Following on from the first release on Talman Records so far back in December 2015, heavyweight producer Okain is set to get the ball rolling once again with a sublime 4 track VA comprised of tracks from the label boss himself, Stevn.aint.levn, Alex Alvarez and Paolo Rocco. The news has certainly garnered a lot of excitement at Decoded HQ and the VA has been looping over since we got it in.
We were very grateful to grab a few words with the gifted musical genius and gain a great insight into what a career in music means to the Frenchman. With an absolute weight of experience, from releases on the world’s best labels to captivating sets at the most coveted venues, Okain certainly has the knowledge to make an everlasting legacy that will be imprinted in the psyche of all fans of the underground movement.
Hi Okain, thanks very much for chatting with us today! How has your summer been?
The summer has been great. I played some really cool gigs and I just came back from the Street Parade in Zurich. It was really exiting to play in front of so many people.
Let’s get right into it. Can you tell us what Talman Records means to you and the reasoning behind setting up your own label?
I set it up almost two years ago now. At the time, my sound was changing a little bit. I was feeling like playing deeper again and it felt the right moment to build a new platform instead of reaching out to new labels.
There has only been 1 digital release as of yet. Do you plan on releasing more digital or are you going to stick with Vinyl releases?
All of our releases (the various artist coming out this week is the 5th one) came on vinyl. The first release was also available in digital but I don’t have plan to make it happen for the other releases.
Do you believe Vinyl is still king? If so, what is it that makes Vinyl better than a digital release to you?
I think that vinyl is the best way of collecting music. It’s a high quality sounding format compared to digital mp3. It’s also good to be able to sell a whole EP. Most people that buy digital format are only buying one track from an EP. In my vinyl collection I discover some tracks a few years after I bought an EP. I may have been buying it for a different track but now I will like the other side better and I will start to play it out. This never happened with my digital collection.
Can you tell us a bit about your plans for the rest of 2017?
On Talman we have this various artist EP coming out this week and then a solo EP from me around the end of the year. On my side I have two others EP’s on other labels to be release this year. One on Dogmatik and one on InFuse.
And how about, say, 5 years from now? How will the label evolve? Do you plan that far ahead?
I am not so sure yet and I don’t plan that much in advance but I really hope we will still be releasing some music.
Are there any plans on creating a Talman event?
Yes, we are doing our first showcases in October in Berlin and we have more things to come.
Do you think the skills and knowledge you have acquired from releasing on the best labels in the world will carry over into running your own label?
Yes, I think so and I also worked as label manager for a couple of labels so that helps too.
Let’s go back to the start and talk about your very first residency in Paris. What club was it at and how did you initially get the residency?
I got a residency at le Sans Sanz in the Bastille area of Paris. I was 17. It’s actually a friend of mine who I was DJ’ing with that connected with the owner by dropping some demo CD’s. One day his resident DJ was sick and he called us to replace him. After that we secured to play twice a month.
Do you think residencies open the doors to other opportunities?
Yes, it also gives you the time to develop your skills and to be a better DJ.
Was there a release or moment in time when you thought to yourself that your career was about to really take off?
After the first couple of releases on Tsuba I noticed a bigger interest from people about my music.
Was there ever a time when you may have doubted yourself? If so, what did you do to overcome this?
Yes, it happened but luckily I never gave up and things got better. I am also lucky to have some people around me that believe in me and kept me confident.
You list Laurent Garnier as a big inspiration of yours. What is it about Laurent that inspires you most?
I liked his sets a lot when I was younger. I liked the fact that he was playing a lot of different genres and the long sets. He was really telling a different story every time he was playing.
Do you think we might ever see a dream collaboration between Laurent and yourself?
That would be amazing but I never met him.
And how about fresh talent? Are there any breakthrough artists who you can’t get enough of?
I am very interested in giving opportunities to fresh talent on Talman Records. There is a lot of new artists that I am following at the moment. Too many to name here.
Do you think underground music is heading in the right direction? If it is popular, does that mean it is no longer underground?
I don’t personally care much if something is underground or not but I do care if it’s good or not and if I like it.
Do you think French parliament could do more to support underground music? If so, how?
I think it will be good to give some 24hours licences for clubs in France. They already started it in Paris for the Concrete party. I think it’s a good direction.
And finally, can you tell us, what exactly does the underground music scene mean to you? What are the best and worst things about the scene currently?
It’s important for me to be in a scene with passionate people that do it for the art rather than doing it for numbers and money.
Thank you very much for chatting with us Okain, it was a pleasure!
Thanks to you!
Decoded Radio hosted by Ian Dillon presents Talman Records with Okain.
Decoded Hot Picks Chart Countdown
#4 Nic Fanciulli -The Perfect Crime (Feat. Guy Gerber) [Saved Records]
#3 Chicola – Clockers (Original Mix) [Sudbeat Music]
#2 Gregor Tresher – Goliath (Alan Fitzpatrick Remix) [Bedrock Records]
#1 Mystep, Stas Drive feat Cari Golden -Confess (Original Mix) [Suara]
01. Leo Janeiro & Gui Boratto – MooDisco (Original Mix) [D.O.C. Records]
02. Coca & Villa Feat. Pepe Rubio – La Noche (D-Formation Remix) [Beatfreak Recordings]
03. Tale Of Us & Vaal – Monument (Barnt Remix) [Afterlife]
04. MERCY – Tunnel (Fur Coat Remix) [Souvenir Music]
05. Kauf – Let Slide (Speaking In Tongues remix) [Eternal Order]
01. Okain – There is light
02. Alix Alvarez – No Chaser
03. Okain – Face B
04. Paolo Rocco – 7284
05. Okain – Next Friday
06. Okain – Forward
07. Stevn.aint.leavn – Motion
08. Okain – Delta Street
09. Okain – Boom Bap
10. Okain – Invaders
11. Okain – Second Phase
12. Okain – Belle Maison
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