-skool sound inspired by all the new electro sounds that were coming out in the late 90’s—artists like Carl Finlow, Scarletron, Bitstream, Soul Oddity/Phoenicia, Andrea Parker, Simulant, Si Begg, Chromatix—there was so much sick music coming out it inspired me to get stuck in again so I hooked up with John Cranmer (Pathic) and we started the label.

Igloo :: Who were some of your initial artist relations and did your physical location hinder any progress?

PT :: Previous to the Pyramid store I had run another record store from 1995 -1999 called IQ. For 4 years we were a Mecca for the nu-skool electro movement in London. Through the store I met DJ’s and artists who were like-minded. I had mates who made great electro (Pathic, Ossacip, Spytek) and it started from there really. London at that time was the center of the world for electronic music, we got everything from the US, Europe, Japan and all the great new UK stuff—it was amazing—although the electro scene was quite small and underground, much like it is again now. I met Pathic and we hooked up with the Outside Recordings crew and they sorted us out a lot of gigs in the US for them and the ELM Crew from LA. We got gigs across Europe and the UK which gave us the opportunity to promote new sounds and open a few minds. Most people thought electro was consigned to the 80’s and it blew their minds to hear the nu-skool electro sounds.

Igloo :: What were some of the challenges (if any) starting up a label? How did you envision the label to stand apart?

PT :: I don’t know about stand apart because we’re inspired every day by the music we hear but our vision for the label was, and still is, to release our music and the music our mates make.

Our main motivation for the label is all the crazy new music we hear every day. The internet has spread the sound to every corner of the planet. There are artists and DJ’s in places that don’t even have a scene but they can hear electro and say “I wanna make music like that!”

We’re lucky to know so many underground artists and we didn’t want the label just to be about our music. Our philosophy has always been to release new, unheard, unreleased artists to keep the sound fresh and moving forward. And if you listen through our releases you can hear the sound has evolved so much. To us it’s about progression of the electro sound. Too much music is stuck in the past, in a formula, which to me is against everything that electro is about. We totally respect where the electro sound came from, we were there, but we want to push the sound forward. John Lennon once said “I don’t understand all this nostalgia with music from the past, be yourself, do something new, something different.” That sums us up as a label.

Starting the label was quite easy to be honest. With having the store and being involved in the electro scene we knew what it took to get it up n running. Pathic and myself got the money together, got the record mastered, cut and pressed ourselves and we gave some direct to shops and the rest to a distributor. All went well for a couple of releases but then the distributor went bankrupt and we lost all our back stock and all our money—something that has happened another 2 times since. I think that’s been the biggest challenge for us as a label—losing everything 3 times. But what can you do, dust yourself off and get stuck in again. This is probably why we’re only on release number 10 after 12 years but we’re at it again with a sick roster of artists n fire in the belly!

Igloo :: What is your motivation in keeping the label moving forward into the next decade?

PT :: Our main motivation for the label is all the crazy new music we hear every day. The internet has spread the sound to every corner of the planet. There are artists and DJ’s in places that don’t even have a scene but they can hear electro and say “I wanna make music like that!”

It’s a really exciting time for electronic music it’s what happened in the 90’s. Sounds and styles merging. Electro, dubstep, techno, electronica, IDM—all molding into new sounds and that’s what our new compilation is all about—electro from every abstract angle.

We’ve also been releasing digitally for a few years now with the same philosophy of releasing new and unreleased artists which allows us to put out more sounds but we’ll always release limited vinyl as we want to preserve the art of the DJ. Something we feel is being lost in the world of automated digital mixing.

Igloo :: Tell us more about how you (and your staff?) take the label’s “sound” to the listeners and fans. Distribution, campaigns, word of mouth etc.

PT :: Our main way of promoting the label sound is via the internet and I think that’s the same for most labels now. We use online magazines like yourselves and internet radio stations to get our stuff out there and played. We also use social media like Soundcloud and Facebook.

I (ADJ) do a monthly internet radio show with Steve Faulkner called This Dead Planet on Global Funk Radio. We do 4-6 hours each show so we get the chance to play loads of music people haven’t heard. We play back to back—one deck each with vinyl and time-coded vinyl. Neither of us know what we’re gonna play as we just do a freestyle mix up proper old-school style. We’ve got 30 years each of collecting electro and all its sub-genres so we aren’t going to run out of beats anytime soon!

Pyramid Transmissions and This Dead Planet have also started collaborating on a new project (The Dodo Club London) and it’s a bi-monthly night of underground electronic beats on a Barge on the River Thames in London showcasing new beats. Alongside this Pathic and myself play regular gigs in the UK and Europe which gives us a great platform for our music.

For our next release (Interstellar Communications) we’re going to release it exclusively from our Bandcamp page at first to get the music straight to the people who want it—Bandcamp is great for that. After that it’s released to the shops and online stores which support our sound. It’s been nice talking to you guys thanks for the support. Peace. (ADJ, Pathic).

For more information about Pyramid Transmissions, visit their website at www.pyramidtransmissions.com.

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