Label Liaison: Kalita – Interview with Chris Webb

Great records can come and go without much notice. They’ll sit in dusty crates, dark basements, and wait for the right listener to get lucky enough to throw them on the turntable.

Kalita is a London based label that specializes in polishing up those forgotten records and breathing new life into them. Kalita is the result of some unique artists – and some particularly interesting records – finding themselves revived and in the hands of music lovers around the world. From disco hits to reggae, soul and boogie jams, Kalita is reissuing forgotten gems the right way.

We were able to chat with Chris Webb, Kalita’s founder, to talk about the roots of the label, what makes a record worthy of being reissued, how reissuing affects the prices of rare vinyl and the future of Kalita.

Can you tell us about your background and upbringing? How did it lead to Kalita getting started?

My interest in dance music began during my undergraduate degree at the University of Bristol, UK. Bristol has a fantastically vibrant music scene with tons of great record shops, and I fell in love with black music, in particular disco and boogie. My interest increasingly grew over the three years that I lived in Bristol, after which I then moved to London to study for a postgraduate degree. Soon after arriving, I began to work at the brilliant Love Vinyl record store in Hoxton almost every weekend, where I was able to learn from the four owners who were all extremely knowledgeable in their field. At the same time, I also realised that I also wanted to run my own business, and starting the record label seemed like a natural progression and fusing of my interests.

What’s your process for finding the records that you want to reissue? Are there certain checkpoints that a record, an artist or even a story must have to make you want to press it?

If it makes me want to dance then it’s a worthy contender. But of course, there has to be a market demand or the opportunity to create demand, so obscurity also helps to gain interest. And if I’m able to find out an interesting story about the record by talking to the artist or rightsholder (and there ALWAYS is a story!) which I can share, then that’s the icing on the cake!

Can you tell us about your most recent reissue – the re-release of Michael Paul’s 1984 reggae boogie single ‘Reggae Music’?

Michael Paul’s ‘Reggae Music’ had been on the want list to re-release for a long while. It’s a fantastic example of crossover music, where reggae has been fused perfectly with synths to a glorious boogie result. Luckily I was able to track down the rightsholder and we went from there! We just hope that everyone enjoys the music as much as us!

Does repressing rare vinyl decrease the value of the original pressings? Is part of your mission with Kalita to solve some of the high price disparities for rare records on sites like Discogs?

Sometimes it can, but other times it can do the opposite, actually raising prices due to increased interest in the reissued record. My mission with Kalita isn’t really related to solving high prices, it’s just about getting great, lost music back out there to be heard and do it properly and officially.

What are the Kalita milestones or projects that you are most proud of?

I’m proud of everything we’ve released, however, it’s always nice to get music out there that has never been heard before. Therefore, the release of Emerson’s 1988 unreleased album ‘If You Need Me, Call Me’ was a great personal win. I’d always been a massive fan of his 7” single ‘Sending All My Love Out’ and the words ‘From the LP ‘If You Need Me, Call Me’ felt almost taunting – where was this album, and why did it never come out? Luckily we were able to get in touch with Emerson and his wife/label partner Leora and fix that wrong, getting this fantastic album out into the wild 40 years after its recording.

I’ve noticed more reissuing labels popping up and sharing some awesome hidden gems. What do you think the state of the repressing business will be like 5 or 10 years from now?

Yep, the reissue world is getting busier and busier! I honestly don’t know what it’ll look like, but I’m looking forward to finding out. I think genre focuses might alter slightly, and also a lot of larger labels are now releasing new music too to help diversify, which is great. Sometimes you get to a stage where you think everything has been discovered, but then along comes a new record that hardly anyone knew about and the search is on once again!

What other reissuing labels do you admire?

Strut, Soundway, Analog Africa are a few of my favourite labels. They don’t just release great music but also tell the story behind the music, which is equally important.

The story of Rudy Mills and Muchos Plus for the Nassau’s Discos record was really interesting (and it’s one of my favourites on the label). Can you tell us how you were able to track Rudy down and start that project?

Yes, that’s a great record! It was a joy to be able to work with Rudy and finally get that one out back into the world. Rudy runs an occasional radio station in New Orleans, and I also knew that he leads a band himself. With that info, a bit of google delving was enough to be able to get a contact for a lead, which after a bit more searching got us in contact with Rudy.

If you could reissue any record in the world, what would it be?

One great record I’d love to reissue is Oneness’ ‘Watching You’. But after so many attempts, all of the leads go to dead ends, sadly. Hopefully, someone will be successful one day!

Any new projects coming up in the near future for Kalita?

