Telephone Explosion Records 

Location: Toronto, Canada

Est: 2007

Potted History: “It was my idea initially,” says co-founder Jon Schouten. “Steve [Sidoli, fellow co-founder] and I play in a band together and I had the brilliant idea of self-releasing our first EP on cassette. I went over to his house with six beers and a joint and said, ‘Look, you have design skills, I have business skills, let’s do this together’. He’s been making me look good ever since!”

Mission Statement: “We take a huge amount of pride in promoting Toronto’s incredible underground communities,” says Schouten. “This city is so stacked with slept-on talent, it’s unreal. Everyone knows the international superstars, but the underground here is very alive. Jazz, techno, ambient, folk, experimental, pop. There’s a community here for everything.”

“I think we’ve made a point of curating our roster so that there’s a really consistent vibe from release to release,” adds Steve Sidoli. “Our catalogue is really diverse in terms of genre but I like to think that listeners can feel when it’s a Telephone Explosion release.”

Key Artists & Releases: “Asking us to pick our favourite child, eh?’,” quips Schouten. “We stand by every one of our releases because that’s the only way to do the damn thing. But I’m more than happy to promote what we have coming up for the second half of the year, including albums by Fresh Pepper, Badge Époque Ensemble, Jairus Sharif, Lee Paradise and more.” 

“I’m really proud of the Frank Hatchett double LP we released last year,” says Sidoli. “It’s a compilation of songs from his dance instruction records that came out in the 1970s and 80s. There’s everything from disco to techno, and most of this music hasn’t really been heard by anyone outside of a few niche collector circles in decades.”

Future Plans: “Keeping the train on the tracks!” exclaims Schouten. “It’s been a wild couple of years. I would love to take a vacation and not work 70 hours a week. Do you know anyone with property in Portugal that wants to let me live there over the winter for free? I like cats and dogs, and I’m a pretty decent cook too.”

Any Other Business? “My advice for anyone thinking about starting a label would be, don’t sweat the small stuff, “ says Sidoli. “The inner workings of this business – especially when it comes to physical manufacturing – often leave a lot of things going less smoothly than planned. Being able to pivot and deal with snags without getting too emotionally caught up in them is key to success.”

“Someone once told me, ‘Never put out records you don’t love as there’s a good chance you’ll be sitting on them for years’,” says Schouten. “So we only release music that really means something to us. Also, don’t be an asshole. Life’s just too short.”

For more, see

You May Also Like