Location: London Est: 2017

Potted History: “I was at Erased Tapes for five years where I learned the ins and out of how to run a record label,” explains Sofia Ilyas, big chief of the newly formed Float imprint. “It was during that time the idea that I might release records on my own label one day began to form. I started by first establishing a PR and consultancy agency, Float PR, and after two years, when the right music came my way, I felt it was a good time to announce the label and it all went very naturally from there.”

Mission Statement: Collaboration is the name of the game here, with Sofia’s many and varied contacts from her PR work coming together to support the label’s various projects that so far incorporate music, fashion and events. For example, the inaugural event celebrated Piano Day back in May at Islington’s Union Chapel saw over 600 punters packing the place out for a day of piano meets grime meets jazz meets dance.

“It was a risk, but it was a really great experience,” enthuses Sofia of her collaborative approach. For example designer Francis Redman, who worked on the visuals for Piano Day itself and the label’s first album cover, also helped line up many of the grime artists for the event and was behind the decks on stage with Trim and Matthew Bourne at the end.

“That’s why the label is called Float as it’s about combining elements and working together,” says Sofia.

Key Artists & Releases: “Andrea Belfi is our first signing and it came about exactly how I imagine many of our signings will, in a really natural way,” says Sofia. “I worked on a record by Nonkeen, one of Nils Frahm’s projects, and Andrea supported them on tour. When I saw him perform I was mesmerised. I met with Andrea in his studio in Berlin and he played me his demo tracks, which form ‘Ore’, his new album and the first release on Float. I love the kind of connections that direct you on a pathway that just feels right. That’s really important to Float.”

Future Plans: Projects in the pipeline include working with London-based multidisciplinary designer and musician Felix Faire and Berlin designers Anke Bruns and Stefanie Herbold who as z.B. produce some extraordinary looking headwear.

“I want to leave things open as I think we’ve laid a good foundation and I’d like to see what we come across to collaborate on,” says Sofia. “Mostly I hope to continue to shock my sister who doesn’t understand how a Pakistani woman from Cardiff who had little access to music growing up is now running a label. Nor do I!”

Any Other Business? “My advice to anyone setting up a label? Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and ask for help,” offers Sofia. “The first release is the hardest lesson in many ways and things will go wrong, so embrace them!”

For more see wearefloat.co.uk

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