The world of electronic music is riddled with people attempting to labelling things within it. This is techno, this house, this is dub-techno, this is bass tech-house. Within this world of labelling, it becomes very easy to focus one particular sound and become one dimensional.
This is why Druzhba Records, ran by Robin Virag and Nikolay Sabev, stand out among the never-ending list of labels in the underground music world. “I always find it hard to describe a specific music philosophy of a label or artist,” Robin tells me. “Druzhba’s sound is a mix of our personal tastes and preferences that have been shaped throughout many years of listening to various musical genres.”
When peaking into Druzhba Records’ catalogue, this diverse taste in music is easy to recognise. Whether it’s Triptil’s floaty glockenspiel inspired ‘Glockenbirds’ (druzhba001) or Worker Union’s spacey and dubby ‘Bleu Noir’ There is no fixed sound. Diversity is the Druzhba sound.
There can often be immense pressure on labels and producers to release more music than they’re comfortable with. This arises through monetary or fan pressure but Robin and Nikolay recognise that quality is almost always better than quantity when it comes to music. “The idea was to pick out our first releases very carefully and take all the time required to make sure we are happy with the final product,” says Robin. “The label was founded with the idea to strictly release music that we associate ourselves with, thus, there wasn’t any pressure to put out a fixed amount of records per year”.
Speaking of records, you won’t find any Druzhba release on Beatport or even as a digital file. “We wanted to completely avoid the saturated digital music world,” says Nikolay enthusiastically. “There are many good records released on digital but there is also so much noise and mediocre production that it can be distracting. I think releasing on vinyl only comes with a certain aspect of responsibility – there isn’t much room for mistakes and the quality is often much higher.”
Druzhba 004 will drop in March (pre-order link) and features tracks from Jamahr, Revivis, Lost.Act and Code Deploy. But what about the long-term future? “We are currently putting together druzhba005, that will include three original tracks by an artist we love, as well as a remix by a surprise guest. It’ll definitely be of interest to our followers” says Nikolay. “In addition to our physical releases, we are discussing the idea of taking the Druzhba brand on the road via event showcases around the Globe.”
Robin and Nikolay seem no hurry to become an all-star label, but it’s evident the ethos is there. When the correct intentions and principles are behind something, successful usually tends to be inevitable. It’s clear the Druzhba team are focused on producing quality music that sends out a message. I would say that message will be growing considerably in the next few years.