New York-based producer Prefuse 73 has an impressive history of both collaboration and solo innovation, so it makes sense that the glitch-hop godfather would start his very own imprint. Yellow Year Records isn't Guillermo Scott Herren's first label (see also Eastern Developments), but it's definitely his first "non-label" label. As the man himself explains below, he wanted a platform that exists outside of the normal rules and expectations.
To that end, Yellow Year's first big move is Speak Soon, a series of EPs that find Herren teaming up with various producers to create new works. Above you'll find a beautiful sun-streaked clip soundtracked by Sons of the Morning, the new duo comprising Prefuse 73 and Brainfeeder beat-beautifier Teebs. "The Way the Winter Passed Us Up," hums with warm ambiance and drifting exotica, powered by rolling percussion and gushing melody.
Below, SPIN speaks with Herren to learn more about his current plans.
How did the label come about?
I just wanted to create something different from the way that I've been releasing music for my entire career. A platform in which I can work without confines and can devise a concept, like this "Speak Soon" series, and make it happen. It isn't a defiant statement against labels or the music industry by any means. I like to think of Yellow Year as a "non-label" that isn't really thinking about the industry at all. At this point, we're not releasing anyone's full-length album — just projects that I'm either directly involved in or curating with someone familiar with in one way or another.
What does the name "Yellow Year" mean to you?
Actually, Daniel Lopatin [Oneohtrix Point Never] suggested the name to me as an alias for a project I was working on. I lost all confidence in that particular project but the name stuck, and I thought it would work well for this. It's an open-ended meaning, no real definition.
How did the collaboration between you and Teebs develop?
We threw around some ideas but nothing too concrete at first. Eventually, we were able to start working together and did the normal trading-files-back-and-forth thing. We've worked in hotel rooms on tour. We've blocked out time and worked together in my studio, and at this point we have tons of material. Appropriately, the first EP on Yellow Year is a collection of the first stuff we recorded.
Why do you two work well together?
On a musical level, Teebs taps into really simple hardware and pulls off consistently beautiful music. He's kind of like the Erik Satie of the SP-303, which is a cheap sampler. I'm inspired by his effectiveness with what he works with and the sincerity that comes out in his sound.
Working with him on a human level is pretty ideal whether it's long distance or in person. His personality is pretty much like his music sounds, which is overall mellow. He's a professional in knowing how to bring zero stress into a room. Not to mention, he's one of the illest painters I know.
What else will be coming out on the label?
For the first year, it's pretty much focused on monthly Prefuse 73 collaborations. Teebs first, Nosaj Thing follows, and other collaborations after that include Lapalux, Nathan Fake, Synkro, Dimlite, and others.
How were the visuals in the teaser decided upon? Do they have any significance?
For teasers, I'll usually pull B-roll footage from another project and mix it in with various imagery to create something relatable to the music. In this case, the music is about environments, the sun, and memory.