Introducing the mesmerizing collection of tracks with Tabula Rasa Records as they release their debut compilation, Here & Now, on May 5th. Coming from one of the most uprising and pristine collectives, the Here & Now compilation features signature sounds that showcase the overarching scale of the Tabula Rasa ecosystem. Here & Now, featuring artists like Ramonpang, ROBY, Kelbin, Gaszia, and an incredible appearance from Thys (1/3 of Noisia), displays a huge capstone for Tabula Rasa. Before you step away from this moment, stand by to read the exclusive interview with Tabula Rasa founder Jozef White and Co-head of the label Ramonpang!
“I want listeners to find, through this record, a moment of appreciation for the present in spite of all the chaos, conflict, and controversy. We want to convey that there is an overwhelming amount of joy, fun, and room for expression. That there are so many creative and thoughtful people willing and ready to make this present moment amazing if only we could take the time to focus on aligning toward this end. Here & Now is a message about what can be accomplished by creative and dedicated individuals when, even loosely, they are all intentionally headed in the same direction, and the moments of bliss that result.”Jozef White – Tabula Rasa Founder
Take a grand step into a brief moment of bliss to enjoy the Here & Now with Tabula Rasa.
Now begins the time to settle into your body and mind. Tabula Rasa asks us to take a slow deep breath and feel all the sensations that crawl throughout our body. From now on, there is no need to disrupt the trance but instead, settle into our surroundings. Currently, this is our Here & Now, and Tabula Rasa asks us to accept the situation. The compilation brings an uplifting amount of fulfillment for all music lovers that want to expand their palette. All you need to do is enjoy the current moment and feel the blissful moments swarm in.
Take a further dive into tracks that will surpass all your expectations!
Immediately comes the serene introduction with label founder Jozef White. He introduces the audience to the tranquil environment with a soft voice as we are ready ourselves to experience the true meaning of Here & Now. Throughout the compilation, massive moments allow the audience to flourish in their surroundings. So whether you want a track that will enable you to escape and float aimlessly, “Air River” features Ramonpang and Kelbin. “Perky Loop” with Asterisk Youth and Ghost Forest also brings a mesmerizing element to our current trance. Or if you want to settle into the peacefulness of your environment, “Fate,” featuring Kinoteki, JHL, and Neir, shares a very melodic composition for our minds to wander.
The abundance of cleverness within new-age pop
Following along for the lovers of very sonic-driven and new-age pop, the compilation shares tracks like “Plasma Glass” with ROBY and dearest alyx. The lyricism throughout the track allows anyone to sing along loudly. While also, “Red,” featuring Gene GMY, JHL, and Brian Sereneo, brings a very addictive track. “Red” captures the hearts and gives everyone this jubilant energy to take over the world around us.
“At the core of it, Here & Now is our first compilation album and a statement of our label’s “sound” in a nutshell. Every sound, style, and emotion in this album has, in a sense, already been done on something we’ve released before, but the interesting part is the juxtaposition when put next to each other. Jozef and I have been building this sound over the past three years, and this is the most ‘concise’ way we can release it in a way that feels the most authentic—done in the spirit of collaboration.“Ramonpang – Co-head of the Tabula Rasa
Nothing but brilliant minds come together to achieve groundbreaking pieces of work.
Lastly comes the compelling components of the compilation that highlight the brilliance of Tabula Rasa’s sound. Tracks like “Crash & Fall” with Clearcast and Psykh deliver a euphoric, melancholic atmosphere that shows the up and downs of our trance state. Our Here & Now will constantly go through a rollercoaster of levels while getting a glimpse of the complexity “Cloaca Shake” offers. The combination of Gaszia and Xenon Chameleon unleashes the massive anxieties and thrills that linger inside. Ultimately giving everyone a chance to relive all the chaos and say, “f*ck it.”
Something more haunting and dark leads us to the realm of “Passed By You.“ The kinetic minds of Moemu and Skeith send us on a trip through the darker tunnels of electronic music. It brings us an alluring gem that lures us in for more. Finally comes a highlight with “Make It,” as it combines the incredible mind of Thys and the uprising producer Kelbin. They express talent in a timeless episode that gets the crowd to feel the overwhelming sensations around us.
Truly, the impact of Tabula Rasa is on full display as you listen throughout the compilation, with multiple impressive pieces that you head back to once you are done. Here & Now shows the overarching theme of fully embracing every cosmic energy around us. Tabula Rasa tells us the beautiful story of how our minds can be interconnected. And sometimes we forget to enjoy the present moment, as we always fear what is next. Although Here & Now reminds us to settle down and remember there is no time like the present.
seradopa: How surreal that after only three years of starting Tabula Rasa, you can showcase stellar talent with this compilation!
