Label spotlight: Smelly Feet Records.
Touching base with the guys from Smelly Feet Records. Crazy name, crazy dudes. Or maybe not? Smelly Feet Records is a music label designed to showcase established and upcoming talents who they recognize for their skills and creativity. The core foundation of the label is to target quality artists with the intention of respectfully broadcasting them around the world.
We had a chance to talk to these guys about what drives them and why starting a record label amongst zillions out there. What we love the most is that their genres of choice will vary, the style and influence will always revert back to the city sounds of where they come from: New York, Montreal, Berlin.
Find out all about Smelly Feet Records!
Hey guys, let’s have a talk about your record label, Smelly Feet. First of all, what’s the story behind the name?
Surprisingly, a lot of people don’t ask about how the name came about, but more, why we called it what we did. At first, people thought it was a joke, that we named it Smelly Feet Records for fun, but in actuality, it has a very serious meaning behind it. What it represents and what it stands for is the combining of minds, of two friends who met in a city unknown to them, ready to create something new.
We represent our brand in a way that mirrors who we are, both as independent artists and as collaborative ones.
Tell us all about the background and concept of the imprint? Who’s is who, who’s doing what?
Our concept is a simple one. We produce interviews and podcasts that feature international artists from around the world. We like to focus on resident DJ’s, producers, label owners, unique characters and up and coming artists who we feel have a special ability to capture an audience’s attention.
To break it down in terms of workload, there are a few things that separate how we produce the entirety of a release. A lot of the website content is handled by Michael, and Juba re-works a lot of the interview edits. For the most part though, we do everything together.
What was the true motivation for starting this record label?
We feel like a musical outlet for us to express ourselves was always predestined. Even before we linked up as a duo, we were doing our own thing musically and artistically, either on the stage, behind the scenes or through various forms of art. Motivation was never an issue. It was more about when, where and who to do it with.
There are so many labels out there, what makes yours so special?
Our wall of feet.
You operate from 3 cities around the world, New York, Montreal and Berlin. Why 3?
These are the three home bases. Michael – born and raised in New York. Juba – over 7 years growing up in Montreal. Berlin – The birthplace of Smelly Feet Records aka the city where we first met.
When looking at the artists on your roster, they come from all over the world. Want to tell us something about how you select music and eventually the artist? Or is the way around?
Initially, we always use our ears first to select the artist. What they are making, what their sound is and how they are presenting it outweighs any other factor we look into. There are other variables, sure, but their sound is what draws us in. We tend to gravitate towards artists who are very active in their scene, artists who are naturally passionate about their craft and get involved with their community, whether it be locally or internationally.
What’s your aim with the record label and what direction are you currently heading for?
The goal is to put out good music consistently, keep up with the sounds, and never force the following of a trend.
What do you expect from artists in this journey?
We put a lot of time into the interviews we write. Other than the questions we send out, we have our own system and media requirements that we expect each artist to produce. We accept no pre-released materials (in terms of podcasts). We expect everything to be original and crafted for our channel. We like to know that the work we put in is matched by the artists we work with, and together we can release something we are all proud of. After all, it’s for the fans.
What releases have you planned for in the (near) future?
We are all over the map this year. For our spring line-up, you can expect guests from: Los Angeles (USA), New York (USA), Berlin (Germany), Ramallah (Palestine), Fujiyoshida (Japan), Munich (Germany), Utrecht (Netherlands), London (England), Boston (USA), Porto (Portugal) and many more.
Summer, Fall and Winter we’ll have a whole new roster.
As a label, what are some of the essential elements that you look for in an artist?
Sound, integrity, and character.
Running a label can be hard. What is one of the hard parts according to you guys?
“Dealing with Mike on a weekly basis” – Juba Kartel
“Dealing with Juba on a weekly basis” – Michael Astor
What would you like your legacy as Smelly Feet to be?
To be as big as the labels and names that brought us here in the first place.