Figure SPC: The Inside Story With Jeroen and Len
In early July, Jeroen Search was enlisted to close the final chapter of Len Faki’s Figure SPC, the long-running techno label with releases catalogued from A-Z. Spanning output over a period of nearly 7 years, Figure SPC has carved a new shape in Techno with its distinct approach to curation and the sheer depth of each artist’s musical input.
A common misconception in Techno is the notion that it emanates specifically from club experiences, and that it can be solely understood in the club realm. However, Len Faki and his legion of artists have a much more unique and organic approach to their own creations. Holding a long-running residency at Berlin’s renowned venue Berghain, Len Faki has used such club spaces as absorption points for new musical ideas but bases his output on the sum of all experiences. His Figure SPC label does just that – a chronologically flowing A-Z label that connects the club world with the real world.
“The journey is the destination.”
Launched back in 2009, the vinyl oriented label started as a spontaneous idea. “I wanted to offer a new, additional platform, which is open for diversity. From the beginning on, it was part of the idea that it should have an end, which brought me to the idea with the alphabet letters and SPC, standing for special”, says Len. Alongside that, he worked carefully with his graphic designer, deriving a minimalist design on high-quality pantone prints – creating an overall timeless effect for each record. Over time, Len steadily put out music by artists such as Jeroen Search, Steve Rachmad, Dimi Angélis, Regal, Ed Davenport/Inland, Rod, Markus Suckut, amongst others – one release at a time. “It starts with the music, and staying in touch with one another over time – its an organic process of growing together,’ says Len. His steady approach to the label’s curation maintained a perfect balance between variation and consistency – constructing a vision that seems to display an evolutionary journey with an unwavering destination, from A-Z. Yet in Len’s mind, “the journey is the destination” – a definite trademark inherent on each release and the label’s output as a whole.
In regards to how Len scheduled the releases, he goes on mentioning, “The right tracks arrived at the right time. There was no pressure or schedule that needed to be fulfilled. When the right music arrived we planned the next release. It always worked itself out smoothly.” The first release that did arrive was Jeroen Search’s introductory three-part A release, a free-flowing analogue landscape that is a dreamer’s delight. Jeroen has known Len since 2007, where at that point he released ‘The New Frontier EP’ off the parent label Figure together with close friend and collaborator Dimi Angélis. Jeroen then stayed in contact with Len until 2008, where Len precariously mentioned he was going for a special edition of releases under ‘Figure SPC’. Digging deep into his stacked archive of productions, Jeroen sent Len loads of music. He would go on being responsible for several releases such as the Z release – marking the label’s inevitable end.
Figure SPC Z was a final flux composed of balanced 909 percussion, juttering synths, and multi-dimensional pads – a perfect exit space for his signature SPC Search sound. Releasing music through a plethora of various pseudonyms in the ‘90s, Jeroen Search has since emerged as a well-recognized producer archetype – one who effortlessly pairs momentary brilliance with honesty. “I try and capture a moment in the studio within a single recording session – without any sort of composition made up-front, just a live recording – that’s the way I work.” The concept he works with is balance – creating music split between his personal awareness and the idiosyncratic behavior of his machines. “That’s always the concept I try to follow not only in music – but also in my life.” While his music is self-described as ‘music for the night’ – Jeroen maintains a seasonal balance that adds a serene impression on his sound. Living in the south of Holland near the Belgium border, he spends his off time training his flexibility through karate, and in the summer months camping with his wife and children. No Internet or phone – completely disconnected from the oversaturated, turbulent industry and enjoying the temperate summer weather. “It’s a relaxed environment, and that’s the contrast I need reflected in my music.”
Perhaps what is so special about the overall composition of Figure SPC is the interaction between each individual artist’s input and the forward-thinking progression of each release. What developed over time was a genial repertoire of producers with different personal and cultural backgrounds sharing the same interests, visions and goals. “I think this is what makes it so special in the end. We complete each other in this great entirety – personally and musically,” says Len. While the artists on Figure certainly are acquainted with each other on a personal level, their musical efforts are directed quite individually. Jeroen Search lightens this idea by saying, “We don’t talk about releases up front – we just do our thing.” Hence, the interpretation of ‘Figure’ begins to stand out – a body of output developed in an understood yet detached collaborative effort from a collection of identities complementary in nature.
On the other hand, enjoying a full glass of wine and dinner prior to one of their Figure Nacht events is an essential and regular activity amongst the network of artists. “That’s a nice way to meet other artists, and the best way to figure out who is behind the music – to become connected,” says Jeroen. It goes without saying that they’ll be doing just that for 2016’s Figure Nacht presented by Awakenings and Len Faki at ADE – where they will perform at the large industrial dome of Gashouder, a more than welcoming architectural structure for the label’s sound, and a more than fitting venue reflective of the artists’ approach to their lifestyle.