He contacted me last week cos he’s raising money for a documentary project he has about Baltimore, both the city and the music of the same name. He did a trip there and totally felt in love with the city, its soul, and Bmore Club music is its perfect music translation.
To know more about the porject, please visit this PAGE.
So i wanted to share this info with you and also asked some questions to Tim Moreau, aka Videomit….
Videomit: « I’ve got a master degree in documentary film making and I was primarly focused on social struggles, and social documentary, but since few years, my work is more focused on music: Vjing, music videos, trailers for different artists and different labels ( Generation Bass, Diess Prod, Moveltraxx, Soukouch Ethnik, Akwaaba…) I’m also a curator and music journalist (amateur, for the luv you know !) for the french radio show Global Bass where I practive my writing skills. About World Music or Electronic scene, or the both !
I’ve discovered Bmore trought « The Wire » of course, but, I’ve discovered Bmore Club music before. I think it was with M.I.A (and Diplo during the Diplo Golden Era) and then Rye-Rye and Blaqstarr (« Shake it to the ground »).
My musical background is a mix of different things. First, Dancehall and Reggae plus HipHop, and in the other hand, TeKno and Drum N’Bass. So, when I discovered Bmore Club, I felt it was a perfect mix of both sounds, something warm and groovy plus something with a lot of energy, which can create a « trance » state, like electronic music does sometimes.
I’ve visit Baltimore last March, for a small journey, but I’ve spend time with some great people there. In one hand, Scottie B, who was a great host, and with a photographer whose name is Patrick Joust (great work by the way). Of course, Baltimore is very special, with some very poor neighborhoods, where houses and blocks seems to be left aside by the state, and where life seems to be a struggle for lot of peoples. I mean, you really can feel the effect of the crisis there, but I think the problem is older then the 2007 financial crisis. America is a very divided country, where you can see big and fancy S.U.Vs just after seing lots of homeless people, in the same street. But, the most important thing is that Baltimore has a soul ! I mean, you can feel it. That’s why it is so rich musicaly I think.
The influence of Baltimore Club is huge in the Global Bass scene, and also in mainstream music, I think about Beyonce and Black Eyed Peace. Sometimes, it’s sad because people and producers don’t know where the bmore « boom boom boom » comes from, and don’t know what Bmore Club is ! I think, it’s a little bit the same for Miami Bass, and many others local subgenres. I think Bmore Club is maybe one the most important beat and rythmic « ossature » in many club music of today. That’s the aim of my forthcoming movie: to tell the story a little bit, and give a little justice to many great producers, before people forget them. We all know about Detroit Techno and New York HipHop, Baltimore needs his history page too !
The second reason, I think it is because, club music and most of electronic music is party music, so it is hard to write and speak about it in serious and documented way, but, I don’t care, I need to know things about the music I like to party and to listen at. Its explain maybe why people know so less about it ! Producers don’t like to read, it is well known lol ! Just kiddin’
Next Video, Insh’allah, is gonna be this full lengh documentary about Bmore and Club music. Then, in few weeks, there is will be a music video I’ve worked on for Generation Bass, a great Blues-Dubstep track , plus few other things for the Global Bass scene. Then, I don’t know, maybe I would like to work more on something world music oriented, I currently listening to Thai and Viet pop music from the 60′s, and it sounds so great, it inspires me a lot for, maybe writing something about this Thai Pop Golden Era. But, first of all, let’s do Bmore ! »
Inch Allah Tim! i’d love to have this documentary in my library ;)
I first heard MC Zulu‘s voice on a Poirier track released last year on Ninja Tune. This guy has a VOICE! OMG! I personnally love very low baritone voice, like the ones you can listen to in dancehall. It is definitly very sensual & powerful. But Zulu’s strengh comes from the large musical spectrum he evoluates in. He knows how to make a track catchy, from very rough percusiv tracks to more dancefloor ones. But he’s also a smart guy, expressing his impressions in a very personal and politically engaged way.
When i’ve discover his last EP (listen here), I was curious to know more, so here’s a little interview….
Hi MC Zulu, nice to have you on board :) can you please introduce yourself to the ones who may not have heard about you before ?
I am MC ZULU, Here to either Save The World or take over the whole damn thing.I write Reggae songs, in wierd timing, over Global Bass Music
when and how did you start performing ?
Every true performer starts with imitation of their heroes.For me it was Shabba.., but that only went so far, because I had too
much Hip-Hop Influence. Early MC Zulu was abysmally BAD
What’s your musical background ? are there any labels or specific artists who have inspired you in the past ?
I draw influence from the entire spectrum of music. I believe I can create along the lines of any Caribbean related genre, and it will be valid
about what about today ? is there some producer or vocalist you admire and would love to work with ?
I would LOVE to work with Justin Bieber, or any American Idol finalist. I’ll write them ba hit, and smile all the way to the bank :o)))) <—- like that
Your lyrics are always very engaged, do you think music can change people’s mind or just fedarate people ? have you ever worked as a musician in a more social way (like teaching etc…)?
Music and social / political business is a tricky situation.
