As Good Company Records prepares to hit the five year mark, we revisit the roots of the label with co-founder Zeni Karpuzi. Becoming a regular fixture among Brooklyn’s house and techno circles, Karpuzi and a small crew began the homegrown outlet out of ‘family-style talent pool’ of regional artists. Clocking twenty-two releases and a handful of showcases, the team have steadily build a follow of dance floor natives with a keen ear for quality house.
Born in Brooklyn to a family of Albanian immigrants, Karpuzi’s upbringing was pretty damn New York. Spending time in his family’s Staten Island pizza shop, he discovered 90s Hip Hop and RnB from his older siblings music tastes. Somewhere in the mid-2000s he fell hard for house after experiencing local legend, Danny Tenaglia’s sets at the now-defunct Pacha dance floor. Zeni explains that that dance floor made an impact through the sounds of Frankie Knuckles, Danny Howels, Danny Krivit. ‘Little did I know they would grow into family and eventually birth what is now GCR.’
The project started in the club, promoting nights long before releases. Early events under the name ‘Keep It Movin’ allowed the then-group of Mike Terra, Dave Turk, Brian Best, and Zeni to explore the art of DJ and try their hand at spinning house. After four years, crews combined as they joined forces with Mario Polanco, Pablo Romaro, Alex Loaiza and St Xose who threw a party called Hidden Roots. The combined ‘Movin’ Roots’ resulted is a residency in Output’s Panther Room with a dance floor that never failed to move.
We are a family, this wasn’t started because we wanted to ride any wave or thought it was cool. It’s all about the music and always has been/will be.
After just a few years of the combined collective, a label seemed like the natural next step. 2014 saw the launch with digital releases from friends of the group. Tapping artists both natives and frequenters of Brooklyn dance floors, early GCR release saw names like George Vala, John Barera, and Beartrax before records from the founders themselves. Rather than trying to enlist major players in the global scene, the crew’s A7R practices were looking closer to home. Zeni explains the motivation ‘that concept of providing that opportunity to our friends in the local scene that really keeps us motivated to keep going.’
Dedicated to the NYC sound, they follow in the footsteps of artists like Danny T, known for dishing out a powerful blend of dance floor house. Raw and ‘drummy’ yet soulful house tracks make up the label. ‘So many talented artists who haven’t necessarily had the chance to really shine or represent the NY sound or at least their interpretation of it… The focal point is really just to be true to our artists and listeners and just put out good music.’
As far as fitting in amongst the labels I think we will just keep doing what we do best and that’s just do our thing and let our music speak for itself. We really feel like we’ve made a point to show our love for New York, but that being said we wanna showcase this music to the world and I think that’s our next step.
In the grand scheme of things, GCR is just getting started. On the eve of their 5th anniversary the party is stronger than ever. ‘We are a family, this wasn’t started because we wanted to ride any wave or thought it was cool. It’s all about the music and always has been/will be. As you know, NY is a hub and being a native here can add a lot of stress when it comes to a musical outlet.’
This city is bleeding with talent, you just gotta give it a chance. Stray away from fads and follow that house vibe…