RVNG Intl.

Location: New York, New York 

Est: 2003

Potted history: “RVNG stumbled out of a party,” laughs label co-founder Matt Werth. “Dave P, the brain and brawn behind Making Time, one of Philadelphia’s longest running parties and I started RVNG as an event production company. Dave already had the party pedigree and high-energy stamina. I was running an indie-ish record label and playing in a druggy psychedelic band, so I had the DIY pedigree and stoned stamina. Opposites attract, I s’pose.”

Admitting he couldn’t hack the late nights like Dave, Matt’s attention turned to releasing mix CDs to showcase RVNG’s DJing talent (Julian Grefe of Pink Skull and Tim Sweeney chief among them) and, lo, a record label was born. 

“It was familiar terrain for me, just with a different soundtrack,” says Matt. “Electronic music felt like the way forward, and that feeling has never lost its glow as RVNG has dropped in on all points of the spectrum that vast genre covers.”

Mission statement: While the operation has expanded to two sister labels (Beats In Space and Freedom To Spend, their archival imprint), there’s also a management arm that looks after Holly Herndon and Yaeji and rather interestingly, Commend, their Lower East Side storefront and community space.

“We do a ton of events, publish an annual magazine, and generally keep way, way too busy,” offers Matt of the operation that has something of the Factory Records about it. “We look at our relationships as partnerships, our business model, a 50/50 across the board, supports that concept. We set realistic expectations and in the instances where we surpass them, it’s almost always because both sides have worked together in some total transparent and harmonious way.”

Key artists & releases: While Matt is reluctant to single out releases or artists for attention (“Each has its place along our infinite learning curve”), a visit to their website reveals Palmbomen II, Julia Holter, The Body and Bing & Ruth have all passed through the label. Recent highlights include Oliver Coates’ excellent ‘Shelley’s On Zen-La’, while Freedom To Spend is doing fine work reissuing home-spun electronica, such as the 80s cassette outings of Michele Mercure. 

“There is no A&R policy,” adds Matt, “which buries us in music and the guilt of not being able to listen to all of it. I only wish that we could spend more time with all of the music that clearly comes created with care.”

Future plans: “The only clear plan is to continue the community development around RVNG,” says Matt. “This takes shape in different ways, some more literal than others. There is the community of artists and the people at or surrounding the label that support these many different visions, but there is also the community of listeners and non-listeners. The listeners are the seekers that come to the music transmitting from our core by way research, recommendation, or a random act of highness, and the non-listeners are the unknowing, unaware, and unattached. It’s not about preaching to unconverted or converted, rather finding a frequency that we can all fall into and become one.”

We like that sort of thinking, we like it a lot. If you’re yet to discover RVNG, you are in for quite the treat. 

For more RVNG Intl, visit igetrvng.com

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