If your goal is to change peoples’ minds, in my opinion you have set out with an AGENDA. It stops being art at that point… You can hear it, because although it’s « conscious » and youre SUPPOSED to like it… it’s BORING!
Still if you have a lot of flash in your writing, with NO substance at the core, it becomes mindless. It might be a HIT, but it serves no higher purpose whatsoever. You may feel like an idiot singing your own song after a while, and probably begin to hate your fan base, develop a drug habit, and kill yourself….. in that order.
So for me the key is to seek balance between the two.
You are from the US, can you tell us more about how’s the musical scene there ?
I remember when journalists had people FIGHTING about being East and West Coast.lol
There are more Burners, and Tribal Fusion Belly Dancers out West, so that has developed into a lingering love affair with Dubstep
In the East there is the B-More influence with the James Brown / Clyde Stubblefield samples. Still, everything can be heard everywhere.
what’s coming next ? any new ep, tour etc ?…
JUST finished my Spring Tour! There were dates from Maui to Zurich..
Now prepping « Electro Track Therapy », the full length followup to the Crowd Control E.P.-
For this 4th episode of the Inspiration Serie, i wanted to ask questions to the funky buddies of Top Billin.
If you like Bass Music you’ve of course already heard about them: they now delivers monthly top quality tracks, in a very large variety of styles.
Why did i wanted to talk about them ? cos they’re crazy :D
I’ve never seen a label as activ as this one. I think i recieve promo copies twice a month from them, and most of the time their releases are just awesome. Sometimes it is difficult to choose which one to play really….
So it was just natural for me to sit and send some question to Sami Nenola, head of the label and one-half of sharkslayer:
It’s pretty hard to find informations about the label… can u tell us the story ?
well basically we’re just a group of djs and producers who wanted to make a label to celebrate the music we love. It was also the viking-plan to take over the world like in 1500BC, we rules s**t by then and we shall do it again.
what’s your musical background ? are there any labels or specific artist who have inspired you in the past ?
Any label who just kept it real and loved the stuff they did. One of our favourite labels ever has been DJ Harveys ‘Black Cock’ that had a comic rooster on it’s design. It was disco-edit label but nevertheless, the even the image was wonderful. Also Dance Mania has been a major source of influence.
i think the way u run the label is very original from others: you release stuff very frequently and you release loads of different artists while some other labels focus on 4 or 5 acts. Can u explain us that ?
when we started it was hard to get on a label, we wanted to work a bit different. if we see that you got these 3 of the following, you’re welcome to the label (aka the Top Billin Knighthood).
1) you make dope tracks and you know how to produce
2) you make stuff other people will be playin in 6months so you’re ‘forward-thinking’
3) you don’t give a fuck, avoid ‘kool’ and like tittypics
how is the scene like in Finland ? it’s a country we don’t hear about much…
it’s great! you should all come over here. we can do boogie parties, we can do disco house events, we can do hard bass nights and everybody’s celebrating. just don’t tell anyone that using the secret word ‘top billin’ you can get into most clubsin here for free.
which factors do you think had the most influence in the growing process of the label ? your parties in Finland ? connections with other djs ? blogs ?
we didn’t have limits, so we hung out with everybody. from techno parties to hip hop nights, we partied, bought the records, argued who was better, michael or prince (and decided and nile rodgers and quincy jones win everybody), got drunk, played some more records. it all came together, so who can we blame? just us.
What’s coming up next, for the label, and for you as artists ? What is the thing you are the most proud of in your musical carrier ?
good question but if you look at the top billin releases right now (topbillinmusic.bandcamp.com) you can see some cats who are coming next. we needed to stop to tell who’s coming next on our label, because we saw a lot of other dudes having labels, just following us and trying to sign the guys we work with. that weak shit and at top billin be don’t like weak works.
if you could give an advice to upcoming label runners, what would it be ?
do vinyl. i mean, you’re a LABEL, all that shit is good, it should be on a vinyl at least at some point. love what you do and pussy too.
Uk garage appeared in the early 1990s and was mainly a UK thing: in France, some people tried but all of them failed, especially cos this style sounded too commercial for the underground french ears :)
But music works by cycle and it’s really nice to see that this style has turned in another sound, merging with loads of other influences such as techno, oldschool house or afro beat. The fusion with dubstep has also been very important.
Today, i wanted to talk about a french future garage producer, who deserve some noise: NEAT. In only one release (see the label attached) on the very respectable label Aiflex Labs Neat recieved massive supports from the dubstep scene. And has now licensed one of his track to a Ministry of Sound compilation. Well done guy :)
Hi Neat. Can you please introduce yourself to the ones who never heard about you ?
— Hugo, 24. I’ve started as a drummer at the age of 12 and have progressively switched to electronic music at the age of 16.
Your tracks sounds really « techno », is it your musical background ? what do you used to listen to while growing up ?
— I’ve mainly listened to classical music, jazz or rock while i was a kid, but my dad made me listened to electronic music quite early: Kraftwerk « Autobahn », Laurie Anderson « Big Science » et Radiohead « Kid A » of course. Then i’ve discovered Atkins, Robert Hood, Derrick Carter…. it was really a shock. Even if i am always trying to search other interesting source of influences, there’ll always be this Detroit/Chicago touch in my production i think.
