Independent Label Market Barcelona Spotlight – Guerssen

by falsepriest

Discogs-sponsored record fair, Independent Label Market in Barcelona is coming up this weekend. If you’re in town, be sure to support independent labels and score yourself some sweet new records. In celebration of the small independent label, we had a chat to Catalonia-based label, Guerssen ahead of their appearance at ILM.

Guerssen Spanish independent label logo

Can you tell us a bit about how you got started and the history of Guerssen?
We got started by accident back in 1996, just running away from my previous job without really knowing much about this record biz. First two years were semi-professional only, but then it quickly grew up and we have released up to 450 titles already, not bad.

What is your label’s speciality?
At the start we basically specialized in reissues of psychedelic, progressive, garage and folk, from the 60s to early 80s. Over the years, our own ears have been getting more open, and we have been releasing a lot of different music; we have launched up to 7 different labels (apart of Guerssen on its own), each of them focused in different styles. Pharaway Sounds is home for mostly exotic pop-psych-funk, from Eastern psych to latin cumbia or Spanish rumba-pop. Mental Experience covers all kind of experimental, kraut, ambient, etc. New Records is for new bands, not reissues. And also Sommor, Out-sider and Got Kinda Lost labels are from us. And Espacial Discos is our newest, we’ll start with sexadelic disco-funk Spanish singer Susana Estrada in a couple of months.

Susana Estrada's album, The Sexadelic Disco Funk Sound Of... released through Spanish independent label, Guerssen

What are some of the challenges for labels like yours? Or opportunities?
I’d say it’s a combination of things. First challenge is of course keeping the company in good shape and going; luckily we don’t think much about this because we’re just doing quite well, but you never know! And if we’re there, our aim is keeping alive the obscure music we like. Of course we love to discover absolutely unknown records (or unreleased recordings), but also it’s important to keep other records available, which maybe have been reissued before but are out of print. We’re not really fans of limited reissues which end up being expensive collectors items themselves – we just want the music to be available continuously for a decent price.

Also, I think there’s plenty of opportunities in the reissue field. There’s a huge lot of wonderful music rarities to be rescued yet; of course, the classic stuff is mostly all done, but just keep ears wide open and you can never stop. And besides the physical sales, there’s also other fields to move, especially the synchronization licensing is something very interesting for most of our artists.

How would you describe your own record collection?
Nothing spectacular, just like 3k records of various styles and eras.

What are a few of your favorite releases through Guerssen?
There’s so many. Wicked Lady, both Blops albums, Barış Manço, Quarteto 1111….just to name a few, hard question.
Blops self-titled album released by Spanish independent label, Guerssen
Anything else you’d like people to know about Guerssen?
Follow us, we have plenty of cool stuff to discover for you. www.guerssen.com

Stay up to date with Guerssen on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, and if you’re lucky enough to be in Barcelona this weekend, check them out at the Independent Label Market!