Ramon: It’s extremely surreal but also un-surprising in a way. Jozef and I have worked with artists like Kelbin, Kinoteki, and ROBY early on because we knew that their music was not only incredible but very holistic. Most of the artists on our label don’t have dreams of being big DJs or touring. Most want to release the most powerful music they can. The fact that we can give them a platform and community for people to associate with them is not only beneficial for everyone but very fun. We’ve been telling people for years that their music is incredible!
Jozef: It’s really wild. Our ambitions starting out were to create a well-respected organization. So as Ramon says, it’s unsurprising that this is what we’ve been aiming [towards] since the beginning. [But] of course, the degree to which our mission and sound resonate with people is remarkable. And we’re incredibly grateful for that! I initially had this idea when I was putting it together that it would take about five years actually to have a functional organization. But thanks to the hard work of everyone at TR, we’re now at this really exciting point where we can share this incredible work and spotlight some of the most talented people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting.
seradopa: Tabula Rasa continues to be this dynamic collective that surpasses all expectations. Especially recently getting recognition from VISIONrecs and a shoutout from G Jones himself. How have you both reacted to seeing the reception that Tabula Rasa has been getting lately?
All: This sums up both of our reactions, typo included:
seradopa: As a collective, what would both of you describe as some of your proudest moments building Tabula Rasa? And also, some learning points you both gained over the past three years?
Ramon: It sounds a bit self-promo-y, but this Here & Now compilation is one of my proudest moments for Tabula Rasa. After I graduated from UC Riverside and moved back to Glendale, I had a hard time finding like-minded people in Los Angeles that perfectly fit the vision I had for my music. Finding stuff that was UK, or maybe a bit EDM, but also hip-hop/trap/bass, but also very sincere and experimental? It felt like an impossible task at the time, especially locally. So when I met people like Sidewalk Boy and Jozef through Soundcloud and then in person in San Francisco, it gave me hope that there were people who wanted something like this imaginary label I was describing.
Jozef: I completely agree with Ramon on this one. This compilation feels like the capstone to everything we’ve put into the last 3+ years. I sat with the idea of starting TR for about seven years before actually starting on it. Then spent those seven years trying to refine exactly what shape this project was going to take. Watching this idea grow into what it is today is a constant source of energy and inspiration. Still, we are also trying to incorporate important lessons as quickly and completely as possible so TR can continue to flourish.
seradopa: Since you all describe Tabula Rasa as “not a label,” – how would you both describe how it helps build the creatives you have worked with? Do you have any advice for upcoming artists when releasing music with a label?
Ramon: As cliche as it sounds, Tabula Rasa feels like a family to us. It’s a bunch of goofballs that love music, especially ones that cross boundaries. When I hear about a new project from one of our artists, I’ll genuinely listen to it for weeks before it comes out. Then I formulate all these ideas about how to promote it. That personal connection is the most important thing for growth – allowing artists a comfortable space to go deeper within themselves.
That’s the most important part for any upcoming artist – finding a team of people that motivate you creatively. They don’t necessarily have to be other musicians or people in the music industry. Just people and friends that want to build things. Building a discography and honing your craft is important. There are many reasons why art becomes stagnant, and all of them can be prevented by putting yourself in comfortable yet challenging creative environments.
Jozef: Another cliche from me, but it comes directly from the foundational principles on which TR is based. Tabula Rasa is a way of approaching the status quo. And what it is that a label ought to be exactly, but also with regard to how it’s made. We want the experimental ethos of electronic music to permeate how people think and encourage them to look at the world and say, “What if there was a better way?”
Artists have to be militant about protecting what they care about and creating their path through the art world with people that they are aligned philosophically. Artists need to protect their joy and playfulness from the machinery of industry and stay extremely skeptical about every opportunity. Risk-taking is fundamental to art, of course, but I think it’s paramount to ensure that the risks one takes are fully examined.
seradopa: This compilation has a wide range of sounds and collectively brings a cohesive idea of Tabula Rasa’s identity. How long was the process of compiling all the tracks and curating the compilation? Can you go more in-depth into how this all came together?
Ramon: It came together pretty simply! We just proposed the idea of a compilation of exclusively in-house collabs in our Discord, and everyone got to work! I believe it gave people an excuse to post their WIPs and see who would hop on. Some of the combos were dream collaborations for me. For example, Gaszia of X&G (whose leftfield approach to club music I had been listening to since high school) teamed up with Xenon Chameleon (who specializes in unconventional DAWs and rhythms) to make an unhinged 220 BPM screecher. [They] mixed Moombahcore-esque sounds with Bay Area-style hip-hop and extratone switch-ups. You can’t make this shit up!
