Mush Records is different - in a good way. Its umbrella identity, Dirty Loop, was set up in 1997 by Robert Curcio who, at the time, was a traveling DJ. The studio that was Dirty Loop fast became a centre for budding artists wanting to explore different musical hybrids - artists such as Boom Bip, Lulu Mushi, DJ Osiris, and J. Cru. In the past few years they have gone from three releases a year and one distributor to thirty releases scheduled for this year and they have been picked up by fifteen distributors and are hitting every major music market in the world. LoQUAY caught up with Robert Curcio to find out more.

As A&R, how have you tracked down the artists you have signed? What sounds and ethos do you look for?

Mush signs music we like - without regard to genre. We consider ourselves an independent abstract label. We have releases ranging from instrumental, dance floor, jazz to trip hop to electronic bossa nova to underground hiphop to indie rock to drum'n'bass. We usually sign an artist to a single record deal (although we have signed a few to two record deals) and try to license the music to as many other territories as possible.

We have done licensing deals with Compost (Germany), Big Dada/Ninja Tune (UK), Tri Eight (Japan), East/West(Japan), Clean Up (UK) and many more. A&R is handled by me with some help from the entire Mush staff - especially Doseone. Even though we release different genres of music, we look for something in each that keeps the entire Mush catalog coherent. We stress quality of the music, vocals, writing, and artwork equally. I think this may be why we have gained some acceptance across multiple markets - out releases are complete packages.

Which releases have done really well for you and what do you put it down to?

All of our releases have done well. We seem to do better with each release. The Ropeladder 12 compilation did really well. I think the fact that the record covered all of the styles Mush has to offer really helped. Hip hop heads that purchased the record because of Slug realized how good the instrumental by Lulu Mushi and DJ Signify was. People that purchased the record because of Nickodemus (one of NYC's biggest DJs and a resident at Giant Step) got their first taste of Reaching Quiet's brand of indie rock. I think the comp really helped our other releases because all of a sudden, we had people buying records outside their genre from artists that they might not have normally been exposed to.

Does the Ropeladder 12 define your label fairly well?

Yes, Ropeladder gives a really good indication of what we have to offer. The idea was to use the record to build bridges across our different fan bases. We took most people who were making music for Mush, and switched a few of them around in some new combinations. I think it really worked. I have talked to people who say they purchased the CD for tracks 2 and 4 and spent the first three months skipping track 3 because they hated it on first listen. Eventually they got too lazy to get up and now track 3 is their favorite thing on the CD. I think most Mush records take a little getting used to. That's why we try to include lyric sheets whenever we can. We are hoping people take the time to sit down with the lyrics and a pair of headphones and be open to something they normally might not want to give a chance.


Mush Records