A refreshing combination of undeniable quality and wide-ranging music policy. The Leipzig-based Riotvan record label, headed by Peter Invasion & Panthera Krause, is a wonderful place of genre-altering diversity, tied together with an unmistakable string of easy-going family vibes.

..And those are the kind of vibes we can appreciate most in a record label! With an emphasis on quality outings, Riotvan carries all the hall marks of an outside the box institution. Headed by Peter Invasion and Panthera Krause, the label operates with a diverse potency that lures you in with an unstoppable gravitation pull. Its catalogue graciously moves between new wave and heavy synth aesthetics, over to tropical and cinematic house, working together with a close group of label friends like Llewellyn, Jennifer Touch and Chinaski.

Fresh from releasing Jennifer Touch’s second artist EP on the label, and hosting their first label night at Offenbach’s legendary Robert Johnson, we reached out to Markus and Robert and invited them to share the ins and outs surrounding the latest release, Riotvan showcase at RJ, upcoming stuff and Riotvan the record label. Next to that, they delivered an high energy mix of upcoming and favourite material, showcasing their broad style of musical influences aimed at vibe-y dance floors.

Welcome Markus and Robert, good having you here! How have you been, and where do we find both of you today?

We had some sunny days so we’re doing good, hanging in our new studio/office in the western part of Leipzig.

Markus, you initially started Riotvan as a Leipzig-based party series. Can you tell us a little on how the whole idea of Riotvan the record label came into play and how it developed from there?

Peter Invasion: Riotvan started in 2006 as a series of parties mostly in Leipzig. I was pretty young, 17 or 18 and wanted to bring some artists like Mr. Oizo or the guys from Keinemusik to Leipzig to name but a few –  to have a good time and connect likeminded people. Over the time this led to a crew of people being involved and eventually Riotvan also became a booking agency for the artists that have been a part of the parties since day one: Good Guy Mikesh, Filburt, Lake People, to name just a few. One of the main reasons for the start of the label was to release the music by Here Is Why, the new wave and synth pop band I was part of together with Good Guy Mikesh, my girlfriend Linda and Florian. We wanted to have full control over every aspect of the release and the only way to ensure it was to start our own label in 2012.

Stylistically, the label’s output is really diverse, ranging from new wave and heavy synth aesthetics to tropical and cinematic house. Tell us a little about the impetus behind this variety?

Peter Invasion: You’re right, we are not a typical House Label. As I said Riotvan started as a Party crew and the music we played was a mix of different styles – from Indie to Rave, from House to Wave, to whatever. It’s the same for the label. I like to play a lot of songs in my sets and it’s like doing a selection for it – It doesn’t matter if it’s Disco or House or anything else. In the end it’s important for us, that the music has a vibe, that touches us and we choose the music for your releases in that same way. In the same way we choose the releases of Riotvan. Riotvan is more an Indie label focused on the dance floor, which tries to work away from typical categories. But to be honest all of this happens unconscious. Ha Ha. It’s a passion!

I’ve to say, I’m really enjoying the familial vibes Riotvan brings forward as a label. You work closely with a tight knit of artists like Llewellyn, Jennifer Touch and Chinaski. How important is this for the vision you’ve with the label?

Yes, it’s significant for us to have a close connection to the artists. This idea of a tight knit community in the heart of the label is very important for us. It has developed, that we need a really good connection to the people we work with. All in all the vision for the label is to release music we love, get in touch with people and artists and see, what happens. The story isn’t new, but that’s why we’re doing this every day. It’s fun to push things forward, make new friends and to do what we love.

Since 2017 the label’s distribution is done by Muting The Noise. Can you give us some inside on how that relationship came to be? And what did working with the Muting The Noise crew mean for Riotvan?

Before Muting the Noise, we worked together with a big distribution but it doesn’t work out for us and especially not for the music. To be part of a huge distribution with 100 releases a week is not the best idea for a a small label, that is focused on a very special niche. We’ve known Muting The Noise for their style and their high quality output for a long time. Alex from Kann Records connected us to the MTN-Heads.

We’ve sent a email and only one day later the answer was: „Yes, let’s do this! We’re big fans of Riotvan.“ It was the best decision – It’s super familial we have an open and straightforward relation and they understand, what we do. United we stand, divided we… Ahhh that’s to philosophic, we really love these guys!

This month we’ll see Jennifer Touch return on Riotvan for the release of her new 12”. Titled “Chemistry”, what will we find on her second record for the label?

Expect two splendid songs of Jennifers unique style. “Chemistry” stirringly showcases the state of Jennifer’s artistic progression. Within the whole retro-mania of ’80s induced club music, you rarely find an artist being as deeply immersed in the affective reverberation of old synthesizers, as her. She literally bleeds her heart into these bars of Postpunk- and Wave-kissed dreariness. The subsequent Llewellyn remix of “Chemistry”, as much as the closing adaption of “DDD-1” by Fabrizio Mammarella, are honouring the originals by taking in almost everything of the source material.

