Beyond proud of my fellow bloggers & friends of No Fear Of Pop. Not only have they relaunched their long-time blog with a stunning new design last week, this week marks the start of another exciting journey as they will be running a little label called Stratosfear themselves as well. Operating from Berlin and thus a fellow European (non-UK) blog, we just had to sit down with No Fear Of Pop’s Henning and Tonje to ask them some questions about Stratosfear.
Stratosfear. Could you describe it to us in your own words?
Stratosfear will be a label for (somehow) adventurous, (somehow) edgy, and challenging pop music made by unknown or emerging artists from all over the planet, with a slight focus on the electronic side of things. And it will be a 7” label, not without the possibility of an exception here and there, but we’ll definitely focus on that format. Apart from that, everything is open.
Why is it called Stratosfear? Is there a story behind the name? Why not go with the name of the blog, No Fear Of Pop, for example?
We wanted to make it clear that NFOP and Stratosfear are two different projects. Not everyone who’s involved in the label also works for the website, and vice versa. Also, while NFOP does not have a strict conceptual approach insofar as we will cover virtually anything that we find interesting enough to feature, the label will probably follow some secret path (not least secret to us) that will lead to some kind of creative coherence. Though that surely doesn’t mean that we’ll focus on any particular genre.
Last, Stratosfear is an awesome album by a legendary Berlin band that we all cherish, so we thought it makes kind of sense to choose the name in order to start something new and hopefully great.
You’ve done a lot of things with NFOP already: besides the blog, you promote shows, do sessions, etc. Does a label feel like the next step for the NFOP-team?
For me at least it somehow feels like the next step, but it’s probably not a logical one. Curating a label is something entirely different from hosting shows for artists who would come to town most likely anyway at some point. But I had wanted to do this for quite a while now, and it’s exciting to have the opportunity to go one step further now. Writing about someone is pretty much risk-free, having a label certainly is not, which is why I’ve always admired the efforts of all those countless imprints who send us their stuff every day.
Support-wise, will you focus on local (Berlin) acts, European acts or bands and artists from all around the world?
Well just like with NFOP, we’re always in search for exciting new local acts (which means Berlin), and we’ll happily support anyone from here if we stumble across them, however the focus will be the whole planet - when it comes to pop music, the significance of origin is overstated and secondary. Thanks to the internet, everyone is somehow influenced by everybody these days. So whoever amazes us can land on Stratosfear.
Your first release is a 7” by Solar Year. Could you tell us a bit more about them and why them?
The first release will be a single by Montréal duo Solar Year, who one might count as slightly remote members of the whole Arbutus family. Right now, culturally and in particular musically Montréal is one of the most vibrant and thrilling cities worldwide, so it feels great to start things off with one of the emerging young talents from there. We have a few other things coming up, but that should all remain a secret for now.
Some business-talk to end this little interview. It’s two of you running the blog, how do you divide the tasks concerning the label? Does either of you specialise in A&R, does one prefer the business-aspect of it?
It’s all pretty much do it together, but Tim, who’s the third guy besides Tonje and me and who should be credited for pulling this whole thing off in the first place, has gained a lot of experience since running his own operation Splendour Records, so he’s definitely the one with the most real business skills, and with a bunch of useful contacts. I’d like to think that A&R is a specialty of all of us due to our backgrounds, so signing a new artist will ideally always be a somewhat unanimous decision. However, as with NFOP, Tonje will be the master of all things visual of course.
We wish Stratosfear all the best and very much look forward to the things they will be putting out!