“Rather than following the crowds along a given and inevitably ephemeral path, we take to the open road..”
The mid Nineties, the ‘Golden Age’ of french house, they both seem to cut a distant silhouette looking back through the sonic periscope. 26 years ago Gilbert Cohen (Gilb’R) launched Versatile, when all of that was very much live and in the room. There’s a big clue to the label’s continued success: the name. It’s all very well to proclaim versatility from the ramparts before the battle for longevity has even begun, it’s wholly another to humbly reflect on how honestly and creative flexibility has kept you relevant for so long. The label name reflects the ‘brutal’ opening of Gilb’R’s mind whilst at Nova Radio in the 90’s and there’s little doubt that as time has gone on - with the help of artists such as I:Cube, Joakim, Etienne Jaumet, Zombie Zombie and many others - versatility has come precisely from enjoying the flexibility of many categories rather than the imprisonment of just one. With this imprint, again we see how the like minds of many creatives make for a prosperous whole. There’s no doubt that this Label is headed but something of a stalwart, a chap with fluid but solid ideas, leaving many a courageous risk in his Versatile wake.
Where are you from?
I landed on earth in Nice/France to achieve some tasks, which I am still trying to figure out
Earliest musical memory?
My grand dad buying me a 7 inch every week on Wednesday and playing it on his small portable turntable
Why did you start a record label?
I already had some solid I:Cube demos, a lot of friends around me were doing music, and I was getting more and more interested too. But I haven’t wondered many questions at first, I just did and it all went pretty quick. I also made my own label to be independent. Having our own studio and production structure gave us more freedom and flexibility. We work at our own rhythm
How would you describe the label’s sound?
It’s really inspiration from my Radio Nova days in the early 90’s, where, coming from my home town in Nice at 20, got exposed to so many new sounds,music..It was litterally mind-blowing.
And I really wanted my label to reflect this state of mind. I like artists that are singular and develop, evolve their sound over the years. It took time until this idea would be more accepted than when I started Versatile in 1996
Some insight on the mix you recorded?
I basically tried to pick in my discotheque some records of different genres that influences me (or had) and put them together into a coherent way. All dubbed out with delays and noises. I also picked some of my faves from the label and few unreleased.
Will be released April 15th