Set to launch in the basement under East London's Queen of Hoxton tonight will be the new label and event series, Utter, from London-based DJ and producer Alex Egan. Supporting the headliner Trevor Jackson, Egan will be playing alongside ZNTN and also his first guest Raudive - who makes us an exclusive mix below. Here we speak to Egan about the launch of his night ahead of his solo release on Marketing as The Draughtsman...
Don't get me wrong, I'll press vinyl; I love it and always will. It's the best way to experience recorded music. The difference is it definitely won't be all there is to an Utter release
Dazed Digital: What prompted you to start the label/series? What gap does Utter fill, if any?
Alex Egan: The idea - creating a single platform for projects spanning music, print, film and beyond - has been with me for a while, though it wasn't until I came across an early version of the first Utter release that I decided to actively work towards making it happen. There are countless record labels that concentrate solely on the music they put out, designers and artists that focus on releasing limited edition prints or zines, independent animators and film-makers devoting themselves entirely to moving image... the list goes on, and what they do is fantastic, yet hardly any embrace it all under a single banner.
I think record labels in particular have to rethink everything, because they know if they're going to go to the expense and effort to press a 12" nowadays, they'd better come up with an aspect of it that can't just be downloaded in entirety from a dodgy website. Vinyl is a beautiful physical medium, but the music can be ripped and burned. A sleeve can be scanned and printed, or simply glanced at on an iPad. The challenge is determining what can't be easily replicated. What is truly original about the object itself? Some have come up with incredible ideas that overcome this problem, but too few.
Don't get me wrong, I'll press vinyl; I love it and always will. It's the best way to experience recorded music. The difference is it definitely won't be all there is to an Utter release.
DD: How do you find and/or pick your artists? Is there something in common that runs through all your signings or a sound you’re looking for?
Alex Egan: It may seem obvious but the idea has to genuinely excite me. The project has to be something that I personally would crave if I saw or heard it elsewhere. There isn't a common thread that links what I'm looking for and certainly no particular sound or look. There's no pressure to stick to a release schedule either. I'm just keeping my eyes and ears open and thankfully there's a lot of great talent out there to explore at the moment.
DD: What are the sentiments/ideas behind the visual aspects of Utter?
It depends entirely on the projects themselves. I'm open-minded about it and certainly don't want to develop an Utter 'style'. Marvin De Deus, the artist I collaborated with on the first flyer, is a young French illustrator whose work I've been following for a while. I thought his imagery would be right for the event, so I commissioned him to create a unique piece. The next project could and probably will be entirely different!
DD: What's the story behind the name?
Alex Egan: I wanted a single, subtle word. I can't stand names that are too self-explanatory or pompous. And with the ideas behind the label in mind, 'Utter' seemed perfect by both its definitions.
DD: What are you most excited about next for the project?
Alex Egan: I can't wait for the first event! Trevor Jackson and Raudive are two of my favourite artists so I'm delighted to have them on board. Following that, the first release. I have to be a little secretive about it right now, but I can tell you it's a collaboration by two incredibly talented artists, one who works in film and the other in music. It has taken a long, long time to plan and put together but the result is a wonderful physical package spanning multiple formats.
Wrong Things Vs Utter: Friday 17th February - 8pm - 2am, Free before 9pm / £5 after: Trevor Jackson, Raudive, Alex Egan, ZNTN and live visuals from Goonoire