Every week, Bethan Elfyn chats to an inspiring indie label about their artists, their motivation and the music they love.
This week, we highlight the work of Erased Tapes – an incredible label that is responsible for some of the most beautiful neo-classical composers, intelligent electronica and mind-elevating post-rock.
There’s no genre bias, but there is a common theme. It’s all beautiful. The releases are deeply emotive, reflective and passionate. It’s music to lock out the outside world, to wrap around yourself in the dark or immerse yourself in with headphones on.
Generally removed from trends or ‘buzzes’, Erased Tapes is powered by a massive love for each of their artists. Working with the label as we do, we are constantly astounded by, not only the quality that comes out of the label, but the passion behind each release that arrives in our inboxes.
Bethan spoke to founder, Robert Raths.
“I started out in London in 2007 whilst previously studying architecture, somehow I discovered these artists and I wondered why there was no one else looking after them. I felt like it was my job to do.
“It’s just me at the core of it. I’ve got a few people working with me. We’ve got an office in London, and in Berlin. I’m just kind of flying back and forth between the two every two weeks or so. Because I can’t really make up my mind which city I prefer!”
“I’m very open minded to music. I would say the one thing that the artists have in common is a kind of space that gives people chance to dream and reflect their thoughts. So back in 2007 when I studied architecture I mainly listened to music that allowed me to study and concentrate rather than to draw my attention away from what I was doing.
“It started out with an electronic artist from Leicester, Rival Consoles. It goes all the way to Ólafur Arnolds who is from Iceland, he mainly focuses on the bridge between classical arrangements and pop elements. And then there’s even an artist from Japan, World’s End Girlfriend.
“They all have that one element in common, that you can let go of your imagination. I prefer that, I’m not really a big fan of over-produced music.”
“Funnily enough, even though I was always a fan of music and I was brought up with vinyl, I didn’t really follow the success of the label as such. I guess, subconsciously, I prefer buying records from Island, or 4AD or ECM mainly because they were well produced and there was something exotic about the way they put it together. Very heartfelt, great packaging, good quality and great artists.
“Island was known for discovering Bob Marley for instance, and bringing the whole scene over to Europe and America. For me that was fantastic to see someone finding music in a different place in the world and helping them make music known in different places.
“And that’s how I’ve kind of started out. My early signing was Ólafur Arnolds and outside of Iceland he wasn’t really known. It was fun working with him because people would be really interested in Iceland as a surrounding and what inspired him.”
This Year at Erased Tapes…
“I liked the idea of my artists collaborating. So this year started with Ryan West (Rival Consoles) producing Codes in the Clouds album this February.
“Then I had a collaboration between Nils Frahm and the cellist called Anne Müller in springtime and that kind of thread continues. I signed a new collaboration between Dustin O’Halloran, an LA producer, who is known for his solo works and Adam Wiltzie who is in Stars of the Lid and is also in Sparklehorse, they formed a project called A Winged Victory For the Sullen.
“It was kind of beautiful to see two fully grown men who had seen everything and had a zillion projects all of a sudden coming together and realising “this is actually what we want to do”. It was really important for them as a project because it was a tough time for them last year personally and this kind of helped them get through those times. When I asked them what they wanted to call it, they said it needed a band name more than a side project. That was nice to see.”
Two Tracks to Represent the Label…
If you missed the full interview last night on Bethan’s show, listen again below.