The duo have released dubstep, techno, house, electro and whatever you want to call Anstam to the wider world. Many are artists that have already made a name elsewhere. (Their 50 Weapons of Choice compilation last year seemed liked a cherry-picking of the latest and greatest of bass music.) But just as many aren't. The aforementioned Anstam, Phon.o and Benjamin Damage & Doc Daneeka are hardly household names, even in homes that count post-dubstep blogs as essential reading. Those three have albums on the way (with Anstam's released just last week) on 50 Weapons. So does Addison Groove, at the end of March 2012.
All of the above are reasons why 50 Weapons is one of the most vital imprints around at the moment. But there are plenty more. To gain an insight into what makes the imprint so special, we caught up with the family to ask them to explain 50 Weapons and its appeal.
There was no real day of decision. 50 Weapons was a spontaneous idea that we had in 2004 or 2005 in Manchester. We were sitting together one night with Shlom from Boomkat in his music room and were telling him how we wanted to start a bootleg label where we only released 50 cent bootlegs, 50 releases only. So a 100% idiot concept! We were slightly drunk, and this is how the name popped up. We still want to keep the concept of only having 50 releases, and then stop the label. Let's see if we can manage to do so. Now we have some more artists on board who have a say in this though!
I had been in constant contact with Modeselektor for a few years, and after I sent them Separat/ Izolat, Gernot Skyped me one morning. They wanted the tracks for 50 Weapons and there wasn't much I could do about it; the Modeselektor persuasion tactics are strong. I think 50 Weapons represents all the facets of their sound, and in a sense it's like their famous mid-set champagne spray—a celebration of music that they're into. It's [also] not just a faceless label, it's a natural expression of their passion for music in all its forms. And it always works both ways, it's a two-way transmission. My favorite release thus far has to be the T++ and Shackleton remixes of "Rusty Nails." They are the embodiment, in my opinion, of the 50 Weapons ethos.
I'm not certain how [to describe the music that 50 Weapons releases] really. I suppose to me they have a more European lean on really current and fresh music. I mean, I don't think they could be a UK label. [They're] techno-inspired, deep but not mellow. Forward-thinking. I don't think our stuff would have worked on a UK label. We wanted it to be European. There was only one place it was going from the start.
Modeselektor have always been very supportive of artists breaking through [that are] doing their own thing. They don't seem to be affected by the bullshit hype machines. It's not caught up in short-term scenestering. To me, 50 Weapons is free of the bullshit and representative of their attitude towards music.
What I love about 50 Weapons is that it doesn't have just one single style. I like that Gernot and Szary want to have a diverse sound, and are open for different genre-influenced songs. For sure 50 Weapons has a focus on (more or less) the dance floor. But it's for a dance floor with open-minded people who love music. That's important. Gernot and Szary have great taste as A&Rs of the label, and the team behind the label is great too. They are honest and lovely people I can rely on. This includes the graphic designers, Pfadfinderei, too. I have known Gernot and Szary for a long time. It's like a family.
I consider my work not in the tradition of producing economic products; I see my work much more in the context of doing research. 50 Weapons literally offered me my own lab with up-to-date equipment. So, for me as an artist, that is obviously a very comfortable surrounding to work in. Just because [Modeselektor] are releasing music that has a strong relation to the clubs doesn't mean that they see themselves as a delivering machine. You can recognize it in their effort to foist every artist into making an album. For me, that is a good way to push the artists into reflecting themselves in order to make strong statements and also it shows their trust in the artists being capable of creating 40 minutes of worthwhile content. I think 50 Weapons maintains a very efficient balance between keeping a close eye on the books, and still respecting the obscure path art sometimes has to follow.
It was through SBTRKT that we first came in to contact with Modeselektor. He had passed on some of our tracks to them and then introduced us all via email. We then kept Gernot up to date with any new tunes we were working on. The label seems quite diverse and also club-orientated. But we're not too surprised that the label sounds that way, given the open-minded approach the guys take to their DJ sets, production and live sets. Besides the music, we found it really easy to deal with the people behind the label. They gave us a lot of support while we were completing the EP and continue to show interest in what we've been working on since the EP was released. It's always a pleasant surprise when a label takes interest in our music, let alone a label from another country. We think that is down to how in tune Modeselektor are with what's happening [around the world].
Download: RA Label of the Month 1111 Mix: 50 Weapons
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Filesize: 67.9 MB
Anstam - Watching The Ships Go Down - 50 Weapons
Dark Sky - The Lick - 50 Weapons
SBTRKT - Right Thing To Do - Young Turks
Benjamin Damage - Zeppelin – 50 Weapons
Modeselektor - German Clap - Monkeytown
Cosmin TRG - Izolat - 50 Weapons
Benjamin Damage / Doc Daneeka - Creeper - 50 Weapons
CDBL - I Need You (Kidnap Kid Remix) - Squelch & Clap
Phon.o - Abbey Road - 50 Weapons
Instra:mental - 8 - Nonplus
Littlefoot - Great Dark Spot - Well Rounded
Dark Sky - Neon - 50 Weapons
Mosca - Bax - Numbers
Modeselektor - Art & Cash (Phon.o Remix) - 50 Weapons
Modeselektor - Blue Clouds (Loop) - Monkeytown
Anstam - In the Bull Run - 50 Weapons
Modeselektor - Blue Clouds - Monkeytown