Founded by musicians, record collectors, and close friends John Henriksson, Joel Danell, and Gustav Rådström, Tona Serenad is a record label with a very romantic view of music.
The Swedish record label Tona Serenad has a very romantic view of music. It was founded by musicians, record collectors, and close friends John Henriksson, Joel Danell, and Gustav Rådström. Uninterested in music trends of today, they release music evoking different eras of time, both past and future. Working with artists like Momus, Anne Laplantine, Matti Bye, Directorsound, and Dorian Pimpernel, they make vinyls in small, exclusive editions, distributed worldwide. We met with the charismatic John Henriksson who gladly answered our questions.
How did it all start?
– It first started as a platform where we could release our own music, framed by the ideas and aesthetics we liked, John says. We also wanted to find projects and artists that we could somehow squeeze into that same picture. Our first release was Joel’s project Musette and his debut album Datum, released in early 2009. It was a blooming start for the label.
Honestly, I don’t think that any of us even owns a CD player at the moment
What makes Tona Serenad stand out from other record labels?
– Actually, I don’t think that we stand out that much from other labels, but at the same time we might do. We have never tried to fit in, but we have never tried to stand out either. Our aspiration is to find the simple, but not the simplified, the little that contains a lot, the light weight that carries great weight. None of us really follow the contemporary music scene, so we don’t know that much about the trends going on out there. We’re more into ever greens, jazz, easy listening, and library music. That’s a great inspiration for the music we release on Tona Serenad, and the aesthetics in general.
You mainly release your music on vinyl, and rarely on CD. Why is that?
– Honestly, I don’t think that any of us even owns a CD player at the moment. We’ve been buying vinyls since our early teens, and we still do. At the beginning it was more an issue of money, as it’s so much cheaper to make CDs then to press vinyls. Now we’re only making CDs for the Japanese market and for promotion. We’re not selling that many CDs here in Europe, nor in America, so there’s really no point in making them.
What projects are you working on at the moment?
– At the moment we’re about to release a piano album with the pianist and composer Matti Bye, who’s recorded an amazing album entitled Bethanien. We’ve been working on it for more than two years now; it has been a very long and delicate process, but now it’s almost finished. It’s piano improvisations recorded over the years, in Berlin and Stockholm. The result is very haunting and dreamy. It’s supposed to be released this December, but we had some problems with the test presses so it might be a bit delayed. Anyway, it’s on it’s way and will be out very soon!
– Other than that we’ve also started a daughter label to Tona Serenad, called Baisers Volés (Stolen Kisses), where we will release reissues and odd gems in small editions. The premiere project is a reissue of 7-inch vinyl called L’Enfant de la Liberté, experimental class room recordings by children in France in the 1970’s.
Any new releases to look forward to in the near future?
– We’re working on a split release together with the french label Clapping Music, an album with the French composer and very talented musician Domotic called Le Démon Des Hautes Plaines, set to be released sometime in 2014. We have a new project with the Baisers Volés label, in the same series as L’Enfant de la Liberté, that will be released shortly after the first one. We’re also working on a release with the Swedish exotica super group Joe Davolaz. First out will be a flexi disc postcard single and then three 7-inches. Hopefully we will work on many other exciting projects as well, but it’s always a matter of time and money.
Find out more about Tona Serenad here.
Photos by Aron Pelcman.