Based in France and run by DJ and promoter Greg G, 7even Recordings has been pushing some of the more abstract and interesting permutations to come from dub, techno and dubstep spheres. Established in 2008, its slowly growing roster of artists have had a strong output since its conception and in times when record companies are folding every week, 7even still provides listeners with a unique sound experience.
There is a ‘sound’ to the label and its producers, which include Helixir, F, Likhan, Ena, Joaan and Makoto, however it cannot be fully defined, an amalgamation of cavernous Techno, dubbed out atmospherics and rhythmical drums. Ever impressed with 7even’s output we invited label founder Greg G to record a mix for IA as well as giving him the opportunity to shed light into the labels foundations and his journey to establishing the label.
Greg G recorded this mix at ENA’s studio, using vinyl and Traktor. Greg has included some of his deepest tracks in his collection and 75% of the tracks featured in the mix are unreleased.
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For those not in the know please can you introduce yourself, tell us where you’re from and what you’re currently up to?
My name is Greg G, I’m from a city called Nantes, west of France, not far from the coast, two hours from Paris, a really nice place. I also lived in UK for a short while and I’ve also had the chance to travel to a good number of countries and meet a lot of different people and cultures, and currently lives in Tokyo, Japan, for a little bit more than three years now.
I’ve been DJing on radios and clubs, and promoting events for more than 10 years now, in Nantes, Paris and Tokyo. I started a label called 7even Recordings during the summer of 2007, which appeared to be a natural progression of my musical experience. We have released a little bit more than 20 singles and two albums since we started, on Vinyl, CD and digital, from French artists LIKHAN’, HELIXIR, F, JOAAN, Japanese producers ENA and MAKOTO, we have worked on remixes projects with RAMADANMAN, now known as Pearson Sound, UNTOLD and MILLIE from Daphne’s Millie & Andrea. Our next release is from a newcomer in the family, hailing from Russia, OCEANIA.
When would you say you acquired an insatiable appetite for music, which was not categorized under ‘popular’ music? Which genres, artists and albums were instrumental in the development of your personal musical taste?
When my friend Ron passed me a Jungle tape that his cousin brought back from a trip to UK in 1996. Thanks Ron! We were in secondary school at that time. I was into Grunge and Punk music at that time too, we had a small band and I was playing bass. Maybe my ear was concentrating on bass and you know about Jungle Music. This cassette was a shock, something I never heard, the next summer I went to work during holidays and bought two turntables and a mixer. My best friend found a mic somewhere, a shop was selling some Jungle vinyls in Nantes, we spent hours just enjoying mixing this music in my bedroom. Step by step we met some other people mixing this music, we organized some parties, started a radio show all together, mixing during the years Jungle, Drum & Bass, UK Garage, Dark Garage, Dubstep etc.
We sometimes went to London, like one weekend, party and record shops. It was the Mecca for us. We brought back the 8 tapes ‘One Nation’ compilation packs and rinsed them back home. For me it was more about listening to DJ mixes that formed my musical tastes, more than albums or producers, people like Randall and Nicky Blackmarket… Nicky Blackmarket… First time I saw him for real was at BM the record shop in Soho. He was playing records to the customers and if you wanted a tune you had to raise your hand, I bought one, he told me something like “good choice mate”, I was freezed, I couldn’t even speak to him, and my English was more than poor at that time, I guess I was too emotional ahah! Well, my friends back in France were hallucinating when I said I had a “conversation” with Nicky Blackmarket.
Since an early age I’ve always dreamt of founding my own record label – What were/are your dreams and aspirations and how have you made them happen?
Founding the label was a natural progression after radio, promoting events, DJing and working in music distribution. My very closed friend LIKHAN’ was doing music for a long time, some Grime, UK Garage stuff. I was also importing a lot of records for my work at that time and had a lot of contacts with distribution companies, so it was the perfect situation to give it a try. We made 250 copies of the first 12”, the “Terre / Uwill” release by LIKHAN’ and sold them, so we got back our investment to press n°2, then n°3 etc…Then you are in touch with more and more people who contact you, or that you contact directly for promotion etc, so step by step more artists have been involved.
Before you setup 7even Recordings in 2007 what did you do?
