With Samurai Music busy gearing up for the impending release of the epic Scope LP, we caught up with label boss DJ Presha to find out all about his passion for vinyl and what else we can expect from the label this year.
DNB Dojo: Vinyl is clearly close to your heart given the care that goes into the Samurai vinyl releases and the vinyl only releases on the Horo imprint. Can you tell us a bit more about your obvious love for vinyl and how that came about?
Presha: I have been DJ’ing in one genre or another since the early 90’s. When I started it was all about vinyl, and I had worked in record stores since I left school basically. One of my first flats was living with a Hip Hop DJ who obviously had a lot of vinyl and I caught the bug. I began distributing D&B, techno, house, garage, and eventually dubstep records in New Zealand around 1997 and over the 15 years or so I did that for, I had my addiction comfortably fed. Since I have stopped that and moved to Europe, Berlin has given birth to a new strain of vinyl addiction, and I hope one day soon I can ship over my collection from NZ to me in my new home 🙂
DD: In the age of digital DJing and Beatport many labels are stopping vinyl manufacture or cutting down vinyl releases compared to digital output, often citing falling sales. How does Samurai cope with these challenges?
P: When we started in 2007, sales of vinyl were really starting to dip, so we approached it as a packaging / art presentation challenge to make our products more desirable. Good music wasn’t enough anymore for people that were happy with digital files, you had to give them something a little bit more. This has carried on obviously and we have continued to adapt and the need for vinyl products to have some unique approach has got stronger. It’s something we really love doing and take pride in as well.
In all honesty D&B is years behind House and Techno in this department and moving to Berlin made me see how they have adapted to the new market and I’ve tried to apply their ways of presenting and packaging to D&B / 170. It has taken D&B buyers a bit longer to become as involved as the buyers in those markets are with the products but that’s changing now. Berlin’s record scene is what’s kicked my addiction into full steam again and I’m trying to use Samurai to lure others into my habit as well. I’m a pusher!
DD: If you had to pick a top five, what are your favourite vinyl records in your personal collection?
P: Oh I miss my record collection in New Zealand very much!
Samhain – Initium – Marbled vinyl edition of 15 black with white streaks
Misfits – Beware – Original UK pressing
Misfits – Walk Among Us – Original red sky pressing
Misfits – Legacy Of Brutality – White vinyl pressing
Source Direct – The Crane
DD: I made the pilgrimage to Sun & Bass this year and caught the Samurai crew throwing down over there, much to my delight. How did you guys get involved with Sun & Bass?
P: I work for ESP agency who have worked closely with Sun and Bass for many years. Alicia and Mark from ESP spoke to Stefano, Martina and the crew of Sun and Bass about me playing there when I was still in New Zealand and they were up for it. I flew over to go to the festival one year in a combined night with Samurai and Alley Cat’s Kokeshi label and it totally changed my life. That was the deciding factor in me moving to Europe and this friendship / collaboration has now blossomed into 4 years of me playing there and 2 years with our own Samurai night. It sometimes seems like a crazy dream, Sun and Bass and what it has done to change my life and how Samurai has progressed. A very good crazy 🙂
DD: How did the concept for the Horo sub-label come about and what made you decide to keep it exclusively vinyl (at least until the CD release of Scope)?
P: The idea came from needing another label for more experimental music, and of course living in Berlin and seeing all these amazing vinyl only house and techno records. The concept came from me doing a lot of research online to find a story that suited my idea. I was signing a lot of music from ASC and it didn’t fit on either of the other labels very well, so this was a deciding factor as well. Then the Fis & Tokyo prose tunes came along and it was time to start. It will be returning to vinyl only after Scope and we have 5 new Horo’s slated already for 2014 as well as the first Horo artist LP from Ena.
DD: Besides the impending release of Scope, what else can we expect from Samurai this year? Given the recent release of Lessons in Depth on Red Seal are you aiming for a label/album hat-trick?
P: Ha ha no its too late for that now. We have 3 definite releases before the end of the year, but we may sneak another one in all going well. They are:
Homemade Weapons & Gremlinz feat. Collinjah ‘After Dark EP (Samurai Music) – also features a J:Kenzo 170 remix
Homemade Weapons ‘Kintaro’ EP (Samurai Music)
Indigo ‘The Storm’ EP (Samurai Red Seal)