The First Criteria _ Interview With Reaktivate Records / RKT
You’ve been primarily digital and recently branched out onto vinyl. How important is that to you? Has piracy affected you much? Are the amount of people being reached by both mediums similar, or is vinyl or digital the better way? How easy or difficult is it to build loyalty or repeat customers?
Gustavo: I never was worried about piracy… because it’s a great way to get known. I used to do it a lot when I was a kid to hear new stuff and I don’t have shame saying it. Everybody has done it once in their lifetime. But funny enough, we never have been pirated. Nothing. To be honest, that makes me a bit sad, thinking “why aren’t we pirated, do we suck so much that people don’t want to rip us off?” ahah! (or maybe the contrary, they respect our work 😛 )
Nuno: We treat both formats with the same care. We don´t work under that principle of “the best stuff goes on vinyl and the leftovers come out on digital”. If we could, we´d release everything in both formats, we just don´t have the money to do it at this point, but hopefully we´ll get there. So the decision of what goes to vinyl has a lot to do with timing and opportunity or like in the case of the second release, it´s got a lot to do with being music that might appeal to a non-techno audience. But the truth is, let´s face it, in this scene, recognition and credibility get a huge push when you put out vinyl, even if we ourselves feel that what we put out digitally is just as good. I think the best way to build that loyalty is to consistently put out music that we ourselves believe, and trust the people´s judgement. I know we may risk throwing some people off once in a while because we don´t stick to one type of sound, but first and foremost, we want to put out stuff we love, genres or trends never come into it, and hopefully that shows.
Are the releases like a game of chess sometimes, working slowly, step by step to where you want to be?
Nuno: There has to be strategic planning to give structure to all the enthusiasm, otherwise you´re not just doing yourself and the artists a disservice, not treating them with the care and respect they deserve and just throwing stuff out there mindlessly. That´s why we have slowed down the schedule and started working more carefully on promotion. Even as the RKT name gets more visibility, our responsibility grows and the demands we put on ourselves also increase. Eventually, as this all solidifies a bit more, we´d like to stick to a core group of artists and mix that up with occasional new names. We will never give up on our intention to give a chance to new talent, which was one of the reasons why it all started, but I don´t think we want to have 50 releases by 50 different guys either.
50 releases by 50 different guys? Sounds slutty haha – Consistency is never a bad idea!
And any plans to do another party? You’ve put on a night there a few months ago, didn’t you? Is it a big deal for people to go out and spend their money on a night out in Portugal? Do people like Techno?
Gustavo: I can count with my fingers (and maybe some toes) the guys in the country who really are into what you and I call Techno. It’s a big deal to go out and spend money on the club in Portugal. But 98% of people do it to be hip, social and show they get coked up at parties and hang there to hear garbage. For me right now I would love to go partying in Lisbon since they got Lux; good ambient, really cool Techno nights and great line-ups made for people who enjoy it.
Nuno: Our first party was not a success in terms of sheer numbers, but it was a success in every other aspect. Pedro played his debut, which blew everyone´s minds, then Delko ripped the venue a new one, and Mas Teeveh; who was our international guest, provided a stunning techno lesson. To me, purely as a fan, it was one of the best nights of music in 2013 and everyone who was there, even though there weren´t that many people, loved it. The venue, Hard Club in Porto, was just perfect, even though it´s usually a venue for metal bands. The atmosphere was amazing. Further parties are in our plans for sure and our priority is getting names who´ve released with us to play here, like Lakker, Deepbass, Sonitus Eco, Refracted. As for the techno scene here, I´d rather not go into a huge speech about it as that would take up the whole interview. All I´ll say is, we are open to working with anyone who´s in this for the right reasons, which to me is the music, good sound, a great space and great people. So much so that we have established a partnership with a local promoter and we will soon start doing parties together, probably on an itinerant basis, throughout the country, mostly with home-brewed talent, eventually branching out to bigger things involving the names I´ve said before. Some people from these “posses” around here may think we´re arrogant or we think we´re smarter than everyone else, but to me it´s really simple; I´ll only work with people who I feel I can go for a pint with and not even talk about music. Again, the same principle as with artists. We want to work with good people with their heart in the right place and with whom our relation can go beyond a mere business exchange where everyone is just thinking about how much money they make out of it and how much they get their cocks and egos stroked by ass-kissers.