So many. It’s going to be a hectic next couple of years, that’s for sure. Lots of great reggae boogie, US soul, boogie and Ghanaian burger highlife (including compilations!) to come, so watch this space!

Check out Kalita’s discography


Label Liaison: Neroli – Interview with Volcov

20 years is a long time in electronic music. Artists, labels, even genres, have come and gone in those past two decades – yet a core group of essential contributors continue to bring quality music to the fore.

For the last two decades, Italian label Neroli has been largely been operating under the radar, yet a dig through the label’s back catalogue reveals a world-class selection of house music spanning releases from Theo Parrish, Titonton Duvante, Patrice Scott, Lars Bartkuhn, Dego and Kaidi Tatham, and Fred P.

We caught up with Neroli label boss, Enrico Crivellaro (aka Volcov), over email for a chat on the past, present, and future of Neroli.

volcov neroli

Can you tell us about the beginning of Neroli? What inspired you to start the label? Who’s on the label team, and what do they do?

Neroli started in 2000 as a side project to what I was doing with Archive records. It started as something a bit more tracky and leading towards house, but eventually across the years became more musical and eclectic. There’s never been any staff, is basically just me. Also a non-continuous operation…slowing down from 2006 to 2010…but then picking up in pace with 38 releases out of 53 done in the last 10 years…

How did your experience running Archive help you start Neroli? For a number of years these two labels coexisted, what was it like running two labels at once and how did you keep their musical identity separate?

Archive started around 1998 and that was funded with Frank Siccardi and with the backbone and help from DiPiù, an Italian publisher. I was doing all the A&R but not following a lot of other important aspects which I then started learning while working with Frank, Pierangelo Mauri from DiPiu’ and also our distributor Goya [thanks to Mike & Spencer].

So those experiences were precious when I started Neroli a couple of years later. Yeah, the 2 labels coexisted for a while, Archive being, in general, more abstract or especially fully developing album projects by Domu, As One and the late Phil Asher [RIP] in particularly. Neroli at the beginning was mainly trying to convince broken beat producers to give me some house tunes ahaha

Listen to Volcov’s Neroli-focused mix for Carhartt Work In Progress series.

What are the biggest challenges you’ve had running the label? Have the difficult events of COVID affected how you run the label?

There have been quite a few events across the years like changes of distributors for various reasons or slowing down the pace of releases due to the market situations for example but I gotta say you always have to be flexible and adjust. COVID has affected all artists and also labels on many levels, I am lucky that since my current distributor & pressing plant is based here in Verona [Mother Tongue] I can at least have more trust and control over many phases of the physical release process.

Since platforms like Bandcamp have made it easier for artists to self-publish, what role do you think labels play in the music industry?

I have always been a fan of artists self-releasing their music and running their label in a DIY style, I have Omar S on top of my mind here but there are loads of examples. I think Bandcamp is great and gives a great opportunity to artists and labels but at the same times there a lot of other levels to take into accountability. For example, all this online shopping is great but the real experience of buying records in a store or been given tips while digging in the flesh is pretty priceless, and the memories attached to certain records bought in a certain moment while with friends cannot be compared to ‘that time Fed-Ex rang the door to deliver that parcel’. Hopefully, we’ll get back to this already in 2021!

Also, I think both the artists and the buyers get a kick from certain combinations…for example, a release from a certain artist on that particular label [which has a certain history, catalogue, etc] can be very exciting, more than if it was on his own one, so to get back to your question I think labels with a certain history and curation still have something to say…

Neroli put out the epic First Circle compilation for your 50th release, with a focus on beatless music. This isn’t a style that we generally associate with Neroli so what was the thinking behind this? Some of the artists on the release are not really known for beatless styles so how did you decide on who would appear?

Well, The First Circle album is a project where the melody has been put in the forefront… I always wanted to do a record like this with a lot of emphasis on the musical textures and a certain sense of intimacy and beauty rather than a focus on the rhythmic aspects. Those who know me well know how much I love records with warm pads and melodies.

I tried to assemble the kind of record I would have imagined to buy at Fat Cat in ’96 but with my 2020 ear. The choice of artists wasn’t really too difficult, some were already known for delivering these type of songs, or at least in my book, and others I knew they had that type of sensibility to understand the spirit of the album. The idea was to have something to listen to from beginning to the end without skipping the needle…

In your opinion, what is one tip that an aspiring producer needs to know that could help them get signed to a label?

Not sure this is a tip to get signed, but I think a good tip is to make tons of songs, and not finish 2-3 and start proposing them to labels….but really do the work, make many tracks and choose the best ones to propose only when it feels like you are 100% comfortable with them.

You recently put out some brilliant Theo Parrish remixes of Love To The World – how did these come about?

