The Montreal-focused releases of electronic music label Fur Trade Recordings might not amount to the lengthy discographies of more established Canadian outlets, but over a couple short years the digital and vinyl label has already released fantastic music from The Mole, DKMD and many others. StudioFeed caught up with the label’s three founders, Romeo Kardec, Cristobal Urbina, and Nico Sé, for a brief chat about Fur Trade and the music they release.
A Brief History
Nico Sé: We started a little bit more than two years ago. At the time I was running a weekly called ‘Less Bullshit More Fun’ every Thursday, and I invited Cristobal to play. I think Romeo had a residency on Fridays there too. Anyways, it didn’t take long before we all hung out together. The three of us were supposed to meet to talk about a new residency, but instead we made a record label.
Romeo Kardec: At the time, the Montreal-based label Non Commercial Value — which had been releasing my music — closed shop. I was like, “dang, there goes my output channel.” One night after a few glasses of wine, I was probably complaining to Nico about the fact we had just lost another great little DIY label. Then it hit us, “why don’t we start our own?” After all, I had run production for Turbo Recordings, so I knew a thing or two about operating a label. And since we were friends with Cristobal and knew his mastering and doodling skills could be an asset, we pitched him the idea too. He said “yeah, ok.”
The ‘Fur Trade’ Sound
Romeo: The first thing we laid out [with the label] is the fact that Fur Trade would not limit itself to one specific genre of electronic music. There is too much good music coming out of Montreal, and all three of us are music lovers. Electronic, funk, soul, hip hop, ambient, jazz, rock…you name it. The only common characteristics to our releases are soul and balls. You can quote me on that.
Cristobal Urbina: I think it is really defined by the artists we’ve asked to work with us. The main link is Montreal, it’s all got its roots here.
Nico: I wouldn’t be able to describe it, I don’t think we really have one. We’re an electronic music-oriented label obviously, however you can fit a lot of different style under the term “electronic music!” As long as we’re moved in some way or another by what we hear, it will go on the catalog.
Cristobal: I think the underground is something that is important to all involved.
Nico: Yes, I agree. When we started we often talked about Minor Threat & the DC punk scene…old flyers, skateboarding, DIY stuff and all that…it’s a common background we shared, and it’s the philosophy behind all we do, just doin’ it for the love of it.
Notable Fur Trade Artists
The musicians Fur Trade chooses to release are strictly Montreal-based. As a city that is constantly brewing fresh talent, the label has no shortage of high-quality artists to choose from. In the words of Romeo Kardec, those the label chooses to release are defined by three things, “Montreal, soul, and balls.”
Romeo: [We do] 4-5 releases a year. Some of which are special vinyl edition.
Cristobal: When we have music to put out, we put it out.
Nico: We tried to have a schedule at some point, but it didn’t really work for us… It felt too much like a ‘job’. So yeah, we hear something, we agree, we put out.
The Future Of Fur Trade
Romeo, Nico and Cristobal believe that they haven’t strayed far from the original philosophies they laid out when they first created the label in 2010. These philosophies are largely based in supporting Montreal artists and developing an increased focus on vinyl.
Romeo: [The future of the label is in] pushing the Montreal sound, pushing original music.
Cristobal: Same direction its been going. Pushing local artists and putting out records not so much digital stuff though it is part of what we do.
Nico: Yeah Montreal. There are so many great artists here that we want to work with, keep on releasing music we feel is worth releasing. And more wax.
About The Mix
Nico: I found it difficult to choose from our own catalog, and decide what makes the cut or not, but it’s an interesting exercise to do such a mix. For this one, I followed a musical/melodic approach; tracks had to make sense and be in tune when mixed together.