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Small Talk With Subtil Records


Imagine a car displaying the smooth & subtle lines designed by Romanian creative minds, powered by a super efficient German engine… Well, translated into the electronic underground, it’s like having a German record label releasing music from Romanian producers… Wait, that’s not an utopia, it really exists! 7 years ago, Berlin based Subtil Records started to invest time and money into a sound that many considered it would be just a passing hype, like many other waves born in the house & techno underground. Even if it is rooted deeply into Germany’s minimal house, this sound developed into something unique but it needed imprints like Subtil to receiving its worldwide recognition.

Nils Weimann and Martin Glowacz, the team behind Subtil Records, bet on young producers by offering unconditional support. And it paid off right from the start. VRAC, Cosmjn, Iuly B or Mihai Pol are just a few Romanian names featured at Subtil Records, now hitting the 20 releases milestone with Direkt’s EP.

We approached Nils to tell us the story behind the record label, the invisible connection between Berlin and Bucharest and about how to run an underground imprint in 2020. Enjoy!

Do you remember how Subtil Records was born in the first place?

Subtil was established in late 2013 by Nils Weimann and Martin Glowacz. The decision to lead a record label is an extension of a longstanding friendship.. Driven by the passion for electronic music, the lack of vinyl releases as a result of the trend for Traktor DJing has grown the desire to take some action.

Is there a special sound you’re searching for in order to be released on Subtil? What are the key elements you’re searching for in a track?

Since the beginning, we navigate ourselves in two simple aspects: the music should contain something particularly special. Hard to describe it, however we believe that “danceable” can capture it very well. On the other hand, a kind of recognition value might exist. Link up music with memories, whether good or bad, enhanced the half-life of a piece of music. 

The vast majority of Subtil releases are signed by Romanian producers. What’s so special about Romania’s house & techno underground?

A few years ago, Romanian producers gave a new boost to minimalism and in fact formed a new sub-culture. Those waves have been spread all over the globe, like in Berlin at the turn of the millennium. Currently, you can watch so many skilled artists, countless new music, and a great variety of nightlife and club culture, that you haven’t found everywhere.

What do you think: is this hype about Romania just a passing trend or has it become an influential sound that’s here to stay? 

Romanian producers have increased their influence in recent years and I think it will not stop growing even though we live in uncertain times. As a label, we are here to support this growth and forge our partnership, working towards the same goal. We are convinced that they will stay longer.

How do you find new artists to release at Subtil? Through demos? Do you scout for yourself? Do you work only with selected producers?

 Let’s say that it’s a mix of everything that you’ve mentioned over your question, however what we clearly don’t base our values on the fame of the artist. The only thing that matters is the music. This encourages new uprising talents to contact us. We won’t narrow it down to selected producers, everyone is welcome. 

What’s the story behind the artwork? How did end up working with July Jah?

It was a random meeting at a party in Berlin through mutual friends. We figured out that we are living near each other and started to collab. Julia is a great artist itself. She’s contributing to the success of Subtil. We gave herself artistic freedom from the first release on, we simply trust each other.


 How did this whole corona madness affect Subtil Records? Did you have to change your plans for 2020?

We have released three or four records, as every year. If we overlook our label parties, there were no big changes in our plans. Luckily the record sales haven’t went that much down as afraid.

You’re based in Berlin and work with Black Round Twelve as a distributor. Is BRT the best distributor you could work with when it comes to this particular house & techno sound?

 Yes, it is! To find the matching distribution partner is probably one of the most important issues. We particularly appreciate the family-like atmosphere and professional work.  BRT is not that big player in the scene, but it isn’t necessarily a disadvantage. This gives us room to increase our quality over the time, without pressure.

There’s a lovely side story. Since we teamed up with BRT, the entire manufacturing is made in Berlin. That makes things easier.

How does 2021 look right now music-wise? Tease us with a few details on what will happen at Subtil Records?

Well, our release schedule is set until summer. The plans are on going but not definite yet!

If you were forced to completely change the musical direction at Subtil Records (no more 4/4 music), what genre will you choose? 🙂 


A super-rich person offers you 1 million euros for Subtil Records, but you must stay away from electronic music from now on. What would you do?

