One of the biggest electronic music labels around, Germany-based !K7 Records had its humble start in 1985 when owner Horst Weidenmueller founded it as a video production company working on festival documentaries and live videos for bands like Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, Mudhoney and other rock acts. Then in 1992 Horst released the first edition of the X-Mix Series, a series of digital videoclips with specially mixed DJ sets by Richie Hawtin, Laurent Garnier, Dave Clark and many more.
Four years later, when the concept of DJ cuts compiled into a complete musical album was still unheard of, !K7 put together the DJ Kicks series. Dubbed the Rolls Royce of DJ Mix compilations, its showcased the musical leanings of outstanding talents such as Ursula Rucker, A Guy Called Gerald, Rae & Christian, Kruder & Dorfmeister, Nightmares on Wax, Thievery Corporation and Stereo MCs and many more, all of whom have played curator to this must-listen-to staple.
But !K7 is definitely no one dimensional dance label. Far from representing any specific sound or style, it champions interesting sounds from the digital leftfield.
This is no more evident than when the umbrella label branched out into urban, soul and hip hop with imprint Rapster Records in 2001, and subsidiary Ever Records in 2006, the latter of which has since given numerous indie bands and singer/songwriters a shot at being heard.
The consequent inclusion of Strut & Gold Dust Media’s to the !K7 family completed the coterie of artists and musical styles, and covers ground from Nigerian Afrobeat to Leftfield Disco to Rare Groove. The result is an independent label with a helluva lotta personality taking in artists as diverse as Grandmaster Flash to Howie Beck and making their home now from beyond Berlin to major music capitals including New York City and Tokyo. J
Get to know !K7 Records and its colourful artist roster at www.k7.com.
Text Ili Farhana