The Brooklyn house and techno label has started a new imprint for "heavy hard grooves."
Thema has been operating since 2006 after being founded by Lenny Posso, and has released artists like Ark, Quenum, and Dixon over its seven-year history. A press sheet for the first single states the label's purpose as "[releasing] pure sonic explorations, straight-up techno for a new era," focusing on harder-edged beats than the main label or other sub-label, Spacial. The majority of releases will come solely on vinyl with no digital component. The first transmission from comes from Terrence Dixon's Population One moniker, the techno-oriented side project from the Detroit producer, in the form of a five-track EP entitled The Return.
RA spoke to label boss Posso via e-mail to discuss the new label:
Why did you feel the need to start another sub-label? What makes Chronicle different from both Thema and Spacial?Tracklist
After 30 releases and six years of running Thema, I felt it was the right time to launch this particular extension. This project was actually on the table for some time, but for several reasons we had to wait it out and really get things rolling with both the main label and the digital label. Actually, almost since the inception of Thema, I wanted to do this sub-label. The sound of Chronicle almost became the sound of the main label. However, due to what was going on in NYC with the minimal phenomenon and all of the hard times after 9/11 it just wasn't the right time. With Spacial, I decided to put that on the back burner for the time being, I will revisit that label towards the end of the year and see what direction is best. So right now the main focus is on Thema, Chronicle and the Digi series for now.
It's just me running the ship (though I have to give a shoutout/credits to two good friends Chris Malec and Albert Freeman, who help me with writing up the one-sheets for every release). But after getting a better understanding of the market and the shifting styles and gathering a solid crew of artists, I felt now was finally the time to launch Chronicle. Thema is and will always remain the mother ship and will continue to span the spectrum of electronic dance music, from deep house, to minimal, to harder techno and just left-of-center material. The difference now is that this sub-label will focus more on a harder, big room, "sci-fi" techno sound, if you will, and will be vinyl-only of course! Now, I'm definitely not against the digital thing. I tend to use this while traveling abroad on my tours but I've always been a vinyl collector and enjoy the process of using and buying vinyl, so it's our way of giving back. It also took Chronicle a while to get on its feet due to distribution issues—actually deciding on a name for it, a creed, its look and feel—and artists taking a while to finish off tracks and such. In the end I'm glad it took a while, though. I really needed to understand the process and language of putting out music first with Thema. So Chronicle's inception has always been part of the plan, there might actually be one more, a deep house vinyl-only label, but I have my hands full at the moment as you can see.
What will the release formats look like for Chronicle?
Chronicle will have a more austere look and feel, more stripped down than Thema, one or two colors at the most. At some point in its development there are plans to do a various artist CD/digital release of certain tracks off of certain EPs. We're going to keep it interesting though, with postcard inserts, stickers, posters: little extras that, as a collector, always stuck with me physically, emotionally and mentally. I like to be able to give back to those who still support this form of buying music. I love the process, of discovering and then remembering releases for their designs, look, colors, special limited edition parts included and such. It always created a sense of owning something unique and special. For the artwork I decided to go with simply referencing the word "chronicle," which means a recorded event in time. So I decided to use simple cryptic line drawings and charts that mostly track movements over vast amounts of time and space. The first is a star map: what early astronomers used ages ago since humans discovered ways of tracking the stars for seasons, certain events throughout the year and huge astronomical events. The second release will have an astrological zodiac chart from the 1400s and we'll continue to use these simple linear drawings of astrological/historical maps of recorded time & space events.
What are some of the artists you've got lined up for release on the label?
As for what's in the works: we have Terrence Dixon as Population One starting it off. We are very proud to be able to present him under this alias as he hasn't done so for some time. We felt these tracks fit the label's creed; music from the far but reachable future. Then we will have a new up-and-comer from Japan, Imugem Orihasam, who has released some killer material on Sistrum, New Kanada, Esperanza and Nsyde to name a few. After that will be Samuli Kemppi from Finland—who needs no introduction, he's a true Northern Soilder. Then past Thema artists Donor/Truss, newcomer Staffan Linzatti, Aiken from Spain, and some other amazing artists whom I'll keep secret for now. But I felt it was important to launch this label with a US artist.
Regardless of our Brooklyn, NYC location, Thema and all the sub-labels will reflect a varied pool of global artists, which is of course also a reflection of the city itself. NYC has all walks of life and I like that Thema reflects that too. Though as an avid collector of vinyl, I also know that for certain genres, one needs to cater to certain sounds. So I felt Chronicle was a way of focusing the more harder, big room sound... hopefully it finds a similarly warm reception. So we're looking forward in making this a proper hardcore label for the heads!
[Thema] Chronicle released The Return in May 2012.