Balearic House And Disco Kicks: An Interview With Nadiem Shah

in Bittles' Magazine/Porträt & Interview

Music | Bittles’ Magazine: The music column from the end of the world

Belgian imprint Eskimo Recordings is rightly revered by those who like their music adventurous, melodic and infused with groove. Killer releases by the likes of Aeroplane, Reverso 68, Low Motion Disco (if you haven’t heard Keep It Slow yet then you’re missing a treat), Prins Thomas, Blamma Blamma feat Kristina Train and Mees Dierdorp have illuminated dance floors far and wide. Long seen as a stalwart of the Balearic/cosmic disco scene, one look at their back catalogue illustrates that there are many strings to Eskimo’s bow.

Nadiem ShahCase in point is The Yellow Collection, the fifth instalment of the label’s always excellent colour-themed series of compilations. Out just in time for summer, the album features 13 tracks which touch on pop, garage, house, disco, ambient and more. Opener Mechanical Sparrow by Atella feat Martin O is a smooth slice of sunshine inspired pop, perfect for lying by the pool or on the beach. Further in, the Satin Jackets Dub of We Can Hold On by Du Tonic is a gorgeous piece of retro funk, Slow With The Run by MiddleSkyBoom feat Eliezer is house music with both heart and soul, Fisky by Man Power is a stunning nine minute slo mo groove, The Itch by Vinny Villbass showcases mid-tempo house at its very finest, while El Wild by Zombies In Miami is both aurally thrilling and deliciously strange. With its mix of established artists and previously untapped talent the album is a glorious ride which takes the listener from dance floor nirvana to calm tranquillity in the blink of an eye.

With Eskimo Recordings presents The Yellow Collection receiving much love by my ears over the last few weeks I tracked down label manager and all round good guy Nadiem Shah for a chat about the compilation, the label, and lots more.

By way of introduction, can you tell us a bit about who you are and what you do?
I’m the A&R manager for Eskimo Recordings, so I take care of the music and artists who release on our beloved label. Luckily enough, Eskimo is one of the many labels here at N.E.WS. records, an independent record company based in Gent, Belgium. I have a bunch of lovely colleagues who look after stuff like agreements, distribution and things like that. I can focus on the actual music, the development of our ‘resident artists’ and everything that comes with it. Well, most of the time that is.

How would you describe Eskimo Recordings to someone who has never heard of you before?
The music Eskimo brings forth into the world all maintains a certain feeling without being beholden to any rigid formula, and the label has always approached the divide between electronic and indie music with a reckless abandon that suggests that there is no divide at all. I believe Eskimo holds a unique stake within the indie dance world. Get to know us on this great Spotify list:  Welcome To Eskimo!

Eskimo Recordings Presents The Yellow Collection is out on the 20th May. Why do we all need this record in our lives?
Because it’s a fine selection of timeless and quality music. If you’re triggered by the description I just gave, you might wanna check if it’s actually true…

If you had to pick one track to sell the album which would it be and why?
There’s something very special about Slow With The Run by MiddleSkyBoom and Eliezer, but I honestly love them all. Also, it’s simply impossible to ‘compare’ the 13 tracks to each other, because of the diversity. The summery vibes on Breathe by LUXXURY are very different to Rise by Go March, which is a space-rock monster. But … I do love both tracks. That’s why I love Eskimo and its releases and collections that much: each artist has their own identity.

The cover image is very striking. Where did it come from?
It’s an amazing shot by the Mexican photographer Gonzalo Lebrija, it’s called ‘Entre la vida y la muerte’. Great find by our head designer Jason Marc Wood. The minute he showed the picture to me, I was completely sold. Love at first sight.

Eskimo Recordings Yellow CollectionThe track on the album which I find myself coming back to time and time again is the slow dub strut of the aforementioned Slow With The Run by MiddleSkyBoom Feat. Eliezer. My first thought upon hearing it was ‚Where have you been all my life?‘. What can you tell us about them?
MiddleSkyBoom (aka Josef Laimon & Eliezer Perez) know each other from Tel-Aviv’s deep basements. They have been working together for about 2 years now, and their music is mainly influenced by post garage, Scandinavian melodies and rough improvisation. Eliezer is a well-known figure in the Tel-Aviv scene. He has been playing around town for over a decade now and owns two of the city’s main clubs called Radio E.P.G.B and Pasaz. The two will release an EP on Days Of Being Wild during 2016.

After the release of his excellent debut LP on Correspondant last year, Man Power must be one of the most talked-about electronic acts around right now. His track Fisky is another stand-out on The Yellow Collection. How did he get involved with the project?
I was one of the very first people who put out a Man Power remix. It was a remix for Made In Sane (a moniker of Norwegian duo Atella) and the track was called Flying Circuits. He slowed things down and turned the Moroder-inspired original into a gorgeous, spaced out slomo burner. Man Power was also on The Green Collection, with the track Skattejag.

Blackie & The Oohoos is one of a few fantastic new acts to make their debut on the comp, with the deep, spacious swoon of their track Aphexy being a real highlight for me. Can you tell us a bit about this band?
In Belgium, Martha and Loesje Maieu are known as the spellbinding backing singers and synth players of Antwerp’s finest Flying Horseman, but their own band Blackie & The Oohoos is their main focus. Over the past years, their haunting dream pop has been perfected, backed by Alfredo Bravos propulsive tribal drumming and coloured by Milan Warmoeskerkens otherworldly guitar. Sounding dark, hypnotic and notably more electronic than before, the two sisters’ new songs are drenched in synths and melancholy. On Aphexy the emphasis shifts towards rhythm and a coherent sound. This is a band at the top of their game, exploring the common ground between indie pop and electronica. And yes.. It’s all played live!

Can we expect any more releases from them on Eskimo Recordings anytime soon?
If you like the band you should definitely follow their label Unday Records for updates and more music. Unday is another in-house label here at N.E.W.S. Records, and the A&R manager of Unday is a nice guy with an exquisite taste in music. Interesting company, huh?!

Putting together a compilation is notoriously difficult. Looking back now, are there any glaring omissions that you feel should have been included?
Not really. All tracks are 100% Eskimo! That’s why I like to talk about a Collection, to mark the difference with the 1001 ‘regular’ compilations out there.

Will there be any parties/tours to celebrate The Yellow Collections‘ release?
Not really, but all artists featured on The Yellow Collection are on the road. Pretty sure you’ll be able to catch them sooner or later! Might be something to keep in mind when the next Collection drops though.

What five Eskimo tunes should be in every DJ’s bag?
In FlagrantiPersonal Angst.
Vinny Villbass feat. Ost Lust For Wrong.
Visti & MeylandYes Ma’am (Trentemøller remix).
HiemClubscene Popscene (A Just Us Discopop Version).
Moscoman Fernandez (Red Axes remix).

Follow our ‘Dancing Shoes’ playlist, we update it regularly.

And what five Eskimo releases would you recommend for home listening?
AtellaThe Monster.
James Curd & TurbotitoYou Could Be Floating.
Reverso 68Piece Together (Todd Terje Spinning Star Mix).
Horixon feat. Jacques TealGreat Things.
Satin Jackets feat. IsaacOKeep Moving On.
And … the opening tracks of Eskimonde, A Decade of Eskimo Recordings. If you’re curious, we also curate a nice ‘Office Chart’ playlist, that works pretty well for home listening too.

What does the future hold for Eskimo Recordings?
A lot of great things, I hope!

Eskimo Recordings Presents The Yellow Collection is out now and should be available in all good record and download stores, such as Bleep and Phonica. So, do yourself a favour and give this a listen today!

| JOHN BITTLES