A chat with Koche Records’ Eugene Schieffer…
Barcelona-based Eugene Schieffer is a man who likes to juggle a lot of different roles. Aside from his work as a front-end computer engineer, he also runs the Koche label alongside his wide and so-called ‘partner in crime’, Christine. Name-checking the likes of Body Parts, Gettraum, Rawax and Little Helpers as big inspirations, the label adopts a sound aesthetic that’s very much centred around groovy minimal vibes. We caught up with Eugene recently, as he gave us the lowdown on life in Barcelona, his future plans for the aforementioned Koche label and much more besides…
Hi Eugene, how are you today? And where are you answering these questions from?
Hi! I’m starting this sunny beautiful day in Barcelona, chilling and relaxing after an intense 2022 year.
Can you tell us a bit about your thinking behind starting the Koche Records label? And how have things been going with it so far?
Myself and my partner in crime Christine Schiffer ran a label from September 2020. At that moment we felt that we had our own vision of minimal and deep-tech music, and it was time to express it through our label. We asked our friend Fernando Barrios Benavides, an artist from Madrid, to do the logo and covers in his signature style. And then everything came together: music and art.
What are the day-to-day challenges you face with running a label in 2022?
The first and main task of the label is to find original and extraordinary musicians for our releases. We always set ourselves the task of releasing interesting and not commercial material, by talented people with great ideas. It's just the two of us, Christine and I, listening to demos. After selecting the music I do the mastering and mixing. Fernando prepares the covers for each release.
What is the ultimate aim for the label? Who inspires you in this way? Ie. are there any labels you really look to as doing things in a great way that really resonates with you?
Looking forward, Koche is more than just a label; we're planning on launching a series of parties this year, launching our own radio station with DJ performances in addition to the podcasts that are regularly released on our SoundCloud. We are inspired for example by Germany's The MUDD Show as an online radio. Among labels, the likes of Body Parts, Gettraum, the legendary Rawax and Little Helpers have been a great inspiration.
As someone who’s based in Barcelona, you’re uniquely placed to tell us all that’s good and great about the city’s scene. What are you particularly loving about it right now?
It's cool that Les Enfants Brillants has appeared in Barcelona and Octan Club in Ibiza. These young scenes have already become strong representatives of minimal and deeptech music in Spain.
A lot’s made about tourists in Barcelona. Musically, do you think it has an adverse effect on the local scene at all? Or does it actually make it more colourful?
Barcelona is a cosmopolitan city with many cultures intertwined and a huge number of expats. It's expats that help Barcelona trend, help new bars and scenes appear, and many new DJs and producers from all over Europe perform. Tourists come to the city and the city wants to meet expectations, so I don't see anything wrong with that.
Sonar is always a real highlight each year. Did you get up to much at this one?
It's been a tough year for a lot of people and we haven't been focused specifically on Sonar. But in 2023 we plan to announce ourselves, take part and make new acquaintances during the festival days.
So if we’d 24 hours to eat, shop (for records, of course!) and party, what would you recommend we do in Barcelona on a Saturday?
I definitely recommend lunch or dinner at Flax&Kale. Of the bars, I would recommend the new Dieci8 in the Born area and the bar that is one of the top bars in the world - Two Schmuks. For parties be sure to visit the excellent Les Enfantes Brilliants.
You’re also one half of the duo, Play Something. Can you tell us a bit about your involvement there? Who does what?
Christine and I play a lot of sets together, so we had the idea to create a duo, and that's how Play Something came about. Our mixes always combine our individual styles in a very cool and unique sound.
Do you think there’s an element of compromise to working together? Or do you generally agree on most things?
Our sets are always improvised; we just turn the record on and press play. We match each other and the general mood of the mix, making a smooth development and transitions to the dance tracks.
I noticed that you also work as a computer coder. What parallels do you see between this and music production? Or are there any at all?
I work as a front-end developer, creating websites and apps. Coding and music creation are very closely intertwined, both have their own algorithms and rules, but you can always find a solution out of the box and get something cool out of it.
Can you tell us a bit about your latest record and the vibes you were going for with this one?
I've had two releases this year that I want to mention separately. They are “Orchidea” on Koche, and “Naidi Menya” on Scriptum Records. “Orchidea” is first of all great because I managed to get the Berlin musician Dr. Nojoke, whose music I adore, and I play his tracks and records all the time. For the release of the single “Naidi Menya” the remix was done by Medu. He's a great musician, and my last release “Salamandras Nocturnas” was released on his label Tip Tap and was a big success.
What’s next for you - musically and personally - that you’re really excited about?
I'm very charged with plans for the Koche label, my new releases coming out this year and developing myself as a DJ. Also I'm sure we'll bring our Play Something duo to the forefront.
Finally, if you were to introduce your sound in one track, what one would it be and why?
This is my latest work Naidi Menya, released on Scriptum Records.