hfn music is an independent music label from Hamburg. Run by German DJ and producer Tobias Lampe, the former head and founder of Superstition, it is also home to sublabels hafendisko and Anders Trentemøller’s label In My Room. The label reached its 100th release with with a limited edition white coloured 10″ vinyl of the remix of Trentemøller to Blaue Blume’s “Lovable”.
In the past they released works from artists as Trentemøller, Reptile Youth, Human Woman, Kasper Bjørke, Darkness Falls, Jacob Bellens, Null + Void and many more. They will release two new albums in the near future from Copenhagen based duo Fluqx and Danish songwriter Jacob Bellens. We had a nice talk with Tobias Lampe about the history fo the label, the collaboration with Trentemøller and much more. Check it below.
100 Realeases in 2020. When did you think to start the label? And what are the clear memories of the first releases?
I actually founded the record company behind hfn music in 1994 already and mainly released all types of electronic based music on various imprints. One of them is the label Poker Flat Recordings I founded together with Steve Bug. It was already quite a great spectrum but I wanted to create a new playground to present a much wider spectrum as I realised it was possible on one label alone. So I adapted my vision more or less over the years into a record company with various labels. I had the idea cooking for a while, but I just needed the right moment to start a label like hfn. This right moment was the idea of Harbour Boat trips by Trentemøller followed by great demos of Kasper Bjørke. This was 2009.
How did you build the identity of your label and what drove your choices over the years?
For some reason we were always lucky that we never needed to release or design anything to survive so it is in fact a “guts driven” label in that sense that the only philosophy actually is and was: we need to love the music and like the artists behind it, see some vision. There was never a strategic signing or similar, we never needed to ask artists if they want to release something on our label. It was so far a natural grow, in other words the demos or connections came on the fly in and sometimes it worked out so that we released it on hfn.
I was impressed from your statement “It’s elemental that we like and respect the artist and humans behind the project, and love the music they represent”. Can you explain better this concept?
It is actually that simple 😉 But maybe I can describe it a bit better: There are many possible philosophies to run a label, but I’ve always been more looking into one long time cooperation rather than signing a bunch of one off’s. So when we signed an artist we also want to continue working together and build something over time. Of course that does not always work out and so there are still some one offs in our catalogue. Also please keep in mind that it surely is a luxury in a way to sign only artists and music you like and respect. What we learned over the years is that it is not enough to love the music alone. You invest a lot of lifetime into a whole release campaign and you spend a lot of energy, you communicate and hang out a lot with the artist and it makes much more sense for everyone if you like and respect the artist and humans behind the project
You are based in Hamburg. I’m very interested to the connection between the places we live over the years, the territorial geography of our roots and the art. How much your city affected your way to run the label?
I’m not sure if I can answer this, I think I am too close to myself 😉 Hamburg, maybe because of its harbour and history is an open minded and also culturally rich and verified city. I was very early infected from the music culture here which had everything to offer and besides Berlin for some years now I can’t see any city in Germany being more international as well. So this surely has an impact on my state of mind but it’s difficult for me to describe more specific affections right now.
Your 100th Release is a remix curated by Trentemoller. A relationship which last since 2009 when you released “Harbour Boat Trips 01 – Copenhagen”. How was born you relationship with the Danish artist?
As you may know the “The Last Resort” album as well as many other great releases by Trentemøller were released on Poker Flat, so we were working together for some years already. The idea of Harbour Boat trips was then actually born from some nice talks and brainstorming. We also figured it would musically not fit on Poker Flat, so it was a welcome push for me to start a new label, although I didn’t sign any other artists at the time. That was in May 2009 and it took me another five months until the first single, by Kasper Bjørke came out.
There will be a live celebration of this anniversary? Label showcases are something in your mind?
We plan to celebrate our anniversary during our annual showcase at the Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg in September. Watch out for this or for live dates of our lovely artists near you.
Ritual question. What are the best releases you recently appreciated?
Besides the hfn100 you mean ? 😉 Not only because it took so long to be finally released, the Blaue Blume “Bell Of Wool” album for me is one of the milestones, as well as every Kasper Bjørke release like the latest “Nothing Gold Can Stay” EP’s for which great remixes will follow very soon. The Fluqx album “Monolith” is also a masterpiece for me, as well as every Trentemøller album like the latest “Obverse” on our sister label In My Room.