Decoded Radio presents Chapter 24 Records label feature with Sam Pauli

Sam Pauli is a co-founder and label owner of Chapter 24 Records alongside Paul Nolan and Marcus Blacker. Inspired by a blend of influences on and off the dancefloor, his main passion is in pushing forward a new wave of deep, emotive and melodic house and techno sounds in the UK and beyond.

Chapter 24 is a melodic house and techno record label, bringing you music, art and verse with heart and soul above all else. They believe in music that tells stories: stories in sound. The tales they spin invite you to get lost in the narrative, to step into another world, re-emerging from reveries with new insights and altered perspectives.

The Book of Changes speaks of a new dawn, a rebirth, a turning point. And so it is with Chapter 24: a return to the meaning and purpose of the early days of house and techno. A return to something you can believe in.

Sam Pauli 1

Welcome guys and thanks for joining us on Decoded Radio. Can you fill us in on your background prior to launching the label and how you all got together and involved with the project?

Marcus: Thanks! Sam and I have known each other since uni and have been heading to the same nights together for more than ten years. Meanwhile, Paul and Sam started working together on production in 2012 I think?

Sam: Yes, I met Paul on an RA message board when I was in search of someone to teach me production. We clicked straight away. I actually came up with the idea of starting a label while on honeymoon in 2014 and sent Marcus a long email proposal about it.

Paul: Initially I was supposed to be part of things in a consultancy capacity so Sam and Marcus could benefit from my experience and perspective in the industry. But then it kind of struck the three of us that we could work on this together.

Marcus: We haven’t looked back since!

I’d like to firstly ask about the Chapter 24 branding? Based on the Book of Changes I believe which is a translation of the ancient Chinese book ‘I Ching’. Was this always going to be the marketing idea behind the label? It all works really well.

Sam: The big reason behind starting a label was this overriding feeling we had that music had become all a bit throwaway. Music is flooding the internet in the digital era, and it’s all a bit of a wall of white noise. So the big thing we were focused on was bringing back music with meaning, a throwback to the early days of house and techno.

Paul: Meaning and authenticity has always been the top priority.

Marcus: We spent hours and hours…

Sam: And hours!

Marcus: Coming up with a name, and when we came across this track by Pink Floyd called Chapter 24, we decided to look into it. It was all there: Chapter 24 is a section of the I Ching called ‘The Return’, the turning point – it all just felt right.

Sam: That’s where the label’s core concept, “stories in sound”, comes in. We’re after music that tells stories and that fits our melodic house and techno sound.

Since its launch in October 2014 the label has caught a lot of attention from the right industry figures and fans alike. Was there a moment where you noticed it was really starting to take off?

Paul: One of the keys to our success has been to have everything planned in advance, ready to drop. And then when we launched with our first release The Owl, we teamed up with one of my great pals Steve Parry to run promo through his company SMP3. The feedback was amazing. It was great to know we were already on the right level.

Sam: Until then, I don’t think we knew what we were getting into…

Marcus: I remember a moment when we managed to book remixes from some of our real musical inspirations at the time, Jonas Saalbach, Rashid Ajami and Just Her of Him_self_Her and it felt like we had managed to break into the scene. That was really early on, and we felt if we could work with artists of that calibre in such a short space of time, the sky would be the limit.

Can you tell us about the Telling Tales podcast? What is the concept and where can people listen, tune in, and download?

Sam: The idea behind Telling Tales is that it’s our own flagship mix series: basically, a series we see as Chapter 24’s own Essential Mix. That means the artists don’t have to be limited to playing the latest promos, they can jump across genres or play older music, whatever they feel. The whole point is they are supposed to cut through the noise.

With the events arm of the label: Gather Round – The next night is at The Pickle Factory, London with Miyagi on Saturday 5th March 2016. Tell us about the headliner and venue? Also, are there any other events planned in 2016?

Marcus: This will be our fifth party, but the first one at The Pickle Factory. It’s a fairly new venue in the London scene, run by the same fantastic team behind Oval Space. It’s an intimate, state-of-the-art venue designed specifically with music in mind, using a new breed of d&b audiotechnik V series point source loudspeakers.

Our headliner is Miyagi, a German artist who’s been on our radar for a long time for both his productions and DJ sets, and it will be his first time playing in the UK. Next up, in the summer, we’ve booked Miss Melera also for her first UK appearance and we’ll be co-promoting this one with the guys from The Electric Dodo. We’ve also been booked to play the main stage of Noisily Festival over the summer, alongside the likes of Dave Seaman, Einmusik and Patrice Baumel. It will make a nice change to let someone else organise the party!

Would you say running events alongside the label has both its pro and cons, especially with so many brands and clubs calling it a day in recent years? How difficult is it as a new event brand to stay fresh and relevant?

Paul: We have always had a particular and refined focus when it comes to our events. At the heart of everything we do at the label, there’s a concept, which roots us in why we do what we do. With Gather Round, its always been about connecting people, not only to the music that they love, but to each other. That music comes from headline acts, that do not normally get the chance to play in London, or the UK, alongside our family of existing artists. We get the chance to introduce these headliners, such as Soulbutton, Melokolektiv, Jonas Saalbach, Miss Melera and Miyagi to an entirely new audience. So it’s never really about being fresh so to speak, it’s always been about staying true to our ethos, and communicating it to people in order to bring them into the collective to grow the family.

