In Conversation: ANMA and Cognitiva Talk European Jazz & Collaboration on their Outlines Compilation
Last month ANMA and Cognitiva teamed up to create 'Outlines', an LP which yielded exciting mutant strains of jazz, funk, broken beat and house music. The compilation had some incredible collaborations with the likes of Contours and Werkha, Footshooter and Allysha Joy teaming up. To find out more about the background of 'Outlines' and how they put together the compilation we chatted to ANMA label head Angelo (FootNote) and Cognitiva boss Piero (SofaTalk).
Hey Piero and Angelo. Firstly, a big thanks for chatting to us, the 'Outlines' compilation is a really wicked display of jazz coming out across Europe! Could you both first introduce yourselves and your labels?
A: Hi guys and thanks for the invite. My name is Angelo, I come from a small city of the Campania region, in the south of Italy but have been living in London for 10 years. My label, ANMA, focuses on independent music and local talent, with no particular focus on music genres. I would say that most of the music releasing on the label has its roots in jazz, soul and funk and hip hop.
P: Hi guys, my name is Piero, I live in Rome and I am a label owner of Cognitiva, established in 2016 with the aim of forming an innovative platform, producing and performing any genre of music rooted in funk, soul, jazz, hip hop and pushing its boundaries to form contemporary innovations, learning from the past and looking towards the future.
What is the aim of 'Outlines' as a compilation?
A&P: The idea was to have artists from different backgrounds collaborating with each other - often even in unusual ways, considering that Covid forced many of the artists to work remotely. We wanted to draw inspiration from multiple facets of jazz and dance music, which also reflects the ethos of our labels.
Have you found that corona has changed what you are looking for in music?
A&P: Covid hasn’t really influenced much of the releases that came out on the label over the last year or so, nor the way we normally select music for our catalogue. This is not to say that the industry hasn’t suffered, on the contrary we had to face the fact that many record shops around the world have been forced to close for much of the year, which has affected especially smaller labels. We are grateful to initiatives like ‘Bandcamp Day’ - which for more than year now has supported many independent artists and labels affected by the pandemic.
Partnerships between labels is something that is quite rare, why did you decide to get together for this release. Why do you feel other people don't tend to do it?
A: Personally, it’s not the first time I collaborate with other labels. We have already collaborated twice with Flumo Recordings, releasing music from the like of Contours, Yadava and Dj Aakmael. I find collaborative efforts to be important and stimulating for both artists and labels. However, I do understand that from a label point of view, is not very easy. Distributors and online shops don’t really have a system in place that facilitates collaborations between labels.
P: For me it is the first collaboration with another label but with Angelo I have an excellent friendship consolidated over time, we have the same visions, we are perfectly in tune, so it was very stimulating to build the project together. However, I fully agree with Angelo for the difficulty in managing the relationship with the absence of system that allows for releases to appear on multiple labels.
You have some really cool collaborations (between artists) on the releases with the likes of Footshooter and Allysha Joy working together, Contours and Werkha etc. How did you go about curating these?
A: Piero (SofaTalk) was already working on this project before I got involved. During
a call he told me he was curating this compilation and, as at the time he had involved mainly Italian artists and wanted to expand the project to an International level. We had obviously many options on the table; we are very lucky to have so much good music coming out daily and to live in an era where digital has made everything so accessible to us. However, most of the time we don’t need to dig that far from home to find good music. So we preferred to support the local scene, which for us meant supporting mainly Italian and English artists, with some exceptions of course. Some of the artists are friends or people we had connected already in the past through music like Domenico Sanna, Contours, XL Regular or Karmasound. Others were introduced to us by the artists themselves like Werkha and Allysha Joy.
P: I can only say that that phone call with Angelo (Footnote) was fundamental. I had set up this project but I needed to create a network that could make artists from all over Europe collaborate with each other. We joined forces and managed to create exceptional connections and synergies.
Of course you are both involved in the compilation yourselves (both awesome tracks). Piero, what was the inspiration behind reworking Evidente?
P: I met Domenico Sanna at the 2019 edition of Umbria Jazz in Perugia. I was in the front row listening to the performance with his band. I was going to DJ right after. I was surprised by how Domenico simultaneously played the bass line with a Microkorg and the piano chords with a Nord electro Clavia. In particular I was enchanted by "Evidente", I proposed a collaboration to him and he gave me the opportunity to rearrange that song. I am very satisfied and proud to have been able to get my hands on a composition by a truly talented artist like Domenico.
Angelo, I believe that this was the first outing of your Footnote's project. Why was it important to have it as part of this project and what was your role in creating this track?
A: It was quite random. I was already working on some music, but with no precise intention on whether I wanted to release it or not. I am quite critical of my work, which often is not beneficial when you want to bring projects to completion. However, I felt this was the right thing happening at the right time I guess. Piero introduced me to Damian (Karmasound) with who I connected immediately both on a musical and personal level. He’s an amazing producer and multi instrumentalist, so it was very inspirational to work with him. We exchanged some initial ideas, mainly some beats I had made and him playing chords over them, and we took it
from there. We also thought it would be cool to invite Mabreeze and Callum Connell (Secret Night Gang), two incredible artists who fitted very well in the project.
Are there any future plans for collaboration between yourselves?
A&P: It’s definitely something we have discussed, but haven’t really had the time yet to materialise it.
What can we expect from ANMA?
A: I recently started to focus also on digital releases, with the first EP from Arnheim which came out in March. This allows me to promote more music on Bandcamp, and having releases out between vinyl productions, which often can take several months. The next digi EP is scheduled for late summer.
What can we expect from Cognitiva?
P: Cognitiva has several projects to plan but I can anticipate that the next one will be a rework of unreleased material from a really eclectic band.
A big thanks to Piere and Angelo for talking to about their wonderful compilation. 'Outlines' dropped via ANMA and Cognitiva Records on April 2nd. You can purchase the vinyl and digi HERE.