The bands on the Munich-based record label Gomma might seem like they reign in laser-infested underground German discotheques, but the collective’s projects and ambitions extend to lots of other settings. Gomma Records was conceived to be a multi-dimensional sonic and visual outet for the label’s artists. In addition to music the label produces an illustration magazine, organizes art exhibitions, and pursues fashion-related endeavors. It seems like the founders of the label, Jonas Imbery and Mathias Modica, have freed themselves to do whatever the hell they want. When asked what they think about the current state of the music industry, they respond, “We don’t care.”
The two heads of the company are both DJs on the label who met when they were 15 and started Gomma Records in 2000. Still small, the label now employs five people. Explaining how the project evolved, Modica says, “We don’t care about trends. We just do what we want and we have a lot of very strong, free-thinking artists who have a clear view of what they want to do.” Likewise, when asked why they chose to get things started in Munich, the first response is on a similar whim, “because it’s nice.” They continue, explaining, “It’s full of culture and avant-garde nightlife. You don’t get bored in Munich.”
However, the label is incredibly international with artists from all over the place. In addition to Munich, there are folks from Copenhagen, Paris, Rome, Vienna, London, Warsaw, Brussels, Denmark, New York and apparently the moon. “Traveling across the world in the last ten years, we’ve met many interesting people,” they say, “So more and more artists from all over are joining the Gomma crew.”
Similarly widespread, they have projects in a lot of other disciplines. “We like music, but we also like art and design, and so we also release a magazine full of illustrations and art,” they explain. “In the past we’ve also organized little exhibitions in Stockholm, Berlin, Tokyo and other cities.” They call their exhibitions the “Mondo Gomma Shows.”
The label has even experimented in the fashion world. “Sometimes a company will invite us to DJ or make music for their shows,” they explain. “Chanel used music from Munk for their last campaign. Sometimes we work with indie fashion companies and it’s cool because we can do things on an experimental level.”
With a lot of international experience, the guys have some good suggestions for venues and other companies. They have a lot of favorite clubs, but off the top of their heads they recommend Disco Lopez in Guadalajara, Mexico, because they say it has, “[n]ice people, a nice vibe and it’s in a nice city.” When asked about other labels or companies, they were quite adamant about Aqua Monaco. It’s a Munich-based bottled water distributor that they say has, “the best water in the world.”
The juxtaposition just goes to show the wide-reaching and multi-disciplinary interests of Gomma Records. They’re a futuristic, multi-tasking company, doing what comes naturally, and it seems to be snowballing to the label’s advantage. When Imbery and Modica try to explain the company’s expansion, they cite the Internet and their blog. “We don’t need to invest in any press or promotion anymore,” they explain. “Facebook and YouTube do it all…and the blog!”
It could just be chalked up to the advantages of the Internet age, or one could say that Gomma’s success is reliant on the company’s genuine spirit and hard work to manage international tasks under one roof.