Label Feature: Neroli
Soulful, deep and blessed with a long lasting musical power that stands against time: Carhartt WIP Radio welcomes deep soul music by the Italian label Neroli. Since 2001 the Verona based company is guided by the spirit of collector, DJ and producer Enrico Crivellaro aka Volcov, that some also know under the moniker Isoul8. He is a man with a delicate taste for jazz influenced music that is rooted somewhere deep between broken beats and four-to-the-floor-flavours of house music. His label never followed hypes or trends. Instead deeply manufactured musicality calls the tune. He also created a creative platform, that works like a family and that features a global gang of cutting edge producers like Nubian Mindz, Just One, Lars Bartkuhn, Alton Miller or his own stuff under Isoul8. The North Italian music devotee also runs Archive, another label for long lasting sound affairs. Here he created a home for electro, Detroit Techno and deep house and released music by such legends like Kirk Degiorgio aka As One, Theo Parrish, Scuba, Pavel Kostiuk, Domu and his own work as Volcov to name but a few. For Carhartt WIP Radio he now dived deep into the Neroli catalogue and prepared an edgy soulful mix that brings some classics of the early label days, some underrated tunes as well as fresh contemporary stuff by artists such as Domu, Soul 223, Anthony Nicholson or Dego & 2000Black. As usual we asked the host some question about his company and his devotion to music. Check his answers below.
Hi Enrico (aka Volcov), can you introduce your labels Archive/Neroli a bit to our readers? And what do you do for it on a day-to-day basis, when it was launched and foremost: why did you launch them in 1999 and 2001? What do the names represent? Do they have a deeper meaning?
Volcov: Archive was created around 1998, the focus was on music that somehow you could collect and would sounds good in the years to come. It was inspired by my love for ART, OP art, Retroactive, Transmat, Alleviated, B12, Likemind and other labels I was religiously collecting. The sound was ideally slightly more electronic and futuristic compared to other labels from the same era. Neroli on the contrary was meant to be more tracky, housier and playful. Over the years it has changed a bit, becoming more organic and diverse.
Already in the very early days you released music by artists such as Domu, Dego, Chateau Flight or Nubian Mindz. How come? How did you connect with the European broken beat scene on such an early stage?
Volcov: I went few times to Reinforced studios around 1998 to learn about what they were doing and ended up hanging out there often. Dego, Marc, Gus introduced me to many artists like Paradox, Domu, Nubian Mindz…when I started the label it was an obvious choice to ask them for some music. It was an exciting period, you could be playing table tennis with Dego a moment and an hour later hear them mixing down their 4 Hero remix of UR: Amazon. Priceless school! Dego also introduced me to Phil Asher who has been a very influential figure for the label. I think I got to know Gilb’r [Chateu Flight] through Alex Attias, another great artist I met during that special period in London.
You also published US artists who are today larger-then-life on a very early stage like Theo Parrish or Scuba. How did you get in touch with those over seas producers and how come that they trusted you with their music?
Volcov: I actually called Theo Parrish on the phone to ask for a release around 1998, after I bought one of the first Sound Signature releases [the number was on the label]. He was very amused by the interest of an Italian label being a fan of Italo disco growing up in Chicago and stuff. In general the key was that the artists liked the first releases and felt something in the label, so they were happy to contribute.
It was an exciting period, you could be playing table tennis with Dego a moment and an hour later hear them mixing down their 4 Hero remix of UR ‘Amazon’.
What is your musical background and what was your musical intake when you were younger?
Volcov: Nothing really major or special, I just started buying some hip-hop records around 14 and switched to House music pretty fast. But basically was listening to records in my bedroom.
What do you find most challenging about the work you do?
Volcov: The balance in trying to serve the best possible music on each release, keeping happy the artists on many levels and have a decent reaction from the market to keep the label going.
What qualities do you look for as a "curator” of music?
Volcov: Simply music that moves me emotionally…I try to think ‘will I play this?’, ‘do I feel it more than other music I find out there?’ ‘is this special for you?’ etc..
What was the biggest Archive or Neroli hit so far?
Volcov: In the early stages of Archive I think Restless Soul remix of Nubian Mindz: Black Science was pretty popular, in the later era I think Phil Asher: Runnin and Theo Parrish: Stop Bajon did well. On Neroli I think the very first release had a really good success at the time and lately obviously Dego & 2000Black: Don’t Stop.
After being involved in so many different aspects of music; DJing, releasing, creating and discovering over such a long period, what keeps inspiring you?
Volcov: The buzz from fresh discoveries in old and new music is still very strong.
What’s the latest new thing /things you have been in to?
Volcov: I’m not really looking for a ‘next thing’ or a particular trend…I’m pretty static! I guess I keep doing the same thing over and over while growing up
We really enjoy visiting Le Disque whenever I am in the area of Verona. What role does a local record shop play in times like today where you easily get access and discover music comfortable and quickly on blogs or discogs?
Volcov: Well a local record store is essential for an healthy local scene. In the specific case of Le Disque it has been real instrumental in the growth of many like myself in the early 1990s, but after 30 years it’s still the shop you can go and ask for tips at the counter. I personally love to go to stores like these where I get suggestions [especially on local releases] rather than other places that are more like music supermarkets with the ‘reissue of the week’ and have zero personality.
The number of releases you put out with Neroli differs from year to year, sometimes one sometimes five records. Do you just put out music when you have something and feel like it or do you also consider demand and market? And why did Archive more or less slow down since 2009/2010?
Volcov: Over the years there were different phases of the label, due to different distributors but also moments and times. But in general it really depended from the music I was receiving and the time needed to put it out, I don’t really look much at what the market says after so many years, its more about if there’s material that is inspiring or not. I’m not doing much promo to medias and magazine, I tend to let the release walk on its ‘legs’. Archive has slow down in favour of more work on Neroli, but there could be still some surprise releases from time to timeCan you name three records that have a recreational effect on you? Something to disengage from the world around you, records you can relax to?
Chris Bowden: Epsilon (Soul Jazz 1996)
Harold Budd: Bismillahi 'Rrahman 'Rrahim (Editions EG 1981)
Leon Ware: Musical Massage (Gordy 1976)
What’s your favourite Italian record of all time?
Volcov: I guess it is between Tullio de Piscopo: Stop Bajon (Bagaria 1984) and Alexander Robotnick: Love Supreme (Fuzz Dance 1986).
What’s next for Archive/Neroli?
Volcov: Nothing planned for Archive at the moment. On Neroli we got a very interesting collaboration between Trinidadian Deep and Lars Bartkuhn just out now. This will be be followed by another Alton Miller release and an ep by Our Own Organisation [aka Specter and Josè Rico].
How did you select the tracks for your Carhartt WIP Radio show?
Volcov: I choose few things from the Neroli catalogue that were dear to me in some ways, but also tracks that somehow might have been overlooked in comparison to other ones.
What are three albums that you'll absolutely never get tired of listening to?
Egberto Gismonti: Solo (ECM 1979)
Mr Fingers: Introduction (MCA 1992)
James Mason: Rhythm of Life (Chiaroscuro 1977)
Please recommend two or three new artists to our readers, which you feel deserve their attention.
Volcov: Maybe they are not ‘new new’ but I can recommend GB, Skymark, Patrick Gibin, Jose Rico, Molinaro….
What was your dream job as a child?
Volcov: Like many kids…football player!