LE BAIN: Your name came to us from three different sources. It seems you're pretty popular with New York DJs...
STUART LEATH: Is it only an English thing to use the term "It's a blag"? No, seriously it is a bit of that, but also just being a part of this small, underground, electronic/dance community. Releasing different types of music means you get to know people across the spectrum and if what you do is good, they want to help. I'm exactly the same for people coming to London. It's an international scene and you help out like-minded folks.
Mariam The Believer Invisible Giving (Wolf Müller Remix) [Emotional] Especial
You run three labels, which seems like a crazy thing to do these days. How do you manage the balance between the hard work and the low amount of money?
The 3 labels I run under the Emotional banner all do something different. Emotional Rescue is licensed and remastered reissues, Emotional Response is for modern electronic/psychedelic music and Especial is like the baby of the family as a sub-label of Response and is aimed at the dance floor. So it was very much me wanting to do a bit of everything while keeping them distinct. First and foremost, I'm a music fan and collector and those labels each represent a part of that. I think it's now pretty much acknowledged that apart from right at the top, there is little money in music today, so having three labels can help, but still not enough to make a living!
Maybe you should try 4...
In fact, for the record, I actually co-run another label with a friend Lindsay Todd (Firecracker Records) called Sacred Summits that has so far been releasing reissues of the more experimental reaches of our musical minds!
Jamie Paton Mad Obsession [Emotional] Especial
What is the motto behind all those labels?
I always say that they are in essence art projects and it's true. Each is different, but the one thing I view is that if it isn't about the money then I might as well create the concept to the maximum. Music is the most important but least appreciated art form, so I spend a lot of time and effort making sure the music sounds good and the artwork is visually interesting. Each label has a very specific vibe and look and it's definitely helped them get noticed.
Before running the labels, you used to work in the fashion industry. What do you miss the most from the Fashion world?
I liked the excitement and flamboyance that came with it, while ignoring the catcalling and bitchiness! I worked alongside an amazing photographer, Laetitia Negre, who really stuck to her guns and followed her beliefs and worked on the edge in some ways, and to me, that's how it should be. I actually think it's a shame music and fashion aren't as entwined as they used to be. I don't think cutting edge fashion or music mix enough. It's like you get the same tired old rock vibes alongside cool fashion. Why is that? The work of people like Michel Gaubert definitely can change that, but mainstream, upmarket fashion has become increasingly conservative, which is a shame and not too late to change.
Nathan Gregory Wilkins and Richard X aka Cowboy Rhythmbox (I-D mix)
Your party is in the middle of NY Fashion Week. What's one thing you don't want to miss?
First Nathan (Gregory Wilkins), who is playing with us for the party, is curating the music for the Marc by Marc Jacobs show, so that is a must. Also, a young British designer called William Tempest is bringing a small collection to NYC for the first time. He has already dressed people including Kate Moss, Victoria Beckham, and Alexa Chung, so this will definitely be worth a look.
What can we expect musically from the night?
While the Especial label is a modern dance label with music and basslines to make you move, it also looks back as much as forward to the sounds of the 80's electronic scenes of synth pop, new wave, and proto-house, so you can definitely expect to hear a lot of that running through what we play. Not many modern labels have released music from Blancmange to Goat to Andrew Weatherall in its first 10 releases, but through remixes and special project ideas the label has very much been about doing something a bit more "left field" in concept, but it's all about dancing at its core.
Khidja Mustafa [Emotional] Especial
Tell us about the last time you had some real fun in a club.
That's easy as last week we did a release party for Especial at the Salon des Amateurs in Dusseldorf. It's one of the most musically open places you could hope to play, with the crowd wanting you to make them dance beyond the standard 4/4 boom of most clubs. I had a few too many vodkas and ended up leaving without my hosts in a total daze at about 7am and ended up at an after party where I shouldn't have been. Fun times!
Sunday February 15th, Le Bain presents Nouveau York featuring [Emotional] Especial w/ Stuart Leath (Chuggy), Jamie Paton, Nathan Gregory Wilkins and Kennedy Magazine. Doors 9pm. The Standard, High Line.