Signal Code Records Interview

Signal Code is an exciting new Dublin based label specializing in stripped down dub-techno and tougher minimal sounds. Soundscapes from second wave Detroit, dub techno and deeper house arrangements no doubt influence the project. The label is indicative of a healthy production scene in Ireland with home-grown talent having their music released on 12”s. The label is still in its infancy but things are looking very promising. Signal Code Records is not your run-of-the-mill pop-up digital label, there’s clearly a raw passion and solid ideology behind this as we learned when we caught up with the boss man, Aaron Costelloe (Subsignal).

.• So give us a little bit of background about Signal Code and tell us how it all came about?

I just became sickened by the amount of mediocre music that I had to trawl through on Beatport etc. Labels releasing an E.P. of absolute filler every two weeks. Around the same time I wanted an outlet to release my own music, and other music I was into, so I decided that if I was going to do it, I’d do it on vinyl. I didn’t want to get lost in a sea of bad digital E.P.’s that unfortunately cloud the market for the great ones. I wanted something I could hold and to be honest I just love vinyl.

• What do you feel is the driving influence behind the label?

My main influence would be late 90’s techno particularly Detroit techno and dub techno. Very unique and stripped down but with so much character. I’m really just influenced by house and techno that can be stripped down but still have depth. Labels these days that would really have some influence on me would be Delsin, the Echocord labels, Curle, that sort of sound.

• How would you describe the label’s sound and where you would like to take it?

The label is a few releases ahead and I think every good label definitely sticks to a certain sound or feeling but obviously it takes a few releases before that becomes apparent. It has been described as dubby and it certainly is to an extent but more so I would just describe it as stripped back. I suppose it really just takes a nod to older Detroit and dub techno as I said earlier. A lot of the techno that comes out these days, I have no time for.

• You chose to press on vinyl? This is a huge commitment, a stamp of  quality, and signal of intent. What was the main motivating factor to  press up on wax?

Well yeah to add to what I was saying earlier regarding the flooded digital market you’re right, I believe it’s a stamp of intent and quality. It’s an expensive and somewhat tough game with vinyl sales and although vinyl is going through a bit of rise again, they’re still not where they were even half-way through the 2000s. It’s becoming even harder to break evens on sales and with distributors and vinyl pressing plants etc going under its becoming tougher to get out there. But I believe if you’re serious about it and willing to put a lot of time and money into it, it will work out. I mean even if you look at promoters, there’s not a lot of successful promoters in Ireland that got there without breaking their balls somehow.

• There’s a few labels about Dublin now releasing 12”s, a healthy  trend seems to be emerging from the niches of electronic music where  vinyl is going through a renaissance of sorts. Has this been encouraging  or have you found it tough?

Yeah it’s definitely encouraging. I mean I think the more labels that press vinyl the more people will start to come back to it. I think that more and more people are turning back to vinyl and the greater selection they have, the better. It’s great to be able to walk down to a record shop in Dublin and see so many great Irish labels. Between the old labels now gone and the new ones, it’s great to see that people in Dublin and throughout Ireland have a commitment to music. I think it’s very representative of how big the electronic music scene is in Ireland.

• With the first release now behind you, do you feel much has been  learned? Did the whole process pan out as anticipated? Anything you’ll  do differently for next the release?

It definitely panned out as anticipated but there were a good few bumps along the way and we also caught some breaks. It can be a frustrating process and things don’t always work out as quick as you’d hope, I’ve learned to anticipate that now. There’s a lot of to-ing and fro-ing between different people. Luckily the next few releases are planned ahead so I can comfortably work on it now at an easy pace.

• And what’s next in store for Signal Code records?

Well the next release is due out soon which is a Subsignal release with remixes from Luka Baumann under his Jolka alias and also, The Parallel, who I think is definitely one of the best Irish producers around at the moment. He had a great E.P. on Komisch not too long ago. The third E.P. should be out before the end of the year and then I’m going to look into a label night. We’ve the local producers and can also bring over some of the foreign artists for a party. Hopefully kept busy anyways.

Direct Download

Aaron kindly contributed a mix featuring a number of releases from the label to give you a feel of what it’s about. Enjoy!!

Words: Damien Waters