Serial Records is one of the oldest Electronic music labels in France. Founded in 1996 by a group of friends in love with House music, the company quickly became one of major players of the French House scene, discovering major artists like Soldiers of Twilight, Didier Sinclair, D’Julz, DJ FEX and Muttonheads. Constantly searching for new talents, the label has managed to ajust its artistic choices over the years to keep pace with an always envolving art, without ever denying its heritage. Here is the story.
House & Deep House debuts
Most of the EPs released in the very first years immediately met a critical success and artists like DJ Bertrand, DJ Rork, Demon Ritchie and D’Julz started gaining recognition and aknowledgement from the Electronic music world. However, Serial Records’ first real commercial achievement would eventually happen in 2000 with Didier Sinclair and his cult-classic track Lovely Flight.
One year later, Soldiers of Twilight – consisting in the association between Demon Ritchie, DJ Rork and singer Ladybird – release their third single Believe. The track is remixed by Martin Solveig and is played by the big names of the House and Electronic scene : Pete Tong, Roger Sanchez, Franckie Knuckles, Kerri Chandler and DJ Gregory. With Lovely Flight, Believe remains one of the label’s most popular hits so far.
On the model of the Love Parade in Berlin, Paris has been hosting, since 1998, a cultural event dedicated to Techno music, and more generally speaking, all electronic kinds of music, gathering thousands of music lovers following and dancing around huge parading sound systems. In 2002, DJ FEX offers the Techno Parade its anthem. His track Indie Walk has ranked the French charts for 12 weeks. It includes a colorful oriental sample which is still engraved in every House lover’s heart.
More artists subsequently joined the roster : Tom Pooks, Carlos Fauvrelle, Sanki Panki… increasing the repertoire and bringing about new collaborations, such as on Fucking Filter produced by DJ Bertrand and Ivan Smagghe. An opportunity to gather all the recent efforts in an in-house compilation. The project was born under the name French Do It Better and was carried out by the then A&R, Mathieu Bouthier.
At that time, Mathieu Bouthier signs a new young producer, deeply inspired by Disco music and the « French Touch » vague which was initiated a few years earlier and popularized by bands like Daft Punk, Cassius and Stardust. His name, Muttonheads, is now one of the biggest names of the French House scene. His first single To You is released in 2004 and is part of the label’s most important successes, as well as many of his upcoming singles. To You is the first release to come with a music video.
Muttonheads will soon join Mathieu Bouthier to produce Need U under the name of « Serial Crew » in 2006. Once again, the track is played by the greatest international DJs and ranks at the first place of Pete Tong and Judge Jules’ Buzz Chart. Need U is also the first track to be massively playlisted by French national radios, including Fun Radio, FG Radio and Contact Radio.
Building on the momentum, Serial Records signs a new band, The Frenchmakers, composed by three unknown young DJs, originally inspired by the same « French Touch » movement. Two of them, Arno Cost and Norman Doray, were about to become major players of the international Progressive House scene.
The Progressive Era
Right after the release of Let U Go with the Frenchmakers, Arno Cost joins a new friend of his, Arias. Together they start working on a new track, mixing their personal influences in an attempt to achieve a more groundbreaking sound. After several months of production tweaking, the track is eventually named Magenta and released in the middle of 2006, along with two remixes by Tom Novy and Dave Spoon.
The single is an international hit and gets to be the anthem of 2007’s Winter Conference in Miami. Two years later, Arno Cost releases Apocalypse with Norman Doray and confirms the success! Both tracks are supported and played by all the DJs the young boys have always idolized, including Axwell, Sebastian Ingrosso, Steve Angello and Pete Tong. In the future, Arno Cost will be called upon to remix tracks for David Guetta, Dirty South, Eric Prydz, Steve Angello, Martin Solveig and Moby, to name just a few.
While Arno Cost, Norman Doray and Arias enjoy a long series of Progressive House tracks, Mathieu Bouthier and Muttonheads keep on producing a more local House, handling sample loops and groovy beats with heavy compression. In 2006, they release Make Your Own Kind Of Music, followed by Remember and a new version of Need U in 2008.
As Progressive House becames Serial Records’ main genre of production, the label signs more and more worldwide artists: Michael Feiner from Sweden, Swanky Tunes from Russia, Dabruck & Klein from Germany and many more. Until they find out a young Scandinavian producer called Tim Berg. He is now better known as Avicii.
Tim Berg’s first single Seek Bromance is out by the end of 2010. The track is signed to Universal Music France, ranks among the most playlisted tracks of the year and keeps its status for weeks. In the wake of this triumph, he produces (under the name of Avicii) a new version of Nadia Ali’s former hit Rapture. The single happens to be another international hit, and three being the magic number, Muttonheads will soon come up with the most important commercial success of his carrier.
Dancing With The Stars
Once upon a time, a talented producer met a wonderful singer. Together, they would release a series of successful songs.
Early 2012, Muttonheads meets singer Eden Martin. The first single out of this collaboration Trust you Again hits the top of the French charts and is granted with not one but two music videos : a winter and a summer version. The story continues on with Going Away and reaches its commercial peak in 2013 with the single Snow White (Alive). Once again, the single hits the spot and comes to occupy the first position in the French radio charts, for weeks. Dancing With The Stars and Stronger Than Ever will soon complete the picture.
With more than 30 singles and EPs out and a dozen critical and commercial successes, one could say that Muttonheads has been the most prolific artist of Serial Records’ roster so far.
At the same time, Progressive House releases are well under way. Arno Cost, Arias and Norman Doray have embarked upon various fruitful collaborations with Laidback Luke, Eddie Thoneick, Greg Cerrone and Nervo.
Always exploring for new tones, Serial Records also opened up to Eastern Europe artists who were proposing a relatively fresh new sound, mixing various influences from all over the world into an interesting and singular blend. In this regard, Dance music artists like Nikita, Mihai Ristea and Soré were signed, each offering a new look upon the global music scene.
On a completely opposite way, the label takes a quick step in the unknown. DJ Phantom, who had produced Indie Walk with DJ FEX ten years earlier, comes in with a brand new project called Dubstep Into A World. The album features fourteen tracks, twelve of them being produced by friends of his from the Electro and Dubstep world.
Back To Basics
In 2013, reminiscing of the early years, Serial Records launches « Deep In Your House », a new series of in-house compilations dedicated to the House and Deep House tracks that helped the label build its notoriety. Quickly, the compilation sells thousands of digital copies all over the world, as soon as the second volume is released. As a result of a sharp and classy selection, « Deep In Your House » has now become a reference collection for House and Deep House lovers.
More than twenty years later, the story is still being written.