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five things you need to know about trac label sumac

DJ Plead, T.Morimoto and Jon Watts reflect on joining forces and creating their independent label.

by Charlotte Agnew
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09 July 2019, 12:31am

In between their personal music motivations and successes DJ Plead, Jon Watts and T.Morimoto decided to create their own trac label and so, just like that, Sumac was born. Created two years ago now, the label was made in response to wanting more control over how their music is presented — ultimately deciding that it would be easier to release it themselves. The three friends alongside other members of their musical community, like Cop Envy, Logic1000 and Cassius Select/Fake, all work together to make the music and energy that it takes to keep an independent label going. Already they’ve received notable attention, both as a label and individually for their artists, with tracks picked up by Fourtet, Joy O, Lee Gamble, Batu, Nina Las Vegas, rroxymore and Anthony Naples.

With the label quickly gathering steam and building more and more momentum, we caught up with the Sumac crew to reflect on their beginnings and discuss how they navigate mixing business with pleasure as friends in business together. Here are the five things you need to know:

1. Their friendship is reflected in how they work with each other.
“The three of us all have equal input in terms of curating and organising releases. DJ Plead originally had the idea of starting a label to release the first Poison record, which has since been reissued on vinyl. It grew from there and we all started working on it together. There are a few other people who have been consistently involved such as Cop Envy, Logic1000 and Cassius Select/Fake.”

“We regularly throw around ideas in terms of music we want to release. The roles we all have are a fairly fluid — in that there is no set rules or divisions in terms of who does what. Cop Envy has helped us out a lot with graphic design and artwork. We all contribute equally to admin and basic day-to-day stuff.”

2. They wanted to create a label to support their community and release music in their own way.
“Like most labels the impetus came from being in a social group where there is a lot of music constantly being made, but that doesn’t necessarily have an output. We just decided it would be easier to release it ourselves and have more control over how it is presented. We wanted to create a platform for our own music, which we could build into something that would work for us in the long term. We also like the idea of having a platform we can use to launch projects that don’t have a profile, the Logic1000 release is a good example of that — it was her first release and has exceeded all our expectations in terms of the amount of interest”.

3. Fourtet is a fan.
Sumac artist Logic1000 recently published her album with the label as their fourth release. It brought a fresh energy to the dance music scene, exemplified by her single, ‘DJ Logic Please Forgive Me’ being played by Fourtet at Glastonbury 2019. He also celebrated the track on his social media tweeting that it will be “one of the big tracks of 2019”.

4. Despite working so closely together, DJ Plead, T.Morimoto and Jon Watts are all unique in their influences.
Jon Watts is influenced by Japanese noise music such as Toshimaru Nakamura and Sachiko M, but also Jeff Mills and Kotai and music in that sort of vein. DJ Plead is currently feeling Batu, Laurel Halo, Logic1000, but also has a longstanding interest R&B, rap and contemporary Lebanese and Syrian pop music. T.morimoto follows Portuguese producers like DJ Firmeza, but also shares an interest in rap and R&B which feeds into the work him and Austin (Utility) do producing beats for rappers.

5. They believe we need to look outside of our bubble for inspiration.
“It’s hypocritical of me to say that people should get out more and support music because I don't go out enough. But basically we need to support nights that are ongoing — places where we can cultivate a certain sound that is ours. I'm guilty of looking overseas for inspiration and not participating enough in local music. Maybe I need to look directly around me more and take chances in collaborating with people outside of my direct bubble.”