Based in the West Coast city of Gotenburg, Sweden, alt-pop record label Service has created a distinct sound for itself. A record label responsible for shaping the face of modern Swedish music since the early 2000s. Releasing records from the likes of Lake Heartbeat, The Embassy, Ikons, Whitest Boy Alive and most recently their first graphic novel “Fula Edith”. It’s clear that it’s hard to contain good things… and with that comes Cascine, Service’s sister record label based in the US. As a posed to bigger more established Record Labels, Cascine looks to represent a new wave of forward thinking imprints. We caught up with Cascine’s founder Jeff Bratton at his home in LA to talk about Service and it’s sibling in America.
Dazed Digital: Can you tell us a bit about how Cascine came about and what’s happened up until now?
Jeff Bratton: Cascine is an experimental pop label that designs only to build a catalog that’s warm, intimate and representative of the music that’s moved us over the years. We’re not trying to take over the world or chase trends, but rather do something simple and sincere.
The idea for Cascine began years ago in conversations with friends. Curating a catalog on this scale has always been on the heart - kind of our grandest mixtape. The idea was formed, but we were waiting for the right opportunity to present itself. Our work with Service has and still does take precedence, but pop music is broad enough that there’s space to put our hands on the pieces Service doesn’t touch.
DD: For those who not familiar with your origins, Service, could you tell us a bit about it?
Jeff Bratton: Service is pop label that began in Gothenburg, Sweden in 2000. Early funding came from illegal parties Ola Borgstrom used to throw with Dan Lissvik and Rasmus Hagg (known eventually as electronic duo Studio). Over time, Service turned into the leading designer behind 21st century Swedish pop, bringing a diversity that ranges from Jens Lekman to The Tough Alliance to The Embassy to IKONS and The Whitest Boy Alive.
DD: What Service releases can you recommend?
Jeff Bratton: The Embassy, Futile Crimes – one of Service’s earliest albums. Lots of pride there. This release was included in every "best of 2002”-list that came out that year. Since then it’s become one of the most widely referenced Swedish records of all time. Jens Lekman – As magical as pop gets. Jens is fantastic. Period.
Lake Heartbeat, Trust In Numbers – this album became an instant classic last year. It’s light and deep and pure. These guys are pop wizards. IKONS – With this album, Service moved in to a new era; an era with clearer themes and added precision.
DD: Apart from the obvious of being in different countries, what separates you from Service as a record label?
Jeff Bratton: Service is going into a new, more idea-based modus, moving away from the Balearic, breezier sounds of the past ten years. Band like IKONS represent that shift in direction. Service has always defined trends and, kind of unintentionally, set pop-culture movements.
DD: Are there any other American labels that you admire the work of?
Jeff Bratton: We love what Arcade Sound Ltd. is doing, and Italians Do It Better are fantastic. Experimental electronic label 12K is also a reference point for us, as is Type to some degree. Respect to Mexican Summer, Moodgadget and Ghostly too.
DD: What's next for Cascine?
Jeff Bratton: We’ll be closing the year with releases from London’s Chad Valley, and LA’s Evan Voytas. Both artists we’re stoked to be working with. Had breakfast yesterday with the boys from Selebrities and think they’re doing something exciting as well, but stay tuned on that one. We have a couple full-lengths in the pipe for early 2011 that are sure to make noise with the right people.
Text by Lucy Bridger