Growing more deeply into RAAR’s punk ethos, Maelstrom and Louisahhh’s tracks on the Parisian techno label’s fourth release, are as much about process as the end product. The pay-as-you-please model reflects the founders’ respect for other DJs and producers, while their implementation of the “Gesamtkunstwerk” notion is a motif that will achieve major critical success if utilized effectively.

For the non-German, “Gesamtkunstwerk” translates to “total work of art,” and lends the prefix to Gesaffelstein’s moniker. Louisahhh and Maelstrom’s stance on musical commodification and artistic rendering of a label, strongly indicates that their interest in artistry supersedes their interest in capital gain. Here we discuss with them the obstacles of starting the venture, their forthcoming fourteen track EP RAAR004, and their keen admiration for Jackson Pollock.


As renowned DJs and producers, you both have conquered the DJing scene and moved onto Bromance and Zone, and now RAAR. How did the record label come about? What is the meaning behind the name?

M&L: RAAR means ‘weird’ in Dutch and ‘rare’ (phonetically) in French. It is also the sound of a roaring animal. The label came about as a necessary outlet for music and art, that we felt needed to be released without any pressure to be commercial. Whenever one of us wonders ‘will people like this?’, we take turns reminding each other that ‘this is not music that we are releasing to be popular. This is music that we are releasing because it is brave and authentic and exciting. If people like it, great, but that is not the function of the label. We don’t care if they like it!’ This feels great.

What would you say are the biggest challenges in managing a label and holding onto your own music projects? Were there unexpected obstacles you ran into when you started RAAR?

M&L: Honestly, every ‘no’ we’ve gotten in this first year of running a label has turned into the most amazing blessing. On our first attempt to get funding, we got met with a ‘no’, which meant that we put in our own money, which means that we answer to no one and have total freedom and creative control. Our original distribution fell through, and now we are working with Kompakt and they’re doing an amazing job. The plan for artwork on our latest release collapsed so Mael hand-painted 300 record sleeves like punk rock Jackson Pollock style, and now not only are the sleeves magnificent and special, but he is an artist. Of course there are challenges; there will be more, but every single one has turned into the most amazing gift. I think also it’s great to have a place to put all of your bravest, craziest ideas because then when it comes to doing something more commercial and accessible, you’re not compromising in either realm.

What have been your favourite releases so far on the label?

M&L: The last one (RAAR004), probably, but the JoeFarr/W.LV.S is also really special because every single track is so good. We only have four releases in our first year, honestly, we love them all.

Where do you feel the label is heading in the future? Do you have personal goals for the imprint, looking forward?

M&L: The goal is ‘keep pushing.’ Our forthcoming releases are lined up pretty deep, and each has a wilder plan than the last. More challenging music, more cross-genre creative influence and output, more exciting and innovative artists and remixers, more parties and experiences. Perhaps the blessing of this, even more than the creative freedom and delight that it brings us, is getting to see it resonate with sweaty dancefloors that are hungry for some truth, some challenge; the people who are showing up don’t want to be entertained, they want to feel something. This is really refreshing and humbling.

The music world can be daunting. What advice would you give those that are looking to make their own big break?


What can we expect from the label for the rest of 2016?

M&L: Tangibly, hopefully a couple more releases in potentially unexpected manifestations (intentionally cryptic on this one), and some more parties. Emotionally? Learning to further trust the RAAR process and ethos and really enjoying the ride.

Released 12th October 2016 on Juno Records. Buy the album here.

(Available to buy on 12 inch Vinyl Single – RAAR #RAAR 004)

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