Read the latest from our Digital Resident, Patrick Samuel.
Artist and musician Patrick has been signed to Tiergarten Records since 2019 and is here to tell us a little bit more about how that happened and why this is such an important record label.
How did you come to be signed by the label?
The label’s founder, Robin Jax, emailed me through my website in early 2018 after reading about my exhibition on the National Autistic Society’s website, and he wanted to come and see it person. We met, chatted, I showed him around and we went for lunch on a bitterly cold day in February.
At that time, I was concentrating more on my art rather than music, but over the course of that year I found myself inspired to not only write new songs, but also learn to play several new instruments and sing. When I realised I had enough material for an album, I thought about self-releasing again as I did with my first album, Beyond The Spectrum, but thought to ask Robin if he’d be interested in releasing it via his label. And that’s how it came to pass.
What’s Tiergarten Records’ story?
The label was set up by Robin in 2016. Robin is also a musician and was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome at the age of 3. Originally, it was launched to showcase his own music. Teardrop Girl-Star was the first release, under his solo alias RobinPlaysChords and over time the label grew to be a home for neurodiverse musicians of all backgrounds.
Who else is part of the label’s roster?
Apart from myself and Robin, there’s mynameisblueskye, a Boston based, self-described musical polymath whose lo-fi music ranges from psych pop, to space rock, to new wave. Whereas I’m light on the keyboards and heavy on the guitars, he offers keyboard-heavy and guitar-free pop music. His latest release is the limited-edition cassette re-issue of last year’s No Ordinary Summer, an album which he describes as:
“about feeling frustrated as the truly oppressed party, not only by your usual oppressor, but by the people who are supposed to be representing you. As a black cismale who is also pansexual and on the autism spectrum, everywhere you turn feels like a collective of grim reapers looking to take your life with no regrets and no consequences.”
As part of the label’s roster is the Pennsylvania based Savan DePaul (aka Ishtar Sr.). A unique underground artist who’s a producer, rapper and singer-songwriter, with his work ranging from avant-garde hip hop, to digital funk.
Last but not least, is the transatlantic Autistic duo The Companions (Robin Jax of RobinPlaysChords and Amber Bird of Varnish). They released their 3-track EP New Earth a while back and their music is described as “slowcore-inspired with a cosmic edge”.
Why is Tiergarten Records the most important record label in the world?
As far as I know, there’s no other label in the world that was set up to solely support neurodiverse musicians. Navigating the music industry and trying to get a record deal is difficult for anyone and seems like an impossible thing for musicians on the spectrum.
Had I not met Robin, I would not be enjoying a music career and I certainly would not have challenged myself creatively the way I’ve done over these past two years. Knowing that he understands I need extra time to process information, that certain environments and situations would be too overwhelming for me and that I work at a pace that only I can work at, it allows me to focus on being creative and expressive with what I do.
That wouldn’t happen at any other label. The fact that each set of demos I present to him is more bonkers than the one before never fazes him, and that I have the freedom to grow as an artist, not just with the music, but also the imagery and accompanying videos… I can’t imagine all those considerations and freedoms would be available to me at any other label.
Which of your releases can be found on Tiergarten Records?
My 2nd album, Distant Star, was a Tiergarten Records release. It’s available as streaming, download and a limited-edition CD.
That was followed by the 5-track EP Lost Shadows. This was an online only release, but you can also pick up a set of limited-edition postcards from the merchandise section on Bandcamp.
My 3rd album, Communion, was released this year and that’s also available as streaming, download and a limited-edition CD. There are 2 forthcoming EPs, Phantasm and Beyond The Ruins, that will be released before my 4th album, Dark Fortune, which is slated for release in 2022.
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Digital Residencies is part of Drake Music’s covid-secure artistic programming and is supported by the Arts Council England Culture Recovery Fund. It is a self-directed online residency for Disabled artists.