I’ve seen of another interview (here for the froggies only) you were also very inspired by photography or painting, can you please tell us a bit more about that ?
— Yes, it may sounds a bit cliché, but i’ve noticed this had a huge influence on the way i see things in music. For example photographers such as Koudelka or Boubat, painters such as Schiele or Braque give you an instant view of their world/perceptions. It is sincere and very spontaneous, establishing the way they see things and the way to demonstrate them.
So you were first a drummer. How have you switched to the digital world ? when was it and how do you usually work ?
— It all went very fast, i’ve started to fiddle beats, samplers and so one…. Now it’s all about the digital solution, Cubase + plug ins. I do it in the techno way – again – trying to use a minimum of sounds (usually wave basics such as white noise etc…) and put lots of effort on the effects/spatialisation side. It is easier for me to find interesting textures like this than using synths everybody has… it is important to have his own touch…
So what’s coming next ?
—My next release is a collaboration withSubmerse, « Close » (available in both vinyl & digital), with Falty DL &Jack Dixon remixes. This will be available on Airflex on the 28th of March. « Lime & Sugar » has just been signed to aMinistry of Sound compilation, i also got very nice gigs alongside Roska, Untold, Scuba or Lorn. There’ll also be a Airflex Labs Stage at Les Nuits Sonores (Lyon/FR)in june. I’m actually working on a remix for Hybu, and also another EP i’me very happy with, but unfortunately my hard drive has just crashed. So now i need to make it repair… Got a busy schedule …
Part 2 of my inspiration serie with Daniel Haaksman, head of Man Recording.
My story with this label started few years back, with me buying one of my first Baile Funk compilation, « Favela Booty Beats » in Brighton. I knew this style before but it was a bit tough to find good stuff to dj with, the ones you could find online were more kind of 128ko MP3 files…
I love Baile Funk. I’ve booked DJ Sandrinho in Paris on 2007 and he did an amazing set, using his MPC as a guitar, in an absolutely unique style. But it was a bit tough for me to play this kind of music cos at the time, all the Global Bass thing was not popular at all. So it was a selfish pleasure ;)
Then, i discovered productions from Ku Bo, Daniel, and i finally had what i wanted: proper tunes i could dj with, which were at the same time dance-able & forward-thinking. I also really enjoyed the researches around the label, their covers & colourfull vinyls, & also the way they run their blog. With all this Daniel Haaksman has really helped creating a worldwide community.
And that’s why i wanted to interview him :)
In case some people don’t know you, can u tell us who you are, where you live and how long you’ve been in music.
My name is daniel haaksman, i live in berlin, i run Man Recordings and I´m a dj and producer. I´ve been professionally in music since the mid 1990s
What’s your musical background ? do you play music yourself ?
My musical background is hip hop by and large, but I always listened to many different music styles from heavy metal to dub. i played bass in a doom rock
band when i was a kid (i was a big black sabbath and melvins fan) but then got into djing and ever since never played much music live.
Is there one artist you want to mention who has inspired you ?
I think marcel duchamp is probably the artist that has inspired me the most as he made clear being an artist is all about what you define as being art.
Before music have you worked on other things than music ?
Until recently i used to be a music journalist writing for various german music magazines and daylies, and for a few years i used to work as a curator
and co-ran a gallery.
How did the idea of running a label came ? is there any labels you got inspired by ?
I started Man Recordings after releasing my compilation « Rio baile funk favela booty beats » on my old label essay recordings in 2004. Essay recordings i ran
with gyspy Don Shantel from 1999-2005. I quit essay recordings when i saw how well the baile funk compilation was selling and what feedback it created i decided to give this sound its own platform and thus started Man Recordings on my own in 2005. With Edu K i found my first artist and then i created the Funk Mundial and Baile Funk Masters series which became quiet popular with releases by artists such as Crookers, Count & Sinden, Feadz, Jesse Rose and many others, those two series gave the label a big boost in popularity.
Recently, i´ve been putting out more artist related stuff, meaning i now concentrate on a few artists such as João Brasil, Bert on Beats, Schlachthofbronx, Ku Bo and Isa gt. And of course i release now more my own stuff as a producer and it´s a great luxury to have a label where i can really release what i make myself, so it gives me great freedom, especially artistically.
there are many labels i was inspired by, Warp Records, Rhythm n´Sound, Dance Mania, Wild Pitch but also 1990s labels like Mo´Wax or Major Force where you could really buy every release and you knew it was amazing, fresh new music.
What were the main things that helped your label to grow?
Actually, i think there´s a few factors that made Man Recordings became known. Probably the most important thing was that Man Recordings right from the beginning stood for a very special sound. When i started to release the first Edu K singles, and then the Baile Funk Masters and Funk Mundial singles, there was absolutely no one else outside of brasil that would release this kind of music.
So Man Rec had a unique selling point as you say in marketing language. Another important thing was that i released tracks and / or remixes by artists such as Diplo, Crookers, Sinden or Switch at a time when they were either completely unknown (Crookers first international release was in fact on man recordings) or were just known to a few people, as the whole global bass /ghetto scene around 2005, 2006 was very small. So it was really easy back then to get access to these people or even give them a first proper platform and as i felt that those people were very talented, i also received a lot of quality tracks and contributions.
