“Records have such a short shelf life in the market nowadays, you need to get creative with keeping people interested beyond the first few weeks”
After performing live for over a decade in the underground hotspots of Toronto, Canada, Noah Pred, also the founder of Thoughtless Music, can now view himself as a sought-after DJ in Europe too, after making the leap to Europe some years ago. Throwing the much-loved Thoughtless label parties was a natural evolution of numerous DJ residencies held by Pred in Vancouver, Montreal and in Toronto with the legendary Fukhouse crew. The past few years have seen Noah perform extensively throughout North America as well as Europe, delivering highly improvised sets that always strive to meet the moment head-on.
Since Thoughtless Music has recently dropped its 100th release, we thought it a good time to fire some questions at him and see how he’s doing.
Hi Noah, your label Thoughtless Music has hit the 100th releases this September. First of all congratulations on that. You will celebrate this milestone with ‘Era Two’, a new mix compilation coming from your hand. Can you tell us a bit more about this project?
We launched the ERA mix series with our 50th release to shine a light on the artists we’d worked with and to showcase the range of material we’d put out to date. ERA TWO continues this tradition with the 100th release, another opportunity to look back on the past few years and put together a sort of overview of where we’ve gone since the last mix. It includes one track selected from each of our last fifty releases. It was a lot of fun to put together and mix.
What else can we expect from this special occasion?
We’ve got a launch party here in Berlin, a special video for the single, limited-edition CDs, and a bit of a release tour in the works. It’s a good excuse to celebrate.
When celebrating events like these, it’s always a time to look back and ahead. The first release was almost seven years ago. What do you see as a defining moment in the history of the label?
There are so many, it’s really difficult to say – but I guess when Arthur Oskan’s full-length was nominated for Best Electronic Album by Canada’s Juno awards, it made me realize people were really paying attention and we were sort of on the right track. Not because we wanted to win any awards at all, but because Arthur was an artist who I always felt deserved much better recognition up to that point, and the fact we were able to help get him that recognition meant a lot to me and everyone else at the label.
What is the biggest change in the world of electronic music you have seen since then?
Running a label is just something entirely different than when we started seven years ago. Nowadays you have to maintain so many social networking pages, do so much hands-on promo, upload your material to YouTube, run anti-piracy scans. It used to just be that you would find good music and send it to the distributor; they would press it, send it to their in-house promo list, and sell it. Despite the prevalence of democratizing technology, it’s considerably more complicated nowadays – and there’s plenty more competition too.
What unites the releases? In other words, what is the Thoughtless Music sound?
Whether we’re putting out a peak-time techno cut or something totally down and deep or even non-dancefloor oriented, I think there’s a common thread of expansive nuance and emotional connection. I’ve always tried to make the label about something more than being purely functional music, and I think that shines through. As raw or powerful as a track might be, if it’s going to come out on Thoughtless it should also have qualities that make it compelling on a deeper level.
Do you have a favourite amongst them?
Really putting me on the spot with that one – haha! Electronic music is so context-specific – I’d say any track we’ve released could be my favourite in the right context.
Which track would you have loved to sign but didn’t?
Minilogue – Let Life Dance Through You… but I never had the chance.
Where do you want the label to be at the 200th release?
If we make it that far? Keeping people dancing from this galaxy to the next.
Last year you made a full length album ‘Third Culture’ and a couple of months ago a remix pack was released. When was the idea of a remix album born and how did you pick the producers?
Records have such a short shelf life in the market nowadays, you need to get creative with keeping people interested beyond the first few weeks – so a remix album seemed like a good plan. I’d never done something like that for one of my own releases before so it was quite exciting. There was such a positive response to the album from friends and strangers alike, I basically just approached people who I knew were already feeling it and asked if they wanted to do something. I was pretty thrilled with how it turned out.
What is it like to give your own tracks out of hand and get them back almost unrecognizable sometimes?
It’s great – I try not to be too attached to remixes remaining faithful; if you just wanna hear more or less the same track in the end, why ask someone to remix it? Do an edit yourself. So as long as there’s some identifiable connection to the original, I think it’s fair game.
Which one had the most unexpected outcome?
Eric Volta’s ambient-electro-2-step was the furthest from what I might’ve expected – but I loved it even more because of that.
You come from Toronto, but live in Europe’s night life capital Berlin now. Did you move solely for the dance scene?
I moved here, yeah, in large part because of that, and to help grow the label in Europe – but also because I genuinely love the lifestyle I can have here. It’s very difficult to imagine living in any other city, especially after being here for a few years.
What is your favourite place in the city?
People don’t realize how amazing the parks are here: it’s probably a three-way tie between Tempelhof, Hasenheide, and a bunch of hidden spots along the Landwehr canal. Regarding a nightspot I’d have to go with Stattbad – pure vibes every time.
What are the highlights of coming months and can we see you in the Netherlands any time soon?
I’ve got a new album in the works collaborating with my good friend and neighbor Deepchild under a new project name – more news on that soon. It’s far been too long since I’ve played in the Netherlands. Let’s make it happen soon.
Noah’s 50-track ERA TWO mix for Thoughtless Music is out now worldwide on limited-edition CD and digital bundle, featuring material from Deepchild, Arthur Oskan, Maceo Plex, Joel Mull, Brendon Moeller Echologist Beat Pharmacy and many more.