Based in Den Bosch, Netherlands, Teun de Reeper's label Eat Concrete has released music by artists like Spinachprince, Aardvarck, Baconhead and Lumisokea. I spoke to Teun about his vision for the label, its beginnings as a platform for releases by himself and his friends, and what the working week is like for an independent label owner. As always, there's a selection of the label's songs available for download at the bottom of the piece and Teun himself has weighed in on the merits of each one.
Tell me a little about how Eat Concrete began.
Eat Concrete began as a radio show which I hosted back in 2005. At that time I already had the idea to start a record label with the same name...the name "Eat Concrete" just popped into my head one day [and upon reflection] I figured this wasn't exactly a coincidence, given my history as a skateboarder. During that year I collected music made by friends and myself, and decided to release it on two vinyl EPs for the label in 2006. It grew from there [and] over the years more international artists became connected to the label. The type of music I released also became broader over the years.
Did you set out with a particular goal for the label?
My main interest was to release music that I liked, regardless of genre. Although that seems quite obvious, it wasn't at that time. I felt that relying on quality and diversity should do it, rather than focusing on a specific style. In the end I still believe in that goal but when it comes to establishing a name for yourself it isn't that easy. If you're always shifting styles, it takes longer for that to happen. Also, the market I'm working in is quite small and small labels make hardly any money. So the struggle was to try to get my message across without going bust first! And although I'm still finding it difficult to maintain myself business-wise, I think the general message comes across pretty well: Eat Concrete releases interesting and exciting music from all sorts of corners [and] cares about the quality of sound and artwork.
What's the working week like running Eat Concrete?
Well, [the] last one and a half years has been a bit hectic. I've become a father, had to find a day job and needed to rethink some matters. Right now it seems I've found a new balance but there's always too little time to do the things I need to do. To be honest, my work flow is hardly the same for long; I'm too chaotic and the situation for the label has hardly ever been predictable. I'm running things by myself here, which varies between scouting for music and artwork, working press, mastering some of the releases, editing for DJ stuff [and] doing the dishes. I have two old friends who are helping with artwork and website matters but for what I want I'd need three times as much time and some staff. In summer I tend to do less; sitting behind a desk isn't that fun. We have a garden which is great when we have nice weather once every few years.
Is there a dream artist you'd like to release on Eat Concrete?
My only dream is to stay alive and keep doing what I do, honestly. Of course there's some names I would probably never work with but love to carry: The Books, 808 State, Mark van Hoen, Mark Hollis/Talk Talk, Fennesz, Angelo Badalamenti, Eno...and Mingus?
What do you hope the future holds for the label?
I hope that I'll still be able to release vinyl by exciting new artists [as well as] ones I've worked with previously. It would be great if our catalog could be known by a larger audience but to me it's equally important to keep [current] fans of Eat Concrete happy. I've always wanted to extend my field and focus even more on special artwork and exclusive concepts. Although the digital age has brought many opportunities I feel strongly about keeping music's physical [accompaniments] alive -- vinyl, great artwork, etc. I will aim to build strong relationships with artists from different fields, not just music. Most importantly, I want to have fun with what I'm doing.
Which tracks have you chosen for Epitonic readers to download?
Lumisokea's "Veltro," which comes from Selva, their forthcoming second album for Eat Concrete. This Belgian/Italian duo combines analog synths with acoustic experiments from their prepared piano, cello and percussion. Ultra limited vinyl edition with 200 unique laser-cut sleeves. Release date is November 15.
Aardvarck's "N-f-s-9-l," taken from the Dutch maverick's fourth full length album, to be released late 2012.
taken from the Executive EP by Oakland/Chicago based trio Spinachprince. It's the first in a series.
Enemy Earth's "Sword Art,"
from their excellent 2009 album Interstellar Commute. The vinyl has long been out of print but it's still available digitally from the Eat Concrete website.
Blipvert's "New Choomish," from American composer's amazing Quantumbuster Now. The album's packaged in hand-printed artwork by Belgian genius Elzo. [A] new Blipvert release will be announced soon.
Your playlist is lookin' mighty bare, hoss.
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