01. Onont Kombar - The Last Day Lasts Forever
02. Identified Patient - Low Kust
03. Cienfuegos - Slipping Venus (Entro Senestre Remix)
04. DJPT - I Told You I Didn't Dance For A Reason (Tape Version)
05. Cosmo Vitelli feat. Andrew Claristidge - The Horse Incident
06. Chupacabras - Unaware
07. Alessandro Adriani & Cosimo Damiano - Riot Surfers
08. Poperttelli - BBB
09. Univac - Station Cero
10. Pinballspider - Circuit Breaker
11. Pluto Junkies - Calisto Moon Rock
12. NGLY - X-l984
13. Aloka - XTX3
14. Soul Edifice - Neurotic Behavior
15. Zeta Reticula - Formation Of Life
16. Fabio Monesi - Strings of Love
17. Black Devil - "H" Friend
Patrick Marsman, AKA Marsman is a very busy man. Back in 2013 the label Pinkman was first given form with Drvg Cvltvre’s Offender Status E.P. over the following years Pinkman has gone on to release music from a wealth of talented artists including Antenna, DJ Overdose, Identified Patient, Alessandro Adriani, Xosar, Black Merlin and our very own Ernestas Sadau, among many others. Pinkman has since been complimented with the materialisation of sub-label Charlois and the tougher edged white label series Pinkman Broken Dreams. Marsman has also been responsible for instigating and realising Rotterdam’s very own digital radio station, Operator along with Osman Bas, Ofra Beenen, Jeff van Hoek and Jorn de Vries in 2017, with Operator now sitting in the swirling, luminescent kernel of Rotterdam's’ cultural firmament. A firm Tsunami favourite, Marsman is the epitome of DT style: creative, vigorous, fiercely idiosyncratic and relentlessly DIY. We’re ecstatic therefore to be able to present our latest podcast and interview courtesy of this exponent of quality underground electronic music and hard working architect of the contemporary Rotterdam underground.
DT: In previous interviews you have given, the answer to the question: why did you start Pinkman flows along the lines of, ‘I had music from friends I wanted to release’. However, why did you feel that you as an individual should be the one to release their music? Where did that motivation to get into the record business and do it all your own way come from? Lots of people are in possession of friend’s music, but they rarely do anything with it.
Marsman: To be honest, it was out of egocentric motives. At the time I was mostly playing vinyl at my DJ gigs, so I wanted to be able to play it out myself. I very much believed in the music I was given by my friends and I told myself that if I press it onto vinyl, other people will buy and play it too. Not only that motivation made me consider starting Pinkman, I also feel very attached to the idea of DIY. I think this mentality applies to most of Holland’s westcoast, labels like Bunker & Viewlexx for example. In the beginning, there was no big plan, not for the next 5 years, not for the finances, I just started it and after a while realized that this might actually work out.
DT: Alongside Pinkman you run two sub-labels Charlois and Broken Dreams, as well as running a record shop and being a major part of Operator Radio. How has the Coronavirus impacted these platforms and what steps have you taken to protect them and their ability to function in the future in the face of the challenges posed by the virus? Have you had to adopt cost saving exercises or has your release schedule been scaled back for example?
MM: Like many others, corona hit us suddenly and has forced us to close both the record store and the radio station for almost 2,5 months. Starting next week, we’re gonna be open again (with the respective measures). In order to achieve that we worked the last months on remodeling our store – it has been doubled in size so that people can hold the required distance. Our employees will work with protective gloves and disinfectant gel will be available for customers to use.
Regarding the release schedule I feel that prior to corona we had releases on a large scale so when we had to slow down it didn’t feel much like we were lacking something, although the numbers of releases were decreasing or the time needed to put records out was longer. But we didn’t completely stop in the end.
We were also affected by the virus regarding our upcoming Pinkman Label Tour, ‘Streams in Wastelands’, which, except for the first two shows in Barcelona and Dortmund, was cancelled completely. That, as well as the earnings through our record shop which ceased, forced us to cut our expenses.
DT: Do you think the club scene will go back to normal in the near future, or is the Coronavirus a watershed moment for the industry which will instigate long lasting change? If the industry must implement meaningful change how do you think it will adapt?
MM: I thought a lot about this in the last months and the thing is that I just can’t predict what’s gonna happen. There is a lot of anxiety going around: what will happen in September? Will clubs be allowed to open again? If not, this might be a real problem for many clubs that are depending on the earnings.
One thing this whole situation could change for the better though would be for clubs and promoters to think more regionally. There are so many European cities who have a vital scene that can easily self-sustain themselves with their artists, their DJs and their upcoming generation. Maybe it’s not necessary to have everybody fly around the globe all the time. Maybe this is something we should rethink.
DT: One debate related to the Coronavirus in the Netherlands has been the disconnect in support from the national government between corporations and their employees and the support given to smaller businesses, freelancers and the artistic community. Do you think artists and the smaller enterprises they run should receive more support from national governments, financial or otherwise and if so, why?
MM: Even in pre-corona times I was missing respect and acknowledgement for the importance of the cultural scene from the government. I find that in the Netherlands it is not balanced out as we do get some support from the government but not nearly as much as some of the big companies they regard as essential for the economy.
