Following a small break with our MNMT Label Showcase series, we are delighted to bounce back with another from one of Australia’s classiest underground hypnotic techno and experimental labels to date; Southern Lights. We have a chat with Daniel Filipovic, a key figure and founder behind the label and are thrilled to share the stunning showcase mix that he has prepared for us.
1. Hi Daniel, thank you for preparing a Southern Lights label mix for us, as well as taking some time to chat about the label. How are you?
First up; thank you to MNMT for reaching out – it’s been a pleasure to prepare a mix for one of my favourite podcast series.
I’m doing OK, all things considering. We are nearing the end of eleven weeks into a hard lockdown in Melbourne due to the COVID situation, which has included curfews, a 5km travel limit and no visitors at home. A focus on mental health and well-being has been key…music, family and health have been central to staying focussed on the things that really matter.
2. In 2015 you started the label. You are now working on it together in partnership with your close friend, Carlos. Can you tell us what led to your decision to start a label? Was there an experience or something that inspired you guys to create the label?
The decision was the result of many experiences over time: great nights and parties having met and played alongside some great artists and DJ’s, counting many of them as close friends and providing an outlet for them to release their music, while at the same time giving Carlos and I the chance to curate our vision of music for the now and future.
Carlos joined the fold just prior to the third release and since then we have been working in lockstep curating the label together. Carlos moved his family to Amsterdam in 2018 so now Southern Lights HQ is split between Melbourne & Amsterdam.
3. Can you share a bit about the concept of the label and the artwork? Is there a story behind the label name?
The concept was to shine a light on close friends and artists hence the name “Southern” and “Lights”, which is also a synonym for the Southern Lights aurora phenomena, but the label itself is not bound by geography or any one scene, although we have supported a number of Australian artists and will continue doing so.
The artwork and visual identity is recognised by two designers: Craig McWhinney and Acid Hazel. We discuss a general brief around the artwork direction and that brief is then realised by either Craig or Pati (Acid Hazel), depending on the release.
A couple of my favourites have been the Modern Heads release which Craig designed based on an original print by Dino Sabatini, and The Lost Few LP, which Pati designed. As Dave’s music (Lost Few) included a number of found sounds from the Tasmanian wilderness and Buchan caves in Victoria, the images of the caves have been overlaid as a background texture amongst plants Pati weaved as a collage – and then captured as the final artwork. Some of those designs are available as glossy A3 prints on the Lost Few Bandcamp site. Link here.
4. This year marks the labels 5th anniversary, how did you celebrate?
With the release of our first VA compilation, the “Charged Particles” EP series. Charged particles is a metaphor taken from the Aurora Australis wonder, where charged particles from the sun enter the atmosphere to create the Southern Lights. These EP’s represent our vision of sonically charged particles being released into the atmosphere…that moment when the needle hits the surface of the record and the magic happens.
Volume 1 was released in July and featured 18 Figures, Cliche Morph, Bastian Balders and Shoal and Volume 2 will be released early December and will feature Vohkinne, Sebastian Bayne, Michal Wolski and Metapattern.
5. How do you feel about the development of the label in the past 5 years, and where do you see it heading in the coming years?
We feel great about it. It’s been quite organic, with an emphasis on quality over quantity. It’s all part of that curation process. We see ourselves as continuing on the same path and working with first-class artists and producers as one family. We’ll continue releasing vinyl while there is demand for it.
6. Whats next for Southern Lights?
Exploring new sounds, working with our existing artists as well as helping to develop new and upcoming talent, and to keep releasing interesting electronic music across the techno spectrum. In terms of future releases, following the Charged Particles Vol. 2 we will release a remix EP for Lost Few’s “Between the Silence” LP early next year, with remixes from Dino Sabatini, Vohkinne, Karim Maas and Years of Denial. In terms of sonics this release will cover a diverse spectrum, all four remixes are absolutely amazing. Beyond that, there are releases in the pipeline with a few artists so let’s see how those experiments shape up in the future…
7. Can you give us a rundown on the mix you have prepared for us?
I decided to prepare an all-label mix, using our past and current releases. The purpose of this was to introduce the label to those who may not have caught our past releases. It’s an all-vinyl mix with a number of tracks from Lost Few, Modern Heads, Craig McWhinney, ALPI, Bastian Balders, Cliche Morph and remixes from Blazej Malinowski, Michel Wolski and Fabrizio Lapiana. It was interesting to look back and see a certain consistency of sound over those releases.
Modern Heads – Elemento A [Southern Lights]
Lost Few – Bound By Many Eyes [Southern Lights]
DRYAD – Pressure (Michal Wolski Remix) [Southern Lights]
ALPI – End of Matter [Southern Lights]
Bastian Balders – Sphere [Southern Lights]
Michal Wolski – Primeval (Blazej Malinowski Remix) [Southern Lights]
Modern Heads – Elemento D [Southern Lights]
ALPI – Hidden River [Southern Lights]
Cliche Morph – Shifting Flux [Southern Lights]
Modern Heads – Elemento B [Southern Lights]
Ground Loop – Don’t Slip (Fabrizio Lapiana Remix) [Southern Lights]
Craig McWhinney – Upon Humanity [Southern Lights]
ALPI – Chant [Southern Lights]