Label Profile: KISM Recordings
Influenced by his years as a resident DJ at the legendary London After-Hours club, Trade, Pagano has cemented his reputation as one of Europe’s most driven and creative DJs to come out of the London club scene with residencies at Belgium’s La Demence (Fuse, Brussels), Spain’s Matinee parties (Barcelona & Ibiza) and London’s XXL club. Steeped in the groove and not sticking to one sound whilst referencing that 90s House, Hard House and Nu-Energy vibes that have helped shape the sound of London’s gay club scene, Pagano is pushing the sound via his KISM label which celebrated their debut compilation, ‘Evolution Vol 1’ earlier this year featuring artists like Ben Remember, Paride Saraceni, Filterheadz, Skober, Chris Bekker, Tuff London and Agent Orange. The compilation managed to climb 5 Beatport charts simultaneously, hitting the #1 slot in one of them.
Featured in a recent DJ Magazine interview (March 2018) and with his Toolroom release ‘The Rebel’ still rocking floors, Pagano continues to prove why his productions have crossed over – gaining support from A-List DJs in the mainstream and underground scene including Carl Cox, Adam Beyer, Nicole Moudaber, Paco Osuna, Joseph Capriati, Monika Kruse, Mark Knight, Format:B, Danny Tenaglia, Chris Lake and Tiesto.
When and what inspired you to start your own label?
After the turn of the millennium Techno and Tech House had generally gone deeper and slower. Being a resident DJ at the iconic after hours club, Trade in London, I’ve always loved the groovier and more energetic side of things. By 2015 I had Carl Cox, UMEK, Dave Angel, Cristian Varela and a few other respected Techno names supporting my releases and remixes so I thought it was the right time to set up my new label. The idea was to create an unrestricted platform to showcase the evolution of my sound and of the sound of the producers that I championed during my DJ sets.
Why did you choose the name KISM?
Since the sound I was going for was a departure from what was popular at the time in the scene, I initially wanted to call it Schism, which means: “a split or division between strongly opposed sections or parties caused by differences in opinion or belief” – I quickly realised that name might have come across with a negative and polemic undertone to it. I did not want this kind of vibe attached to the label. As I looked for alternatives I simply edited the word and settled for KISM.
Which artists are on the label?
At present we’ve had tracks or remixes from Filterheadz, Paride Saraceni, Agent Orange, Skober, Tuff London, Dale Howard, Ben Remember, Jason Chance, Paolo Martini, Twofalls, Reza, Sweet Female Attitude, Kostas Maskalides, Chris Bekker, Angel Heredia, Obi Baby and a few others. All these artists have impressed me not only for their talent and signature sound but also for their passion and humility.
Which DJs play you music?
We have been getting plays from DJs across all genres of Electronic music. With only 12 releases on our catalogue so far, it has been really encouraging to get support from legends such as Carl Cox, Adam Beyer, Monika Kruse, Roger Sanchez, Tony Humphries, Steve Lawler, Mark Knight, Danny Tenaglia among others and from some of the current hottest names in the industry including Alan Fitzpatrick, Paco Osuna, Joseph Capriati, D-Unity, DJ Boris and Spartaque. We have also been getting some plays from mainstream artists like Benny Benassi, Kryder and Lost Frequencies which is certainly a good sign.
Proudest KISM moment?
There have been a few so far: from seeing videos of the iconic Carl Cox having the time of his life while playing our releases at Festivals and clubs around the world, to witnessing our first mixed compilation ‘Evolution Vol. 1’ climbing 5 Beatport charts simultaneously until it hit #1 in one of them. Another jaw-dropping moment was receiving positive feedback from one of the fathers of House music ‘Tony Humphries’ on the single ‘Give It To Me’ and I quote: “nice vocal tune…reminiscent of the Detroit sound”
What’s coming up on KISM?
After ‘Give It To Me’ from myself, Reza & Sweet Female Attitude there’s a new Techno track from Ukrainian DJ/Producer Skober (who’s appeared on Drumcode/Terminal M and Tronic) coming out at the end of August followed by a two track EP from former Egg LDN London resident LED Project. At the end of October, there’s a solid Techno Remix of my single Pagano – ‘The Black Sheep’ by Drumcode, Relief and BEK Audio artist Skiver. Future releases also include new collaborations with Chris Bekker from Paul Van Dyk’s ‘Vandit Record’s and with NYC Techno maestro Agent Orange, plus singles from our in-house talents Obi Baby and Tony Bruno.
Advice for wanna be label heads?
What I have learnt so far is that you definitely have to put in the work. Running a label is time consuming and a challenge for a touring DJ. Apart from that the two most important things are – having a point of view, a vision and a sound but most of all making sure that the quality of the releases is impeccable and to industry standards. So many labels and new releases are fighting for the public and big DJs attention every day, you have to make the best of every opportunity.
5 Essential KISM releases:
1. Agent Orange – ‘I’m Free’ Original Mix
Carl Cox plays KISM Recordings release ‘I’m Free’:
2. Sister Bliss – ‘Can’t Get A Man, Can’t Get A Job (Life’s A Bitch)’ – Pagano Remixes
3. Pagano feat. Shena ‘Rise’ Paride Saraceni Remix
Adam Beyer & Ida Engberg plays KISM Recordings release ‘RISE’:
4. Pagano – ‘Starburst’ Filterheadz Remix
5. Pagano presents ‘Evolution Vol. 1’
‘Give It To Me’ is the new single from Pagano & Reza & Sweet Female Attitude featuring mixes from Dale Howard, Pagano and Dukat and out on KISM Recordings now. Check KISM out at Soundcloud