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Nick León Revives Space Tapes, the Miami Label Started by III Points' Founder

Nick LeónEXPAND
Nick León
photographer: Koury Angelo

When Miami-based record producer Nick León was planning to start his own record label, his first thought was to ask III Points founder David Sinopoli for advice.

"It was around this time last year I started thinking about all the musicians I knew, and I wanted to connect all the dots and start a label," León recounts. "I called up David and we talked about it. He talked about starting Space Tapes in 2014 and put out a couple releases. But then he got so busy starting III Points that his priorities shifted.

"He said to me: 'Why don't you continue what I started?' So he gave me full creative control, and I took over Space Tapes."

Twelve months later, the world will get its first taste of the revamped Space Tapes with the May 26 release of Space Tapes Compilation, Vol. 1, a digital release of nine tracks by 13 local artists hand-selected by León.

"Most of the artists are peers or friends; a couple came from recommendations. The label is geared towards bedroom-producer types. The sounds vary from techno to hip-hop, but most of the songs come from the brains of one person," León explains. "If there's a track with vocals, the singer most likely produced it as well. I wanted everyone on the label to have their own individual identity. I like to use the word 'auteur' for the people we're looking for. I want it to be a platform for interesting sounds."

León grew up in Fort Lauderdale and has been producing his own music as well as those of other South Florida artists, such as Denzel Curry and Twelve'Len, since he was a teenager. Last year, he put out his own full-length debut, Profecía, on the L.A. label Alpha Pup. That got him wondering: Why can't Miami be home to a similar label?

"Most musicians feel the need to leave Miami for New York or L.A.. I wanted other kids down here to have the opportunity I had," he says. "I want to help the people who want to stay and fight the good fight."

Space Tapes Compilation, Vol. 1, will be available online only, at least at first. León is hopeful to release it on cassette and vinyl in the future. Other plans include an EP by Lautlos, whom León classifies as "ambient down-tempo."

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But before releasing any other music, Space Tapes will celebrate its revival with a party Friday night at Floyd Miami. Half the artists from the inaugural compilation — including Austin Paul, Bear, Byrdipop, Get Face, and Mr. Alexis — will play 20-minute sets. León, who also contributed on the compilation in the song "Aquifer," will DJ and keep the night running smoothly.

He's optimistic this event can be the first of many nights Space Tapes will host to commemorate releases.

"I've always been into experimental, left-field music. My plan for Space Tapes is to help people see who is coming up in the local scene. I want people to see what's coming out of Miami without them having to dig too deep."

Space Tapes Release Party
10 p.m. Friday, May 26, at Floyd Miami, 34 NE 11th St., Miami; floydmiami.com; 786-618-9447. Admission is free.

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