Broken Chains

16 August 2012 | 3:00 am | Troy Mutton

Forward-thinking local label Paper Chain is calling it a day, and Troy Mutton gets a few final words from founder Justin Elwin, aka Kit Pop.

What prompted you to start up Paper Chain in the first place? I left Perth for a while in 2007 and before going had just met Naik and Ta-ku. I kept in touch and listened to a lot of their music while I was away. When I started working for Ninja Tune in London I began to see what really went into running a label that I always looked towards. From that started to realise how on par a lot of our artists are compared to the rest of the world and made connections with people over there. I came home and wanted to offer an outlet and platform for Perth artists so Paper Chain formed. And what better way to start with Ta-ku and Naik releases?

Now that Paper Chain is calling it a day, has it been a tough decision? Yeah it was tough, it had been something on my mind for the past couple of months. The next 18 months were planned out with new artists deals and contracts pending with people/labels we have worked with before, but applying myself to the label was slowly fading because of my own schedule conflict. If I couldn't give 100% to it anymore, then I didn't want to see something we built so strong dwindle into nothing no one cared about anymore. So closure unfortunately was the best option.

What advice would you give to fellow WA peeps wanting to start a label? Be prepared to put in the hard work; like anything if you apply yourself to it and love it, things will fall into place. Don't get into it if you're thinking of making a quick buck off of trending music, those ships sail quickly and you'll always be chasing the eight ball. The most important thing is listening to a lot of music from anywhere and everywhere and finding material that speaks to people in many moods. If you listen to something and think it will still sound fresh to you or someone else in five years then go with your gut. It's always a gamble but if you believe in the artists, music and talent as much as they do that's the best thing to give.

Run us through some of the highlights for Paper Chain. Having artists produce for the likes of Cyhi Da Prynce (G.O.O.D. Music), Kid Daytona, Danny Brown, Schoolboy Q, Rakaa, Action Bronson among many others. Working with labels such as Brownswood (Giles Peterson), Project Mooncircle, HW&W, Soulection, Convex Collective to name a few have all been helpful with our artists and inclusion on compilations. Raashan Ahmad getting a best album nod in Europe is another. I guess the best highlights have been just releasing good music from friends I have made over the years and watching them grow as artists. Also it has been a great pleasure having one of the best DJs in the world (Zeke) and one of the most sought-after producers of the moment (Ta-ku) on the label. They have achieved so much in their own right over the years and I'm just glad I have been able to be a part of it with all of our roster.

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Following the launch party what's coming up for you personally, be it as Kit Pop or otherwise? I'm gonna keep making beats/remixes for artists. For my own projects, the album has hit the back burner but I'll get back onto it when I feel ready. Zeke and I will continue to play shows together, they are a lot of fun and with what we perform I think it's the right time for more momentum, so that will be a priority. On top of that a bit of change from here will be good for me, so some different surroundings will hopefully put me back in a better frame of mind to create.

The wake goes down this Friday, who's playing? Is it gonna be beers'n'cheers or beers'n'tears? Most of our roster and anyone we have worked with locally will be down to play on Friday. Ta-ku, Zeke, Diger Rokwell, Cosmo Gets, Rekab, Dr Space, Ylem, Mei Swan, Clunk, Saxon & Boy Prince and myself. Unfortunately Mathas and Naik are away so they couldn't join us. Cosmo Gets will be dropping some new unheard gems. There will be a lot of “Beers'n'Cheers”. No tears – it's only a label.

Any last shout-outs for Perth crews/peeps who've helped/generally just been awesome along the way? Thank you to everyone that has lent us a hand over the years, included our artists on your shows, collaborated on projects, just pretty much anyone that we have been in touch with over the years. I don't want to mention names because so many people have been so supportive over the years but thanks for always backing us. See you at The Bird.