Very naturally – I’ve known Theo since the late 90s and over the years we did already a couple of other projects for Archive records. He was really into the original song and on the 12’ he gave it his own unique twist and trademark. Really an unmistakable sound…extremely happy about this!!

What’s coming up next for Neroli?

We have an ep by The Abstract Eye [aka GB or Gifted & Blessed] an artist I always admired and that I chased pretty much for the last 5/6 years after a brief meeting in Berlin in 2013.

Which record do you wish you’d signed?

Lil Louis – Two Sides To Every Story

Who would play (DJs, bands, and artists) at your ultimate club night, and where would it be?

Ah, that’s too much…maybe 2000Black [ft Kaidi Tatham and JAB] playing live…Theo Parrish and Sadar Bahar + Lee Collins djing? Too difficult though, many great artists to mention and invite…


Now check out Neroli’s outstanding discography


SSMX06 – Trus’Me (Prime Numbers)

The Prime Numbers boss and underground favourite, Trus’Me talks new records, new cities, and new sounds

Since 2008, David Wolstencroft has put out a steady stream of albums and EP’s that’s revealed an artist who pulls his influences from a widely cast net.

From the dusty basement & disco sounds of Working Nights and In The Red, through to the clubbier inclinations of Treat Me Right and Planet 4, Trus’Me seems like an artist who is always searching for something new.

His recent move to the Portuguese capital, Lisbon, and its associated cultural melting pot of African, Brazilian, and European history, seems like an apt place for a producer who’s range has left him with a unique sound that is hard to categorise.

Alison Tara caught up with David to talk about his new record, life in a new city, the origins of his sound, photograph and musical inspirations. He’s also supplied a 60 minute mix of funked-up, cosmic dance floor killers

All right, let’s do this, David! Tell me about your new release.

My new release is an EP for a label and collective in Lisbon (where I am currently trying to live) called Carpet and Snares and they run a label called Groovement. They said they were fans for a while now, and asked me to do a release. I’ve only released with other labels one or two times . I released a special thing for Gilles Peterson on Defected, and the other time was on Fat City. So, this is one of the few times I’m actually doing a release that isn’t on Prime Numbers. The release is two songs that are actually from the “Treat Me Right” right era- two tracks I didn’t release that have now been re-tweaked. So, they definitely have a similar vibe to the “Somebody” track.

One of the new tracks is actually called “I Need Somebody New,” so it really ties back to that. It’s definitely from the same time period or same jam. The other track is also from the same week where I was working in a studio in Australia called “The Analog Cabin.” So, it has the same kind of feeling and essence to the tracks as well. Then we asked Delano Smith to do a remix because he was really feeling “No Harm,” which is the title track. I gave it to him a long time ago and he said he’d been playing it loads. We met years ago at a show and remained in touch ever since. I used to buy his stuff all the time at and he was one of the first producers I looked up to. So, he was the first person I thought about to give it a remix. I wanted a nice Detroit touch on the other side of the EP and he did a really solid job.

How long has Groovement been around?

They’ve got quite a few releases since 2004. Molly did their last release- that’s how I heard of them as Molly and I are friends. Actually, Molly asked me to do a release for her new label as well, so I just thought it all tied in and I wanted to put my foot in somewhere Lisbon-based because I’m about to be living there.

How long has it been since the last Prime Numbers release and why the break from it?

The last Prime Numbers release was three years ago now and it was my fourth album. That was a concept album – I was really in a Drexciya/early electronics kind of electro stage. I was deep into my techno then – living in Berlin, and all that kind of stuff. In the past three years, I’ve really gone back into my world music disco roots, so I felt like I needed some time for the transition before I came out with something completely new. This EP really is a nod back to that former era, but a lot of the new music that I’m going to be putting out is more disco tinged, more soulful, more like what I was doing with “Working Nights,” really. It’s kind of where my head has gone after 10 years of doing this.

You’ve mentioned to me that you’re going to start releasing music under a new alias. When can we expect this music to start coming out?

The productions are already about 90% finished. Going back to that question before, after 10 years of producing and running around the clubs, I was just searching for a way to fall back in love with music again and not see it as a job or a business anymore. I went back to concentrating on digging for records and collecting world music, which is all different kinds of genres. I started to realize that I want my productions to sound more like this kind of stuff. I’ve always been a sample based producer, so collecting has always influenced my productions.

What direction is your sound moving towards with this new alias? Should we start to expect to see your releases in a new genre section in music shops?