DT: If you cast a glance over the achievements of the Netherlands in the realm of underground dance music, you cannot fail but to come away impressed with the energy and vigour of the artists and entrepreneurs who have been at work over the last four decades. From brands like Clone to Dekmantel, to labels such as Pinkman, Bunker, New York Haunted, Bio Rhythm, Frustrated Funk, Nous'klaer Audio, BAKK, Creme Organisation and Knekelhuis (to name just a few) and the wealth of artists these labels highlight, the Netherlands is undoubtedly a hub for quality underground dance music. Why do you think the diminutive Netherlands manages to be so prolific and bursts with this vibrant creative force?
MM: This is a hard question, I don’t really know to be honest. Maybe it’s just in our culture? Especially in the 80’s/90’s we were a progressive and open-minded country. Squatting was allowed, there were a lot of underground squat parties back in these days. I think that the circumstances were so that many people had the opportunity to express themselves, maybe more freely than in other countries. Also if there is already a big scene more people will be involved and more stuff will come out of that.
DT: Pinkman has developed into a multi-platform brand, with its own merchandising, record shop, club nights and sub-labels. Do you see a tension between creativity and consumerism and between art and industry, and if so how do you attempt reconcile these forces?
MM: I truly believe in creating my own world. This is very much related to the way I work in general. I gotta admit, my attention span is not that high, I need to challenge myself with new music related projects from time to time or otherwise I get bored with it. Regarding the tension between creativity and consumerism, I think what we really want to accomplish with our work is to build a community in Rotterdam, support upcoming artists by giving them a platform because we believe in them, bring people together through our parties. Of course, this work requires a lot of effort and time that is put into it. But if you can achieve that without making concessions and can live off it, I don’t see a conflict of interest there.
DT: Toward the end of the 90s and into the first half of the new millennium, in part due to changing government attitudes and Policing methods the Dutch underground music scene came to something of a low ebb, with for example the closure of several legendary clubs. However, given the wealth of artistic endeavour currently undertaken in the Netherlands, the strength of the domestic club scene and the success of brands like Clone, Dekmantel, Rush Hour and Red Light Radio, do you see Pinkman and Operator as a part of a wider Dutch renaissance in club culture and underground electronic music?
MM: Operator & Pinkman are first and foremost looking to do something for the city, to give something back. The energy in Rotterdam is always a bit fluctuating. Right before corona hit us the club scene was booming again but before that it just didn’t have the right energy, it was lacking the hunger of the people to go out and explore new music. Hence, I can only really speak for our scene here. In the end, everything I do and try to achieve is for Rotterdam: the people, the scene and the city I fell in love with when I moved here.
DT: For over a decade now, noisy, melancholic early 80s inspired dance music has been taking the underground by storm and with its success Pinkman has played a part in contributing to this zeitgeist. ‘Retro-futuristic revivalism’ is a phrase often seen in the dance music media with several words in a particular, ‘EBM’, ‘wave’ and ‘post-punk’ becoming almost ubiquitous. Do you have any opinions on where this turn to punk and synth wave inspired music came from and the reasons behind its current popularity in the European underground?
MM: To be honest, I just don’t think that it ever stopped. There might have been a time when it maybe was not popular to listen these types of music. I think the interest of the masses in specific types of music comes in waves, it evolves. The music was always there.
DT: If the Marsman of today could go back and speak words of wisdom to the Marsman of 2012 with respect to running a record label, what would he say?
MM: As I said in other interviews before my whole idea behind Pinkman is based on not overthinking things and following your gut feeling. And since I also think making mistakes is quite important in order to learn from them, in, I don’t regret many things that went wrong. One piece of advice would be however is to not hold back out of fear for failure or not achieving your goals. I waited too long to focus completely on music, and not have another income on the side, which was what I really wanted to do. I was afraid that it wouldn’t work out. But like I said, no regrets.
DT: Are there any up and coming artists currently on your radar you would like to highlight, so we can go and investigate their work? What is it about these artists that you find exciting?
MM: It’s gonna be the usual suspects. Since Digital Tsunami and Pinkman are well connected I am sure you and your audience are familiar with the artists of the upcoming releases. I really like to build a long-lasting relationship with an artist, as I think that this will result in mutual growth and I find that much more interesting than to collect as many artists as possible. Thus, the next scheduled releases are going to be by Alessandro Adriani (who will return to Pinkman for his third release), Olivia (who is going to have her first vinyl EP on our label), Gamma Intel will release his second EP and Pasiphae will enter the Pinkman family. In the end, familiar faces but all quality.
DT: If you could go back to back in the DJ booth with any figure from human history, who would it be and why?
MM: It would be Peter Slaghuis for sure! His DJ mixes from the 80s are truly a trademark in Dutch dance history. If you’re not familiar with them, check out his Disco Breaks series.
DT: Its moving steadily towards ten years of Pinkman, what do you see in the future of the label?
MM: Label wise we just gonna continue putting out more good music from our artists and wherever the future takes us. I am happy were we are right now with Pinkman.
I also really enjoy working on our merchandise, it’s great to see people you don’t know walking around in your clothing. I’ve also got a new studio space for myself and planning on buying some more gear. Last year our club nights in Rotterdam really took off so we definitely do these again when possible.