Mark Kufner, one half of OG house duo Toronto Hustle, has been entertaining Torontonians for over three decades, spinning at some of the city’s most hallowed house music landmarks and releasing classic and deep house cuts in between. Now Mark is launching his very own house music Label, Selections and has released a brand new mix for Glossi Mag. We sat down with him to talk about his new venture, the labels first release, and who he’s listening to these days.
As a house music veteran, what made you start your own label? Why this particular moment?
I have always wanted my own label, to curate music that I love and to have an outlet for the artists and music. I have also been collecting vinyl for most of my life, and having a label that focuses on vinyl is something that is very special to me. The timing feels right and I decided that I wanted to do this now, and I have so many friends/producers around the world who are making incredible records so having that connection makes this the best time for me personally.
Why the name ‘Selections’?
The name Selections is a name I have been using for an events series I have been doing for almost 2 years now in Toronto. The parties have been focused on quality Selections of music ranging from deep house, garage, and disco to techno. The idea is keeping that vibe and translating it onto the label. One of the things that helps these events stand out is that people can expect to hear tracks that they may have never heard before from the past, or upfront tracks that have just been released, all while maintaining a healthy selection of tracks from all eras of the dance music spectrum. Dj’s are also known as Selectors, and play selections. So there you have it!
What kinds of sounds and artists are you looking to curate on this label? Take us through the process of selecting (if you will) tracks or artists for a release.
As for artists, anyone who I release on the label is someone I already admire and support. I have the first 6 releases lined up, and they are all from artists who I already play in my DJ sets on a regular basis. The sound is really depending on the artist. I have some really deep stuff coming, a couple of eps on the techy side, some lush analog french vibes and I even have a techno release in the line-up. That’s all in keeping with the Selections name. As for selecting the tracks, my process is simple, if its something I would see myself playing, it’s worth releasing.
Tell us about your first release. How does ‘Nick Holder – Selected Works’ set the tone for the vibe of the label?
That’s a great question! Well, anyone who knows me knows I have been a massive Nick Holder fan since the first time I bought a house record in 92. It took a little convincing but I pitched the idea to Nick before I even had a distribution deal sorted. I wanted to launch the label with an artist who has heavily influenced me as a DJ, and an artist who would be worthy of having a reissued ep of some of their most iconic tracks. Nick was a no brainer. His DNH imprint is one of the most incredible labels of all time. I decided to launch the label with a reissue first, as the label will have reissued eps from time to time to reintroduce the younger audience to music that has been made since long before their time. So for this reason, Nick Holder – Selected Works seemed like the best way to launch Selections, and the end result is amazing!
Selections is Vinyl only, why was this decision important for you? What is it about Vinyl that has stood the test of time over other audio media?
So, Vinyl is very special to me. It is what I learned to DJ on, and when I was in my teens and 20’s, if you wanted to play house music, you could only do so with vinyl. I worked at Traxx and spent most of my life digging in crates between play de record and traxx looking for those perfect jams, which is something that has all but vanished. I have always felt that with the right set up, it’s still the best sounding media. I also only play vinyl and have been hugely inspired by the current vinyl-only scene happening today. There is a different sound coming out in the vinyl-only scene that you cannot get on the major download sites. A sound that you literally have to buy the vinyl to get, which I feel sets people apart. Anyone can play the latest top 10 Beatport chart, along with EVERYONE ELSE!
Who are some DJs and producers, both locally and internationally, that are exciting you these days?
So that’s a hard question but I do have some artists locally and internationally that I support always. as for locals, I am a massive fan of DEMUIR. His talents are beyond words, and literally everything he releases is top-notch. Nick Holder is definitely at the top of my list. Dan Only is a newer artist locally who really caught my ear, his last 2 releases on Dirt Crew are both incredible (he also has an ep in the works for Selections) Jamn Ensemble is another local (by way of Paris) to watch. Internationally I am a huge fan of Cinthie, Brawther, DJ steaw and of course we can’t forget about the OG’s my man Kerri Chandler, Louie Vega, Mood II Swing and so on… but those are exciting me as of now!
Will we be expecting any Toronto Hustle releases on the label anytime soon?
Yes, but not until the first 5 to 6 releases are out. You’ll have to wait and see!
Your Label launch and record release party is November 29th at Bambi’s, what can we expect?
You can expect quality records from start to finish! That I can guarantee!
Cody Rooney is a Glossi Mag contributor.
He is a photography aficionado, masters candidate, fashion enthusiast, avid Ariana Grande fan and lover of all things aesthetically pleasing.