Marvin and Valentino are a duo who certainly have a lot on their plate at the moment, balancing the running of a new label and store, both under the moniker of Public Possession, with participating in one of the most interesting projects in house and the moment, Tambien. In a time where record sales are booming and hordes of music aficionados the world over are catching vinyl fever, there couldn’t be a better time to open a record store, with the duos brand new store in Munich focussing on simply providing quality music irrespective of genre. The adjoining label has also been responsible for some superb releases, none more so than Marvin and Valentino’s own Tambien, a joint venture with fellow countryman Bartelow.
Having seen their first record fly off the shelves and garner astronomical prices on Discogs, there’s certainly a lot of hype behind the trio, with a repress of the first twelve and brand new material on their very own Public Possession making them one to watch in the future. Forging stomping dancefloor tracks with a distinctive character, these guys do things a bit differently in a sea of bland re-imaginings of what’s gone before.
Taking time off from their busy schedule, we spoke to the guys about what it’s like to balance a label, record store AND production career.
Hey guys, how’s it going? Had a busy day at the store?
Hi there, we’re all good and the store is doing well thanks. It’s been pretty hot in Munich the last couple of weeks. Not necessarily the best weather for digging the crates, but people still show up and we appreciate that.
What’s it like being a new store in the business, has it lived up to your expectations?
So far it’s been great. The whole procedure of building up everything from scratch was a real interesting experience. With the help of some friends we did it more or less all ourselves, including building the furniture together with a friend who’s a carpenter. Since then it’s all happened really fast, from the first order until now, where we already know our distributors and stuff. Finding out who is reliable and who isn’t is a really important part of running a record store which is something we only found out after a while. Anyways we are getting to the point where it all runs pretty smoothly, so that’s good.
What are the best and worst things about owning your own record store?
Up until now we can’t really see a downside to it all. What’s definitely been great so far is meeting so many new people, all interested in music and really knowledgeable on the subject. This was always one of our goals when opening up the record store. We wanted to create an environment for people to listen to and talk about music, which is why we do stuff like running regular instore sessions.
What do you think about the impact of the internet on the record store business? Is it hard to compete sometimes?
Absolutely, it just makes it so easy to get all the stuff you want. Just a few clicks and you got all the new hot shit in your cart… We ourselves ordered quite a lot online before we opened up the store, simply out of necessity, cause the record stores in reach didn’t provide what we wanted, or at least not everything.
Do you think it could ever replace real record stores?
In the end going to a real physical record store is always gonna beat ordering online. Grabbing a record, actually touching it, being able to skip throughout the whole track/tracks is much more likely to prevent you from buying a mediocre record that’s gonna end up somewhere in the back of your shelves. Also you are much more likely to find something new, that hits you by surprise. I guess that comes all with the limitations a physical store has in comparison to all the online stores. You might not find everything you’ve been looking for, but adapting to what’s there is a nice thing, too, especially if it’s a well run store.
What makes Public Possession stand out from the crowd?
You know, standing out of the crowd is not really what we’re aiming to do. We just wanna present our own view and taste and if people dig what we are doing it’s very rewarding. In terms of the shop we try to have as best of a selection as possible, which means always being on the hunt for that record that in our subjective seems to be a bit odd or just more interesting than the others. There are no limitations though, we are not trying to be that store that only sells the weirdo shit. If a record is good it’s good no matter if it’s a top seller or some record that barely anybody has heard about before. This goes for our second hand section as well as for the new stuff.
What’s it like being based in Munich? When you mention dance music in Germany, Berlin is what immediately springs into most people’s minds. Do you feel like you’re competing with the capital or is it not really like that at all?
We never felt like that. We have a lot of friends in Berlin, who seem to be happy there and that’s cool. We are always glad to visit and play there, but there was never a thought lost on moving. We are very happy in Munich, having a good environment, with creative and supportive people around us. There is also a couple of really good clubs and more than a few good DJs and Producers around.
Moving onto Public Possession as a label, do you think that running the store and label complement each other well, or is it hard work at times?
We founded the label and the store at the same time and that was always the plan, both profit off each other. We can cope with the work so far, since we try to do quite a lot of the label work when we hang at the store. It’s all going well so far.
What would you say is the mantra of the label? Is there any specific sound you’re aiming for?
It’s pretty much everything goes. As we said, no limitations! We try to work us much as possible with friends. And if we like what we hear we’ll put it out. Also we are really at the beginning so let’s see what the future brings.
You recently posted snippets of an upcoming record from Bell Towers, tell me a bit about that…
Valentino lived in Australia for a couple of months 2 years ago, which is where he met Rohan Bell Towers. We really dig his sound and are super happy that this worked out the way it did, he was in contact with the guys from Protect-U and asked them to do a remix. It’s a sick record and we hope the people will like it as much as we do. In general our connection to Australia is growing stronger and stronger, as you know the second release on our label is from Matthew Brown who lived quite a while in Australia as well and is now based in Tasmania.
You also recently repressed the first PP release from yourselves as part of Tambien. Do you think it’s important to repress records rather than watch them go for stupid prices on Discogs?
Well that was kinda necessary, since the first time it came out we didn’t have a distribution yet and just passed it on to fellow DJs and friends. Only a few record stores actually sold the record. So we wanted to give the people who missed it the first time around the opportunity to grab a copy for themselves. In general we suppose it probably sometimes helps to create a hype if your releases are high in demand. But we would much rather have people buy our records for a reasonable price at a store then having a few copies oozing around Discogs for hilarious prices.
Other than your own, what labels are really impressing you at the moment? Anyone you’d like to show some love?
Our friend Ron from L.I.E.S. does a really good job and it’s great that so many people seem to appreciate it. Another friend of ours Andrew is doing the ESP Institute label that never misses to deliver. We love the approach of William Burnett of W.T. Records to always keep every release available. We also really dig Antinote which is run by the good guy Quentin from Paris. And watch out for SVS Records co-run by our homie Beni Brachtel who is also a member of Tambien.
Tell us a bit more about your participation in the Tambien, who’s part of it and what’s it all about?
Tambien is us two and Beni Brachtel aka Bartellow. He is a fully accomplished musician and also owns most off the gear we use for our productions. It started out with us hanging around his studio and jamming a little bit. Than we did the edit record that went down well with quite a few people. So we kicked it off from there.
Most of your tracks are heavily sample-based, but use pretty interesting samples. How do you go about finding these samples to make your tracks something a bit out of the ordinary?
Actually, we don’t use samples in all our tracks, “Robusto” for example has no samples in it. But yes, generally we like to use the occasional sample and we have the sub label of Public Possession called Under the Influence, where we put out edits. There’s probably going to be one more release on that before the end of the year. In terms of selecting the tracks or bits and pieces we use, it comes pretty naturally. Of course, you are rather looking for something not that obvious. We’ve all been diggers for quite some time now and that isn’t going to change in the foreseeable future. There is so much interesting stuff out there….
How do you manage to find time to produce alongside running the label and the store? You must have no free time at all!
It’s not that bad. Even though we are all involved in quite a lot of projects, we still manage to sit down together every now and then. Also we try not spend too much time on a track. It turns out, that at a certain point in a track is either done or it never will be.
Have you got anything coming up in the near future for the group?
Yeah there is a Tambien 12” comin out on another label this year. And quite possibly there will be one more on Public Possession this year as well.