So basically what made Man Recordings is a unique sound, a good timing, a good selection of artists, and quality releases that made my label grew and become known. Blogs were not so important as i only recently started to promote my releases through blogs, gigs really only started to kick in last year, but of course djs have been an important point as well as many top-dog djs played Man Rec stuff. i had a bit of press here and there but it´s really one of the lesser factors, especially in germany, where music journalists are still completely asleep about global bass.
How many people are working at the office of Man Recordings ? how does the everyday life of running a label is ?
Actually i run the label pretty much on my own. Since one and half years i have occasional interns who get introduced to the art of running a label (lol). I´m in the office two and half days a week. Most of the time at the office is spent on communicating with artists and organising the various aspects of running a label, i.e. taking care of the mastering, the graphic design, distribution, press, and of course the administration side, accounting, calculating, legal things etc. is eating up a lot of time but it´s just the normal part of running a label. It looks glamourous from the outside, but running a label means also doing a lot of dull stuff, but in the end the outcome is always ten times better than for example working in some ad agency .
Your label is the global bass specialist (it covers other genres, but i think this term is good, do you agree ?)
in terms of sales or gigs for u & your artists, is it global too? :)
In terms of sales yes, i sell all over the world, particularly in Japan, Australia, USA, Uk, France and Germany and a bit in brasil.
In terms of gigs i think the last year was a big step for playing more internationally and this year promises to be even better with tours of some of my artists in Asia, USA, etc.
If you’re reading this post, i advice you to have a look to Man Recordings blog cos it is really good. The thing i like the most are the videos & more artistic contents cos it gives a good way to understand the whole process, it gives a context to the music. You can watch documentaries about Baile Funk parties, this kind of things. It’s not just a tool to promote the label :)
Daniel, do you consider yourself as a blogger ?
Well i consider myself a blogger, yes, but the Man Recordings blog / website is really very much about the label and the label´s artists and what we like, what we experience when travelling, etc. , rather rarely we are posting tracks or stuff from other labels as we always think that there´s so much music blogs around that just post stuff that people send them, and we really try to filter it hard to publish only what´s related to the label, our sound and the artists.
Is this blog just a solution not to have a proper website, or is it really something you are into ?
Actually it is a proper website as we have the whole discography and links to other platforms on the site. But as regular websites are very static and boring and we experience and see and hear so much stuff every day, it´s important to publish the best stuff in a blog format.
I think blogs were hugely important in making this style popular.
I agree. As the whole global bass sound is really a sound of the internet age it´s the blogs who pushed it.
But i can see in my everyday life this is really a niche. What would make this music more popular you think ?
I think it need more artists that cross over to a bigger audience. It has already reached a considerable critical mass with blogs, artists, djs and labels which i´ve never thought of 5 years ago, so it´s already a fantastic situation that it became so big and international. But i´m sure it´ll grow bigger and bigger as for me there isn´t much else that´s really new in music, besides dub step. All other music i find on blogs these days is either really boring, nostalgic, or repeating what has been done musically for decades.
This is a though i have for a year or 2… It’s getting really hype to play « world music » today
Well it may be hype but in the end very few people actually play « world music » in clubs, it´s mostly still very much house oriented music. I rarely meet or see djs who play e.g. Omar Souleyman or who dare to play a 10 min die-hard batucada track in their sets or who play a round of soca tracks (well, Schlachthofbronx do that).
but extreme right parties are growing all over europe… It’s a bit paradoxal don’t you think?
Well those extremists are representing the fears of change. They want the old world in which they grew up to remain but don´t understand why this is not happening as the world is fundamentally changing. Yes, a few people are playing music from very remote countries and trying to present a more global view on culture, yet the majority is very conservative.
If society would be able to change as quickly as music, well then we already would have world peace, wouldn´t we?
You used to make colourful vinyls, and now you’ve stopped. We all know that it’s getting really hard to sell music nowadays, especially vinyls. But there are other styles which still sell a correct amount of vinyl, like dubstep of course. How would u explain this ?
Well as global bass is really a sound that is nurtured and spread through the internet, there isnt any use to release it on vinyl. Vinyl is a great format with great sound, i still buy vinyl when available but as a label its very expensive to make, and it is very slow and there´s always problems in the manufacturing and distribution. We made vinyls when there was still a market, when distribution was still working and when online sales were still in their infancy years. Nowadays, when a track is hot on the internet it spreads like wildfire within days and gets played immediately. With vinyl it takes at least a month to release it, ship it around the world and put it in the shops, and if you´re unlucky and produced too many vinyls, they come back to you and you have to throw them away, although you paid for them. And then with vinyl it´s mostly only one or two tracks to play but still you pay 10,- € for the whole release.
So actually it´s a pretty luxurious product.
I think for disco and house vinyl is still a great format as this is nostalgic music, so people can really collect it and put it in their shelves, plus these are styles where sound and loud volume of a track is very important. also in dubstep the sound is the most important thing. Whereas with global bass, especially with tracks that you get from places like Rio de Janeiro, Luanda, Belem or Monterrey, the sound is many times very bad, lo-res mp3s. But still the music is very exciting, so people still play it. So sound is only 2nd important in global bass, it´s more the music that´s priortiy.
