Nik Mercer and Jacques Renault of Let's Play House
Let's Play House has been a regular rendezvous at Le Bain and Jacques and Nik have been resident dancers on many other nights. One could say the idea of running their own label might have started on the 18th floor ... or at least developed somehow! For the last 12 months, they have been putting out amazing records on a monthly basis and it seems it's just the beginning. With releases by Toby Tobias, Fantastic Man, Mugwump, Cosmic Kids, Waze & Odyssey, Tippy Toes or Jacques himself, the label gets us closer to the future of House. Ready for a double dose of LPH this month? We sat down with Jacques and Nik for a Standard Q&A.
San Laurentino Space Tourism
The Standard: What labels inspire you and Jacques to create your own through your parties Let's Play House?
Nik Mercer: This is always a tough one! I grew up surrounded by labels like Teen Beat, Factory, Darla, Matador, and Sub Pop, and I think those labels, despite being part of the "indie" world, have really guided by tastes and aesthetics over the years. In terms of dance stuff, I remember being absolutely enamored with a number of Germans―Klang Elektronik's Playhouse, the early days at Get Physical Music, Kompakt, and Running Back. I think those labels helped me understand this world I currently inhabit, so while I love numerous others out there, those ones will always be a notable part of my roots.
Jacques Renault: Like Nik, I first started buying records surrounded by post-punk and indie labels based in Washington, D.C., where I grew up. I discovered 'dance' music in '96, so I tend to say I was late in the game. The disco records I was finding were similar, in a way, to the punk ones, since they were limited in number and style. Quickly though my tastes grew to reflect what I was exposed to and hearing in the clubs. Inspiration came from Environ, Classic, and Playhouse along with Dance Mania and the French house scene. Today, labels like Wolf, W&O, and, to echo Nik, Running Back are continuing to influence me and catch my ear for what I play as a DJ. Just to name a few...
Jacques Renault Back To You (Paradis Remix)
You said some of the future releases on the label will sound 'heavier and harder'. Is that a general trend you hear coming in 2013? A more techno and darker sound?
Nik: When it comes to our new imprint Goodnight Moon, that's for sure the case. We're deliberately picking up things that are a bit more intense, dark, and hard than what you would normally find on LPH. That said, I think you'll notice a marked different between the LPH of 2011/2012 and 2013. We've got a good number of more upbeat and sunny tracks coming out as well as some that are deeply musical and expertly arranged, and more melodious, delicate. I am so excited for this year, I can't even begin to tell you. Now, more than ever, I understand LPH's brand and identity―I see the story and the narrative in a way I didn't last year.
Jacques: It's amazing to hear all the demos from friends and strangers and to create and curate an outlet for it all. I'm super proud of our catalog and love seeing how this style of music is developing all over the world.
Mugwump, Parallel Lifetimes
What is "the story and narrative" you see this year?
Nik: This year, we just 'get it' more, I think. Jacques and I are happy and content to put out a record a month. We know how to do it. We know who we want to work with. We know what are market is. We have a pretty solid understanding of what the next nine or so months will look like. I'm not saying there isn't plenty of room for growth. I'm just saying that we understand what LPH is much more intimately at this juncture. And that's really friggin' awesome.
Could you give us some of your up & coming producers/remixers to watch in 2013? They do not have to be already on Let's Play House, but can be!
Nik: Yeah, I'm definitely going to have to plug LPH a little here! We're really stoked about Tippy Toes, whose debut EP we're dropping in a few months. That's a duo formed by Morgan Wiley, of Midnight Magic, and his good friend, Abe Seiferth, who's a similarly-skilled studio guru. Otherwise, we're super down with montel, who's from the UK, and HNNY, a Swedish friend. Both will hit late in the spring or early in the summer.
montel Can't Go Wrong
Anyone else outside LPH?
Nik: The list really is much larger than that, though―we've been inspired by basically anyone from Wolf Music, still think the Dead Rose Music Company is someone to watch in 2013, love what's happening with Bicep, Ejeca, and this newbie named Sophie, and generally think's it's wonderful to be surrounded by people who are not only incredibly prolific, but also endlessly talented.
Jacques: I'll just add to Nik's list Jack E. Dixon, Francis Inferno Orchestra, Almost, and, as I mentioned before Waze & Odyssey―those are the producers on my "look out" list. Again, though, the list goes on...