cover art for upcoming Späti Palace release: Endlich Krank by Kala Brisella
Späti Palace was founded by Irishman Barry Cliffe and is a Berlin based record label supporting local bands. Born one summer evening among friends sitting on a doorstep with Späti beers in hand, Späti Palace is the natural progression of a thriving local music scene often ignored by many but supported, enjoyed and loved by those who participate. Berlin based bands which happen to have members from all over the world, highlighting the diversity at play in this bubbling underground. We spoke to Barry about the label and his ambitions for it. They really do have some great bands, just check out the playlist below.
Where did the idea come from for Späti Palace and how did you begin?
The idea came from the fact that I was organising concerts based on supporting Berlin bands and the more it went on and the more the quality sustained a certain level, the more I realised that putting out some of these bands in physical form was the next logical step. I didn’t plan the timing as such, it just seemed the right time when I said let’s do it at end of 2013. Späti Palace was born. We released a free collection of 12 songs to highlight a lot of these local bands and had a show with three of them playing live and had a good time. Three months later in April 2014 the first 7 inch split single came out and here we are in February 2017 approaching our thirteenth physical release with our first full vinyl LP release to come in May. It hasn’t always been easy to keep going, financially and in terms of what it demands of your personal life but here we are and we’re long from finished.
What’s the musical ethos behind the label – how do you decide what fits and what doesn’t?
I like guitar-based bands and that’s mostly driven what I want to release. I like to see bands actually playing their instruments and giving it a good go on stage and getting a crowd into it, if I can’t see a band in full flow I’m not interested in it.
What’s the secret of your success so far?
I’d say the label has only had moderate success but in terms of actually getting their music out at all on physical form I’d have to give a lot of credit to the bands, they’re the ones making the music. It sounds all very easy until you get down to actually bringing something out, then you realise what has to get done, now it’s much more straightforward for me but at the beginning I had to learn it all from scratch.
Where do you do most of your listening?
I go to a lot of blogs for new music but I also listen to a lot of vinyl at home and tapes too actually as I was given a great tape player a few years ago which had me digging out boxes of old tapes from way back and now I buy more tapes again at shows especially.
How did/do you find talent?
Mainly from my own shows which I started in 2012. It really took off from there, I started off with full houses of people not expecting to see bands that good and being genuinely surprised when you told them they are all Berlin bands. It’s a reflection of how people view the underground indie scene in Berlin that they just don’t expect to see bands that good. So I feel like I did something to change that attitude a little bit. now unfortunately one venue that I used a lot for my shows has been shut down so that energy and sense of place for the scene has dissipated a little, it was a good few years though, wouldn’t change it for anything.
What’s the best new band/ artist you’ve heard?
Well of course i’ll say one we are going to release won’t I? haha. Yes, Kala Brisella firstly, whose debut LP we’ll release in May. watch out for that. Highest Sea is the other one which is coming end of this month. (This interview took place in early March – see EP below)
Fronted by Leila Zanzibar it’s a great three-piece which reminds me at once of Mazzy Star and Lower Dens, they were a real find to see the live at the old venue. The second video from the EP will be made by James Slater who has directed videos for Daughter, The Coral and Major Lazer among others. Leila and he have been friends for many years and so we’re delighted he agreed to do a video for her.
What are your ambitions for the label?
Just to keep getting bands out there that we believe in, it’s not the plan to turn into a huge thing but to be consistent in quality and in regularity of the releases which hopefully reflect what’s going on in the city musically in terms of the style of bands we like.
the Späti Palace playlist