Established in Manchester (2011), Inner Surface Music has made a name for itself with a handful of solid techno EPs from the likes of Patrick Walker, Inigo Kennedy, Yves De Mey under his Grey Branches moniker and now Eomac, one half of Lakker.
Meticulously picking its weapons, the label run by AnD and Run Out Run label boss Tom Dicicco keeps cooking its very own mixture of dub techno, IDM and industrial wares with unfazed accuracy. We caught up with the pair behind AnD aka Andrew Bowen and Dimitri Poumplidis to discuss the project’s origins, label-operating and further release plans.
Hello guys, thanks for giving us some of your time. You’ve been running Inner Surface Music for almost five years now. When and where did you meet for the first time?
We first met in Manchester about 6 years ago through Eastern Bloc Records, Tom was just about to release his first Material Things EP and he dropped a copy into the shop for us and we became friends from there. We had a similar feel and taste in music and after a year of knowing each other we decided to start Inner Surface Music.
"Running a label has to have a personal touch and identity to be able to stand out in the crowd."
What urged you to set up Inner Surface together? Was it an instant realization or more of a carefully thought-through decision?
We all really liked what each other did from the start and we felt like it was a natural step for us to start the label together. Otherwise, everything we do as a label has been carefully thought about from day one to now. Running a label has to have a personal touch and identity to be able to stand out in the crowd.
What did the creation of the label change in your approach of music-making?
Our approach to music making has changed over time through knowledge and experience more so than because we started a label. We actually prefer to use Inner Surface Music to release other artists music. It feels more exciting and an experience to share it with other people and support the artists that we really love.
"The label was set up for us to have a creative platform that releases music from artists we truly love and respect."
With its lot of intangibles, the life of a label owner is not the most tranquil of all. Is it easy to handle both your musical activity and the more ‘administrative’ side of the job?
This side of running a label can be more laborious; as creative people we find these administrative jobs tedious and boring. Sometimes its better just to use days to work on the label and others to go to the studio all day. That way everything is sorted with no distractions.
After releasing music on such diverse outlets as Mindset, Idle Hands, Project Squared or Black Sun Records, was setting up your own label a way for you to gain artistic freedom or some leeway you didn’t have elsewhere?
Setting up Inner Surface Music was never for our own artistic freedom, we all stay true to ourselves no matter what label we release music on. The label was set up for us to have a creative platform that releases music from artists we truly love and respect.
"It doesn't matter who has made it, you know when the sound is right."
What role does each of you play in the Inner Surface Music structure? Do you guys have any dedicated jobs?
We generally all work together on emails of discussions whether its a release, party, promotions or ideas. That way we all know what is going on and have our own point of view on things. We used to be able to have meetings when we all lived in Manchester, but now we all live in different cities.
When signing a new artist, what elements influence your choice?
One thing is the quality of the music, it doesn’t matter who has made it, you know when the sound is right. For example Angus Tarnawsky met Andrew in Eastern Bloc Records three years ago when he was touring playing drums for a band.
They stayed in contact through email and we ended up releasing Pitched EP from Angus last year. Andrew had originally heard Pitched 3 years ago, but it wasn’t right for the label at the time. Last year we all still liked the track, so we approached Angus and asked him for more music and the EP came together really naturally with the artist.
Frozen Souls, a new EP by Lakker’s half Eomac, is about to hit the shelves. Can you tell us more about your relationship with Ian and the process behind this release?
We have known Ian for a few years now and we have all really loved his releases as Eomac and Lakker. When AnD recorded their RA podcast last year they asked Ian for some exclusive tracks for the mix and it was in this batch of material we found the tracks that we released on Inner Surface Music. Working with Ian was easy as he is a lovely guy and also super talented.
"If you always stick to what you believe in then you are representing yourself the best way that you can."
We’re in 2015 and techno has gained a status it most certainly didn’t have 20 years ago. It’s more popular and the audience has… say “changed” quite a lot since the first raves. What’s your personal turning point in recent techno history?
We don’t really think there is a turning point as such, if you always stick to what you believe in then you are representing yourself the best way that you can.
If there was one track or release you’d have loved to put out, what would it be?
Haha too hard a question!
What’s Inner Surface’s motto?
Quality not Quantity.
Can you tell us more about the label’s upcoming plans and further projects?
Next up we have something special planned for the tenth release with some really exciting artists but we can’t tell you any more than that right now! We also have new material from ANFS and Grey Branches amongst others planned for future releases.
1. Wireman – Distance
The first release on the label from Glaswegian artist, Wireman great slice of groovy dub techno.
2. Tom Dicicco – Exit
Tom at his best dubby driving techno with cavernous melodies and organic shuffling grooves.
3. Walker and Kennedy – Data Distill
A beautiful piece of tripped out techno from the pairing of Inigo Kennedy and Patrick Walker of Forward Startegy Group.
4. AnD – Not a Sheep
– AnD with a slice of broken industrial filth, for the various artists EP1.
5. Sunil Sharpe – Sacred Granid
– Sunil with a killer acid banger with menacing riffs also on various artists EP1.
6. D Carbone – Asynthetic
– D Carbone slamming it out with his own sound, dark and cavernous to the stomp of italian horror soundtracks from various artists EP2.
7. Yuji Kondo – Tilt
– Yuji is an incredibly talented producer, this serpent like groove hooks you into a windtunnel of textures and synth layers also on various artists EP2.
8. Angus Tarnawsky – Expand Contract
– This track was was part of Inner Surface Music 007 and was a more experimental side of the label starting to appear.
9. Grey Branches – Exsolve
– Yves De Mey´s new alias, A new approach and result from a true master.
10. Eomac – Charon
– Charon is on the new release from Eomac on Inner Surface Music, an atmospheric piece of industrial IDM.