Imprints brings you regular profiles of the most exciting record labels the world over, with input from the movers and shakers who contribute to their local electronic music communities.
Gleeful roars and authoritative whistles characterize the background noise of THUMP's phone conversation with Alexander Paul Coe. And while the boy who interrupts our chat to ask for a change of clothes may refer to the Brit on the phone as "Dad," to the rest of the world he is Sasha. Veteran house DJ, label head, party-thrower, and John Digweed's BFF, it's no surprise that the man of many roles must take a break from watching his son's ball game in Ibiza in order to squeeze in our interview about his imprint. After getting involved with what he says was another music brand's "bad business" practices, Coe launched his own label, Last Night on Earth. Now providing a home to many of today's dance music leaders, including Dusky, My Favourite Robot, La Fleur and Hunter/Game, the renowned multitasker explains why a "last night on earth" is something we should celebrate, not fear.
Name: Last Night On Earth
THUMP: You've mentioned that you began Last Night On Earth as a mode of putting out your own music. Why did you want the autonomy?
Sasha: It just felt like it was a good time to start a label. I wanted to have a home for the more underground pieces of music I was making. I had an artistic vision for the label. It also came about through my desire to champion upcoming artists.
How did the label transform from a concept to a reality?
It's fairly straight forward, to be honest. My management company were looking after a lot of labels and they were like, 'you really should have your own label.' The guys that work on the label with me have such an amazing taste in music. We started putting ideas together for who we would want to do releases with and it took shape really quickly. It's grown really nicely, really organically. It developed a sound and a following and it all happened kind of nicely.
When you started Last Night On Earth you were already a very well-established DJ. Did you need to convince people that you could be a leader too?
I think it came with time, really. After a short period, I think people realized that we were serious about the label. We took the artwork seriously, we took the releases seriously. We had a direction and I think when people saw that they wanted to be a part of it.
What sound is the label trying to cultivate?
I think we try to be as eclectic as possible. We like people to do EPs because we want to push them further than just creating singles. A lot of the time, we get a couple of tracks that we like, and then we'll say we need a couple of extra tracks. We want one of the tracks to be something that's a bit different than their normal sound. Sometimes those 4th tracks on the EPs will be the tracks that I like the most, the tracks that are the most different. I think the format allows producers to really experiment without fully committing to an album.
Do you ever worry that your songs might not align with the vision of Last Night On Earth?
Absolutely, I'm working on a couple records at the moment that we've actually signed with different labels because they're a better fit. My club music, the stuff that I make on LNOE, that's exactly what the labels for. But, there's some other music I'm working on, and have been working on, that's a different sound. There's a better home for it.
Is it difficult to give your songs to other labels?
No, not at all. These days most labels do very good deals and they do very well with their artists. I think when people release records these days, it's very much a partnership with other people. It's different from how it used to be.
Who are some of your artists that we should be watching out for?
Dusky is definitely going to have a really strong EP with us. I'm really excited about his music. I've been putting a lot of his stuff out and we're actually collaborating on a track together for his EP, so it's really exciting.
What's been the biggest obstacle that Last Night On Earth has had to overcome?
Initially, I felt that a lot of the time people were just sending us demos that they hadn't been able to get signed by other labels. I think getting established is the hardest thing. We're getting sent so much music now that we can't even see the really good stuff. We can't release all of it because our schedule is so backed up.
What about the dance music industry would you like to see change?
I find it a bit worrying that we've got a couple of big companies going around and scooping up all of the dance music brands. I find that to be a bit worrying because most of the really strong dance parties, music, and producers come from the underground. The fact that these kind of big corporations just went around scooping up everything to do with dance music, I find that quite unsettling.
What would your last night on earth look like?
A party –– a DJ set at a beach club with all my best friends.
Rebecca is on Twitter.