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50WEAPONS is an outlet for some of the best new underground techno out there. Founded by Berlin-based dancefloor smashers Modeselektor (above) as a way to release cheeky bootlegs, it has steadily evolved into a stylish tastemaking imprint with a superb back catalogue.
Specialising in four-to-the-floor, the 50WEAPONS family is made up of artists that work techno into deep, atmospheric shapes with just the right hint of melody and bass weight. Check the distinct British flavour of benjamin Damage and Doc Daneeka, the star-gazing soundsystem thump of Cosmin TRG (second below), the rolling two-step rumble of Falty DL and the tough body music of Marcel Dettmann.
As Modeselektor are currently touring the four corners of the planet, Mixmag caught up with Marit Posch, who hold's the 50WEAPONS fort while the duo are away. Rising label star Phon.o (below) has also come good with a perfect blend of 50WEAPONS tunes that showcases the sound of the imprint perfectly.
PHON.O 's Just-Weapons-Mix
BENJAMIN DAMAGE & DOC DANEEKA - Halo Battleships
COSMIN TRG - Want You Be
PHON.O - Sad Happiness
ANSTAM - I Shouldn't Even Be Here
MODERAT - A New Error (Headhunter remix)
FALTYDL - Large Flash
MARCELL DETTMANN - Duel
BENJAMIN DAMAGE & DOC DANEEKA - Halo Deaf Siren
MODESELEKTOR - Art and Cash (Sbtrkt remix)
BENJAMIN DAMAGE & DOC DANEEKA - Creeper
PHON.O - ABAW723
DARK SKY - The Lick
ANSTAM - In The Bull Run
How, when and why did 50WEAPONS begin?
The first 50WEAPONS release was a Modeselektor bootleg white label released through Boomkat. The initial idea behind the label was for Modeselektor to have a quick output for bootlegs or tracks they or other artists did. The next releases were remixes for Modeselektor's 'Art & Cash' and for Moderat. As Modeselektor got more demo tracks they decided to have a regular output and have proper releases. So it went from white labels to split singles to artist 12"s to proper artist albums ….
The label seems to release very carefully selected artists. Each record is distinct, yet embodies a similar atmosphere. What's the proces behind finding and releasing artists?
All artists released on 50WEAPONS are friends of Modeselektor, both personal and artistic. 50WEAPONS is supposed to be a home for artists who share the same passion for music. It's pretty much all about the music and not about big names...
The singles 50WEAPONS put out have a very defined aesthetic look. How do you put the artwork together for your releases?
The first releases were simple stamped white labels. When a new single series got established (with full artist 12"s), Modeselektor decided to have photos of the artists on the sleeve – a front one on the front side, a back one on the back side. Each release/photo has a different colour. For album releases the artists decide who they want to work on the artwork and have full artistic freedom with that.
What's next for 50WEAPONS?
50WEAPONS will be busy this year! We'll have artist albums coming up by Addison Groove (March), Phon.o (May), Shed (July), a new label compilation ('50WEAPONS OF CHOICE #20-29') and some more surprise artist albums in the second half of 2012. We'll also have a couple of artist 12" releases, for instance by Cosmin TRG. Watch out!