I was working for a small independent records distribution in France, we have been the first to import labels such as DMZ, Hotflush, Hyperdub etc… At that time the scene was really raw, and there were not so many releases out every month. So with my friends we were also playing all of those records in our radio show and at our parties. There was also a French language website and forum called dubstep.fr . I was in charge of the Paris area for my work at that time so I had to go there quite often, and one day I could meet the founder and my now very good friend Synaptic. We decided together to try to organize a Dubstep party in Paris, called “Basement Ltd.”, we found a club, Le Nouveau Casino, who was ready to follow us in this project, and had our first event in February 2007 with Skream, 80 persons came to the event. Those events were on thursday nights, once every two months. We booked a lot of artists such as Shackleton, Mala and the DMZ crew, Pinch, Goth-Trad, Kode 9 etc., and two years later more than 500 people came to our last party. At the same time, I met some people from the small dubstep.fr community, there were some DJs, promoters, producers, that’s how I met Helixir and F as well, there was definitely something to do to represent the French scene.
From what I’ve read, the label was originally founded in France, you have now relocated to Tokyo, Japan – What inspired you to relocate?
Nothing related to music, it is more about a personal project I had since a long time, and I was able to come and continue my work here as well at the time I moved. I was planning to come here for 6 months but it’s now more than 3 years so I guess I like the place. I love discovering people and different cultures than mine, learning new languages. And music has also been the best way in order to meet new people, in France, UK, Japan or anywhere. With the parties, the label and my work I have been lucky enough to meet a lot of great people everywhere and from everywhere.
How this move influenced both your personal and the labels approach to music? What are the advantages and disadvantages of being based Japan – Do you still feel like you are in touch with the European electronic music scene?
I stay up to date with what happens in US and Europe’s music scenes mainly through my work. I work for music companies here and we deal with a lot of different genres, Electronic and non-Electronic, from everywhere. On a party side I take the temperature thanks to my friends Goth-Trad and ENA’s tour stories as well for example. I don’t go to Europe often so when I go I spend time with my closed friends and family in my hometown and other nice places in France, it’s quite a long time I have not been to a club in Paris or UK. There is a massive amount of clubs, promoters, events, DJs, producers here in Japan. On a label side, I have met a lot of people here, producers, DJs, promoters etc., and we have been able to release ENA and MAKOTO 12”s during the last year. We also have developed some distribution here for our releases. The main lesson in Japan is that you have to be patient, progress takes time, on a personal side, like speaking Japanese and build a social life, also on a professional side, and on the label side. This is a different way of doing things here and a different social organization, even in the music world, so you have to understand all of this first. If you skip this step you will go nowhere. It is the same in every country anyway. The good point of being in Japan has also been to be able to play in other Asian countries in a easiest way than if I was in France. Last week-end we went to play with Goth-Trad at my good friend Dragon’s party in Bangkok, called “Dubway Sessions”, it was killing. They organize underground parties for more than 10 years, and it is the same in other cities such as Hong-Kong, Singapore, in China as well… the Asian scene is really good and lively, with a pure energy.
What’s 7even Recordings mission – What’s the story behind the name of the label and what does the label represent?
My DJ name is Greg G, G is the seventh letter of the alphabet, this is the origin of the label name. Like every label, we try to build our music identity or color, that’s why there are not so many artists on the label, as I think every artist has a very unique style but for one reason or another his music vibe fits with 7even’s color.
You’ve released records from an array of artists, how do you go about the A&R process for 7even?
This is mainly people I know personally first and then we decide to do something together, not on a “one 12” project” but on a longer process. I think this is important for an artist to work with a label who will support his projects during the time and who understands his music. And this is very important for me on a label side. Music is first something about human relationships. If I don’t know you and you send me music with a “bro, listen to my shit this is siiiiiick” I already know you are the opposite of the person I want to deal with.
Can you please expand on the mix you recorded for IA – How and when did you record it, what’s the reasoning behind the track selection and what is the overall theme running throughout the mix?
I recorded it at ENA’s studio, using Vinyl and Traktor for unreleased stuff, and I chose to include some of the deepest cuts I have in my collection. 75% of the music is unreleased.
What artists are you currently working with for a release of 7even? What else can we expect from 7even over the next year?
The “Postable EP” by Oceania will be out at the end of May on Vinyl and Digital. It is a 5 tracks EP, very unique in my opinion, we already have some really good feedbacks on this release. OCEANIA plays instruments, compose and sings himself, and collaborates with female vocalist N. on two tracks as well. They are very talented.
We are also working on an album project with ENA, this guy has some incredible music in the studio. A new 12” should be out in September or October before that.
In regards to mastering and production, who do you tend to use to do this?
We work with Optimum Mastering in Bristol, they do a very good job, have a great contact and have a long experience both in mastering and vinyl cutting. I recommend.
Any words of wisdom you’d like to share?
Be curious, patient and positive, everything takes time to become reality.