R&S Records’ founder, Dave Angel, had a mission when he started the label over 40 years ago. He wanted to take the iconic sounds of the Detroit techno scene and blend them with the melodic of contemporary jazz to create a fresh sound the industry needed.
With a track record of investing heavily into the artists, they love, chasing unique and forward-thinking sounds, and anticipating new trends before they hit, the label and its founder seem to have dialed in on a recipe for success.
With the release of a fresh new EP that we were lucky to premier, we decided it was the perfect time to sit down and chat with the label founder about what he’s done to curate such a thriving atmosphere around the label, how the label started, and where he sees his music going over the next coming years.
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How is R&S Records Different Today Than When You Started?
R&S Records is over 40 years old, four decades in which some of the most seminal dance music records have ever been produced. R&S Records has played an essential role in contributing and pioneering new music, new sounds, and new talent in this time.
When R&S first started, the dance music scene was evolving, finding its niche; it was about very defined styles and genres of music, quite tribal. R&S Records has always been eclectic. But I am also a great believer that if the music is not of high quality, then you should not release it, only release what you feel sets the high standards for what you have become known for. Dance music has evolved from house music to techno, trance, garage, R&B, and soul; it doesn’t matter what genre. If you can create new and exciting music, it is what keeps the passion burning inside of me and R&S Records.
Today the dance music scene is much more immersive, more collaborative, where jazz fuses with house music, and classical orchestral pieces blend with house music.
The last three years have greatly distracted my love and passion for music. However, it has also been my greatest inspiration for the next exciting phase of R&S Records. Today we are immersed in signing some of the most eclectic artists and music I have ever heard. It had taken me back to when I first started the label; my passion and excitement for the music have returned.
So R&S Records lays the foundations for the next chapter with some inspiring music across soul, jazz, spoken word, rock, psychedelica.
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Where does your sound stand apart from the other labels releasing similar music?
R&S Records has always had a unique sound; we are known for the quality of the music we produce and the acts we invest in. We don’t try to copy or imitate other labels and sounds; in fact, many other record labels have copied what R&S has done very successfully for many years, but as they say, “imitation is the sincerest and best form of flattery.”
The public is much more discerning in their musical genres; audiences are now experimenting with new sounds and channels, diverting from the mainstream to find unique sounds and artists. This is one reason why Spotify has succeeded in breaking new music genres and acts. We are still an indie label with a free spirit; the new music from R&S that we are looking to release next year will showcase our unique ability to find and nurture new and exciting musical talent.
What is the biggest life lesson you have learned while running and building up R&S Records?
That’s a comprehensive question, but I think we all have many life lessons daily, some bigger than others. You cannot take situations for granted, and all you create and work hard for, which can take a lifetime of passion, tears, and sweat, can be destroyed in a nanosecond. I think in the music industry if you are to survive, as R&S Records has for over 40 years, you must adapt and embrace change; if you stand still and don’t change creatively, you die.
Today we communicate with emojis on social media, one liner’s that have no context at all, the art of conversation and dialogue has been lost. We need to get a society that re-engages with each other, is more tolerant, and is less judgmental. Far too often, people are quick to weaponize social media, becoming keyboard warriors, and then do not think of the consequences of their actions.
How do you give back the most to the artists released on the label?
R&S Records is a platform, a beacon for quality music. It’s also a creative vehicle that allows our artists to get noticed for people to tune into what music they are creating and producing. We give artists the space and freedom to express themselves, their music, and their art. We are not judgmental of their musical style or genre or how they present their art form.
We have always supported our artists as a label, encouraging, nurturing, and sharing in their vision when other labels are more commercially focussed than creative.
Where do you see the label going in the next ten years? What are you doing today to ensure you’ll be there in a decade?
You have no idea what is about to come, but I will say that R&S Records will release some of the most incredibly diverse records for the next ten years. I don’t think I have ever been this excited about the next chapter for R&S apart from when we first started.
The music coming from R&S will be incredibly eclectic, ahead of its time, and breaking new ground. I have spent the last year tracking new talent, listening to new styles of music seeing music blended with film, documentaries, spoken word, and the immersive world of the metaverse. So many incredible influences in music, art, and film.