I think after a decade of doing the Trus’me thing, I started to think I might come out with a new alias just so there’s no pre-connotations of what Trus’Me is, or what he did or is trying to do. There’s always references back to early albums, or people referencing the new albums and not understanding the old albums. I would just like to start with a clean slate again – possibly release some music without any information on there at all and just let the music do the talking for me. For me really more than anything, just to see if I can do that again.

Are you going to release under your new alias on other labels or only put them out yourself?

It would definitely be a label that I run. I’ve really gotten back into shooting photography again on analog film. I want to do new a label that will encompass these photos I’ve been taking and the concepts- creating music around those concepts so it would all come under one hood. I will probably run it with some of the people in Lisbon that I’m working with now, and have them work with me on these projects.

And you’re going to keep this all a secret?

Not forever, but until it’s proved itself. Until it gets to the point where people really want to know what it is, are asking lots of questions, and want to do interviews and all this kind of stuff. This is more for me really, to prove that I can do it again. And to feel the freedom of just putting out what I want. It’s not to say that I’ll stop doing the Trus’Me stuff. I’ll still make the Trus’Me stuff when I feel like it and I’ll keep working on music like that but I have so many different tastes in so many different genres that sometimes I think it confuses people and it always has. So, this will be a way for me to just do what the hell I want.

And you’ll be releasing vinyl?

Yeah. I mean I’m always vinyl based. It’ll definitely be vinyl.

So is this the end of Prime Numbers?

Nothing is  definitive. Prime Numbers was started as a label for myself as a way to release my music. It just so happened that I had some really great musicians around me at the time so I put that stuff out and then people started to see it as a bona fide label rather than a label that just releases Trus’Me productions. I was making music as fast as I could, and in between that, if I had music to put out, Matt Triggs, who I was running the label with, was happy to put it out. And then we started to do these compilations EPs. It feels like another era now, that label; it did what it was supposed to do and it ran its course. For three years now, there have been no releases, so I feel like there needs to be a new challenge. I mean already, younger people probably don’t know what Prime Numbers is. They don’t understand what it is or what the concept is. So, if we put something new out, I feel like we’d just be in the mix with every other label, with no nod back to feeling the history of Prime Numbers.

Once you start putting out these new records, will you be releasing other people’s tracks as well? Or just your own?

At the moment it’s just going to be my own music, but if I come across some really nice musicians and talent in Lisbon, then I’m definitely going to try to help nurture them. I like the idea of helping other producers get out there and mentoring them, which is what I always did with  the earlier artists that were on Prime Numbers. I was very strict about what got released. People would get a bit unhappy with me because I would reject a lot of their stuff, but it was because I was pushing them, while also trying to keep a sound and a standard that I wanted the label to have. So, this is something I’ll try and definitely do with the new label for sure.

Who are some current artists whose sound inspires you?

Rather than artists, I’m  inspired by a few  collectives at the moment. I’m really feeling The Heat Wave Collective based in Los Angeles. They really search for music and they’re figuring out a different way to put all of these sounds together. They’re appealing to the younger audience and the music is not necessarily all dance oriented. The music is to listen to and dance to. They accept electronic music as well, but they’re quite happy to play some Spanish guitar solo that just has an amazing hook and will keep you going throughout, you know? For me it’s been quite inspiring going to their parties in Silver Lake in LA.

Where do they throw the parties?

They do it at Gold Diggers in Silver Lake. The party is called Heat Wave and it’s every Thursday. They have a radio show as well on NTS. There are a couple of collectives in Australia I’m feeling as well. Like I said, I’ve just really gotten back into digging again so when I meet people who have so much knowledge of so many different genres and they’re putting it all together, it’s really interesting to me. You still want to dance, but you have no idea what genre it is. They’re playing pop music with Brazilian music, with Italian disco, with house tunes, with slow reggae jams. You never know what the next song is that’s coming in and that inspires me – people that love music that much, they’re just searching every genre to find the jam that they want to play in the next set. So, I’m more influenced by this per se than any actual producer out there. I’m not really following any one particular label either because I’m just listening to everyone and everything right now.

I want to talk about photography for a minute because I know that this is a new passion of yours.

Well it’s actually an old passion. It’s something I really was getting deep into as I was getting into music production. It’s just that the music production thing evolved more quickly than the photography did. I could have gone both ways really, when it came to what I was passionate about. I bought all the photography equipment. I had my Nikon FM2 and I was taking tons of photographs, I was actually working on a book called, “Almost 30.” I was touring all over the world with all these famous djs and I was taking photos of them- I still have all of these reels undeveloped. The idea was, I was going to put a book together that was about the troubles of turning 30 and what goes through your mind at that stage of life because that definitely was a significant period in my life. You’re dealing with leaving your twenties and basically going into adulthood and how that affects you. But I also realized at that time how many heavy weights I was surrounding myself with, people like Dj Harvey and the Ben Klocks of the world who were actually only just blowing up at the time, they weren’t as huge as they are now. I photographed it all and I still would like to do something with that project. But obviously, I can’t call it “Almost 30” now. Just recently, my girlfriend found that camera and she wanted to know all about it. We started to take fun photos together- I was showing her how to develop film and I really got back into it again. I realized that that was something I was desperately trying to do when I was younger.