And on top of that, the kids aged 15-25 that play global bass today, they absolutely don´t have any emotional relationship to vinyl, yet know how to dj with record players. My last intern didnt knew how to mix on a technics 1210 and said the possibilites with this device were just too limited for him. Which in a way is true coz with cdjs you can do so much more pitching and efxing that a record player looks like a handicapped device.
How do you see the future of music ? would u be happy if your kid’d like to make music as a living ? :)
Well as it is getting increasingly difficult to make a living out of underground club music, i would recommend that my son is doing some other things than music, but then you never know how the situation will be in 15, 20 years. nevertheless, i think it´s the best time ever for music at the moment, music hasnt been so free and so easy to distribute like today. It´s a bad time for the industry and for the artists if they want to make money, but there´s so much amazing music out there today, it´s frustrating to only be able to listen to 5% of it all.
Your good resolutions for 2011 :)
Keep on releasing good and exciting music. and i´m excited about releasing my debut album!!
Ok, you must think i’ve got some kind of obsession about Generation Bass :D
But, it’s just that it’s difficult to find people who inspire you, so when you have the chance to meet some, you are, first, happy. And then u want to share the reason why with others. That’s the theme of this new serie i’m about to launch :)
UMB, and all the Generation Bass family, are one of these persons to me.
I’ve first heard from Generation Bass through my friend SdC from Le-Gouter. He adviced me to get in touch with Vince from Sonido del Principe about « The Test », the first single taken from RAW. And it was definitly a good idea cos through Vince, i found a whole crew of supporters on Generation Bass :)
BUT i have to say i don’t admire them cos they support my music of course! I’m a huge fan of Generation Bass cos they embrace the blog world in the way i like it to be. And that’s what i wanted to chat with UMB about….
Hello Umb! Can u please tell us who you are, where you live and how long you’ve been in music. Can u also tell us few words about your partners on GenerationBass ?
I’m DJ UMB, bullshitter extraordinaire. I’m based in Birmingham, UK. People (usually my dear mum) say I am one of the greatest living dj’s in the world today (lol) but somebody else told me not to believe in this ugly rumour started by somebody who I paid $10,000 to.
I’ve been into music since I was 6/7 years of age and so I guess you could call me a musicophile, I remember buying my first records back then. I’m one of the guys who runs Generation Bass, Vincent Koreman, who is based in Tilburg, Netherlands, is the other.
What’s your musical background ? do you play music yourself ?
I play a few chords on guitar and was in a crap rock band in my teens! I can also play the triangle, tambourine and the spoons too and if I’m feelin’ really frisky, I’ve been known to get the washboard out too (yeah a f***in’ washboard in this day & age lol)
I never had the patience to make music on a serious basis and opted instead to listen and give people ideas too. I love mixing music though as a dj but don’t fancy being a producer. I’m more of an ideas man. I don’t wanna be famous (just respected) and am reluctant to sell myself like a whore..lol.. I just want people to listen!
Is there one artist/label you want to mention who has inspired you (on the musical side)?
Without doubt, too many to mention but my earliest influences would have to be Elvis, Beatles and of course the greatest band ever, Led Zeppelin. Makes me sound old but it was not my generation I was just a young boy into older sounds. I was listening to Jazz in my early teens too and classical music. I then got into lots and lots of different stuff, Tom Waits, Radiohead, John Coltrane etc etc.. and also into Global music like Ofra Haza, Fairuz and Oum Kalthoum in my late teens. I think I had listened to most things by the age of 15!
I have to say I love your blog. I love it not only cos you support my stuff (lol), but also cos you can feel it’s not just a « marketing » tool. You can feel persons behind the screen, who are really passionated by music or artists from other countries. How has this blog started and what was its goal at the first point ? how do you now share the job with the other reviewers ?
Thanks, I love our blog too..lol..
It is all about passion and about people pushing music they love and also occasionally plugging some of their own releases too. However, the latter is secondary as our love and appreciation for all music is the paramount aim.
I’m happy that the passion and love seems to be shining through. We are honest and straightforward and we seem to be getting a lot of appreciation for it. People describe us as being the blog who is upfront and less inclined to bullshit or play the media game. However, with the start of the Generation Bass label, I’m very reluctantly having to play the media game now with a lot of people. As I said above, I’m one of the guys who runs Generation Bass, Vincent Koreman is the other. He founded the blog back in Feb 2009. I did not even know what blogs were until around the start of 2009. I stumbled across Gen Bass in Feb 2009 and joined a few months after he had started it. I’ve been pretty much in the driving seat of it for the past 1+ years whilst he takes care of all the Live Events.
It started as a means to share great music in the Global Bass scene which had just started to emerge to greater prominence during that period. Vince is also a Cumbia artist, Sonido Del Principe, and also one of the founders of a great festival in Holland called Incubate. So it was also his way of promoting his own Cumbia productions and the Incubate Festival. Of course, he also blogged all the stuff he was digging, which just happened to be the sort of stuff I was digging too. I had been doing lots of music related stuff, being involved with some established worldwide music brand names and also doing compilations for a few labels based in the UK. I was feeling really restricted and suffocated by the inflexibility of the sort of stuff I could stick on compilations and also sick to death of this scene being called world music.
