Our intrepid reporter, KMG caught up with Jacques Renault recently to chat all things Let’s Play House, Jacques’ record label he runs from Brooklyn with co conspirator Nik Mercer.
KMG – So… how did the label come about?
JR – It was between Nik Mercer and I… we were friends in NYC to start with, and shortly after he had moved from LA… I’d been living here (NYC) and we had been acquaintances previously, kinda knew each other through the music world. He was new to New York and we started hangin out and we started doing parties together, and there was a general excitement about things. I was travelling a lot, and I wanted to bring some people and talent over to New York, and of course Nic is a music enthusiast as well and we wanted to do something together.
So we started doing warehouse parties, and bar parties, more or less a little bit of everything. It was more about having an idea, and creating the vibe that we, you know, want to be a part of… also just the act of setting up events and working with people that we like.
KMG – So was this all done under the banner of ‘Let’s Play house’ ?
JR – Yeah, it was under the name Let’s Play House… I had a track that was out on Rekids sub-label, Cabin Fever, and I called it Let’s Play House…
We were just joking around names, and literally as just a couple friends messing around we were like, ‘let’s start a party… and how about if we call it Let’s Play House’, and the label just blossomed out of the parties.
KMG – Would you say there is an underlying concept to what drives Let’s Play House?
JR – I think it was just, you know, something along the same lines as the party. It was about people who we wanted to collaborate with. This of course naturally evolves as you become friends with friends of friends, and all things Disco, Techno, and House. This gives it a really eclectic feel.
KMG – Do you think this has changed or evolved since it’s inception?
JR – Yeah, of course. Friends evolve. People have left the scene. Some have joined the scene… and of course you’re meeting new people through friends you have, and reaching out to new people who you didn’t know were a fan of the label initially, and you’re a fan of them, and you get the scenario of ‘oh hey… yeah we should do something together’. We still get demos too which can make us think, wow! So it’s a continually changing and evolving network of collaborators.
KMG – Is this partly why LPH WHT was spawned? As a vehicle to provide you with something different?
JR – It was exactly that. At the time we had too much on our plate for just Let’s Play House, so we were like ‘let’s start Let’s Play House – White’… and maybe that will be sample based stuff. We were just having ideas… it was kinda like the early days when our friend Drew Heffron was designing the labels and everything was unified, and eventually with the arrows we just started switching it up, and now Nic is doing all the design, and more or less everything is different. The music itself is eclectic, so we went from having a pretty straight distinctive design which has evolved into an anything goes attitude. I wouldn’t say it was something we set out to do, but it’s something that keeps it interesting for every party.
KMG – It’s interesting you mention the arrows, for me personally it was a simple but distinctive way that you could identify a Let’s Play House record…
JR – Yeah, this is true… and it’s not like I think it’s forever gone. It was effect, and was why we did it for so many years.
KMG – So what have you got coming up next?
Next up is Sleezy McQueen – Huit Etoiles… with a Gerd Jansen remix and Kenji Takimi & Tomoki Kanda remix.
After which we have an EP from Steve Huerta, who we met through our other label artist, Urulu. After that we have some New Yorkers, Earth Boys, which are a relatively new act, with previous releases on 1080P and 2MR. This release is more along the house side of things, and there’s something quite nostalgic about it for me.
KMG – When you’re listening out for new material, or going through demos you’ve been sent, how do you maintain an appetite for listening to the music? I find it incredibly difficult to listen to music for a length of time when I’m trying to be critical, and eventually struggle to tell if something is actually any good, or not! How do you do it, and do you have any tips?
JR – I often say, you gotta just focus, as your ears will definitely deteriorate especially after like 4 hours of listening to demos, you’re not gonna find anything you like. You really have to pace yourself and space things out. People will have studio time, and your forcing yourself to be creative, sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t, but when
you’ve got deadlines it’s really important to knuckle down and focus. So I try to listen to everything that I need to.
KMG – what are the challenges you’re facing currently with regards running a label?
JR – Let’s see… what are some good words of wisdom for this one… ermmm… We don’t put out as much as we used to, and I think that the label has definitely become more of a passion project than anything. Like everything else, as you can imagine… not everything makes money, and some things have to pay for other things… and you can’t get all caught up about that so much, and it really is more and more only about just creating this little thing that you have, that you can hold on to, and you really appreciate.
We want everyone we’re releasing the music with to be happy. Yeah, it’s not a machine… it’s not clockwork. It’s really a personal experience with the people we’ve been collaborating with. We’re living a in a world of abundance, of people just posting, making, sharing… and it gets to the point where people just get tired, and I don’t want to get tired. So I try to encourage ‘less is more’…
KMG – Is there anyway the industry can help alter this you think? What could people be doing better?
JR – I don’t know if there’s anything that as a unit we can all do better, but the short answer is we all need to make better music, right? … STOP MAKING SO MUCH CRAP!!!
KMG – You’re up to around 50 releases on LPH now… do you have any particular favourites?
JR – Yeah sure… going back from the early years, I think one of my favourite EP’s is our first Fantastic Man EP, I’ve always enjoyed working with Mic over the years and it’s still one of those records that stays in my bag.
We had some darker records that I wish had got a little more shine, but some of the darker ones I really like… for example
as well as…
These are good examples of records we released around this era, when we were just doing real heavier, techno influenced tracks, and I really like it! It’s great revisiting it as I think it was a little off from the path that we were maybe paving up until that point, and it maybe threw a couple people off, but I listen back to some of those tracks and they’re some of my favourite releases for sure…