Not one member of left-wing, hip hop collective Anticon knows how to swim or roller skate. Every one of them, however, is highly skilled at scouting and signing the kind of obscure, global musicians that usually prefer to remain anonymous.
Urban dictionary believes Oakland-founded, LA-based niche record label Anticon supports the kind of hip hop music that is capable of advancing mankind. i-D online thinks this is a pretty accurate definition of the ground Shaun Koplow’s collective covers, pushing the boundaries of humanity and music forward to accommodate all kinds of secret sounds. Sourcing rock bands that can rap and rap-stars that can sing, Anticon deliberately chooses to promote the kind of anti-commercial talent that does not endeavour to ever top the charts. Focusing on the atmosphere a decent piece of music conjures, honing in that ‘somethin, somethin’ only certain soundbites possess, the makers of the music Anticon signs are not important, because fame is an illusion, raw talent is what’s real and this imprint is a super-group of faceless no-namers. i-D online chatted to someone, anonymously, at the label about the helipads on their horizons. Take a trip via Anticon’s exclusively curated mix on i-D’s soundcloud.
Why did you decide to name the label Anticon Records? Pedestrian and Sole first spoke the name to me over a jungle green telephone, in the cLOUDDEAD mansion. I was still in Cincinnati, they were newly landed in Oakland. Once I heard the word Anticon, it was rather instantaneous, I said yes to it right away. I think we all did, it just had the ring. There were a lot of variations on what it meant and to whom but these days it’s truly the one word that can be used to some up our otherwise un-sum-up-able collection of musical talents and personalities.
How do you discover the majority of the new music you sign? In a myriad of ways. Submissions from artists, sometimes they are close friends of Anticon artists, sometimes it’s a cold call, once in a blue moon we get sent something in the mail, or stumble across an awesome opening act. A lot of Anticon records are also collaborations between Ant’s and other artists, more often than not, something is A&R’d so to speak by Shaun, who runs the label on the day to day, or one of the founding fellas.
How do you define what you consider to be good music? Never too strictly, I must say, loving music all my life has only taught me to stay open. We are all self discovered, so we tend to enjoy both rough, raw, new music and refined, right professional song stuffs. So while no one member loves all music, we as a collective deeply appreciate all forms of album and song, especially when you can hear the artists’ fingerprints all over it.
What are your strongest musical influences and references? Wow got me there. It’s a veritable cornucopia up in this place. We are all strongly influenced by so many works as well as one another. It’s hard to single out any one style or band to call God. We all involve electronics, live instrumentation, voice, home and studio recording in our music, so that means we look to every one for inspiration and influence.
What are your plans for expansion? Maybe a helipad or mechanical secretary. Sky is the limit once we get WHY? on the Super Bowl halftime show.
Describe a typical day at work at the label? The day-to-day is run by Shaun Koplow. It’s pretty standard fare. A lot of emails, phone calls and project co-ordination with artists, manufacturers, distributors, publicists, graphic designers, etc. It’s quite a juggle which can be stressful, but is usually very rewarding at the end of the day.
What have you got coming up for the label in 2012? We have new things WHY? related and a couple of new signings on the horizon.
Text: Milly McMahon