Founded in 2018
Founders: Ömür Can Kilic , Max Graef
Genre: electronic, dancehall, digital folk, modern jazz, synth punk
Artists: Max Graef, Gerry Franke, TBZ, Yosa Peit, Montel Palmer, Funkycan, Employee...
Mission: Declare the war on the structures of the music business
Ömür Can Kilic and I, Max Graef, run Tax Free Records. We started the platform
due to a mutual urge and love to make and distribute free-spirited music. Can and I both love underdog music, no limits
in experimentation and in general an anti-market attitude, if that makes sense.
We live in Berlin, close to very great spots in the nature and can still enjoy the benefits of a big city. I would say it’s getting way too expensive to rent a place in Berlin, public transport is too expensive too and I don’t like the party tourism, I generally don’t understand how the nightlife of the city is the main reason for most peoples fascination.
We started Tax Free in 2018, about 1 year after recording music together regularly.
Inspirations for the label range from labels like UR, Dischord Records and Ian Mackaye, Library lables like Music House and Atmosphere or more contemporary labels like Mississippi Records, Planet Rescue, Pacific City Sound Visions to general attitudes towards marketing, certain norms and structures of people like Roland Klick, a great german Film maker and progressive artist, visionaries like Jimi Hendrix. Jimi’s cover of the song “Tax Free” was the initial sign to name the label Tax Free btw. a little later we realized how funny the title is and how it can work on so many levels, anti-government, anti-structure, anti-profit combined with a gangster style of more-profit hahahaha
The sound of Tax Free is free. Can and I both love the unexpected and weird excursions of music.
I would describe the sound as punk and rock, often produced with electronic instruments, although it might not necessarily sound like it, it does mostly feel like it to me. I guess a combining element of all the music we put is a certain psychedelic feel to it.
I am proud of all the music we put out so far! I feel like most people slept on the DJ Neumann double 12 inch we put out. I recommend everybody to check it out! It has some really cool locked grooves on the vinyl version too!
All formats we choose for the releases are really what we think is best for the music. Some things have to be enjoyed on vinyl, some on tape and some digitally I guess. Most recently we added a magazine issue as well, accompanying the latest Abdul release, which I thought was quite interesting. The magazine features the amazing digital art experiments of Ömür Can Kilic, cofounder of Tax Free and also one part of Abdul. In a lot of ways it was great to have the music and this visual component working together so well. It also felt like a rare matching combination.
Our mission is to offer an alternative musical program, push the music we like and discover and declare the war on the structures of the music business.
"a big thanks to juri for helping out and making this label work!"
TBZ from cologne was another big influence musically and a Tax Free regular, as part of Montel Palmer, GRRRR or with his Sharpest Knife In The Draw tape,
who encouraged me to feel comfortable with all sorts of experiments in sound and music.
Tax Free released one the best albums of 2020 : YOSA PEIT - phyton
"Phyton is ancient greek for plant, tree, creature, child, and descendant. It comes from “phúō,” i.e. to generate, to spring up, to be by nature.
Making Phyton was like GROWING A STRANGE NEW PLANT in changing social, political, environmental climates. You hear a lot of ticking, getting kicked out of a structure, roaring guitar and harsh vocal processing set against a Dolphins-in-Malibu kinda 80s tune. Life in the past few years has felt very much like those sonic contrasts for me." Yosa says.