I needed an outlet for the more club based stuff I was into and so the newly discovered blog culture seemed to be a great outlet for me to share my musical tastes and mixes.
At first it was a lil’ embarrassing because in all honesty, I was completely unsure about myself, thinking people might think I’m a right tosser..lol (I probably am but I don’t care about that anymore). So I put on this Ghetto Boy persona, which was hilarious (to me) for a while. Then I get bored of that and just became myself and it just seems some people really respect my musical tastes/opinion. It really surprised me how much it has caught on.
Some others hate me and do think I’m a tosser, including a journalist or 2 in this particular scene. I’m gonna out them one day soon. It all boils down to jealousy, my good looks and my big muscles and the fact that I have a bigger personal (u thought I was going to say something else then,. didn’t you) following than them…lol…ahahahahaaa!. Well, what else could it be?
I think we now have over 10 contributors, I’ve lost count! However, Vince and I have been the nucleus from the start and got the blog to the sort of attention levels we’re now used to. I’m still involved in doing a majority of the posts, mostly 1 per day and sometimes more. I have to give a special mention to Caballo too because I brought him on board in late 2009 and he’s been one of the most reliable, consistent and dependable members of the team/family. He is of Colombian origins but is living in Canada. He has helped us to communicate with a lot of the young South American kids who maybe can’t speak English.
Other contributors include high profile artists in the scene such as Munchi, Process Rebel, FLeCK & Fish Finger, Zuzuka & Galliano and others are passionate music lovers/dj’s like me. They are more casual contributors, usually posting perhaps once per week or less. The team is growing all of the time and I like that. It’s like a big family and I like big families.
I think blogs were hugely important in making this Global Bass thing popular. But i can see in my everyday life this is really a niche, my friends know some tunes, but not it as a genre. What would make this music more popular you think?
I don’t know, in all honesty.
As a blog that’s what we have tried to do, to make the music more popular and make it be appreciated on the same level as say house/techno etc. With the likes of Mad Decent and Man Recordings doing the same and being some of the originators in the scene, it helps. But you’re right, it would be foolish to say it is big or even hugely successful scene. Depends on how you define success. I define success as inspiring people to get into something and so I think we’re very successful.
However, the commercial reality is different. It can be a struggle to get people through the doors in the UK on Tropical Bass nights to listen to the kind of “club” stuff you’re into. I know Man Recordings have had the same problem in Germany and maybe Mad Decent too in the USA, when Diplo is not playing. However I think that will change, it is just a matter of time. There’s just too many young producers gravitating towards it now and abandoning House/Techno etc in favour of say Moombahton and Dubstep and so I think it’s gonna happen, just more time needed.
Your blog is the global bass specialist (it covers other genres, but i think this term is good, do you agree ?), in terms of visits on your site, or sales/gigs for u & your artists, is it global too? Where do most of your followers come from ?
Our blog specialises in Transnational Club music. Most of our followers come from Timbuktu, we’re huge over there with our throat singing ladyboy performances..lol…. No, seriously, you know this is surprising. I never checked our stats for where visitors were coming from until you asked me. As long as they were coming I couldn’t careless where it was from and so never bothered to find out where they came from.
I was a lil’ surprised cause I though it would be made up of a lot of South American territories cause of the strong bias we have towards Latin American music atm but it wasn’t, here’s the top 10:
USA (A large majority)
With further visitors coming from over 210 different countries!!!!!
This is the lowest number of visitors per territory: BOTTOM 201-210
SIERRA LEONE – 2
VANATUA? (Never heard of it..lol) - 2
TURKS & CAICOS ISLANDS – 1
CHRISTMAS ISLAND -1
TIMOR LES – 1
NAURU – 1
SAINT PIERRE & MIQUELON – 1
MAYOTTE – 1
KIRIBATTI – 1
ERITREA – 1
Surprising ain’t it, I always knew we’d eventually conquer the States..lol….
How did the idea of running a label came ? is there any labels you got inspired by, on the technical side ?
It came naturally from the success of the blog and after continually discovering all these young/unknown producers. We were not inspired by any labels to start it. Of course I respect labels like Mad Decent, Man Recordings Hyperdub and Planet Mu but we did not set out to try to emulate them. They inspired us to get into some music genres/sub-genres but not to set up a label. The label just had to happen, too many talented people out there who might not otherwise get a release!
My job is to forge a unique identity for Generation Bass and whilst our paths might at times collide with some of the exceptional labels above, we want to create our own unique personality and be respected for that.
Generation Bass has in the past year or so started to inspire the likes of Mad Decent and Man Recordings who have started to emulate some of things we’re doing or sign some of the artists we’re breaking. Now, that’s quite an unexpected turn around and so we must be doing something right.
Of course we still have a long way to go before we can stand side by side with the likes of Mad Decent and Man Recordings. I really respect the fact that they have kept on going and kept their passion alive.
