In Conversation: Funclab Records
As a newcomer to the Halcyon Wax team, I took this opportunity to host my first interview with Turenne from Funclab, an artist collective with their own independent record label, all based in Milan. Turenne released his first album "Tender Heart From The Lagoon" in 2020, and as a producer myself, I'm keen to know about the influences and perspectives surrounding artists creations. We delved into the collective's past as well as his, covered their releases from last year, and the experience of managing a label.
B: Hi Tommaso, Barnaby here, nice to meet you.
Starting off lightly, how are you and what have you been up to today?
T: Hey Barnaby, hope you are well.
Here we are. Today we started working in our studio around 10:30 as usual, developing some new graphics for an upcoming release on our label Funclab Records.
B: Glad to hear the work is coming along nicely.
Can you tell me a bit about yourself as an artist and your musical background?
T: Thanks to my uncle's passion for music I started playing drums when I was 13, falling in love with free jazz and black music. My father has always been passionate about music and I use to dig through his vinyls, always trying to expand my horizons, keeping an open mind to explore all genres. After my High school graduation I decided to make a career out of my passion, therefore I started studying Sound Design in Milan.
B: Thanks for the insight into your past and family passion for music, it's great to pull inspiration from a wide range of genres.
Along with Ayce Bio, you're a co-creator of the Milan based Funclab Records. What are your usual daily tasks? And to go into the past a bit more, is there a story behind the label's creation?
T: During university I joined forces with 3 friends and this is how Funclab Collective was born, after 2 years working together we started Funclab Records. Since 2016 we grew as professionals and artists, creating our own paths and sharing our passion with other musicians. Our daily job involves sound design, music research and music production.
B: Oh wow brilliant that all of this is born from a uni friendship!
So, 2020 was a difficult year for us all, but your label has still managed to put out music.
Together you've churned out a beat tape homage to J Dilla, an emotional journey of an album "Tender Heart From The Lagoon", and a remix album to follow suit.
Are you pleased with this progress given the circumstances?
T: 2020 has been really hard for all of us, it’s been a year since our last event in Milan. We are lucky to have a big space where we are able to create, to experiment and to meet up for work. Working on new music is the only way to connect with our audience in such a unique and difficult time.
We all work as a group on every project, J Dilla tribute is a concept by Ayce and Prev and Tender Heart From The Lagoon and remix is my first outing as an individual.
B: Thankfully music is a shared escapism, that we can use to power through and connect with each other in these trying times. I'm glad you've been able to continue to work on your music, and you must be proud to have your first album out!
Delving more into your big release, you've described it as "a dive into my roots, a journey through my life, a genuine confession of hopes and fears, with all the beauty they carry within them". How does it feel to have put out music out to the world, that has such a deeply linked connection to your life and emotions?
T: I think that every artist goes through a phase where you feel insecure or sometimes even ashamed of your own work. After months spent listening and reviewing the album I've reached that moment where you can't keep your music for yourself, I needed confrontation and I wanted to share my work with friends and colleagues. When the album was released i felt some kind of freedom, liberation from everything that was holding me from going public.
B: That's so true, art we create can be a reflection of ourselves, and to share your inner self with others requires you to be open and vulnerable. That relief should feel even better as more people discover and enjoy your music, so thank you for sharing it.
Listening through the album, I hope I'm right in saying sampling plays a large part in your productions. How do you approach the art form that is sampling?
T: Sampling has always been and will always be fundamental for our productions. My approach to sampling has changed with time and experience, it's always very important for me but I'm also trying to get more into original productions.
B: Sampling is definitely a staple when it comes to electronic music, and rightfully so.
Although, like our musical tastes, our styles evolve over time too.
From a label perspective, how did you approach creating the remix album, and as an artist, what is it like to hear someone else's take on your tracks?
T: As an artist it’s always interesting for me to understand how others interpret what I do. This is how the idea of the remix album started. I thought it could be fun to explore a more “club approach” of the record, whereas the original version is more conceptual and intimate.
B: Well, you managed to deliver because the remix album is definitely a club vibe, shame it can't be played in any at the moment. With a large roster of different artists reworking your tunes, what's your favourite track on the remix album, and what element of their version do you enjoy the most?
T: To be honest, I think they all brought some uniqueness to it and I really like all of them.
B: They are definitely all very unique and it fits well as an entirely new album.
Final question now, what do you hope to achieve with Funclab this year?
T: Everything is still very uncertain, we will definitely keep pursuing our passions cause that’s all we can do. What we hope to achieve is to be able to live out of music and of the rest of the project we work on with Funclab.
B: Great idea, following our passions is how we keep on living through all this uncertainty.
I hope you can keep working towards new projects with your label and collective, and thank you for the interview it's been a pleasure speaking to you.
Turenne's debut album should definitely be checkout out, his tracks have a strong sampling game and cover a whole range of deep moods, acting as a sonic journey reflecting on his life experiences. The remix album flips it on its head, being decked out and fully fit for the club, with acts such as DJ Octopus, Quasar, and Sam Ruffillo showing their styles in the reworks.