It depends on the person who makes that offer. An impossible thought to me, I have no clue…

That one EP that perfectly defines the Subtil sound.

That one EP doesn’t exist. Always the latest one (in addition to the past one). In this case, SBTL020 – Direkt – Path of the most resistance which which by the way, got released last week . 😉

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Small Talk With Alex Puicea

Alex Puicea

We love electronic music and almost everything related to it! We love it so much to that point where we choose to buy some new records as our top priority 🤩  Alex Puicea knows best. We met Alex back in the days he worked in our shop, spending countless hours of geeky talks about wires, cartridges, modulars and sync clocks. His label, bearing the impossible-to-remember Rackmizar name, reflects his passion for digging out lesser known artists with intriguing sounds. Things changed for Alex, as he decided to leave Bucharest’s fast paced rhythm and return to his hometown, Severin, on the shores of the Danube river.

Eat first, then buy records! With this in mind, Alex Puicea opened a cozy bistro, Abstract, but he never left his passion for music gear behind. Just Jam is a video series with short live sessions from his home studio and well, this is just the beginning. Yeah, we needed to find out the connection between food and electronic music so we sat down for a quick chat with Alex Puicea about techno pizza and records.

You left Bucharest a few years ago, to return to your hometown and start something new… How is you life now, away from the big city’s hustle & bustle?

Moving away form Bucharest was a good thing for me on a personal level, spent more time with my family, opened my own bussines, focused more on making music. Got to know more cool people in Severin involved in art. Bad part about my life now, having a business is really hard work, when I get to have some “me” time, I go hiking or just make music, or make music when hiking :))

Tell us more about the Abstract concept bistro. How was it received and what are your plans?

So, let’s start form the beginning… After me and my wife got married we decided to make a caffee in our home town Drobeta Turnu-Severin. I wasn’t really excited at first but it grew on me. Abstract was a mind bender for Severin at first. Creativity, art, culture… people did not give us a chance. And it was really hard to keep things floating the first year, but things got better, more people started coming, we made more friends, met more people, things were looking up for us. But when things go nice they have to go bad too: our neighbours started complaining about the noise and we had to move our location. That’s when the bistro was born. We decided to make food because I really love food :)) Plans for the future…have more free time to make music :))

Will Abstract at some point involve electronic music also?

It already happened! It was called “Electronic Sunday” and I used to  play deep house, people would gather, have a tea, listen to some vinyl. The concept was not about making a party, but just to show underground quality music to high school kids and open minded adults that did not have a chance to listen to the real deal. 

What happenned to Cutiuta Muzicala, the club you opened a while ago? Any plans on reviving it?

Well it was good while it lasted, unfortunately it was a club in a club, like Expirat and Other Side was. The main room there did not make enough money to sustain itself,  and Cutiuta was not open every week, it sometimes had big breaks between parties. I think often about reopening, but the costs just don’t work right now. So until I find the perfect space and context, it’s just a plan for the future.

You worked at Misbits for a couple of years. Does the love for vinyl still burn inside you? Maybe you’ll consider at some point opening a record shop in your hometown…

I still buy vinyl from time to time not as much as before but still do.  At first I wanted to get some records at the old Abstract but now I know there is no market for vinyl in severin, and prefer not try.

If you’d want to make a techno style pizza, what ingredients will it have? 🙂 

Hmm… Flour, yeast, salt, tomato, sauce with garlic and wine, mozzarella, chilly, fresh rosemary.   

Talking about electronic music, you launched the JustJam series. What’s this all about?

I made a lot of music that I did not release or pubish in any way,  so it just died. Either I got bad feedback from my DJ friends, or just forgot about it, the music just did not make it further than that. And that got my hopes down as a producer. So I decided to  ”Just Jam”! I love making music, with no more pressure from labels or people. Just me and my machines. There is nothing cooler than hiking to a location and making music there for a hour or two. Then just record what you did . 

2 years since the last Rackmizar release, your own record label you started in 2016. Not enough free time to plan new stuff?

Well to be honest the last two records were really  good, but did not sell enough to get back even the master fees. And don’t have time to manage it well so, no record on Rackmizar for now.

3 records you’d play as background music for your bistro.