How would you define the music you release ?
It is Transnational. It will be about artists who we believe in regardless of fashion or what’s hot atm.
Of course, we wanna release stuff that’s HOTT atm too and so it’s a combination of stuff that will hopefully live far into the future and also stuff that depicts current innovations in the Transnational Club scene.
On a less sexy side of it, how are you running it ? how do you articulate the promotion around your label ? of course your followers, but do you work with PR, radios ? have u done like a business plan or at least think about how to make it grow ?
Promotion as a new digital label is very, very tough. It is not easy. In the current climate as there’s been a proliferation of blogs that have now emerged as digital labels and it’s very, very, very competitive.
To be honest, I really think the market is reaching saturation point! There’s just too many!
It is very hard to penetrate some of the established media institutions like radio and established physical and on-line magazines and blogs who are run by established journalists. I think journalists look down at us because we’re accused of writing like shit, not doing any research and not following any of the established journalistic rules.
What they don’t understand though is that we are not journalists and we don’t want to be either. I am just a taste-maker/music lover. I don’t want to write about music in technical terms, I just want to share stuff I’m feeling. I don’t want to write deep about it, I see that as their job. I see my role as being the first in the chain, to find it and present it. It’s then their job to pick up on it and to present it to the wider world in more articulate and descriptive terms.
We can’t afford PR etc. It’s not a business for us but a passion/love. If you start a label for the purposes of making money then I think you ought to reconsider because you won’t make money, unless you’re lucky to break it big time. Labels are just glorified promotional tools now for artists and nothing more.
It’s not about being big or making it grow, that will happen by itself if people dig it, just like the blog. You can’t force things or expect HYPE to win you an audience. It has to happen genuinely and truthfully imho. That way you get a truer audience too who is there because they believe in what you are doing. So it’s an honest exchange and I like that!
Hype is just that, here one day, gone the next! We ain’t no hype and the audience’s appetite for what we do will determine our success or failure as a label, simple as that my friend!
This is an idea i got for a year or 2… It’s getting really hype to play « world music » today, but extrem right never been as popular as they are today in Europe. What do you think ?
I think that is why it is even more important to play Transnational Club music or Global Roots music. I really dislike that term “World Music”, it’s a demeaning and nonsensical term. The far right are obviously a demented bunch of people but they are also now made up of usually decent, respectable, middle class and intelligent people. That makes it even more frightening as they are no longer so easy to detect.
Obviously, they’re still all pea-brained because they have brought into this idea that Islam is a terrorist religion. Just like the commies were a few decades ago and the Irish were the scurge of the earth in Britain. I think M.I.A. might be right, it might be Ginger people next in the firing line!
If you give in to the far right or to a demented ideology then we have lost but I am a firm believer that humanity will prevail but that there will always be casualties along the way as there is ample proof of that with our history. We have always lived in a dangerous, xenophobic, racist, piss-pot of a world, it hasn’t changed! However, that does not mean we ought to lie back and accept it, we should not! We should continue fighting for peace and tolerance and a hope for global brother/sister/hood. The world belongs to all of us, get that right. I mean, I don’t have to tell you that, you should know it. You (meaning everybody) need to look back into your history and look at what your peoples did to other peoples and cultures and question it!
I’m a product of colonization. My family are from Kashmir and they arrived in the UK in the 60’s. That of course has had huge benefits for me and I appreciate it but I do so at the expense of somebody else in the world who could have had my life but didn’t! Let’s not forget, in most parts of the world we have all benefited somehow/way on the back of theft by an Empire(s). I have enjoyed my life on the spoils of State Crime and so have you!
You need to look at how our countries got rich, it was not merely by the process of Industrialization, FFS! When Europe and the States really start needing China., India and Brazil, which will be soon, you watch how all those neo-facist nazi bastards will disappear!
How do you see the future of music ? would u be happy if your kid’d like to make music as a living ? :)
Not for a living cause he’d probably end up broke if today’s climate is anything to go by.
Music will just continue to evolve, it will continue to take from the past whilst living in the present and trying to create the future. Genres will come and go, will die and then be born again, and so it will continue.
Once again, i found a very interesting article on Metro Uk this last week end. Not that it is that surprising, it’s just that when u compare the themes they talk about with the ones u can find in french metro, u get scared lol
Jack White, leader of The White Stripes has launched in 2001 a label called The Third Man Records in Nashville, where he releases indie rock stuff. In 2009, White installs the Label in a warehouse which turns to be the office, recording studio, manufacturing place, record shop, photography studio and concert place. A whole « all in one » place.
His label has been widely acclaimed for its innovation, even though most of its tactics were the very first ones used in the music industry.
All the music comes out on tri-colour vinyl 45s, reassembled by hand, all released in very limited editions of 150/300 copies.
Every releases is treated as an event, cos everything is recorded live in their warehouse through a 1968 8 tracks tape-recorder (every shows have to pause after half an hour so they can change the spool).
« The idea is if you come to the show, you’re eligible for a limited-edition black-and-blue split-color vinyl of the show, and then a regular black vinyl will be pressed and sold in the shop and online, marketing manager Ben Swank says. But the only way you can get the limited-edition version is if you actually come to the show. »
They manage the whole process. After recording, they got a photo studio to get all the design ready.
