This year the French label Knotweed Records is celebrating ten years of existence. On this occasion, we asked the founder Philippe Petit to select one track for each year since the label’s inception in 2011, representing its aesthetic and development over the last decade.
Philippe Petit: “Putting together this list was not an easy task. For the last ten years I’ve tried to propose a coherent body of work, where each release, whether old or new, can be mixed with each other. You should not limit yourself to the tracks below and take the time to dig a bit further in our catalogue, where you can also find great music by Opuswerk, Terrence Dixon, Invite, Hydergine, Benales, FBK, Non Reversible, Clark Davis, Javadeep, The Plant Worker, Andrea Belluzzi, Joaquin Ruiz and more. Thank you all for your support so far!”
2011: Myk Derill – Poetry (KW002)
I heard of Myk via his release on Myles Serge’s Re(form) label. Myk approached me with some demos and straight away KW002 was born. Myk has developed his unique style: cold, sometime brutal, and always funky. Brendon Moeller calls him “the funky bulldozer of techno” for a reason. Myk and I developed a very strong relationship and played quite a few times together over the years, with some legendary gigs at Tresor, Suicide Circus, La Graviere and more. He will be back soon on Knotweed with a killer 3-tracker (KW044 ’Suburban Depth’).
2012: Myles Sergé – Agua (KW007)
Myles was living in Brighton at the time. I really liked the aesthetic of his music in general and his label Re(form) in particular. We got in touch and clicked right away. The idea was “you release on my label, I release on yours”. His first release for me was KW007 and I still play this track ‘Agua’ all the time – amazing stuff. It mixes perfectly with my track ‘Rain in the Valley’ from KW001. I got to release my ’Seasons’ EP on his Space label in 2014 – thanks Myles! Myles also had a very introspective second release on KW014, called ‘The Awakening’, which I urge you to listen to. When he played a warm up set at Berghain in 2014 and dropped the whole 10 minutes of ‘When I meet God’, the Church was seriously bouncing. Slow deep and groovy bouncing that is, the way a warm up should be. We also got to play at Tresor together a few years later, which was tons of fun too.
2013: Gonzalo MD – Decompression (KW011)
The relationship with Gonzalo has developed since the start of Knotweed. Hailing from Buenos Aires, he had recorded a podcast for my friends from CLFT (Simon and his crew from Lyon) with many unreleased tracks of him. I got in touch with him, he sent me demos, and his first release on KW004 was born. ‘Decompression’ on KW011 is typical Gonzalo-style track. Super trippy, infused with dub elements, quite hard and hypnotic at the same time. It made me think of a techno version of ‘Break Night’ from the Mole People when I first heard it. Gonzalo then released many records on my other label, Decision Making Theory. His DMT011 made quite a big impression and Fiedel chose a track out of it for his Berghain Mix 008. Thanks to this, I got to meet Fiedel who became a great friend too. I love it when you meet like-minded people via techno music. Gonzalo and I finally met in person in 2018 and we had the joy to share the decks together at Tresor in February that year. He had made the effort to bring his vinyl with him to Europe and totally blew me away with his hard, fast and precise techno set. It was not easy to play after him, the level was high. Both sets have been recorded and can be found on Soundcloud. Gonzalo will be back on KW045 ‘Quad Force One’, can’t wait for that vinyl to hit the shelves.
2014: Philippe Petit – Stars (KW014)
‘Stars’ was my fourth release on Knotweed. Things were rolling at that point. I had released the first two DMTs (’Take’ and ’Scrape’), and got my Eartoground release (with ‘Venus’) to hit the shelves earlier that year. Also that year Len Faki asked me to produce an EP for Figure SPC. What a year. Out of the blue, ‘Stars’, the title track of this EP, was selected by Laurent Garnier in his BBC Essential Mix. That was a big surprise and really made my day. There is also on the vinyl a Terrence Dixon interpretation of the track, which is amazing too. Thanks Terrence for being part of the Knotweed family!
2015: Julixo – Rebho (KW017)
Thanks to the Gonzalo connection, I was approached by many Argentinian producers and started to release many Argentinian artists on the label. Julixo is one of them. He has a deep musical understanding and it can be felt in his productions. Not stuck into one style of techno, he can produce one groovy track after another, ‘Rebho’ being one of them. Check also his amazing ‘Own Structure’ track on KW020 (which apparently became quite of a Berghain anthem so I heard) and his last release on KW029, where you can hear the new direction he is taking, further developed these last 3 years under his new alias Wachita China.
