Thursday, 1 April 2010

INTERVIEW: All City Records

Having given the careers of Hudson Mohawke and Mike Slott (whether together as Heralds of Change or working on solo material) a supportive strut, the All City label is proving to be an utterly essential imprint in the future hip hop sphere in 2010. Their immediate forthcoming release schedule lists work from Onra, Diabese & P.U.D.G.E., TAKE, Knxwledge and devonwho, and when you finally feel like you've got up on what they're doing, letting these brand new releases seep in, they hit you with a split 10" from spatial beat pioneer Ras G and Samiyam.

In an attempt to get a behind the scenes insight we cornered Olan from the label to answer just a few of our overloaded questions...

Sonic Router: You’ve got somewhat of an impeccable heritage as a hip hop record label. Where did the spark come from to start out?

Olan: All City is store/record label based in Dublin... It kind of just organically grew from there. We’re coming up on 10 years now and we’re just trying to make things interesting for ourselves as much as anything else.

Is your A&R process as un-laborious as I imagine? How do you seek out the beatmakers whose work you release? Is it a constant search or are they approaching you?

To be honest man, there are way better than us at mining beneath the surface out there... some serious molemen types. The likes of Hessle, Numbers, Hemlock, Ramp are killing it right now, the Brits are really on it at the minute; we’re just trying to keep up with them... Then there's the old school, people like Stones Throw... I mean assembling as diverse projects as the Minimal Wave compilation, the A P.E. Hewitt anthology and a Dam Funk 5 LP set alongside Mayer Hawthorne. They are the levels we like to look at. It’d be embarrassing to big ourselves up really.

We get sent a lot of demos and listen to absolutely everything and then just check the radio really. The only downside is - no offence to anyone who sends us stuff - you do listen to a lot of fairly average stuff which can distract from the marathon Sun Ra listening session you had planned for Monday afternoon.

I hate to sound like a twat but in my opinion there really is some killer music coming out now (yeah yeah everyone says that!) and I don’t feel that this was necessarily the case 3 or 4 years ago – or not as much at any rate, so its enjoyable to be part of it.

Your 7x7 series [a run of seven 7 inch singles featuring beats from HudMo, Mike Slott, Mwëslee, Fulgeance, Onra and Dimlite] is probably one of the strongest collections of future hip hop I've heard. For me it's up there with the Beatnicks 12”s and Beat Dimensions collections - 2 of the corner stones of my own discovery. Your following up the series with 10x10, a similar series of ten 10”s. Can you explain a bit about the concept and who is in store?

Very kind words... thank you. Hmmmmm, the 7s were just about the disillusionment around hip hop for me. I love Beatnicks & Beat Dimensions; its now fashionable to knock wonky/post Dilla/blip hop/whatever you want to call it now, but fuck that. It was a breath of fresh air [for me], so I was happy to be involved with it. Hip hop fell the fuck off sadly…

The 10s are more about geography, just an outsider’s perspective on one of the most interesting cities on the planet: L.A. Its not about one style but more the influence of a place on a sound really. If you let the series unfold it will be worth it... old & young there's everything from ambient to hip hop... I don’t want to spoil it. Up next is Samiyam & Ras_G…. just enjoy that for the minute!

Om Unit - All City Records Showcase Mix

This year alone you’ve released work by Om unit and singer Muhsinah and I know projects by Klipmode producers devonwho and Knxwledge are in the cart. Can you shed any more light on releases?

Om Unit is interesting cause he’s taken that road a lot of aging hip hop heads have. You know, if you come from hip hop you’re not allowed experiment with other types of music but if you come from say electronica you can dip in and out of any genre you like…? That’s kind of changing which is great and old hip hop producers are being afforded the opportunity to try their hand at other sounds. I’ve always loved 2Tall’s stuff – I’m a big Dudley Perkins/Georgia fan and if you’ve not checked the ‘Softer Diagram,’ life's to short! Go treat yourself and then buy the 'Lightgrids' record! (There’s none left though – so check Boomkat for the download!)

Knxwledge has been beavering away for a while; this record was him kind of getting to grips with his craft. I’d be very interested in seeing what he comes with next. Devon is obviously in the same crew as Knxwledge... he moved to LA from Portland and I think there is a real West Coast vibe running through his record. It’s amazing.

Muhsinah did some stuff with Mike Slott a while back, its always great to be able to build on relationships with people. We were really chuffed to put that 45 out… people are only copping on about her now.

Hold tight for some boogie-hop with Onra in May and a new 12 inch series is kicking off in Autumn also..

Do you have any words of wisdom you’d care to share with our readership?

Arrghh... I’d love to drop a hip hop acronym…: All City = always looking like crap in the yard...


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