Fans of the label may not know about your concept on Spotify called 24 Tales. Could you talk us through the idea and how it ties in with the ethos of chapter 24?

Marcus: The idea came to us early on, before we had even put out our first release, as a way of sharing our musical influences and tastes as a label and showcasing tracks from the artists and labels that we love and which fit our “stories in sound” ethos. We were surprised at the loyal following it gained, to the point where if we were even a few days late in publishing it, people would start chasing us!

The Chapter 24 artwork is very distinguished and recognisable. How did you come across the illustrator Simon Væth?

Sam: We knew we wanted an in-house artist, to really give the label its own identity and to have someone really develop our stories idea into artwork for the releases. Finding Simon was all Marcus’ work – he spent six months scouring the internet before we launched to find the right person, and we are so happy we found such a good artist.

Marcus: I’ve really enjoyed playing the role of art director for the label and working with Simon, who totally gets what we are looking for continues to exceed our expectations with his art. We invited Simon over for an exhibition of his work before our party in September and I think he was blown away by the positivity people showed towards his work.

Turning now towards your label feature guest mix which has been mixed by you Sam – What direction have you chosen? Was it difficult track selection wise?

Sam: This was a new one for me, creating a mix of Chapter 24-only music – but I think it’s turned out really well. I’ve gone for a balance of old and new, including the two Editions of Winterland by Kurt Baggaley. One is by Patlac and is a great track to build the energy, it’s been supported by the like of Ame and Solomun at the biggest festivals in the world. The other is by Petar Dundov towards the end of the mix, and to me is a bit of a masterpiece, all swirling arpeggios and a hefty bass. Both are available on vinyl only for now, which has just come out. I’ve also included some exclusives from the likes of MalbetriebAnton Dhouran, and Roundhead (Italy), artists we love and will be releasing in the next few months. There are a few Chapter 24 classics in there as well, or as much as you can say that when the label is only a year old!

Which has been the best-selling release from the label so far? What would you put this down to?

Marcus: The Goodbye EP by THe WHite SHadow was our first year’s biggest seller, but that has already been eclipsed by Miss Melera’s Magenta EP, which came out last month. I think its success, apart from the quality of the music of course, has been down to it being a really well-balanced EP with something for everyone, whether you lean towards deep or tech house or techno. All three artists on the release have really strong brands and engaged audiences, with Jonas Saalbach being a star in the making and Dave Seaman needing no introduction!

Looking to the future of Chapter 24 where are you aiming to be in the next 5 years?

Paul: To see our artists develop, receive the exposure and acclaim they richly deserve, and be booked to play around the world.

Sam: Building a broad, dedicated international community of friends, fans and followers who are committed to, believe in and truly feel part of the Chapter 24 family.

Marcus: Speaking as label heads, we’d love to be able to do it full time and still earn a living. Label showcases at Sonar, ADE and The BPM Festival would also be very nice!

Lastly, could you fill us in with any forthcoming news or releases? Is there anything special on the horizon to look out for?

Paul: Yes, Sam and I have the ‘Atoms’ EP out on 26th Feb, which is truly exciting for us, both as artists and co – founders of label, especially considering the feedback we’ve had for it. It features vocals by another label talent, Reiver, and two amazing Editions from Danny Oliveira and Miyagi. It’s become one of the best reacted to promos we’ve done on the label so far. Guy Mantzur, Marc Marzenit, Frankey & Sandrino and Eelke Kleijn to name but four have all loved the track, and we can’t wait for you all to hear it soon!

Thanks for dropping by guys and all the best with your continued success.

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Decoded Radio hosted by Ian Dillon presents Chapter 24 Records label feature with Sam Pauli


Ian Dillon

01. East Cafe – One Silent Cloudburst (original Mix) [Manual]
02. Roger Martinez – Gomera (original Mix) [Plattenbank]
03. Kastis Torrau – Pacific Ride (Original Mix) [Hookah Records]
04. Guy J – Release Me (Original Mix) [Lost & Found]
05. Beat Syndrome – Tiger (Original Mix) [Sudbeat]
06. Arqana – Destino (Original Mix) [Stripped Recordings]
07. Tom Glass – Attribute (Han Haak Remix) [Hope Recordings]
08. Anna – Odd Concept (Original Mix) [DIYnamic]
09. Eagles & Butterflies – Murder Was The Bass (Original Mix) [Bedrock]

Sam Pauli

01. Malbetrieb – Brecht
02. David Durango – Lumina
03. Miss Melera – Mint {Jonas Saalbach Edition}
04. Sam Pauli & Paul Nolan – Atoms {Miyagi Edition}
05. Kurt Baggaley – Winterland {Patlac Edition}
06. Roundhead (Italy) – Durante Il Viaggio
07. KatrinKa – Echo Gnomic {Just Her Edition}
08. THe WHite SHadow (FR) – Goodbye
09. Kurt Baggaley – Winterland {Petar Dundov Edition}
10. Anton Dhouran – A Kind Of Light

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About the Author

UK based former DJ and promoter, co-owner, director, writer & creative at Decoded Magazine. Studied at the University of Wolverhampton graduating in Graphic Communication & Typography (BA Hons). In house video editor and avid MMA follower with a keen ear for dark, twisted, hypnotic, tribal progressive house and techno.