Behind the Beats: Vitalik’s Ryan O Gorman
With twenty-five releases under their belt, the Ibiza-based imprint Vitalik Recordings has transformed a popular series of parties on the white isle into an established global brand. Reaching this milestone, the label decided to reflect on this accomplishment by highlighting the best tracks released on the label with their first compilation, A Retrospective of One.
This 12-track collection demonstrates the influence that the label has made on house and techno over the last five years. Picking past contributions from the likes of Gerd, Appleblim, Mark Henning, Luv Jam and Soulade to name a few, the head honchos have delivered a dynamic assortment of sounds in this well-profiled package.
A crescendo of percussion on “Silence & Snow” by Agnes sets the tone early, leading up to the introduction of warm-sounding synths that melt in your ears around multi-layered drum patterns and cool hi-hats. This track has a split personality, as it could entice early birds onto the dance floor as well as bring an after hours crowd to its knees at the end of a long night. Compelling sounds with wide usage percolate throughout the compilation and continue on Soulade’s depthcharge edit of Mark Henning & j u g’s “Moors.” Highlighted by chopped vocals, dreamy chord progressions and rotund basslines, Soulade’s edit is full of charisma and sensual vibes. Submerged bass tones and wet synths provide the foundation on Luv Jam’s infectious remix of “St. System” by Such A Saint. Next up, 4Lux boss Gerd dishes up a remarkable remix for Jamie Lloyd’s “Last Drive” full of trippy chords and intricate drum patterns that make your limbs bounce.
The second half of the compilation includes another Agnes track which jacks things up on “Ancient Methods” with elegant piano riffs and a simple yet palpable bassline that rocks you to the core. Cosmic synths make an appearance on “Belongings” with Franklin De Costa and Soulade’s “For Da Chuva” uses field recordings to create an organic, rich sound alongside dub tones and cascading synth sounds. Ethyl’s remix of “Lilly Hole” by Hugo Barritt focuses sounds around a penetrating bassline that has versatile dancefloor use. Rounding out the release is Applebim’s rippling drums and analog warmth emanating on “Moonlight.”
This versatile compilation contains a wide variety of sounds that could champion any size dancefloor. Interested in how the label selects its artists and releases, we caught up with Ryan O Gorman, one of the founders of Vitalik, to talk about this process and learn more about the label.
Robotic Peacock: Tell our readers a little about the Vitalik parties and how that brand transformed into a record label.
ROG: The parties started many years ago, I was running a pirate radio station and holding the occasional cave party with some friends of mine. I met a guy called Joe Upton who used to come play music on my station, Shed FM as he called it back then. He was a bigger trouble maker than me so we joined forces and upped the ante on what we were doing. We set up Green Apple FM in Ibiza the following year and started holding bigger parties more frequently. We were asked to host a room at Space in 2006 (originally with Dave Beer) and we needed a name…. The rest as they say is history.
What’s it like running a label in Ibiza?
I think running a label anywhere in the world is the same to be honest, I think there are very few labels left these days who have an office, you have to streamline everything to survive as a label these days. I dunno, I have better views I guess. There are a couple of other good labels based here also, Fathers & Sons and Isgud Records for example.
Tell us about your new compilation, A Retrospective of One.
It was interesting picking through the music on our retrospective collection. I wanted it to flow like a coherent body of music, something that had a narrative, something that could be listened to from beginning to end. As a result I ended up with a lot of deep music on there, it’s mostly home listening or after-hours music. The Franklin De Costa track has never been released digitally, we put that out on a very small vinyl run that didn’t sell very well, it wasn’t suited to the distributor we had. It’s a beautiful track that I kind of commissioned from Franklin after hearing his track “Corny.” It was just so different than anything I’d heard, I contacted him and asked him to consider us if he made anything as bold or distinctive again, not a small ask from a complete stranger like 🙂 He delivered though, “Belongings” was the essence of what I was looking for, those are the moments that make running a label very rewarding… When you can release music you truly believe is unique and signature to your label. There is quite a bit of Agnes on there, he kind of set the tone for the collection actually, then there are some curve balls like Appleblim’s “Moonlight” and my own “Fora Da Chuva” also. I’ve read a few press articles about the collection and generally people have found it non-categorical genre wise, I like that.
Describe the Vitalik sound in 5 words or less.
My idea of good house.
How do you find new talent? What do you listen for in music you’re looking to sign?
I’m a DJ, the fundamental part of my job is searching out new and interesting music and artists. In the days of vinyl it was all about finding the right record stores and building a relationship with the guy behind the counter so he gave you the good stuff, back then your record box was pretty signature to you because you had to be in the right store at the right time to get that track, maybe only twenty other people in your city had it, when you had track on vinyl you felt like you owned it. It’s funny because now with digital almost everything is available to everyone, however there is so much music being released that it’s still possible to have those signature tracks, you just have to spend the time searching. That’s our job at the end of the day, filtering through the shit to find the diamonds. There’s no excuse for people to be playing anyone’s top 10 or top 100…. Anyway finding new talent is a byproduct of this process.
In regards to Vitalik, what do you hope to achieve in 2015? Any goals for the new year?
All I really want for our label is for our releases to reach the ears of people who appreciate the music, for our artists to get the recognition they deserve and for the vinyl we press to sell to the last unit 🙂
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