2016: The Fallen – Interference (KW020)
The Fallen is a duo out of Columbus, Ohio, made of James Johnson (Plural) and Kevin Kennedy (FBK). They are focused on machine techno improvisation. ‘Interference’ is one of my favourite Knotweed dub-infused tracks, and I do not think there is one DJ set since 2016 where I did not play this masterpiece. In fact quite often I need two vinyl copies of KW020 in my bag as this track mixes really well with my track ‘Exposed’ which is the A2 on this release. The Fallen also released their first EP on my label DMT019 in 2019. Finally last year FBK dropped the amazing KW036, where again, the intro track ‘074’ is now part of most of of my sets!
2017: Leghau – Coordination (KW025)
Cedric aka Leghau is a French producer that was based in Berlin at the time. He sent me demos with that very pure minimalistic sound that reminded me of Jeff Mills. I was missing that sound and really wanted to have that kind of music on the label. So the record came about very quickly. It was followed the year after by another brilliant release by him, KW031. I can assure you that the intensity of ‘Coordination’ gets everybody grooving on a dance floor. Check also the intro track of his KW031, called ‘Curse’. Heavy!
2018: Dying & Barakat – El sueño de una teoría (KW027)
It’s all about connections. Argentinian producers Rodrigo and Yibran, aka Dying & Barakat, had released a first EP in 2012 on my Lyon friend CLFT’s label that I really liked. Fast forward 2016 and KW018 ‘Modernismo’ was born, with a killer remix of ‘Modernismo’ from Bleak. KW027 was their second release on Knotweed, and again demonstrated their unique take on the Detroit techno sound. In summer 2018 I got them to play a live set in the mountains of my hometown Chamonix that was legendary. Barakat went on to release DMT021 under his alias Zreik, and earlier this year Dying released his first solo EP on KW038. Killer stuff too.
2019: Lee Holman – Class Warfare (KW034)
Again, Lee and I go way back. The CLFT connection, the Myles Sergé connection and more. He first appeared on DMT004 V.A. with a killer acid track called ‘Carve’. Lee, Myles, Aubrey and I then appeared together on a super limited vinyl pressing called One Off 001. Lee was back on DMT015 (check ‘Disarmament’, an absolute dance floor destroyer, I heard DVS1 play it at Berghain in 2019 and he pushed the sound system to its limits with that track) and then came to Knotweed with KW034 ‘Class Warfare’. In love with his machines, in love with his vinyl, Lee is my man. We played together at Tresor for a Knotweed birthday party in 2019 and he tore the place apart. He can play really hard! I got to appear on Lee’s label Demarcation 4 last year together with Sev Dah and Albert van Abbe. Check it out if you have not already! Lee will be back on KW048 ‘Advanced Technology’ with a record perfect for a space expedition: Two space acid tracks and two experimental ambient tracks.
2020: Mode_1 – Exit Left (KW035)
I was introduced to Robbie aka Mode_1 via Fiedel, who had him as a new artist on his ‘Appendix to the Mix’ 2×12 release in 2018, together with me and a bunch of other great producers. We met at a restaurant in Berlin and clicked straight away. Fresh blood from Ireland. Robbie started sending me demos and very quickly KW033 came about. I was so happy with it that I then released KW035 and now KW041 ‘Movements’. My mastering engineer Mathieu Berthet – who has been mastering virtually all KW and DMT releases since day one – is always super happy to work on Robbie’s tracks as, according to him, his production and mix down techniques are second to none. I am sure you will hear much more of Mode_1 in the coming months and years.
2021: Rove Ranger – Born (KW040)
I know I know, it says 10 tracks and this is number 11. But, yes, we are celebrating 10 years of Knotweed and started our eleventh year with a bang. Rover Ranger, a new German producer, had contacted me last year with a first batch of demos. The tracks were great, but the timing wasn’t right. Fast forward a few months, August 2020 a new batch of demos dropped in my inbox. The tracks were heavy again, and this time I was ready to go. Jan produces stripped down, minimal, fast and hard techno at the same time, fitting nicely in the Knotweed aesthetic: a perfect addition to the roster. Rove Ranger is making quite a name for himself at the moment with his Stuttgart techno crew: long live the new techno generation, I am very happy to have him on board. I am sure we will do more releases together soon!