TINK! Records history

Portland Studios, Amsterdam, The Netherlands 

In the Summer of 1988 Joseph Salvador (a.k.a. José Salvador and Zé Salvador) started the Portland Studios in Amsterdam and began recording young and upcoming talent; these were scouted at clubs, on the streets and by word of mouth. After an experimental period of recording the first release on the TINK! label was by Black Tulip featuring Wendell Morrison on vocals. The international success this limited 12″ single edition achieved inspired the team to record more tracks and set up the label. By this time the Major record companies all had their eyes and ears on the Portland Studios.

Another headline – the music label TINK! Records

Black Tulip’s DJ Johnson & Wendell Morrison
DJ Johnson & Wendell Morrison

1990 brought us TINK! Records (Tomorrow Is Now, Kid!). The new label was a lively and creative organisation with headquarters in the Portland Studios and situated in the heart of Amsterdam. The idea behind TINK! was to release quality Dance Music, ranging from Soul and Funk to World Beats, House and Techno. “TINK! believes in a new breed of young and upcoming artists, songwriters and producers from the music and club scene who can add a new dimension to Dance music. Combining this with artists from Africa, Latin countries and the USA new styles are created”, read the press release from 1990. In that year TINK! Records became established as an independent underground House music label based in Amsterdam. TINK! Records was one of the first Dutch record labels to record and release House music and the first to produce and release ‘U.S Garage’ music on the Netherlands. While Holland was going Hardcore, TINK! Records focused more into Soulful vocal releases and Disco influenced House with ‘track style’ cuts. Nevertheless the label still released two acclaimed Hardcore tracks on the underground scene – the internationally recognized Rave anthems EDC “NO Pills – the Roxy Mix” and R. J.’s Rule’s historical (and repeatedly bootlegged) track “Rave this Nation”.

TINK! releases were initially only available on vinyl 12″ maxi singles and distributed to specialised record shops internationally. At a later stage some of the tracks were released on CD and licensed for use on many international compilations. TINK! was the first Dutch House label to have a licensing and distribution deal with a major company, EMI Records. Early releases from artists such as Black Tulip, MDA, The Funky Mood Orchestra, EDC and R.J.’s Rule helped TINK! Records establish recognition amongst top DJs and House Music lovers everywhere and the respect of the Dance community world-wide.

TINK! Records first release was “Jam on it” by Black Tulip, it was welcomed with open arms by the Dutch club scene and it received very positive feedback from the best DJ’s in N.Y. / New Jersey and the U.K. It climbed the Dance Charts of some of the most upfront international music magazines. Major labels and other industry insiders kept their eye on TINK! and some artists who broke through via releases on TINK! Records went on to major success.

“In a fast changing new Europe and as a young House label TINK! Records wants to be an international outlet for various music styles growing in the cosmopolitan centres of a multi-cultural city like Amsterdam. TINK! wants to record its momentum and its movement, the function and meaning in a culture so diverse though so individual as it may be.” (sic 1990 first Press release).

TINK! Records licensed tracks to compilation albums in territories such as Japan, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, USA, UK, Belgium, France, Brazil, Portugal, Spain and elsewhere. In the the Netherlands TINK! Records tracks featured on various mix compilation CDs and in well over 50 CD albums world wide. From the Summer 1988 up till 1995 TINK! Records and the Portland Studios will remind many Dance Music fans just how influential the label and the studios were in pushing the Underground House sound from the Netherlands forward into the world.

With over 25 releases by artists including Black Tulip, MDA, Thyone Girls, Wendell Morrison, Marian Rolle, EDC, R.J’s Rule, MTC Grooves, Venus, Electronic Voodoo, the Funky Mood Orchestra, Source Internal, Digital Cartel and more, TINK! Records catalogue remains a milestone in the history of Dutch House music.

Joseph Salvador and Rik Zwaan at Portland Studios, TINK! Records.Matthieu, Rik Zwaan & Joseph Salvador at the Portland Studios – TINK! Records
TINK! Staff Some of TINK! Records and Portland Studios staff in the Summer of 1990 – Amsterdam