Heroes: Interview with Basso (The Growing Bin, Hamburg)

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Basso needs no introductions. We all heard his elegant mixes on different nerdy musical sources, downloaded hundreds of vinyl-rips from Growing Bin blog, purchased hard-to-find records from his online-shop. And soon we will have an opportunity to get a record from his own label Growing Bin Records! We talked about this great event and more

So, where are you right now, Basso?

In my studio at home, Hamburg, Germany

I mean you are so busy these days. Are you back in town? Where from?

I just came back from wonderful Copenhagen. Played there with Abel & Tako from Redlight Records. Lovely crowd, great venue in the heart of Christiania (hippie heaven). We had TONS of fun!!!

Is it a regular venue with you guys there?

It was the first time we were invited there

Were you like a trio, or maybe one of you dominated on others? Maybe Tako?)

All three of us started out playing back to back, then we changed sets twice. Tako and Abel played together, poor Basso had to play alone ; ) For the last hour we went back to back again. That was pretty awesome!

Ok) Basso, you are a man behind The Growing Bin empire: blog, then record shop and now a label. Have you thought in the beginning about such perspectives? Was it hard to start?

No, I’d never thought that things would develop like this. When I started the blog it was all about sharing some obscure records. I have always had a soft spot for unusual music as well as art (that’s what I studied) and i wanted to promote things that have been overlooked or didn’t fit the taste of their times. In the beginning nobody cared about what I did but I just kept going…

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When did you start your blog?

I’ll have to look that up by checking the blogs first entries … ; ) Ok, started it in Summer 2007

And how many records you put there? Approximately.

I have no clue how many records we have shared on the blog, but it’s definitely more than 100 — please don’t make me count ; )

All right) Are you collecting records from your childhood? What stuff did you like in the beginning?

I started buying records when i was 7 years old. I was kind of inspired by the posters of one of the older boys in the neighborhood. My first record was Double Platinum by Kiss. These guys fascinated me. Especially their shows (we only saw pictures of those in music magazines), an axe shaped bass and spitting blood looked pretty cool back then. I still like some of the songs ;)

Yeah, these guys know how to make a good show) Are you listening something right now?

Danish records!

Which one?

Nasavu by Klaus Schønning. Such a beauty!!

Man, you do a lot of digging. Is it harder these days to amaze you?

It’s harder to find good records at good prices now that every record shops looks for the current internet prices. But i still have incredible fun in record shops and I do discover records that really blow me away.

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How you discovered the Merge? Listening to clips from it — it’s mind-blowing!

Thank you, I’m happy that you like it! I found their first LP called Exchange in a record shop down in the southwest of Germany. (Hamburg is up north ; ) They had some copies there and I was attracted by the instrumentation and also because they mentioned the german Jazz guru Klaus Doldinger in the credits. When I listened to it I knew this is something VERY unique. I bought them all! A good bit later all my copies were gone and my friend Tako asked me for a copy. But I didn’t have any. It’s pretty much unfindable in the shops or the internet so I started a second try to locate the artists. I only had the small label’s telephone number by that time and every time I called them the line was busy. So the next thing was trying to find email adresses and I actually found the one of the mastermind / producer of the group – Jo Lienen. I wrote him asking if he was the guy involved in the Merge project and 30 minutes later I got a message back. Bingo! The best thing was that he moved just recently from a small town near Duesseldorf to Hamburg. I went there the same day, got copies for Tako, Abel & Jamie and had a nice chat with Jo. Before I left he told me that he and a friend made a second Merge LP in 1994 that never got a release. He said it’s a bit more ambient than the first one and he was unsure if I liked that…. when I said that I’m really into ambient he made me a CD of it and let me tell you THAT really blew me away on my drive home… The rest is a history. I’m really happy that it was possible to release this now almost 20 years later!

Great story to start a label with! So it’s again all about your love of sharing music! Only in other form of sharing)

Yeah, definitely! Only that I moved from pirate blogging to proper licensing. Still waiting for the GEMA invoice : )

You had a release on Blackdisco. Are you planning to release your own material/edits on Growing Bin? What is the concept behind the Growing Bin-label?

I plan to enjoy the freedom to release / re-release music that I love. Music that I believe in. Old stuff as well as new music. I have 2 -3 things in the queue and I’m not giving details. Maybe I’ll release some of those edits too., but first I’d like to release music originally made by other people. But there’s good news for those who like my edits: Andrew Lovefingers will put out some breezy ones pretty soon

It’s great! I love your edit of Vollenweider a lot.

I know some guys who have recorded with Andreas Vollenweider and they told me that he’s an EXTREMELY nice guy. You definitely hear this in his music…

What do you think about a bunch of cool labels started in last two years: Music From Memory, Into The Light, Aficionado etc? First two and yours are doing great re-releases. What’s so special in 2013?)

Speaking for myself and some of the guys you mention we have been wanting to do this for some years now and it’s finally happening. 2013 is a good year for music! And of course I love what Tako, Abel & Jamie, Ilias and Moonboots put out. Looking forward to their next releases!

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Have you good record-shops in Hamburg? Are you planning to open an offline Growing Bin?

Hamburg used to be AMAZING for records. I wasn’t born here but 200 km close. Ever since I have been 13 or 14 I went to Hamburg to buy records. It’s still very good even if some records don’t make it in the shops anymore because the shop’s owners sell them online instead. I don’t plan to do it the other way around. There aren’t that many customers here for the lovely kind of music that i sell and Hamburg is unfortunately not overrun by music loving tourists who might be interested.

And what records did you buy in Hamburg record-shops last time?

The last records I bought in a shop are a strange private german album by a guy called Dill and after some years of digging I finally found a copy of Skyline – Luise For One Night. The first LP had featuring of Georg Kochbek. Most of you know him as Georgie Red.

Some people call Merge LP the album of the year. Which drink, mood, place and atmosphere you recommend for listening to it?

I’d recommend a place that you feel cozy at. It can be anywhere. To me it’ll be perfect for those late Indian summer days. There’s this wonderful tristeza in Merge’s songs — the memory of hot summer days. If you like white wine I recommend a good Lugana to it. Lightweight and harmonic but rich and fruity in taste.

Thank you, Basso! Wish your label a great start!

Thank you, guys!

Growing Bin blog and online shop
Check Basso’ work as an artist

Words by Artem Super Ikra & Sasha Tessio
Cover drawing by Sasha Tessio