Born in 2017, Clash Lion is the Barcelona based label, quickly becoming recognised for some of its weird and wonderful releases. Established and run by TERR, Daniel Watts and Shall Ocin – they collectively founded the label to home an influx of music from friends, which they thought needed a new type of home.
With different musical backgrounds, an ethos has developed with the label covering a multitude of genres, from techno, nu-disco, electronica and leftfield. With a passion for innovative and experimental productions, this has led them to not only lock down some key artists including Maetrik and ANNA, but also bring to the forefront new and emerging talent from around the globe, such as their release with Fiberroot and Risa Taniguchi.
In the last year, the label has had a total of 7 releases, and they continue as a team to always be on the hunt for the new, exciting and off the track sounds and producers. Not a label to always release tracks you can hear in a club, but music which is emotive, creative and multi-textural.
Keen to shed some light on this exciting & against the grain imprint we sat down with the team to press them on the inner workings of the Clash Lion label.
How did the label begin? What is the ethos and who is involved?
Daniel Watts: We are three people passionate about electronic music, we produce a lot and we have many friends that produce music too, so we’ve always had access to a nice selection of unreleased music. When listening to those tracks we always used to say ‘I would release this if I had a label’. So then, one day we just thought ‘Why not’ – we knew it wouldn’t be easy, but we all had the same vision for what we wanted to achieve with Clash Lion.
The label is run by TERR, Shall Ocin and myself, Daniel Watts. With regards to the ethos, we are very open to different styles and genres of music, we just want it to be artistic and made with love. We don’t try to follow trends but just want to try to find new ideas and hopefully the music of the future.
Did you have big ambitions, or was it one record at a time?
Shall Ocin: Our only ambition is to release good, fresh music. We work hard and we think that any kind of success would just be a kind of recognition of this work, a consequence.
Are there any labels you aspire to be like or is Clash Lion a completely new concept?
Daniel Watts: I don’t think it’s a new concept. There are a lot of good labels out there, as well as a myriad of incredible labels from the past that have released innovative and beautiful music. We want to be a part of this culture.
As labels go, Clash Lion appears to have a fairly fluid policy when it comes to its releases. Some have been techno orientated others more experimental. Why have you adopted this approach and what are the benefits?
Shal Ocin: We are three people with three very different backgrounds, music tastes and ideas, so it’s natural that we have a lot of different ideas about one artist or a release. As we don’t want to follow trends, I think we would be really bored if we just released with a specific subgenre. There’s so much good music around, why not open our minds and release them all?
As a label what do you look for when you are signing a track? Is there a set of golden rules?
Daniel Watts: We receive and listen to a lot of demos everyday. We are always attracted to new ideas and new sounds, music with some kind of soul. My biggest pride in the label is to look back in our catalogue and see that I still like and believe in every single track we have released. We look for music that is timeless, fresh, with a different vibe. So it’s very unlikely that we’d release something that sounds like a copy of other artists. We don’t want to release something that sounds like something else, and that’s hard with all the music that’s now available today.
In a world where we are inundated with releases almost daily. Do you think there is a need for more quality control?
Shall Ocin: Well, there are a lot of people already making this kind of quality control – DJs, magazines, online platforms and podcasts etc. I agree, there’s too much music being released today, there are labels that release two EPs in a month or more, then there are those labels that release music just to sell, make the charts etc… On the other hand, there are also labels focused on quality – more than quantity. I like to think we are part of this side, but I think there’s space for everyone.
What is the labels proudest moment to date
Daniel Watts: We are always proud of our releases. Of course, some of our releases were more successful than others, but for us, they are like our children, we like them more or less in the same way, though each one has its own special traits.
I was really proud to have the opportunity to release music from giants like Maetrik and ANNA, and I am very grateful for that, it was incredible because the music is really great, and it brought a lot of attention to the label. I can say the same about Fairmont, for example. I am a huge fan of his music since the early 2000s, so of course, I feel very honoured to have him aboard for the first VA this November. The young me would be very proud!
On the other hand, it’s always beautiful to discover new talents here and there. I remembered when I listened to Risa Taniguchi’s demos, I showed it to Shall and TERR and we had no doubt that we should release her music – and it was her very first release with her own name. I can say the same about no_ip – it’s his first release with the VA also and we were totally into his music when we listened to his demos. We work on all releases in the same way, with the same respect for the artist and for the audience.
Every EP is something we are very proud of. Otherwise, we wouldn’t release it.
Do you think social media benefits labels like Clash Lion or is more of a hindrance?
Shall Ocin: It may sound a bit old fashioned – or maybe it’s the future – but we are not into flooding everyone’s timeline with tons of crap every day just to desperately fight for their attention. Of course, we use social networks to communicate with our fans and friends, but we sincerely think people should spend less time on social networks and more time in the real world. Let’s make a world with less telephone screens and more good music.
Clash Culture is out on the 1st November, which comes with tracks from Shall Ocin, Fairmont, Daniel Watts and np_ip.