Over two months, we ended up with about thirty submissions in total. All of them were extremely good. It was overwhelming trying to cut it down. I came up with the final track listing at the end of the day – every collab submitted already resembled the “Tabula Rasa” sound. The main thing I noticed going through every submission was this unabashed love for dance music. Music that had influences from our heroes (like Four Tet, Floating Points, Baauer, and Machinedrum, to name a few) but reflected in a backbone that feels very 2010s and almost EDM-influenced. Within the next few years, we’ll see the effect the 2010s have had on electronic music – this compilation reflects that.
seradopa: How special is it to have Thys be a part of Here & Now also?
Jozef: It’s incredibly special and so humbling to be working with such a legend. It happened so organically. He’s been so great to work with that I’m not sure any of that expected shock has fully struck me yet. I’ve been a huge fan of Noisia for years, and their work has hugely influenced my taste and my high standards for electronic music, which is why it ended up being such a perfect fit. I also have really appreciated his approach to releasing music: collaborative and experimental, with an emphasis on making sure everyone is having fun. All of this comes through in the music, which is the energy we want to carry forward.
Ramon: He’s a great example of the ethos I talked about before – raw, skilled dance music that still feels energetic and electric. I had been listening to Noisia before I even knew what electronic music was, and he’s such a nice guy. “Make It” with Kelbin has one of the best mixdowns I’ve ever heard. The fact that he’s interested in what we’re doing is insane.
seradopa: Now about to head over to NYC and host a release party for Here & Now in June! How much excitement has been building for next month as everyone prepares for this? What should we expect with this one?
Ramon: I’m excited to meet so many people for the first time, especially Kinoteki and ROBY and some of the special guests we have lined up. We’re already figuring out plans for where we will visit in New York. I haven’t been there in ten years and never DJ’d there! This event will be particularly special because I’ve got to know so many east coast friends online in the past few years. Meeting all of them and seeing that they’re interested in the sound we’re bringing is surreal. I could be wrong about this, but I feel that New York is more accustomed to the UK sounds than the west coast, which feels more bass-heavy. It’s going to be interesting to see how people react to what we’re doing!
Expect lots of Tabula Rasa music, forward-thinking club and dance music, deep UK vibes, and unhinged heaters. We try to keep things as unpretentious as possible but still rewarding for people who are explorative in dance music at home!
seradopa: This is still the beginning of all these upcoming events. Are there any more plans in the works or something you both want to do in the future?
Jozef: Yeah, definitely! We have so many plans that we’re incredibly excited to reveal in the coming months and years. I’m now working in music tech as well as on TR, and we have a huge opportunity to create the next generation of tools and digital infrastructure for artists so that they can continue to take full advantage of everything that recent technological development offers. Of course, growing the label is part of this, and while we started as a web-native label, it’s really special to see how this materializes in these small pockets of like-minded people across the planet.
Ramon: There are so many more cities we want to come to! Since I’ve been full-time in music for the past couple of months, I’ve been focusing on building Tabula Rasa’s infrastructure and business. I think Here & Now will do amazing things for people recognizing us as a unit, and I’d love to bring that sound everywhere I can. I’d take it to the Pacific Ocean if I could!
seradopa: Tabula Rasa is a respected collective, and you both have been a part of the music industry for some time now. What do you believe is changing for the better, and what do you think still needs to improve?
Jozef: I really appreciate you saying that. I still feel like I’m completely outside of the actual music industry looking in, and I want to keep it this way. This perspective has helped shape how we go about solving problems for artists and our approach to running TR as an organization but unlike other organizations in the music industry.
There is a ton of work to be done in the way that music is shared and how value is distributed to the creators, which have made our current music consumption paradigm possible. Some of this requires re-thinking how intellectual property is conceptualized, and some require re-imagining certain economic structures. I believe all of this falls within the purview of what we are doing with Tabula Rasa. And I’m excited to continue on this journey that has just begun.
Overall, Tabula Rasa continues to establish a big footprint within the electronic scene. Beginning only three years ago, they continue to break new ground. Here & Now showcases the incredible hard work the collective has accomplished. With a big milestone in their books, there is much more to look forward to. Tabula Rasa is ready to bring its sound to a global live audience with its events. Electric Hawk upholds massive respect for Tabula Rasa and the accomplishments they continue to strive for. There is much to look forward to with Tabula Rasa while they develop and grow. Although for now, we will simply embrace the Here & Now as Tabula Rasa requests us to do.
Time to fully immerse into the Here & Now and let Tabula Rasa show us their beautifully curated compilation below!
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