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The sound of: Correspondant

DJ Mag's latest monthly mix series puts the focus on the labels we love; outlets that are championing new artists, dropping key releases and driving their respective scenes. This month, we catch up with Correspondant founder Jennifer Cardini to discuss the past, present and future of the vital Berlin label as one of its rising stars, Javi Redondo, delivers an electrifying mix of tracks from its vast catalog...

Jennifer Cardini’s Correspondant label has, in its relatively short seven-year lifespan, already developed something of an aspirational authority on the European circuit and beyond. With an array of releases from Man Power, Red Axes, Maceo Plex, TERR, Cardini herself and many more, the label’s broad sonic palette encompases everything from deep, melodic house, Italo and cosmic disco to enveloping techno and electro.

Each year, the label has also released a compilation, championing emerging artists and placing their tracks among cuts from label regulars. This year’s edition, for instance, featured tracks from promising acts like Mexico’s Zombies in Miami, The Golden Filter, rising Berlin star Perel and Javi Redondo – who has recorded this label mix for DJ Mag.

As Correspondant, and Cardini, wind down after their busiest year to date, we caught up with her to learn more about the past, present and future of the Berlin-based label. Read the interview below and listen to Redondo’s marvellous mix of tracks on the label to get acquainted with an imprint on a fast track to becoming one of Europe’s most important.

Hey Jennifer, how’s it going? How has 2018 been treating you? What have been some highlights for Correspondant?

 

“2018 has been great so far, with quite a few highlights. On the release front we welcomed  Maceo Plex on board with his ‘Mutant Disco’ and enjoyed the buzz around Krystal Klear’s killer remix of TERR. Also our label night at Panorama Bar earlier this year was very special and then our annual label compilation that came out a few weeks ago is also getting lots of love.”

Can you give us a brief history of the label? Take us back to what inspired its launch and how the first few releases went?

“I started Correspondant seven years ago now and the first release came from French talent Nhar. At that time we both lived and shared a studio in Cologne where German distribution company and label Kompakt is also based. I fell in love with Nhar’s ‘Thelema’, a disco hit and a track that was, for me, the perfect start for Correspondant. I still play it regularly, it just doesn’t get old! After speaking to the Kompakt bosses and with the kindness and help of their distribution team I started the label. Then my partner in crime Noura Labbani joined the team and we launched the compilation series which has really helped bring more attention to Correspondant and allow us to grow and welcome more artists/friends onto the label!”

How do you feel the label has evolved since then? What are some challenges it has faced? If you were to go back and change anything about how it has progressed would you?

“The biggest challenge of all is still the format. Producing vinyl is still tough economically, for us and many others. Digital sales are slowing down while streaming is growing. We all know what streaming means in term of margins, so as a label we are constantly trying to find ways to continue delivering the best music and also shining a light on new and exciting artists. But it is challenging.   

“What would I change? Actually, I wouldn’t change a thing. We’ve had some interesting ‘lessons’ to learn of course, but in general we are really happy about the development of Correspondant and both Noura and I really see the label as a big family.”

What have been your proudest moments with Correspondant?

“Honestly, I’m still not quite recovered from receiving a text from Andrew Weatherall to tell me how much he loves the new compilation and that he’s been playing most of the tracks.  It means so much to us to have artists like Andrew playing our releases and showing support for our label family.”

The new compilation is excellent! Can you tell us about how you became aware of the newer artists featured on the release and what made you feel they were the right fit for the label?

“Thank you for the compliment. This is number six in the series and is one of my personal favorites.  As a DJ and A&R it’s important to stay curious. I still look for and buy a lot of music online and visit shops regularly too. On top of this I also receive a lot of demos and promo and get music from directly from friends and artists I admire. For the label, everything fits if I like it.”

Representation and visibility for female, POC and LGBTQ artists is rightfully becoming a more vital consideration for promoters, festival organisers and label heads. Is this something that you feel is important in Correspondant? More widely, have you seen an improvement in this regard in your immediate surroundings in the scene?

“Yes, it’s of course very important to me and to the label. When I started Correspondant I was shocked by the lack of demos from women. The fact that the industry failed in supporting women and other minorities for so long did discourage a lot of them to send demos or even pursue a career as an artist. Diversity is vital and I’m happy to see that the topic now has the attention of the scene again. I feel that some positive changes are being made.”

What’s next for Correspondant? What have we to get excited about in the coming months?

“We will end the year with an excellent new EP from Kiwi and start 2019 with something fresh from Fort Romeau. We are super excited to have Mike on board. He is a dear friend and I’ve been trying to prise an EP out of him for a while now.  Beyond that you’ll see the return of some familiar faces and a bunch of new artists will make their debut with us. I can’t really say more but I’m really excited for 2019.”

Tell us about this mix!

“Our great friend from Madrid, Javi Redondo, is the man behind the mix! He’s both an excellent producer and DJ and an artist to keep your eye on for sure. A key member of the Correspondant family, Javi knows the label inside and out.”

“The mix has taken a while to put together. I struggled a little with the selection because there are so many great tracks to pick from. I want the listener to travel through the history of the label with me, telling its story, whilst also making sure the mix has my own signature. I’m happy with the result and I hope you are too. Enjoy!” - Javi Redondo

Tracklist:

Die Wile Jagd - Drachenfels
Pulp Disco & The Outcast - Descension
Borusiade - Nihilist Conga
Jimi After - The Dedicated
Kiwi - Condor
Rina - Roboto Discusion
Man Power (Raudive Remix) - Parenthesis
Offset - Subversive
Red Axes - Eyes of The Cat
Kasper Bjorke, Sexy Lazer, The Mansister (Cardini Highway To Schnitzel Remix) - Bullschnitzel
Vox Low - The Hunt
TERR - Neuromancer
Thomas Jackson feat. Beyou - Stillness of Mind
Perel & Frangie - Das Auge

Want more? Check out our recent label mixes with Huntleys + Palmers: Belters and Mr. Bongo...

Eoin Murray is DJ Mag's digital staff writer. You can find him on Twitter @eoin_murraye

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