Interview with Bureau B founder Gunther Buskies
Words by Miguel Ferreira. Photo credits: Bureau B
Bureau B is a record label from Hamburg, Germany, founded in 2005 by Gunther Buskies (B for Buskies) as a sister label to Tapete Records. The label is known for releasing past and future classics from genres including (but not limited to) electronic, experimental, ambient, avant-garde, neo-classical, berlin-school and krautrock. The Hamburg based label has built a truly impressive catalog of reissues and new productions, including classics from Krautrock, a genre of electronic music from German progressive & experimental groups from the 70s and early 90s (Cluster, Roedelius, Moebius, Plank, Conrad Schnitzler), Berlin-School (Bernd Kistenmacher) as well as new records from artists like Kreidler, Roedelius, Asmus Tietchens, Moebius. Our album of the month is Bureau B's fantastic 'Richard Pinhas - Reverse' reissue.
Hey Gunther. Tell us a little bit about yourself, and how did Bureau B get started or what really sparked you into getting the label going?
I was responsible for the back catalogue department at Universal Music Germany. The Brain repertoire is owned by this company. There is not a lot of German pop culture with international relevance, but bands like Harmonia and Cluster are legends, since they created a very unique sound and the Brain Label is legendary as well. So I had the idea of reactivating the label, by reissuing the legendary albums and maybe even release new repertoire on this imprint. The management of Universal Music was not really convinced by this idea… anyway: I started to really love this kind of music and began to release music on my own label… and when Universal moved from Hamburg to Berlin, I decided stay in Hamburg and work full time for my own label. Today we are eight people working on the music of our artists.
Bureau B's Adelbert Von Deyen - Atmosphere reissue was That Special Record's Album of the month in December 2016
Bureau B has built a truly impressive catalog marked by diversity. The label has been releasing past and future classics from genres like electronica, avant-garde, neo-classical and krautrock. I'd be curious about what doesn't fit within the Bureau B catalog.
The label should be a home for artists who want to release interesting electronic music. Mainly instrumental music or music which does not use standard pop song structures. To me there is not such a lot of diversity in the catalogue. When electronic artists like Qluster want to experiment with a piano-only session, we should encourage them to do so and if the result is as good as their “Tasten” Album we are glad that this music is on our label.
How much influence does Hamburg have on Bureau B’s sound — would you say there’s something distinctively Hamburg about the label?
Most independent music distributors and many labels are based in Hamburg, so it is a good place to be if you are working in this business. But from the musical side I would not say that there is any typical Hamburg Sound when it comes to electronic music. There might be one, but we are more interested in what we call past and future classics of electronic music…
What are the things that you look for when searching for new artists or for records to reissue?
Quality and originality (in our subjective point of view of course)
What’s a typical day like as a record label owner?
I think it is a very regular management job: A lot of communication with partners all over the world. Luckily those partners are artists, distributors and promo teams and most of them love music, just like we do.
What has been the most challenging aspect of running a record label?
In general: finding the right mixture between love for music and economic sense.
What’s the most rewarding aspect of you running Bureau B?
Most of the time it is a very enjoyable job. I have the impression that most of the artists and most of the people working in our team or as freelance publicists for us value the fact that we all still can work with music even if the overall market situation is not at all a very healthy one. At least I do.
What type of legacy do you hope to leave with Bureau B?
Oh, I hope to do what I am doing for the next 10-20 years so it is a bit early to think about a legacy yet…
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