Location: Ghent, Belgium Est: 2000
Potted History: When Ghent’s famous Eskimo underwear brand, whose heritage stretches back to 1906, moved production from Ghent to Melle in East Flanders in 1996, the vacant factory space provided the perfect party venue.
“We held underground parties there, which were famous for mixing synthpop, new wave, acid house, funk and rock ‘n’ roll into a new and fresh and eclectic sound,” explains A&R/label manager Nadiem Shah. “Behind the decks you could find people like The Flying Dewaele Brothers, who went on to become 2manydjs and Mo and Benoelie best know at The Glimmer Twins.”
In these pre-internet streaming days, people wanted to listen to the soundtrack of these parties at home so the label was born and what other name to give it?
“The first releases on Eskimo were mix CDs that reflected the eclectic sound of those parties,” says Nadiem. “In 2002, Eskimo started releasing original music as well. Our first album was ‘Mangled’ by Ray Mang.”
Mission Statement: “Since the very beginning Eskimo was an eclectic, but cutting edge label that has worked in the gaps between genres like cosmic, Balearic and nu disco, indie dance, house and electronica,” offers Nadiem. “We’d like to see Eskimo as a genre itself. Timeless quality and originality are the key values upon which the label was based.”
Key artists & releases: Where to start? We fell for the excellent ‘Bill Brewster Presents Tribal Rites’ collection last year, while the label’s annual colour series of compilations is always a good port of call, showcasing a bunch of fine upcoming acts the label want to support.
“The list includes names like Moscoman, Roísín Murphy, Eelke Kleijn, Anoraak, Zombies In Miami and many more,” says Nadiem “We also released debut albums from artist such as Lindstrøm & Prins Thomas, Aeroplane and Satin Jackets and of course there’s our ‘Cosmic Balearic Beats’ compilations!”
Future Plans: “The music Eskimo brings into the world all maintains a certain feeling without being beholden to any rigid formula,” says Nadiem. “We have always approached the divide between electronic and indie music with a reckless abandon that suggests that there is no divide at all. Whether it’s a compilation filled with very hard to find music, a 12-inch club release or a radio friendly nu disco song that does well on streaming. The only thing I always keep in the back of my head is to never sign music because I think it will ‘work’, but to sign music I love.”
For more, visit eskimorecordings.be