Hamburg's Smallville Records is unquestionably one of the most respected imprints and record stores around the globe when it comes to the deep and quirky house and techno Germany has become so well known for.
Julius Steinhoff and Dionne are the brains and ears behind Smallville, and together combine as Smallpeople to produce an eclectic mixture of Detroit influenced techno and atmospheric house for labels like Underground Quality and Laid, and have just recently added an incredibly dope 12″ to Gerd Janson’s Running Back catalogue called the In The Jungle EP.
Smallpeople should probably be regarded as record enthusiasts first and foremost, their stores in Hamburg and Paris are packed full of only the highest quality new records and their back catalogue is just as mouthwatering. This shared passion for vinyl and their hand built musical community has not surprisingly made its way into their DJ sets too, which they are becoming ever more in demand for and regularly play around the world flying the Smallville flag.
We know you guys have been on a bit of a holiday, gearing up for the bigger holiday in Australia this weekend. How have the last few months treated you? You played Panorama Bar recently right?
That’s right, we played at Panorama Bar in February, actually we did the very last shift from Sunday midnight to Monday. That was quite intense and amazing, it’s a great club. But we’ve also had other great touring experiences this year – like Tel Aviv, where we played at the later party at Deli, Trouw in Amsterdam was great also and many other good vibes in good cities.
Smallville, your label and record store out of Hamburg has a kind of a cult following these days, for the quality of music but also the quirky designs on the records and merchandise. What was the original idea behind the ‘Small’ concept, and who’s the designer that has brought it all to life?
The idea was all about a record store at first. But of course we’re glad now to have not only the store but also the label and the chance to do regular Smallville parties at some the best clubs all over the world. Also our online store is running well, this is actually a great way to support the physical record store.. and actually we get quite a few orders from Australia, which is cool.
Our good friend Stefan marx is doing the art for everything smallville related- our record sleeves, party posters, shop windows in hamburg and paris. and the merchandise stuff like shirts and tote bags are obviously also about Stefan marx a lot. Actually i guess he is responsible for what you get in mind, if you think of smallville and we are just offering the sweet melody that surrounds your images.
Your most recent 12” for Running Back has a trippy and almost Balearic theme present, was this record a chance to experiment with some new sounds? Or were these tracks you had been sitting on for some time?
Actually the A-Side of our Running Back release was the first track we finished. We gave it to Gerd Janson without the intention of sending a demo, but just to hear what he thinks of it or what we could change. One night we got a text message from him, after he played it in Leipzig saying that he really likes it and if it would be free to be released on his label. For that he needed some more tracks in the same manner.
Maybe it’s true that those songs differ a little from what we have done in the past and that was on purpose, but actually it wasn’t easy for us to keep out the elements that might make the Smallpeople trademark sound haha..
What can you tell us about this mix? Any artists featuring whom you’d like to pay a special mention?
Well, there was no real plan of how we would do the mix, we both just picked some records at home and these were some favourite tunes from new to old and even tracks that had probably never been played by us before. It’s a vinyl only mix and it was done in one spontaneous session in the back of the Smallville record store, it’s meant as a little trip through our musical tastes. Sorry to Delroy Edwards for not using his track in the club here, but it’s just too good.. actually he will be our guest for the next Smallville party in Hamburg at the end of March and we’re looking forward to a lot.
Finally, what else do you have coming up soon with the label as well as your own Smallpeople productions that you’re able to tell us about?
Next on Smallville will be a small compilation called “Thirtyfive Ways” – a little like we have done before on Smallville 24. It will cover some new Artists in our roster like Iron Curtis – we really like him as a person and we just fell in love instantly with the track and also RVDS. Richard is a good friend of ours, he helps us out in the record store and is running his own label called It’s.
There will also be the first solo track by Jacques Bon on Smallville, next to the old Smallville honchos Christopher Rau and Moomin. That’s smallville 35. After that comes a long awaited second release on Smallville from Smallpeople member Dionne and the big thing of the year will be a full-length album by Steven Tang of whom we have been big fans for a very long time.
Furthermore we have some stuff coming up in the future which we won’t reveal here, because we are still working on it!