« We can technically have something recorded and on the street in about three weeks, » Swank says. « It’s a way to make the vinyl more immediate and tangible to kids who are used to having something quickly accessible ».
The very fascinating thing is that Third Man hasn’t released a single CD and has no plans to do so. All 36 singles or albums so far have come out only on digital download or vinyl. They sell their stuff in their shop and iTunes, and also deal with some of the top worldwide shops like Rough Trade in London.
Third Man is of course revelant of White’s personnality as an artist. He produces all of the releases himself, including the latest music from 72-year-old rockabilly pioneer Wanda Jackson, or a cover version of Niel Young’s The Needle by Laura Marling.
This guy has ascomplished what every single independant artist dreams of: controlling the whole chain of production to create very exclusives products, and an original way to deal with his fans.
This is definitly not global. And this is the future. Or, i hope so :)
I know Sonia for few years now. I’ve first heard about her from Funkatech manager MC Incyte, who was working with her.
For those who don’t know, Sonia is the half of a very established breaks duo called SOTO. They released stuff on Jay Cunning’s MENU records, Deekline’s label Rats records, and of course Botchit. For me, they did one of the best breaks track ever called « Hootenanny » (listen to it here).
With releasing my album on Botchit, i had the opportunity to work with her (she co-manage the label with Martin Love).
And i have to say she delivered the best PR work i’ve ever experienced. Sonia is passionnated. She’s an artist. And she’s freelance. So she puts all her energy trying to get you the best press you can have. She’s the one who got me a review on Metro UK which is REALLY exceptionnal :)
I wanted to do this interview, first cos she deserves a bit of advertising, but also cos i wanna write a post about what a PR is, and how to choose yours (cos yeah, it costs good money, it’s worth finding the one who gonna fit you well!). So i though it’d be interesting in having her opinion about some topics.
Here we go… Flore – Can u describe your job.
Sonia – I run Push Promotion (http://pushpromotion.co.uk/). A one stop service for record labels, artists and even products (I’ve looked after Xbox) to get their music, product featured in magazines, online, radio, charted, and into the hands of A list DJs.
F – Do you think that your experience as a producer helped you pitching what both artists & reviewer want from a PR ? And if so, in which way?
S – Yes definitely, I also co manage a record label (Botchit & Scarper), DJ, write for magazines as well as produce (SOTO). So I can see every angle of the music industry. I know the artist sees their music as their child and wants the best for it! I can also see the potential in a track and how it can appeal to more than 1 genre and pitch it just right so it appeals.
F – Do you think that press still help selling records nowadays. and what about blogs ?
S – It’s a shame but not as much as the old days but that’s because vinyl is dead and everyone can steal mp3s from the internet. Bah! I still DJ with vinyl.
Being out there in mags and on blogs definitely helps the artists and makes punters more aware and you can be no more than a click away from Beatport!
But the real money these days is for the artists and not the labels. More press etc gets the artist more remix work and gigs, that’s why more artists are starting their own labels.
F – Do you work for anyone or do you have choose the persons you work for ? If so, what are the things that may influence your choice ? is your work different when you work directly with an artist than when you work for a label ?
S – I work with labels, artists who have a quality product regardless of genre. If I can see that an artist has potential and needs to be pointed in the right direction ie get higher profile remixes etc to get noticed as a new act, I can offer A & R help too.
As regards working with an artist directly as opposed to a label I see no difference, I always aim for maximum results!
F – What makes you unique in this business ? :)
S – As stated above I have been involved with so many sides the music industry (producer, label manager, DJ, writing for magazines) I have a unique perspective..I think it really helps a PR person to understand the importance of a track when you see how hard it is to create it and therefore give it the push it truly deserves. Also I have a touch of the OCDs so I find it very hard to not go the extra mile with every job I do! If I know I haven’t done something I will literally get out of bed and turn the computer on and make sure it is sorted! Sad but true LOL. I’m also focused on getting more than just reviews and radio play, I will always push for extra editorial and interviews/ mixes at radio etc..
Push Pr is my own company and I take it very seriously, a lot of my clients come via word of mouth and say they are astonished at the results I get them.
Bonus question: I’ve heard from journalists that most of the time artists don’t follow up when they do PR on their own… How many times per week or per release do you chase dj/journalists up ?
Yes indeed you have to chase chase and chase again! Be persistent but polite and always think of angles for extra coverage. If they won’t review it , try a box out top 10 etc. It can be really hard work, some people think you just send out the release and hope for reviews, radio play, feedback etc. That’s not how it works. You have to go the extra mile, have a really fat list of contacts, have a great relationship with them and be an opportunist. Obviously if you have a really good product this helps too!
By the way, Catch SOTO playing breaks beats and bass- this New Years Eve 31/12/10 at Vinyl Touch vs Can U Feel It? Breakbeat Arch @ Raindance @ SeOne and Weston Street Tunnel.. www.raindanceravefestival.com
with SOTO ,Drummatic Twins , Ellis Dee , Jimmy MoFo , Swifty B , Apply the Breaks + more