Location: Lier, Belgium Est: 2017

Potted History: “When I was a kid, I spent a lot of time with my older cousins and some of their friends were into new wave, industrial and punk,” says label founder Philippe Cortens. “So at the age of 13, I became intrigued by the early Front 242 records, and then by the insane mix tapes they handed me a few years later – Klinik, Throbbing Gristle, Negazione, Butthole Surfers, SPK, Big Black, Zyklome A, Crass, Disorder and Einstürzende Neubauten.

“I was totally flabbergasted and only wanted to hear more of this kind of music. At 16, I was kind of obsessed with punk, went to a lot of concerts, and was kicked out of school because I didn’t want to cut my hair. I started to work at Studio Brussel and Klara, Belgian national radio, as a music selector and producer for evening shows and music zines. When I discovered ‘Planètes’ by Jean Hoyoux, I knew immediately, ‘This has to be Cortizona 001’.

“And about the name Cortizona – my nickname at Studio Brussel was Corti, and cortisone is a heavy medication which makes you euphoric. Musical drugs on prescription… it makes sense to me. Ha!”

Mission Statement: “I release music I love and find exciting, and that I hope others will also be interested in,” explains Cortens. “Just following my guts and heart. I don’t want to overthink it too much, but I’ve noticed along the way that most of what I’ve put out comes from urgency – a desire to express something that’s only possible in music. Or a feeling of freedom to explore undiscovered worlds of sounds, a deep quest into the unknown.”

Key Artists & Releases: “So far, I’ve released a wide range of music, from reissues of hard-to-find analogue synth records by Jean Hoyoux, to an unearthed 1987 album by Nasca. Other artists include Frederik Croene, Ann Eysermans, Mich L, Twinkle 3 with David Sylvian, Brahja, Anna Homler, and The Hafler Trio with Genesis P-Orridge. It’s all part of Cortizona and has almost grown organically.

“Upcoming releases include ‘Mind Is Mud’, the new album by Céline Gillain, which sounds like Grace Jones, Fever Ray and Róisín Murphy have recorded an album together at Berghain, and ‘Holiday’ by Schntzl, the SpongeBobs of Belgian jazz on a rollercoaster, sliding into 70s electronica, melancholia and big-time pleasure.”

Future Plans: “There’s lots, but it’s too early to talk about them – I’m afraid I’ll jinx them. Further on, the plan is to go with the flow, probably against the grain, making lots of mistakes while doing it. Eternal respect and a Top 10 hit… is the last thing I’m going for before I die. I guess I’ll have to live forever then.”

Any Other Business: “Running a label – it never stops. Coloured vinyl is overrated and 180 gram vinyl does not sound better than 140 gram, it’s only thicker. Don’t do it for the money, and don’t forget to have fun.”

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