»We don’t want to tell anyone what good music is,« says Matt from WeWantSounds and adds: »We want to infect people with our passion.« Together with Elvin, he has been running the French reissue label since 2015. Since then, 30 records from the 1970s and 1980s have gone on sale again with the circular WeWantSounds logo. Successful releases such as »Orient« by the Japanese keyboardist Hiroshi Sato presses the label with runs of up to 3,000 copies.
»Publishing music that we like is the essence of the label,« says Matt. WeWantSounds doesn‘t want to commit itself to any special genre. On their Facebook page, the duo describes their own catalog as »smart sounds«. The term means little, as Matt admits. They weren‘t interested in impressing the listeners with rare treasures. Rather, the label owners want to provide their customers with tried-and-tested music that very few people know far away from their country of origin.
Matt cites Akiko Yano’s albums as an example. The label has already re-released four records by the Japanese jazz and pop singer. The musician celebrated remarkable successes in her home country 40 years ago. Matt compares her popularity with the French pop singer Françoise Hardy, Kate Bush or Nina Hagen. Only music nerds knew Yano beyond the borders of the island state. »The music is so good that it also has to be heard outside of Japan,« he says, pleased with the opportunity that WeWantSounds gives him.
In addition to Akiko Yano, the label has reissued other Japanese artists such as Yukihiro Takahashi and Ryuichi Sakomoto. The enthusiasm for Far Eastern jazz music didn‘t only come from self-motivation: »Elvin’s wife is Japanese, she helped us to enter this musical world.« But Wewantsounds doesn‘t want to be a reissue label that focuses on Japanese records. The duo had also made friends in other countries, such as Lebanon, to help them make voyages of discovery.
»We don’t want to tell anyone what good music is. We want to infect people with our passion.« »With our label we want to show what music has been created in other parts of the world,« Matt says. The label serves Arabic music with two albums by the Lebanese singer Fairuz. One of the first releases from WeWantsounds was a Bossanova sampler with artists from Rio de Janeiro. Matt and Elvin include their own musical socialization with film soundtracks by Ennio Morricone and Mikis Theodorakis and French pop, jazz and soul music. When choosing the albums, they listen to their »gut feeling«. Only diversity is important. Two Japanese albums in a row are out of the question.
So that even more people have access to music, WeWantSounds not only publish on vinyl, but also by download, streaming and compact disc. 90 percent of sales, however, are made up of vinyl. Buying vinyl isn‘t only worth it because of the sound. Matt and Elvin enclose the albums with extensive booklets. For this they contact the artists or family members. »When we release a record, we want to tell the story behind it,« says Matt. With the liner notes, they don‘t want to address experts, but to facilitate access to music.
A lot of French music from the late 1970s is currently playing on Matt’s turntables again. But also Fleetwood Mac and Mac DeMarco are happy about a few turns. The Frenchman describes his private selection as a »good mix of different styles«. He transfers this attitude to the label’s work: »We want to open many doors and keep the catalog interesting.« He doesn’t like trends because they are forgotten after a few years. A good record can stand the test of time, which is why most of the music in the WeWantSounds catalog has been around for over 40 years. One of Matt’s personal favorites is the self-titled debut album by soul singer Alice Clark from 1972.