You hosted your very first Riotvan night at the legendary Robert Johnson last month – exciting stuff! Tell us a little about your own experiences at Offenbach, and about the night itself?

For us Robert Johnson always was more than just a club. The concept of hosting parties, exhibitions and having workshops all in the same place is not new but they do it in a different, really inspiring way. And they break with the stereotype of clubs just being dark dance floors or a bold written line up – only focused on the essential – no frills. Also the Graphic Design and the label behind the club are so unique. It was a big honor and even bigger fun for us to host a complete night there and spread some Riotvan vibes / show our Riotvan style with the poster Panthera made for this special party. Thanks again to Ata and Oli for the invitation! And not to forget: 20 of our lovely friends from Leipzig and Berlin joined us in Offenbach so we had a unforgettable good time.

The artwork for Riotvan is done by a variety of different graphic designers. Tell us a little about that decision, who you’re working with at the moment and how important the visual aspect of the artwork is for you guys.

The visual imprint of a record for us is truly a matter dear to our hearts. – I bought so many records cause of the artwork. For us, every release is a piece of art and the design of course is a big part of it. We like to work together with different graphic designers and give us and them the possibility to show their style. artists like Jennifer and Panthera are doing the artwork for their releases by their own and for them it’s also a way of expression and creating the whole release as an artwork itself.

In the past the idea of establishing an own CI for Riotvan was a hot topic we discussed a lot, but in the end we found that with all the different artworks that all the different and amazing artists contribute for each party or release or whatever – we already have that CI for the label right there.

I’ve heard you’re working on your debut EP, Markus! How is that going, and what else is coming up for you personally?

Peter Invasion: The track I’m releasing is a song I made together with my longtime-friend Florian aka Gregor Habicht. It will be out end of April on the 5 years compilation of the Leipzig-based club Institut fuer Zukunft. We really have a history of working and making music together and did so in several bands like Here Is Why and my former Indie-Band The Plectrons. He’s super talented and of my best friends that I already know for over 17 years. We’ve been back in the studio for a really long time and we made this track in unbelievable 2 sessions.

It’s super funny, because we wrote this song unwitting with a lot of elements from the past. There is real guitar, real drums, analog synthesizers in it and it continuous our story as Indie-Kids, who finally discover the spirit of electronic music. I also work on my first EP, but we’ll see what will happen in the next few months. No pressure!

You had some great gigs to start of the year with, Robert – playing at Panorama Bar and Institut Fuer Zukunft – next to you working on your first album. Tell us a little about your experiences there, and how are you liking your first encounter with the LP format?

Panthera Krause: Yeees, I had kind of a perfect start into 2019. I must admit that playing Institut für Zukunft wasn’t exactly a walk in the park after a heavy NYE (haha) but still it was fun to start my set at 5 pm in front of such a motivated audience and lots of friends. And the same goes for Panoramabar. It was my 3rd time there playing my live set and I’m still overwhelmed by the easiness of this place. At the moment I’m working on my first solo album. Together with my former band Marbert Rocel I’ve recorded 5 albums so I have a bit of experiences, I thought. But it’s something total different to make all the decisions by your own and to find a way through all the sketches. It’s a permanent process of looking for ways to express all the ideas and visions working in me. I enjoy this time but it’s good to have a deadline otherwise i would work on this for ages.

What can you tell us about the label mix you’ve made for us – where is it recorded, some special tracks you would like to mention, atmosphere, etc.

Panthera Krause: We recorded the mix at our Riotvan headquarter – a combination of my studio and our office. By Beginning of the year we moved into a house in the west of Leipzig, where a lot of creative workers and artists like Credit 00, Map.Ache, Warm Graves or the guys from Can’t Decide clothing found a new home. Our mix shows a the variety of music we like to play – a bit indie, a bit disco but always focused on the dance floor.

Peter Invasion:  For us it was important to feature some tracks of friends like the first solo track of our long time companion Reznik from Keinemusik and to show some new music from Riotvan like The Fabrizio Marmarella Remix for Jennifer Touch and a track of the upcoming EP of Panthera Krause. And you can find the track by Florian and me in this set. Excited!

What else is on the horizon for Riotvan – will we see some new faces appear on the label in the nearby future for instance?

Suprise, surprise! Haha! We are curious about upcoming releases from Panthera himself. He will release a 2 track EP in April and his album after the summer. Llewellyn will come back with an EP in June and yes, new faces will appear. But we don’t want to reveal too much. 🙂 Besides the releases we are preparing a big birthday party for Riotvan in May at Institut für Zukunft and working on the label structure in our new place. Save is: good times ahead!

Grab your copy of Chemistry via Muting The Noise and Bandcamp.