There's more than meets the eye when running record label. Every puzzle piece has to come together to elevate the artist and their work to it's highest potential. The artists presence in the eyes and ears of the people is essentially now in your hands. A year after launching, PUZL Records is still making strong strides to represent artist they believe in. Celebrating their year anniversary as a label, I caught up with Alex of PUZL Records to chat about it's start, advice and who to look out for...
On Saturday, they're celebrating their anniversary with a party in DTLA featuring Lonely Boy, Kitsune, Future Boogie with special guests Daniel Steinberg, Kristin Velvet and more. Be sure to check it out!
WHAT IS PUZL? PUZL is, has and will be many things. At it’s core PUZL is my living art project. The idea of PUZL was conceived while I was still living in Boston working at a media company. As a mental exercise I decided to invent a brand and start designing assets for it as a means to push my creativity forward and expand my portfolio.. The name PUZL stems from a few things, my love of puzzles as a child, my design approach, and a fascination with a graffiti artist know as PUZLE.
As I started designing concepts I would share some of them with a few of my peers until one day a friends looked at one of my designs and said, “You should put that on a t-shirt. I’d wear it.”. A lightbulb went off and I started furiously creating t-shirt designs. One thing lead to another and I eventually pitched my concepts to a streetwear company called Karmaloop and they decided to take my line on. PUZL was born. Since it’s inception the brand has existed as a graphic t-shirt line, magazine, blog, creative agency and now as a record label.
HOW DID THE LABEL COME TO BE? I decided to create a record label partly out of necessity and partly out of a passion for the music that I had been so involved in through LAMP over the years. The impetus for starting the label came from a successful release we put out on LAMP from my good friend and LAMP family member Leo Islo and his collaborator Tontario called ‘Coexist’. The track made it rounds within press and social circles until I eventually got an impromptu email from iTunes asking if we’d be interested in putting this out on their playlists. At that point I had already discussed the idea of forming a distribution label with my LAMP counterparts and this was the catalyst.
CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR 1ST YEAR! HOW DID IT GO? Thank you! It was amazing! The reception we’ve received from our fans and other artists in the industry is inspiring and motivating. The PUZL 1 Year is a testament to our dedication to exposing audiences to new music and artists’ willingness to work with us on a collaborative, creative process.
IS THERE A CERTAIN SOUND THE LABEL LOOKS FOR? PUZL Records is open format. I look for music that has quality sound design, and most often we only accept submission that are a collection of tracks in the form of an EP or LP. The reason for this is I like to encourage those who are submitting to think critically about what they submit to us and how they want to present their artistic vision. I still hold on to the fact that EPs and albums always serve to provide a better perspective on a rising/up and coming artist.
WHAT'S YOUR PROCESS FOR DISCOVERING NEW TALENT? It’s a mixture of submissions, local talent interactions, and searching online for artists that are really pushing the boundaries of their music.
WHAT'S ONE IMPORTANT LESSON YOU TOOK AWAY FROM YEAR 1? Take your time. Be patient. Understand where your artists are coming from and but by no means ever compromise in quality (you’re doing both your label and the artist a disservice otherwise).
WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY WORKING ON? An 8 track remix package for Le Monkey’s LP from last year Substance Matinale. A single from our new artist jewel tones, a PUZL Records compilation and much more!
ANY UP + COMING ARTISTS WE SHOULD KEEP AN EYE ON? Yes, Leo Islo, Le Monkey, jewel tones, and Jamie Prado.
HOW DOES PUZL COMPLIMENT LAMP AND IT'S EFFORTS? They are very synergistic! LAMP is our event and production partner and we pull a lot of talent from that collective when putting together new releases and remixes.
HOW IMPORTANT HAVE PLAYLISTS AND ONLINE STREAMING BECOME FOR ARTISTS? Extremely. The relationship with these playlists and brands is very similar to the networks that spawned out of the early Soundcloud days. How long this focus lasts, only time will tell
DO YOU DRINK COFFEE? IF SO, HOW DO YOU TAKE IT? All variations. I understand the American need for ‘fuel’ in the mornings but my European upbringing also taught me to appreciate caffeine at any hour of the day. :)