Last month, Baltimore club virtuoso Schwarz announced his new dance label, Nina Pop, with the release of "Up In The Club EP," a collaboration with the Los Angeles/Berlin-based production duo 333 Boyz, and featuring contributions from TT The Artist, Sugur Shane, DJ Angel Baby, and Gurl Crush. Named after a popular dance in St. Louis from Schwarz's youth (do yourself a favor and search YouTube for "Nina pop"), Nina Pop is the brainchild of Schwarz and Stewart Mostofsky, the founder of the Baltimore-based experimental music label Ehse Records.
"[Mostofsky] from Ehse Records actually approached me about doing the label. I think he had been thinking about doing things more outside of noise and experimental music and approached me to see if I would be curating and running a kind of sub label/imprint," Schwarz says over email.
Mostofsky, who, in addition to running Ehse, is involved with the annual High Zero experimental music festival and was the co-founder of last year's inaugural Fields Fest, saw an opportunity to broaden the scope of Ehse's output using Nina Pop as an Ehse imprint.
"Ehse records has presented a fairly wide range of music over the past decade, ranging from electronic and ambient to improvised jazz and experimental rock. However there has been little touching on beat-oriented music/dance pop . . . despite my long standing love of dance music," Mostofsky says over email. He continues, "I have long admired Schwarz's musical and artistic sensibility and so it seemed a natural fit to to have Ehse Records support a label curated and organized by him."
Mostofsky insists that Nina Pop will be purely an expression of Schwarz's distinct and omnivorous musical aesthetic, and as such we can expect it to reflect the producer's peculiar Baltimore-global frame of mind. "I expect that Nina Pop will reflect Schwarz's interests and passions. Given this, we should anticipate Nina Pop will represent music not only from Baltimore, but well beyond," he explains.
For the "Up In The Club EP," 333 Boyz bring a measure of keyed-up continental swagger to Schwarz's Baltimore-centric maximalism (the trio also collaborated on a remix on last year's "Open Up Yr Mind Remix EP"). "I have been a fan of the 333 Boyz for years and have felt that they lack the recognition they deserve," Schwarz says. "We conceptualized together about having a different vocalist for each track and it's perfect because it works well as a teaser as there is going to be more work coming out soon with [the various contributors]." The record opens with '2 Live,' TT The Artist's exhortation to turn up and wild out, and continues the vibe with 'I'm The Bitch,' featuring Philadelphia-based recording artist Sugur Shane, and 'Take It There,' with Bmore club reformulator DJ AngelBaby, before slowing down with Baltimore-based artist/DJ Gurl Crush's gorgeously druggy 'We Out Here,' the sleeper highlight of the record.
<a href="http://ninapop.bandcamp.com/album/schwarz-x-333-boyz-up-in-the-club">SCHWARZ X 333 BOYZ "UP IN THE CLUB" by SCHWARZ X 333 BOYZ</a>
Nina Pop's next release will be TT The Artist's "Gimme Yo Love EP," featuring production by Schwarz and 333 Boyz, as well as contributions from Mighty Mark, Rizzla, and others. Along with the scheduled summer release of "Gimme Yo Love EP," Schwarz has a 7-inch out on ARAÇA RECS and a full-length mixtape from Los Angeles label Thunder Zone coming this spring.