The label will launch on July 15 with a pair of Midland’s own productions, ‘Archive 01’ and ‘Realtime’. Speaking to FACT, Midland explains that he’d been thinking about starting Graded “a lot over the past year, but was always put off by the thought of people seeing it as another ‘producer starts a label’ project.” After finishing his last single for Aus [‘Trace’ / ‘FYCUO’], he was “thinking about where to go next and just thought that instead of heading to another label, and kind of spreading myself more thinly – association wise – why not present it myself? The thought of having complete control over the process, from music, to mastering, to artwork and the actual aesthetics was very appealing and as its taken shape it’s been really rewarding.”
“For now, [Graded] is only really going to be an outlet for my music and collaborations”, Midland continues [in the past, he’s released collaborative singles with Ramadanman, Breach and Pariah]. It’s not to say that the right music might not come along from someone else, and I am definitely open to releasing music by other people, it’s just I have quite a lot of ideas and music that I have been sitting on that for some time that suddenly seem possible now there isn’t another label’s framework to fit in to.”
Although it was picked on the fly, the label’s name, Graded, “conjours – for me at least – a certain fuzz and warmth. On a more subconscious level it’s also a backhanded comment on how we digest music these days, and how everything is scrutinised and analysed from the minute it enters the public realm.”
As with Midland’s last five releases, Graded 001 was mastered through tape. “I think it was something I saw in the mastering house,” he recalls, “when I was mastering a much older tune of mine and asked if we could use it. It doesn’t change the sound of it drastically as it is a very high quality machine but it does add a certain something to it. I guess I always strive to try and make my music sound as un-digital as possible, I use tapes quite a lot in the studio, especially to record patches I have made on soft synths through, it has the nice effect of taking the sharper digital edges off the sound.”
Also in the pipeline for Midland right now is a project with singer Robbie Redway. “I can’t divulge too many details right now”, Midland explains, “but it will be a fully live project, we are currently are sitting on about 10+ tunes and counting, but just want to make sure it is exactly right before presenting it to the world.”
You can stream audio of Graded 001 below. Next weekend, Midland will be playing at FOUND’s all-day London festival with Maya Jane Coles, Todd Terry and many more – for more information and tickets, click here.