All My Ghosts is anything but a newcomer – this year the Leipzig label is celebrating its fifth anniversary. Here you can find out who is behind it and where it wants to go musically.
There aren’t many labels left that still give us physical promos in the classic way – if at all. We usually look for new Leipzig releases on Bandcamp or Soundcloud ourselves. It’s different with All My Ghosts. In December 2022, a lovingly wrapped letter was in our mailbox. In it the new albums by Gregor Dys and Flowers & Fabini, which were released in parallel at the time. A few months earlier we had first come across the label via the split EP by Discount Furniture and 5AA5 and were very fascinated by the diverse label catalogue.
So it’s high time for a portrait. A few hard facts: All My Ghosts was launched in early 2018, and there have now been 20 releases – often on tape, some on vinyl. Stylistically, All My Ghosts moves between indie rock and post-punk, ambient and downbeat, dream pop and experimental electronica, house and wave – a remarkable spectrum. The label was founded by Nils Schäfer. As Nils Panda, he also produces electronic-pop-indiesque tracks himself and has recently also been writing reviews for gladfroh. The best way for him to explain why he founded the label is himself.
How did the idea for All My Ghosts come about?
The idea came after I moved from Berlin to Leipzig. I saw in Berlin that you can get a lot of things done on a small scale. At that time I still had a band that released on the small Berlin label Späti Palace. They and a few other people have put on concerts in Berlin and pushed the local scene. That fascinated and inspired me.
With All My Ghosts I also wanted to have a platform to create things myself. And having a base for my own releases and all the people around me. I quickly found connection to the “scene” in Leipzig, I just always chatted up the people when I noticed that they were making music.
Who else is behind the label and what musical context do you come from?
I’m behind the label, although I get a lot of support from friends who always help out – especially from the graphic artist Iska Kaek, with whom I also make the mixtape series “Ghost Tapes” on Soundcloud. Iska has designed many releases on All My Ghosts and is always actively involved in the implementation of the physical sound carriers – i.e. when it comes to packaging, screen printing, etc.
I’ve always been interested in the local scenes of the cities I live in. In this sense, my current context in Leipzig is the electronic music scene and the young jazz scene. But I’m also involved in the band scene. In Berlin and Munich it was always the indie/post-rock scene I was in, very early on techno and electronic music. Now it’s kind of all together. I think the concept of DIY always played a role, no matter what scene I was in.
Your catalog is quite diverse – what do you think is the musical-artistic thread of All My Ghosts?
I stand behind everything I publish – that’s the common thread. All of the people who release music on All My Ghosts have been friends or have become friends through collaboration. I only want to release music that I’m 100 percent passionate about. Since the label work is more or less parallel to the job, I can only work that way. Through events like the Ghost Fest, I’ve also tried to bring things together that might not seem to fit together at first glance. Ambient, dream pop, post rock. But in the end it’s just all music that I like. Of course, I also thought about giving the label a “style”, but then I quickly failed when thinking about it because it seemed too wanted to me.
How do you rate the Leipzig music scene – where are exciting developments, what is still lacking?
It is difficult to assess that as a newcomer. But what I can say is that I found a very broad music scene in Leipzig that I was able to immerse myself in very quickly. There are so many people doing cool things and there are always new locations. Also, I don’t think people are so blinkered when it comes to overlapping scenes. I like to move around in the different scenes and enjoy it. Of course I also try to contribute a part.
Perhaps a little more specifically, it would be to point out the work of established institutions like UT Connewitz, Conne Island, Noch Better Life or Ilses Erika, or to name record stores like Inch By Inch and Vary. Or the labels that have been doing their thing for ages, such as Altin Village & Mine, Kann etc. I also find the jazz club, which organizes the jazz days and breaks new ground, exciting. New locations pop up again and again, in the west as well as in the east. The (tape) label scene is also a thing that is completely flashy. There are many small labels that simply do what they feel like doing, but also join forces with one another again and again. Prepaid records and cassette service come to mind spontaneously. People want to do something and that inspires.
What are your next big plans and goals with the label?
The vinyl EP by Twins in Colour, a dream pop band from Leipzig, was recently released. And then an IDM release from Discount Furniture just arrived on tape.
In May, the “Fachmarkt für Kulturgut” takes place as part of the Busy Hands Festival – a festival for concert poster festivals – where various (tape) labels are at the start and can offer their stuff. I really want to put on an event with bands and acts again this summer. I also really want to turn the “Ghost Tapes” mixtape concept into a small series of parties that tour the bars like this. People just put on their favorite music. I’m still looking for the right locations for this.
To get a taste of the All My Ghosts catalogue, here are a few of our highlights:
Discount Furniture „Envelope“
A gritty and cute pulsing electronica EP made with Game Boy software Nanoloop. With wooden old school beats, edgy melodies and a wonderfully childlike curiosity. But everything with a fine feeling for pop.
Twins In Colour „In Event Of Moon Disaster“
Retro-futuristic sounding synth-pop EP with two different vocals and a nocturnally chilled atmosphere. And in between very officially hit-probable dream pop songs.
Gregor Dy’s “Interwoven”
A dream-inviting journey through modularly generated synth sounds, a guitar and other acoustic instruments. Very contemplative and somehow also trippy with quite free arrangements.
Flowers & Fabini „Digitally Assisted Music Vol. 1“
This is where trumpet and electronic experiments meet. Reminds me directly of Nils Petter Molvaer, with edgier and kitschy phases. Also here: A great album to dive into and stimulated relaxation.
Another duo – here samples and synths, loops and cuts become deep-crisp downbeat and house tracks. Very laidback and harmonious.
Nils Panda “121212”
And finally the album of the label owner Nils. On “121212” he combines his different musical directions with some guests. The result is tender indie house, dreamy downbeat pop songs and more freely unfolding electronica pieces.
We are very pleased that from now on Iona Dutz will also support us in photographing selected portraits – she took all the pictures in this article. Here she tells how she works and what she flashed at her first happy shooting:
“Hi, I’m Iona. (Light) moods and people are a super important part of my work as a freelance portrait and documentary photographer. What I love about my job is constantly immersing myself in new situations and (life) stories and making them visible.
The photo session with Nils drew my attention to his small label All My Ghosts and I was smitten by the musicians he represents – especially the new album by Twins in Color cast a spell over me. I think you’ll be hearing more from All My Ghosts and the band in the future…”