In Focus 007: Idriss D + Memento Records | Soundspace

In Focus 007: Idriss D + Memento Records

In Focus 007: Idriss D + Memento Records

Since it’s inception nearly two decades ago, Memento Records, based in Berlin, has been a driving force for artists big and small, and has seen releases come from names like Lee Van Dowski, Argy, and Eduardo De La Calle.

Helmed up by Algerian-native Idriss D, the label boasts a diverse range of genres – with house, techno, minimal, electronica, breaks, and drum & bass all standing tall in the Memento catalogue.

For our first In Focus feature in almost five years, we turn our attention to Memento and Idriss D, where we talk to him about the label’s early days, transitioning to digital, and what else they might have coming in the near future.

Complementing the interview is an exclusive mix of Memento-only releases curated by the label boss himself. The tracklist includes productions from Dark Globe, Orbe, Carl Craig, DJ Sotofett, and other talented artists.

Get the full interview, tracklist, and mix below.

Let’s go back to the very first release on Memento Records in 2006, why did you decide starting a label was the right step?

The strategy back then was vinyl in physical shops, and then of course moving with the times became necessary and releasing on digital platforms too. I just wanted the freedom to sign music that I liked, and release my own music that might not fit on other labels, having your own is hard work to build a base, but also it means you have freedom when it comes to creativity. That was really the only driving force, and we started the label never knowing what it could or might become, so I am thankful that all these years later we have showcases, and lots of amazing releases. Very proud of it all.

What was the biggest struggle you faced in the beginning?

The cash flow! I started from ZERO, maybe even a minus figure. Vinyl is expensive, but it is what I am passionate about the most. I have to thank my old landlord who allowed me to not pay rent for a couple of months, so I could put the money towards pressing the vinyl, as well as all the travel costs to visit the shops and deliver our records to them. It was so hard, but nothing worth doing is easy right?

Was there a particular moment or release that you felt everything come together?

Yes, it was the moment that I started to get a lot of interest from big artists, and they were sending me some of their amazing unreleased tracks. I think that came about three years after Memento started, so it wasn’t right away, but also in the scheme of things, it didn’t take long for us to get a footing in the scene. Things were different back then, it wasn’t about socials, it was about getting out there, meeting new people, and expanding your network as much as you could in person. It really made all the difference.

You started the label before the boom in streaming services, how did you approach the switch from physical media to digital stores?

Of course, the sales went down but we always considered the label to be something which I didn’t make a profit from. I don’t think anyone starts a vinyl label with the intention to make money, mainly the opposite! I always said I didn’t want to release digitally, but then we have to evolve and move with the times. There are good and bad things with digital, you get to reach a much wider audience that would never have been possible by selling vinyl in shops, but then again, the life of music is so short, which can only be a sad thing. I have had and cherished some records for 20 years, you can’t say that about many releases you see online now.

Which label continually impresses you besides your own?

Planet E – my hero!

What’s next for Memento Records?

We have a new release from Dark Globe coming out in a few days. It marks the 51st release on Memento and comes with a Howie B remix and a new Dark Glove remix too. After that, I’m so excited about the EP from Somne, we have already had some very good feedback, he is such a talented and interesting artist – that one is planned for May.

Tracklist:
01. Blue Mondays – Night Goes (Matthew Herbert Wednesday Mix)
02. Dino Lenny ft. Polina Grace – Hold Me (Dub Version)
03. Lucretio – Addict To The Dancefloor
04. Idriss D – Lunatic (DJ Sotofett Remix)
05. The Analogue Cops – Why You Love Me (Mountain Mix)
06. N-Gel – Pure
07. Gas – Don’t Stop
08. Tres Demented ft. Carl Craig – Brainfreeze
09. Orbe – The Afrofuturist Detroit’s Myth
10. Francesco Farfa – Synchronicity 13
11. Dark Globe – Take Me To The Sound (Dark Globe 303 Dub Mix)
12. Idriss D – Lunatic 2

Find more mixes here.