Imprints: Spring Theory


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Imprints: Spring Theory

"I want to take Spring Theory to the point where I can sell tote bags. Then I'll retire."

Name: Spring Theory
Founded: 2012
Vibe: Diversified dancefloor cuts
Location: San Francisco, Paris

Spring Theory is a bi-continental imprint based in San Francisco and the brainchild of founder Guillaume Galuz. Showcasing a stylized output of underground dance music, the collective aims to promote artist individuality. Thus far, producers like Ripperton and El_Txef_A have charted its releases. THUMP sat down with Guluz to discuss his inspirations, creative challenges, and future plans for the embryonic label.


THUMP: Why did you decide to found your own imprint?
Guillaume Galuz: I've always been fascinated with record labels, the people who run them, and how things are created behind the scenes. As a teenager, I read books about Berry Gordy and Tony Wilson and I would rather meet Steve Beckett than Aphex Twin. I love the idea of being a facilitator, someone who brings every piece of the puzzle together to make things happen.

What was the inspiration behind the label name?
I spent months making lists. It was a very painful process. At some point, I narrowed it down to two: "Liquid Days" (taken from Songs from Liquid Days by Philip Glass) and "Golden Hours" (a song by Brian Eno). As you might be able to tell, I set the bar pretty high. Then, Kim Brown released an EP called Spring Theory that I loved. It was suddenly obvious that Spring Theory had to be the name of my label. Google still autocorrects it to "String Theory" but I guess that's fine.

You're a software engineer as well as a label boss; do the two careers complement each other?
Coding is a very creative process, but it's still problem solving, optimizing under constraints that you typically haven't set yourself. When you spend an entire day whispering to your computer's keyboard, it feels good to reconcile that with something more human and artistic. While programming speaks to your brain, running a label is much more balanced.

What type of sound are you trying to cultivate?
I don't think I'm consciously trying to cultivate a specific sound. Having a sound pins you down, creates habits and expectations, and that feels boring to me. I prefer being moved by a song and feeling the urge to make it available to a broader audience. If Avalon Emerson started making metal, I would probably release it. The idea is just to meet great people, build trust, and help them get their music out there. If, along the way, you end up cultivating a sound, that's great, but in my opinion, it should be a by-product rather than a goal.


What's Spring Theory's next release?
Sage Caswell is releasing an EP called Sleep Quarters at the end of August. It's a four-track EP with a dance side and an ambient side. The artwork is a collage by Lucas McMahon who I met through Instagram. We worked with Johnny Woods to make a video for the track "For Runner." It's weird and magical.

What's the scene like in San Francisco in comparison with Paris?
I think Paris was at a low point a few years ago, but things are fantastic now. Clubs and bars are opening everywhere, so it's impossible to get bored. On the other hand, San Francisco is going through some difficult times. Rents are ridiculous, artists are leaving, condos are replacing art spaces, and the scene is suffering from that. The vast majority of tech workers completely lack a sense of community. Sure, you can always find a good party or see major DJs when they come to the West Coast, but you can't say San Francisco's electronic scene is vibrant. There's also Burning Man, which is hurting the scene even more. People who attend seem to believe dance music culture is a one-week-a-year thing and spend the rest of their time listening to the worst tech house. It's a nightmare.

What challenges do you face running the label?
When you start a record label, you align all of your expectations on success stories. You hope for immediate recognition. You sell out a record and think you'll sell out of all of them. But things take time and you have to be patient. You experience pretty extreme highs and lows as a label owner. In the end, as with any company, running a label is about the people who are behind it. I work with close friends and that makes everything easier.

Who are some of your artists to watch?
Avalon Emerson moved to Berlin a year ago. She's been touring a lot and played Panorama Bar last month. Sage Caswell has a fantastic live show; he actually brings his desktop computer with him. Aria Rostami is working on some new music. We're planning an LP soon. I think it's going to be brilliant and very different from his first Spring Theory record.

What are your plans for the label's future?
[My plans are] to keep working with the artists I mentioned above and help them grow as musicians. I want to focus more and more on the visual aspects by doing some amazing artwork and videos. Above all, I want to take Spring Theory to the point where I can sell tote bags. Then I'll retire.

Spring Theory is on Twitter // SoundCloud // Facebook