A new label from the former DFA Records manager kicks off next month with an EP from Walter Jones.
Former DFA label manager Justin Miller will launch a new imprint in November called HAKT Recordings.
HAKT stands for Have A Killer Time, which is also the name of a party series Miller has run in New York for years. The new label kicks off with an EP from Walter Jones, a New Orleands-based house artist who DFA fans may remember from his 2009 EP I'll Keep On Loving You, which RA's Dan Hartner called "one of the most seductive beats you'll hear all year." Entitled Utopiano Project, the EP features three tracks from Jones—his first since 2009—and a remix from Lauer. You can hear the EP in its entirety on the HAKT Recordings SoundCloud page.
Chatting via email earlier this week, Miller told us about why left DFA, and what he hopes to achieve with HAKT:
How long ago did you part ways with DFA?HAKT also has a clothing line in the works called HAKT Label. Keep an eye out for that one on their official site, www.haveakillertime.com.
I parted with DFA on January 1st of 2012. I figured if the world ended 12 months later, as the Mayans suggest, I wanted one year of freedom from their claws. Just kidding.
What prompted the move, and what have you been up to post-DFA?
After seven years with DFA Records, it was definitely time for a much-needed break from the record business. I wanted to tour a bit more myself, and see the world without the constraint of an office waiting for me after my days out on the beat. I told myself I would take a year off, but after about eight months I was feeling the itch to get back into the music industry. But I wanted to come back in charge of my own label rather than someone else’s.
What inspired you to start your own label?
I’ve always wanted to have my own label—preferably R&B, but dance music is cool, too. But yeah: at an early age, I came to respect the curatorial magic behind the artist that a label represents. There's this great scene in "The Devil Wears Prada" where Meryl Streep talks about how the blue skirt that an employee is wearing is actually the result of a long chain of decisions that begin very high up in the fashion world and then, literally, become the fabric of everyday life. When it comes to music, I've always been drawn to this kind of "behind the scene," which, at the same time, is in the very seams of the music world.
DFA was something of a juggernaut. Do you have similar hopes for HAKT, or do you see this as a more intimate affair?
The DFA moment cannot really be replicated. It’s more to be respected. The one thing I'm taking from DFA is the intimacy of a label that was made up of a society of friends. After all, I'm releasing the music of lots of my best friends, so it’s definitely an intimate affair. That's not to say that intimacy can’t be writ large. But if it is writ large, it can't be contrived—or else it's porn.
You've mostly been known as a DJ up to this point. Could you see HAKT being a platform for your own productions?
Yes to the DJ. Not relevant unless you produce but that will change with my label. I got to a point with music where I really wanted to get in there—roll up my sleeves and have at it. My hope is that, with my experience as a DJ for 10 years, I can bring that knowledge to my productions.
01. Talk To Me
02. Made In Holland
03. Hands in the Sand feat. Aily
04. Hands in the Sand (Lauer Remix)
HAKT will release Utopiano Project on November 5th, 2012.