Amir Alexander will have the first release on Argot, a new label from Little White Earbuds editor Steve Mizek.
This will be the second record label venture by Mizek, who began Stolen Kisses in 2011. The imprint aims to highlight American producers through vinyl and digital EPs, and though future releases have not yet been announced, Mizek promises at least two more releases from Alexander by the end of the year.
RA spoke with Mizek and Alexander about the label via email:
You started Stolen Kisses just last year. Why start another new label so soon? What's the difference between Argot and Stolen Kisses? Were you happy with the reaction to Stolen Kisses, and will it continue?
Mizek: As a label, Stolen Kisses happened by chance, which was something I've tried to embody in the releases. I can only capture chance on vinyl to my satisfaction so many times before I'm going to miss. While I've been pleased with SK's reception, I'd rather make it a limited series of five records unto itself.
Putting out vinyl is a bit addictive, so I'd like to have a "full time" label as well. Hence I've started Argot. One thing I'd like to be part of is an effort by more US-based labels to put out American artists. Some of the best labels in the world are doing that and they're based overseas. So it makes sense for more American imprints like Argot to lift up these producers, many of whom I've been lucky enough to know.
Is representing your home base of Chicago important for you as a label owner?
Mizek: It's funny, for as popular as Chicago house has become, not many people are checking a lot of its rising talents—yet. Through Argot, I look forward to showcasing many of the talented Chicago artists I've come to know and befriend. At the same time I'm very open to working with artists from all across the country. Similarly, I hope Argot will cover a fair amount of stylistic ground and have quality be a signature sound rather than a specific set of dance genres.
As an American artist, do you feel like US scene is being adequately represented by American labels?
Alexander: My honest opinion is that there is no such thing as a US scene. There are a few people throwing parties and little pockets of creativity here and there, but we are far from having anything that could be called a scene. If there ever was such a thing it is long gone never to return. There is no unity first of all. I feel like the US labels are adequately representing themselves to the best of their abilities, but the US (as well as the global scene) is more like every man for himself. It seems as though money and connections will always prevail over hard work and creativity. Replace the word "scene" with the words "demographic" and "marketplace" for a more accurate description. I guess that it is adequately represented though. The lack of representation exposes the lack of a scene.
Did you approach the tracks on the Gutter Flex EP differently than previous material, technically or thematically?
Alexander: No, not really. I just did my thing like I always do. Once I get an inspiring idea, the work completes itself. I just channel and manifest. The inspiration for the "Gutter Flex" concept came from every day life. In this case, applying for a job at McDonald's and getting rejected. I felt like "Man, fuck this shit." The whole ordeal was a bit depressing, so I tried to convert those negative emotions into something positive. In attempt to express my emotions I went into the studio and banged that track out. The Gutter represents my life of poverty, Flex is slang for go, or move, so in essence Gutter Flex(ing) is me trying to transcend poverty, hunger, want, and the frustrations that go along with those conditions.
01. Gutter Flex
02. The Black Rain
03. Dark Dirt
04. Mystical Exoticism