DJ vanity projects or genre-specific explorations, vinyl- or digital-only, alive or dead: Record labels are the lifeblood of electronic music. CODE Label File will feature a new one every week, telling its story through the eyes of its founders and top artists.
Nettwerk Records Founded in: 1984 Based in: Vancouver, BC Headed up by: Terry McBride Known for: alternative singer-songwriters, innovative electronica, Sarah McLachlan Top Acts: Sarah McLachlan, Angus & Julia Stone, Great Lake Swimmers, Old Crow Medicine Show, Morgan Page Key Releases: Delerium, Karma (1997); Coldplay, Parachutes (2000); fun., Aim and Ignite (2009); Sarah McLachlan, Surfacing (1997); Morgan Page, In The Air (2012); Old Crow Medicine Show - O.C.M.S. (2004)
The story: Famously founded in Terry McBride’s Vancouver apartment in 1984, today, Nettwerk Records is Canada’s largest independent label with an influential global reach. While best known for its top-selling artist, Sarah McLachlan, Nettwerk began as an outlet for avant garde acts like electro industrialists Skinny Puppy, and ambient trance group Delerium. It’s also been a leader in electronic and dance music, with notable artist albums from Paul van Dyk, Junkie XL, and BT in its catalog. Some of those artists, along with groups like Coldplay and fun., have only stayed for one album, picking up options from majors for their next efforts – a testament to the label’s A&R chops.
In recent years, Nettwerk artists have done well by their individual songs, with electro band Ladytron, Mexican rocktronica band Kinky, and folk-rockers The Submarines each gaining considerable exposure through an array of film and television syncs, the latter even in a few iPhone commercials.
But even as the label has adapted to the industry’s increasing focus on singles, it remains committed to releasing full-length albums. “I still think that for iconic, visionary dance artists, whether it’s for BT, Tiësto, or way back in the day someone like MC 900 Ft Jesus or Skinny Puppy, albums have a place,” says co-founder Mark Jowett. “It’s really great to put an album on the in background and just groove to it and let it be part of your day.”