FIFTEEN YEARS AGO, when it still required a warehouse, a fax machine, and a major financial investment to start a record label, Luke Solomon found common ground with (now) Chicago house legend Derrick Carter over a shared love of alcohol and off-kilter dance music. Since the pair was surrounded and energized by talented producers, Solomon and Carter decided to start a record label to showcase some of the new and different sounds that were getting their attention. Despite warnings from just about everyone that it was way too much to live up to, they went ahead and called their imprint Classic Music Company—a name partially borrowed from a randomly spotted chocolate shop sign.
Classic Music Company absolutely lived up to its title, releasing influential house music over the next 10 years from the likes of Herbert, DJ Sneak, Isolee, Tiefschwarz, Greenskeepers, and of course Derrick Carter and Luke Solomon. While the label was an integral element of house music's development, it was never really meant to last. The first Classic release, catalog number 101, came in 1995 and it launched a countdown for the unwelcome and arbitrary end of the imprint in 2005 with catalog number 00 (Rob Mello's Critical). But after a six-year hiatus, Classic has returned.
"We felt it was a good time to start mark two, we thought a lot of house producers had felt homeless for a while, including myself," explains Solomon from his London studio. "Now we have stacks of new music ready for release."
Solomon and Carter are also bringing the label up to date, making the entire back catalog available digitally. Aside from the obvious technological changes, I was curious to know how Solomon felt about the changing landscape of house music in general, and how he stays interested after two decades in the scene.
"I'm definitely doing a lot more producing and moving into different genres of music, but the house scene is incredibly healthy at the moment." He continues, "I've played a few parties recently that have been incredibly inspiring, so I don't plan on giving up anytime soon."