Record labels are an important part of the music industry. Without them, we would never find out about some artists or hear their songs. On par with the three international giants, numerous indie labels are on the hunt for Danish talents. We decided to have a closer look at their work and philosophy. Having selected a few most exciting Danish indie labels, we sent them a questionnaire and asked for a playlist of the music they listen to in the office.
The Record Labels’ autumn on Good because Danish finishes today. Meet Tobias Lampe, founder and head of hfn music…
Name: hfn music
Year of launching: 2009
Danish artists on the roster: Blaue Blume, Fluqx, Jacob Bellens, Kasper Bjørke, Lydmor, Trentemøller, TOM And His Computer.
The question hated by most artists and bands: what’s the story behind your label’s name?
It is actually a bit of playing with the German word for “harbour” (Hafen) in phonetic spelling: /ˈhaːfən/. Let’s say “Harbour Records” would have been too obvious and boring for me but I wanted to integrate somehow my relation to it. And of course, the fact that our base or hometown is Hamburg, and my life is influenced deeply by the magic of the harbour and its international orientation.
What is your philosophy and process of choosing artists to work with?
There is no established routine other than that we somehow listen to demos, somehow else discover or see new talents live. We never intend to do any Soundcloud or similar research to sign or design a certain label sound. For some reason, we were always lucky that we never needed to release or design anything to survive. It is a gut-driven label in a sense that the only philosophy is and was “we need to love the music and like the artists behind it, see some vision in it and want to form a long-term artist-label relationship.”
Why did you decide to open a record label?
I founded the first label 1992 and the record company behind hfn music in 1994 . At the time, I was pretty hyperactive also a promoter, DJ and, with a few others, responsible for bringing and establishing the techno and house virus to Hamburg. This label was founded to have a proper platform for my DJ and producer colleagues, and their music. All was pretty wild and DIY and because I’ve been a music maniac since my early teenage days it felt natural to do this, at least for a while, as I originally wanted to go to university. But it worked out all so well and time ran fast. Somehow, a dream came true, so why stop?
Speaking of my way to open hfn, my original vision for my first label was to present a much wider spectrum than usually is possible on one label. I adapted my vision over the years into a record company with various labels picturing a wider musical spectrum. Looking back, we had already released a lot inside this electronic genre but I still wanted to create a new playground for an even wider range of musical genres and artists I adore. This was cookin’ for a while and I just needed the right moment to start a label like hfn. This right moment was the idea of Harbor Boat trips by Trentemøller followed by great demos of Kasper Bjørke. This was 2009, so just 15 years later.
What is your favourite spot at the office?
That is a hard one. See here:
Which new releases are you excited about these days?
Right now it’s the debut album from TOM And His Computer which is co-produced by Trentemøller, as well as some great new upcoming material from our camp I can’t talk about publicly yet. On the more electronic front, I adore the new releases of Ouie Music, like the new Acid Pauli album.
Any extra comments?
Stay safe, keep your distance, and please try to support music and art where you can in this difficult time. You could order something physical, like a great vinyl or some merchandise, or send nice messages and love to artists you adore, or just listen to their music on legal platforms. They need your support right now and are so thankful for your engagement. We also recommend keeping it hygge. Winter is coming!