About us

More than 25 years ago, high-school graduate Stefan Herwig was given a mixtape by a friend. It featured electronic acts that differed widely from mainstream Pop: Fad Gadget, Psyche, à;Grumh… and not least Skinny Puppy. This music sounded discordant and harsh for untrained ears, the singing went way beyond conventional listening habits. Drum computers with loudly hammering snares, prominent sequences and sounds as well as voice samples from obscure horror movies opened up an entirely new sonic universe.

After repeated listening though, order arose from this chaos. Each song developed harmonies and revealed its unique atmosphere. Thus, a distinct aesthetic came to being, both dark and melancholic as well as aggressive and powerful - a decisive counterdraft to the life-affirming, shallow charts music of the 1980s and 90s.

In 1993, Stefan Herwig - by now a DJ and enthusiastic advocate of dark electronic music - applied for a job with newly founded label OffBeat. Their first signings were bands such as Haujobb and Steril; with Project Pitchfork, OffBeat achieved chart success for the first time, and with Front Line Assembly's "Hard Wired", Stefan Herwig landed an international hit as responsible A&R manager. After that, there were three Swedes, a reticent Belgian and one completely crazy American: Covenant, Suicide Commando, Velvet Acid Christ.

A little later, Stefan Herwig founded his own label Dependent initially presenting
with bands like VNV Nation, Covenant, Velvet Acid Christ and Suicide Commando.

Electronic music which, as on that mixtape, had to be expressive, high-quality and original alike, was at the bottom of it. His artists were not supposed to be mere copycats of others, but had to add something individual to the body of electronic music as a whole. With this intent, Dependent emerged in 1998 - a label ever since concerned about calibre and identity in order to continue the history of dark electronic music. Big names gave us classic albums (Covenant's "United States Of Mind", VNV Nation's "Empires", Front Line Assembly with "Echogenetic", Seabound with "No Sleep Demon" and "Automation Baby" by Mesh) while projects weird and valuable (Babyland, Kilowatts & Vanek) added to the roster in a similar way as our younger bands IRIS and Chrysalide do now.

Dependent themselves wish to accompany musicians and make sure that electronic music remains exciting in the long run even though the aesthetic, the sound and the scene have undergone noticeable change. Important to us are premium packaging and adequate artwork reflecting the spirit of an album. Especially in times of music being reduced to files, it is crucial to emphasise images, booklets and content.

Moreover, the artists' work must also be available internationally over a longer period, both digitally and physically. Therefore, Dependent even in the age of digital monopolists stays faithful to small record shops by offering particularly lush fan editions. When good music, creative vision and striking artwork meet, what comes about are sound carriers you like to pull out of their shelf even after years. In the end, all this depends on each other - thus the imprint Dependent.

Electronic music is the soundtrack, the pulse of our life; so it shall remain.

Gelsenkirchen, December 2014
Dependent is part of SPKR.
Multifaceted, independent media group specializing in the discovery, manufacturing, distribution and presentation of high quality music and art.