For the last six years, Sergey Saburov has been living out his dream job: releasing up-and-coming electronic artists on a label he runs in Moscow with his friends. The project has outgrown any expectations the founders had for it. “There was no big idea or plan,” the multi-genre producer reveals. “So I’m happy that it’s noticeable at all.”
Saburov is one third of Hyperboloid Records, but the imprint he’s talking about is Hyperboloid’s wilder, younger sub-label and music platform #internetghetto. “Our main project, Hyperboloid Records, was already big and had a fixed schedule, so there was less space for up-and-coming names. Also, we just wanted to share free music on a daily basis,” Saburov says. With its structure-free approach to releasing music, #internetghetto has become an incubator for Russia’s fresh-faced electronic musicians: from avant-garde Russian pop duo Zarya, to the more intense, experimental clubs sounds of Moscow-based producer BOGUE.
Starting life in 2014 as an online playground and testing-ground for new talent, #internetghetto now boasts a catalogue of some of the most eclectic artists coming out of the Russian and international underground scenes. From the beginning, the idea behind #internetghetto was functional: they wanted to make it simpler for producers to submit and share their music. This goal was largely aided by the algorithm-free days of music streaming, on platforms like Soundcloud and Russia’s VKontakte. Both platforms allowed #internetghetto to grow into the respected music community it is today. As Saburov recalls: “It was natural flow. We never paid for the promotion of anything. People just liked the tracks.”
There was never any sophisticated ethos tying #internetghetto artists together, either. “It is very open,” Saburov explains, “you never know how it’s going to go”. Over the years, that ethos has been reflected in the demos which have found unlikely success. Like the time one track randomly racked up millions of plays out of nowhere. “The track was used for dance routines by the Les Twins dancers. We only realised, a year later, where all the plays were coming from. It was something that people just found on the internet,” Saburov recalls. Other memorable releases include 2015’s Summer of Haze, which became the soundtrack for a Boiler Room documentary about Hyperboloid. And there was the unusual occasion when LA-based indie band OK GO, who rose to critical acclaim in the 2000s, contacted #internetghetto to test their anonymous moniker.
The only sounds that the label doesn’t cater to, however, is straight-up minimal techno. Otherwise, they are always on the lookout for sounds that are genre-bending, current, and weird. “It doesn’t have to be polished; it’s all in the process,” says Saburov. “I feel privileged to be in a position where I can listen to a lot of great music that isn’t out yet.”
Now on their 36th release, #internetghetto is even more dedicated to uncovering new ground. With no real blueprint, it doesn’t suffer from the challenges other labels might; like funding, the need to build a strong identity, and other self-imposed musical boundaries. Asked to pick one challenge to overcome, Saburov chooses keeping up with submissions and “keeping it fun”.
Despite its digital origins, #internetghetto has now been able to transition into events, with the label hosting parties Moscow and St Petersburg. “We provide venues if people without experience want to experiment and do their first live performance,” Saburov says. Past #internetghetto events have featured Moscow’s next gen of electronic artists, including Plastyq, data drain, low pulse, nl.DEFRAQ, ZAKLADKI, Falcon Kid, Synthetiq, and Famitsu. By hosting regular events, #internetghetto have also built strong connections with other cities and labels. Saburov says he has already discovered the emerging Czech scene thanks to artists releasing music through the label.
For now, #internetghetto still has a happy home on Soundcloud and VK, with plans to travel to even more locations this year. In the meantime, check out the mix especially curated by Saburov for The Calvert Journal that showcases some of the finest electronic experimental music talent #internetghetto has to offer.