We’re celebrating 40 years with special issues of iconic [PIAS] records, with commentary from our co-founder and CEO Kenny Gates
Here are 6 of these special releases – out today – with word from Kenny Gates on why these artists made the selection and how he first discovered them. We also got Kenny’s top tracks from each artist which you can discover on our [PIAS40] Playlist.
Look out for more special releases over the course of our anniversary year.
“When Jean-Marc Lederman, a friend of Michel and I and a well-known musician in the Brussels scene, first came in with “old friend Sam” to play it to us in our office, he described it as a joke, a gimmick that wouldn’t last. Tuxedomoon who I revered had been using the attic of our office building to write and rehearse and I was thrilled to know that one of its members – Bruce Geduldig – was singing on the project.
But what initially was a tongue-in-cheek combo concept became very serious when “poison” got released and became a huge hit notably in Germany. The success was unexpected but welcome and The Weathermen became an iconic project for the label and subsequently produced many great songs. They toured the world and had their fair contribution to electronic music with “Poison” having become a classic. Jean-Marc now does film music and remains a very good friend of [PIAS].”
Meat Beat Manifesto
“In the midst of our moment with the electronic body music movement in the 80s, we came across and signed Meat Beat Manifesto. I was immediately blown away by their music which I felt was bringing a few more fresh levels and some depth to the genre than most bands. Not only was Jack Dangers using heavily sampled sounds but he was doing it creating groundbreaking beats that I had not heard before. Jack’s innovative sounds laid the foundation for breakbeat, big beat, trip-hop, and jungle and inspired many musicians going forward.
As for me, it was maybe the first time I came across veganism. Jack’s crusade in defense of animals and his absolute passion for a diet with no animal proteins at all opened my mind to a world I didn’t know. A decade later I would invite Moby at home and cook a vegan meal for him and my team! Not only was Jack Danger’s music inspiring, groundbreaking, dangerous, and hypnotic but he was a pioneer as well in embracing a diet that would cross over to the mainstream a couple of decades later.”
“Working with Junior Jack aka Vito Lucente has always been …. thrilling. Vito is an obsessive workaholic that would work day in day out, night in, and night out until he would reach perfection.
I remember spending hours in his studio listening to hundreds of tunes while trying to cope with his chainsmoking. His talent is second to none and he has produced some of the most infectious dance tunes for [PIAS] ever. Vito took me to Ibiza and introduced me to that scene and witnessing his beats sending thousands of people in ecstasy on the dancefloor was an experience not to forget.
While helping him find vocalists, I was able to convince one of my all-time heroes Robert Smith to do a vocal on “Da Hype” – Fantastic dance house music I was very proud to be involved with.”
“It’s no secret I have always been a big Joy Division fan and I first met Eric Dries when he was a helping hand for the new beat label “Antler” that we were distributing at the time.
I had been buying the first seven-inch singles from Siglo XX when I still was a punter visiting Casablanca Moon and other record stores and loved their music for obvious reasons.
When the opportunity arose to sign them on Play It Again Sam, I was thrilled to help a band with such integrity reach a wider audience. Eric was such a gentle and nice human being, it was as much of a pleasure to work with him for his music as for his personality. My favourite track has always been and remains ‘Fear And Desire’.
“Aldo Ivancic, the leader of Borghesia, turned up one day on the doorstep of the Play It Again Sam office in Brussels unannounced. He insisted to play me their music inspired by the then-Belgian electronic body music scene and he was adamant that we were the label they absolutely wanted to be on. The music was great, dangerous and championing the recognition of the prohibited and repressed subculture and underground. Aldo had driven for 20 hours with his boyfriend from his native Lubjana in Slovenia.
The wall hadn’t fallen yet and this was a real commitment and also an expensive trip. It so happened that for every album we released, they drove from home to hand deliver in person the tapes of their music. I was always very fond of them and despite the dark and leather world Borghesia was projecting; the music was amazingly groundbreaking and also one of the kindest people I have ever met.”
“I first met Philippe who was doing a fanzine in the depleted region of Charleroi and it was so funny that I reached out to him for some help in promoting our artists.
He subsequently introduced me to the music of à; Grumh which was unashamedly directly inspired by Front 242 who was at that time our iconic artist on the label.
Philippe loved their music but also had a crush on Daniel B, the music leader of the band. He produced the first EP and à:Grumh became one of the most recognized acts in the electronic body music scene. Their live shows were an experience too mixing their great music with a lot of animal blood on stage. To this date, Philippe remains one of my great friends, insists on calling me “Kully” and disgustingly also insists on licking me in the ear every time we meet. He is one of the most talented and funniest people I have met and is now a reference in the wine world of Belgium.”
Discover Kenny’s top tracks on our [PIAS40] Playlist.
Next In Next In
⇥ Laura Veirs Steps into the Spotlight as Co-Producer on Twelfth Album