Token label head, Kr!z, has been on a roll the last few years building his imprint's catalog with exquisite taste and DJ'ing for anticipating crowds on a weekend basis. A music enthusiast who often cites Jeff Mills and Steve Rachmad as staple turning-point performers helping shape his love for techno, he's naturally grown into one of Belgium's key figures for techno music. Readying the imprint's (already) 50th issue, we have the honor of premiering a track off Ctrls' relentless Users EP and even got to pick Kr!z's brain a bit in between travel.
Listen to "Externalizer" by Ctrls (streaming below) and read the short chat Kr!z had with EARMILK.
EARMILK: Thanks for taking the time. How was Australia?
KR!Z: Just great. It was my first time there. Had a lovely 3 week holiday with 2 very good gigs in between in Sydney & Melbourne.
EM: 2014 seemed to be a prosperous year for Token. What were some of your personal favorite Token releases?
K: It changes all the time. Sometimes I pick up tracks again I wasn’t playing so much when I first signed them, sometimes it’s the other way around: I play them too much and then don’t play them for a long time after that. It’s fun like that though, the catalogue is getting pretty big by now and I find it a luxury to ‘rediscover’ your own signings. my favorites of 2014 at the moment are definitely Inigo’s album & the Aphelion compilation. We put a lot of thought and work in both projects and the results were very satisfying. I feel very proud of all the artists & all the music we released.
EM: Already dubbed as one of Belgium's main sources for techno, what have been some key points to success?
K: Hard to tell. I guess we’re just really passionate about what we do and I think I can speak for every artist when I say that. We did it before techno was popular and we will be doing it regardless of its popularity. If I look at it now, I think the label’s mission statement hasn’t really changed that much. We’ve grown more business-savvy for sure and our audience has grown a lot, but that doesn’t influence the music I’m signing or playing at all. We just do what we love.
EM: You must be proud of the Aphelion compilation. It was incredibly artistic, full of texture, and well-rounded.How did the concept for the compilation come about?
K: I’m extremely proud, yes. Thanks for the compliments; that’s everything I intended it to be. The concept came about pretty organically. I’ve had contact with all of the artists on the compilation for a long time and relationships have developed over the years. 3 of the artists on Aphelion (Surgeon, Luke Slater & James Ruskin) were (& are) huge influences on myself as a dj so logically they were also a big influence when I started Token in 2007. Then there’s Inigo, Ø [Phase], Ctrls & Rødhåd, obvious choices and definitely my favourite producers out there at the moment. Added to that there’s Karenn (Blawan & Pariah) & Lucy. I’ve been talking with them for years now to work together and this seemed the perfect opportunity.
EM: And now approaching 50 releases of quality music, how can you describe the accomplishment?
K: Unbelievable, actually. I feel very proud of all the music.
EM: Ctrls deservingly fills in the 50th spot with Users EP. Energetic and acid-tinged around the edges, what's the best way to listen to this release?
K: Mind open & body on the dancefloor.
EM: Tell us a little about what you are envisioning for Token and yourself as a producer in 2015.
K: Don’t want to spill the beans for 2015 too much, but the first 2 EP’s will be from Ctrls, as you know, and from Tadeo. Extremely happy to have him on board. We’ve been talking about this for a long time as well and now it finally made sense to do it. The music is simply something else. – Extremely excited to see both releases out soon. As far as my own production: hopefully I’ll be able to get something out this year. Definitely not making any promises here!