Kalahari Oyster Cult honcho Rey Colino talks us through his new vinyl-focused distribution service and delivers a sonic trip composed of upcoming records from its impeccable roster.

In addition to dishing out high-grade records by way of his Kalahari Oyster Cult, Amsterdam-based selector and curator Rey Colino ventures into new territories with the recent launch of a vinyl-focused distribution service, dubbed One Eye Witness. The project will act as a missing link between labels and artists that share a similar philosophy and provide them with a solid footing to develop and flourish. Beautifully capturing the uprising spirit of the vibrant balance between 90’s nostalgia and modern sound design of the last couple years, One Eye Witness represents a network of imprints that worked in close orbit to Kalahari since its conception and have been on the forefront of this sound development.

Being (without a doubt) some of the more exciting news this year has offered us, we caught up with Colin for an extended chat and he takes us on a sonic odyssey across the record shelves of the One Eye Witness HQ. Sit back, relax and get yourself acquainted with the vibey club-orientations, quality hypnotics and hazy rhythms that the new platform has to offer.

Hey Colin, what’s been going on? There is some big news to share with the formation of your own vinyl-focused distribution service and webshop; One Eye Witness. Before diving into that, how have you been holding up personally these last few months?

Given how 2020 is a poisoned gift that keeps on giving, my answer may very much vary depending on the hour of the day or the day of the week, like most people I guess. It’s pretty eye-opening to put it down into words but I feel like there hasn’t really been a full week on the same mood for me since March – a constant oscillation between high-on-life, and heavy anxiety moments. Today, I’m a tad anxious I must admit, writing this on the verge of new lockdowns worldwide and a pivotal election tomorrow. Let’s see what tomorrow brings!

That said, with some stepback and given the context, I can’t really complain. My close ones’ health is good and I keep myself busy. I run a lot, dig for new music on and offline, and spend long evenings DJing with friends and proudly sharing our new finds – either in music or wine. These are the small things that might sound a bit vain in lights of what’s been happening but it sure does keep us going. It’s on a day to day basis really.

As of late, I haven’t had time to get bored/overthink things much given the start of the new project: One Eye Witness. As exhausting as it might be, this year (fortunately) went by very fast and (oddly) very slowly. Many hints lead me to assume we’ve finally fallen into the vortex…

I have to say, it’s great to see some positive vibes being pushed into the stratosphere these days.. Tell us about the idea behind One Eye Witness, how did it all come to life, and how’s the ride been so far.. And how are the coming months shaping up for you and One Eye Witness?

Yes, indeed. As said above, labels we’ve been helping out and the new music we’ve facilitated over the last few months, and that will finally be broadcasted into the world through One Eye Witness, have brought a breath of fresh air in our lockdown routines and allowed us to get some headspace back. It’s often in times of crisis that I feel like people are more creative and take steps and decisions they wouldn’t otherwise. I see it as a coping mechanism of sorts. This is definitely our case for One Eye Witness.

One Eye Witness logo sticker

Even though it was draining, the period we’re going through allowed me to assess where I was standing, the way I was doing things and the way I was approaching my job. I’ve never had so many ideas and introspective moments on the whole thing and I took a stepback in order to push things forward and try and do things in a way that was more interesting and fulfilling for me on a professional and personal level, to try and find the purpose of my endeavours back and recenter myself.

Sharing the news was the first step, now we’re here to confirm our initial intent on the long run: quality over quantity and care on each step of record production as well as earning the trust labels have put into us on the get go.

Having previously worked with Hylke , what made you guys decide to step into this new venture together? And tell us a bit about the partnership and division of roles between you?

Well, Hylke simply became fast one of my most trusted friends and getting on this adventure together was a rather obvious choice. We’re complimentary on many things and it brings a good balance, he’s kind of the quiet to my storm, if I may put it this way. As to role division, I handle distribution and production mostly, whereas he curates a tight webshop.

Roza Terenzi’s Step Ball Chain debut and Reptant’s album on LKR Records are some of the releases you’re handling the distribution exclusively for, amongst others of course. Can you tell us a bit about your relationships with the artists and labels that you are involved with out of the gates?.

When I left my previous job, I wasn’t sure what I was gonna do. I was pretty worn out by the whole thing and completely disoriented by the many consequences of the pandemic on the music industry. Only thing I knew is that I wanted to keep the label going, spend more time on it, and perhaps try to take it to the next level.

Following that, I started talking with people like Katie (Roza Terenzi) and Lucas (Reptant), whose vision, opinion and insights on all music things (and beyond) are very precious to me. Following these discussions, I felt like there was a gap for “our” sound and maybe an opportunity to work together, scale things down and aim at a strict no compromise policy by building up a new entity from the ground. All this wouldn’t have been possible without them taking me on my good word so I’m very thankful to all involved labels for their trust.

One Eye Witness warehouse

Direction-wise, what can we expect from the selection of records on One Eye Witness?

We’ve put our trust in a handful of labels and curators, so I am not able to quite say yet. I’d say a rather broad horizon of quality electronic music without genre nor geographic restrictions. The whole idea around OEW is to try and form a collective of labels that share the same ethos, but who will take us in many different horizons soundwise. What’s to come is up to them, really. That’s the beauty of the thing, and something I’m very excited for! Only thing I can say is that I have never put so much quality music in production in such a short amount of time.

Your Kalahari Oyster Cult has been going from strength to strength as well. Following Reptant’s ‘Phasic Reflex’ EP, Eversines will join the Cult with ‘Plooi‘. Can you talk us through the record?

One of my all time favourites, not that I don’t say that with each new record on Kalahari Oyster Cult but yeah… I think it’s a very rich EP with a rather large spectrum of sounds and moods covered. Also the very first full-on Amsterdam 12” since I started the label, involving Eversines, RDS & Oceanic, and it is Remco’s best work to date, I think. The B2, Missing Mix 1 feat RDS, is one that will remain, I am sure! It’s been in the works for quite some time and I am still very proud to be able to carry it, it is a good sign, isn’t it?

What else is coming up for Kalahari Oyster Cult towards the end of this year?

We’ve just announced our next one by Lawrence Le Doux on a new series called Oyster Ballads. Leaning towards more ambient sounds, it involves visual eco-artist Sae Honda and humbly aims at questioning notions such as waste and upcycling around vinyl production. A passion project of sorts…

We’ve also got the 28th Oyster coming before the end of the year on the main label, by the Australian 303-connoisseur Furious Frank. One track is to be heard into the accompanying mix I made – not too hard to guess which I think. We’ve also enrolled the infamous Ludwig A.F. for a remix of the title track, his first track with a vocoder, I believe, beware… – “a record ready to explode, whenever and wherever that may be.”

You’ve put an One Eye Witness special together for us. What can you tell us about the mix and selections featured in the recording?

As you just mentioned, it consists mostly of forthcoming bits that I am pretty stoked to be able to push through our channel, from the following labels: Mirror Zone, Ninih, Delicate Records, Felt Sense Rec, Lou Karsh Records, De Lichting, Axces Recordings, Step Ball Chain & Kalahari Oyster Cult. Thanks for listening!