With the 'BEC001 EP' out on Friday, we catch up with the Berlin-dwelling Brit to find out what her plans are going forward
With releases on the likes of Drumcode, Intec, OFF Recordings and Second State, BEC has made quite an impression on the techno scene over the past few years. And now she's setting up shop in her own right, with her new eponymous BEC imprint's first release landing in stores this Friday (13 March).
The four-track BEC001 EP is packed full of the kind of pounding 4am warehouse techno with which Brighton-born Rebecca Godfrey made her name – as well as something of a curveball in the form of the glitchier, more leftfield Maximal Minimal – and has, as she tells us below, been getting a great response from the great and the good of Planet Techno. But it's been a while coming – she hinted that a label was in the pipeline when we last spoke to her, and that was back in June 2017.
So when we reached out to her to find out more, that seemed like as good a place to start as any…
Back in 2017, we asked if you had any label plans and you told us, "I have plans this winter with a new concept that has the potential to grow into a label"… so did things take a little while to come together?
"That wasn't actually this label I was talking about… I didn't really have any plans at that point, so I'm actually not sure what I was talking about! No, the idea for this label actually came about quite recently, just because I have a lot of unreleased music, after spending pretty much the whole of last year in the studio.
"There's only so many record labels that I really love, so having my own label gives me a lot more flexibility in terms of what I release, when I release it, and what the artwork is – my background's in design, so I'm really excited to be in control of my own artwork.
"It's a lot more work, but I'm a bit of a perfectionist, so it means I can have everything just how I like it. It also gives me room to be a bit more creative. So initially it'll just be techno, but definitely in the future I'd like to get a bit more experimental."
So it's about artistic control, which is understandable. But the flipside of that is having to do everything yourself – all the invoicing and royalty statements and so on. Do you have previous experience of all that, or is this "in at the deep end"?
"No previous experience, but I enjoy a challenge! This is all stuff I've been learning and it's a lot more complicated than I first thought, especially in terms of distribution – there's so much to think about. But all the balls are rolling now."
Is it just you running the label?
"It's pretty much me, but I have my worldwide agent who takes a lot ot time with me and gives me advice. But I don't even have an official manager right now – that's something I'm looking into putting in place this year. So yes, it's mostly just me!"
Will you be signing tracks from other artists?
"No, this label's purely for my only releases… it's not going to feature other artists, except maybe once a year I'll invite some friends to do some remixes."
The BEC001 EP is out this week, so talk us through the tracks on there…
"The main track, Downward Spiral, has been sitting in my unreleased folder for about a year and a half, just because I couldn't find the ideal home for it. It's a very stripped-back, peaktime club track and that's me singing on it – both the male and female voice.
"Time Illusion is definitely a more emotional track. It uses toms as a bassline and I really love how it develops – I've had really good DJ feedback on that one, it's the kind of track you'd play towards the end of your set I guess, with a vocal saying "about time" because I read a book recently about how time is an illusion, which I thought was a really cool idea.
"Maximal Minimal is a really groovy track compared to what I've been making – I could imagine it even being popular in house circles. It really came about completely by chance in the studio one day, I put some elements together and thought, 'Wow, this sounds really good'. Lyrically, it's about how a lot of people say to me, 'Oh, you play such hard techno,' but for me techno's really seductive, and the techno I play's not even that hard, in my opinion! So the track's talking about genres and it's like, 'Your maximal is my minimal'. The main sound on there is a flute with a lot of FX on, so I think it sounds pretty unique.
"And then the last track is Some Feelings, which is one I wrote about 2.5 years ago before No Regrets came out. It's fairly similar to that track, it's very stripped-back. It's a song I wrote at night and I think, like a lot of people, I'm a bit more reflective at night."
Have you been pleased by the feedback you've had on the EP?
"Yeah, I've had people like Richie Hawtin, Joseph Capriati and Nicole Moudaber all giving it four or five star ratings, so that's been really good to see."
Once this EP's out of the way, what sort of release schedule are you looking at for the rest of the year?
"On BEC, there'll only be about two or three releases a year – I want to keep that for things I think are a bit special. But I'm actually pretty packed in terms of releases for the rest of the year now. There's this release on my own label, then I've got EPs coming out on Filth On Acid in April and on Kneaded Pains in May. Then there's an EP on Monika Kruse's label Terminal M after that, and then some more potential releases later in the year as well."
You said you want to use BEC as a chance to get a bit more experimental, but what are we talking about: "techno producer makes D&B record", that kind of experimental? Or "Here's my 17-hour ambient modular synth epic" experimental?
"Definitely not the latter! More… actually it's funny you say that, because I grew up in the drum & bass era so I'd love to do some stuff like that, some breakbeats, maybe some ambient stuff as well."
What else have you got coming up, apart from the label?
"I'm gonna be playing at Awakenings festival in the Netherlands which is going to be amazing, I'm really looking forward to that one. And Amnesia have actually just confirmed today, so I'll be there for the opening party and then some more dates over the summer as well. And there's an Australian tour coming up later this month, including Piknic Électronik in Melbourne, which I've heard is a really cool festival. So yeah, lots of exciting things coming up!"
Finally, is there anything else we haven't touched on today that iDJ readers need to know about?
"I think I'd just say that, from an industry standpoint, if anyone's thinking of setting up their own label… do it, it's a really good idea! So far I haven't had any bad experiences, and it's great just knowing you can get your music out there when you want to."
Some people might be put off by the financial outlay involved…
"Well, the financial hurdles aren't honestly that great any more. It doesn't make sense to do vinyl these days except for very special releases, and if you're going all-digital there really aren't that many costs involved. Artwork can be expensive, so I'm quite fortunate in that I can do my own. But you can find some great designers on Upwork and sites like that.
"It's not like setting up a vinyl label 20 years ago, where you'd have needed a wad of cash to get started. So you maybe don't want to do it right at the start of your career, no, but once you get to a certain point and it makes sense, then I'd say it's a great idea."
Words: Russell Deeks
The BEC001 EP is out on 13 March on BEC