In the latest edition of our Label Watch series, we spoke to Italian label Apparel Wax about the vinyl faced hero, being unique, and the importance of visuals.
Apparel Wax – imprint of Apparel Music – is a unique take on a label to say the least. It’s main character, the Apparel Man, is an embodiment of the collective musings of his creators, and he contains each and everyone of their shared philosophies on what a record label should be, it’s focus, and most important of all, the music it curates.
The releases from Apparel Wax feature no name of the artists, or names of the tracks for that matter. A similar concept to the unknown white label in way, this method is solely for the purpose of appreciating the music is in it’s purest form. The records often feature a maelstrom of different genres which means you could see smooth jazz-house and drum & bass on the same vinyl.
Going off of Apparel Wax’s previous releases, it is unclear what you might find on one of their records, but one thing is always for certain, that you will hear high quality music, curated by a community that prioritises that factor above everything else..
Words & Interview: Callum Martinez
Who is the vinyl faced hero, what is his mission, and how did the concept for him come about?
The vinyl faced hero is the personification of a group of artists who have decided to donate their music for a greater cause than to increase their personal fame. It’s mission was to bring music and only music to the center of attention again, in an inclusive and non-exclusive way and outside the logics of the market. Apparel Wax was born from the need of escaping those trite and wrong logics, valuing the only thing that truly matters which is, again, music.
What makes Apparel Wax unique from the rest of the Apparel Family?
Surely its image. Being a masked hero means to have responsibilities, honours and burdens. The fact that it represents a group of people that – in a way – pull its strings. It’s something unprecedented and we’re proud of having created this concept. Apparel Wax though is not ‘unique’, is just a member of a unique family, where every member cooperates with its qualities to make it as much valuable, variegated and different as possible. Our brand’s rareness and personality is everything we have.
The label is putting out a wide diversity of genres, everything from jazzy house cuts to drum and bass. What is your approach to finding artists to release?
The search is always led by our taste, which guides us to find new music, therefore new artists and honestly is pretty much spontaneous and unexpected. Of course, we have our demo channel which provides us new music to listen to every week but we also like to think that sometimes the true gems get to us quite accidentally. If you spread a certain type of energy, that same energy will come back to you at some point and, in our case, is often – and luckily – in the form of new interesting music.
Apparel has always put great emphasis on its visual aesthetic with the yin/yang dogs, and now Apparel man. What effect do visuals have on the structure and output of the label (if any at all)?
Essential! Nevertheless we always try to renew our aesthetics and the image of our brand, also because we have to please ourselves with our graphic choices, our artists and our audience too.
The process of renewal (music-wise and image-wise) is at the foundations of our work and it always takes courage and patience to embrace it.
With the rate that music is consumed now do you think it is difficult for labels to create something that can stand the test of time?
Without false modesty I guess you’re asking this question to the right people as trying to last over time is our goal, and has been for the last eleven years. We don’t like ‘one hit wonders’ nor are we looking for this kind of fame/celebrity. We run a marathon which is much longer than 42.195km and full of milestones, reachable along the way. Of course we set ourselves many short and long-term goals, but then we try to enjoy the journey as much as we can giving our best – first and foremost – for ourselves. We demand ourselves a really high level of consistency and professionalism, plus, we always try to bring something new to the table, and this is the only we know.
What are some of the lessons that you have learned since starting Apparel Wax?
That when you have an idea at the right time you should never wait too long before making it concrete. Also, we learned that people didn’t understand yet the difference between an ‘unknown collective’ and a label (hahaha). Let us finally say this: you guys are stubborn…
What’s next for Apparel Wax?
The sky. The ascension has already begun. Bare with us for more news. Bye!
You can purchase the latest releases, and check out the amazing catalog from Apparel Wax here.