You learned the process of developing film?

Yeah. When I learned the whole production thing- how to produce and record and all that- I was at a stage in my life where I was just learning stuff. So, with the camera, I learned everything about it from taking photos to developing the film, to burning the film. At the same time, I was working on my degree in graphic design, so I knew how to completely manipulate and edit the photos as well. So, it was always in the back of my mind that that was something I wanted to do, But the music kind of went into fifth gear and I left photography aside because I just couldn’t do both things at the same time. If you really want to master something, you have to just concentrate on one thing.

Are you going to be incorporating your photography into the artwork on your new releases?

Yes, I would like to go through my old photography as well as use the images I’m capturing now. I think it’s apparent I’ve always liked photography because of my album covers. I’ve always liked that portrait style, more kind of “photos of the ladies,” should we say. That style has always been something I want to do. That was definitely an influence when I was putting all my album covers together. This is quite obvious when you look for instance, at the covers of “Working Night$” and “Treat Me Right.” So yeah, this is something I definitely want to do and I’m going to try and make the photography influence the music that I make rather than the other way around.

In what way?

By looking at a particular image or a subject matter and then using the skills I have now after so many years of producing music, to try and make a soundscape, or a sonic idea that represents that particular moment of time in that image. You know, how art kind of makes you feel and what kind of sound comes out of that feeling. I think I’m at a stage where I can do that now. Maybe when I was younger I couldn’t, but I feel like my skill set now is at a level where I can create a piece of music that represents the image taken or created in front of me.

What is the art and music scene like in Lisbon right now? Has the city influenced your music?

Absolutely. Lisbon is such a melting pot. It’s not just Europeans- you’ve got Africans from every country going there, you’ve got South Americans, all different types of South Americans- it’s a hub for them. So, it’s full of Brazilians, Venezuelans, Chileans, and Colombians…. They’re all there bringing in their genres and styles and influences. People are going there because Lisbon is as close as you can be outside of Europe but still be in Europe. It has 32-degree weather and the most days of sun per year than any capital in Europe. Plus, you can fly to America and South America in under six hours so you can quickly hop home, but you’re still in Europe, you’re still in a European society.

There is great freedom in Lisbon, you know- everything’s been decriminalized. You can get away with anything. So, for art and culture, it’s a melting pot and a place to cultivate anything you want to do. There are very few restrictions. It’s one of the cheapest cities in Europe to live in. The cost of living is so low.

I know so many people from my years in Berlin who have moved to Lisbon. Is it a cheaper place to live than Berlin?

Incredibly. The average wage in Berlin is between 1200 and 1500 euros. In Lisbon, it’s like 670 euros. People don’t earn a lot of money there so you don’t need a lot of money to live. Food is incredibly cheap, taxis are incredibly cheap. Berlin is not cheap anymore- that’s an illusion. Plus, in Lisbon there is a 10 year tax free benefit for new residents, so that’s attracted a lot of people.

Are there tons of parties going on?

There are parties all over the place and they’re not just electronic parties. This is what I’m trying to say. All genres of music are represented there. You can quite easily go to a Cuban jazz night, to a Brazilian live punk funk night, to a disco night, to a house night. And then there’s also Lux Club (John Malkovich is part owner)and all of these various other clubs doing all the house and techno stuff. But there’s hip hop nights, salsa nights, and then these other parties where I don’t even know the genre of the music and there are 2000 people in there.

trus'me 2

I’ve always been a sample based producer, so collecting has always influenced my productions.

Do they have the kind of club scene Berlin does, where you can stay at a club for days?

Well, the beauty of Lisbon is that as you get older, the mentality over there is 12 till 12. It’s amazing because it has beautiful weather and it’s always sunny. People go out at noon. When you throw a day party in Berlin, no one really goes out unless it’s like a kick on from the night before. But in Lisbon, a party will go from 12:00 PM until 12:00 AM and people are there from 1:00 PM at least.

And then people go home at midnight?

Yeah. People go home at a reasonable time. They go to bed and get up in the morning and enjoy the day. Sunday is just as fun as Saturday because you can do what you want and go to bed. You don’t have to stay up until 7:00 AM in the morning, you know?

So, is there not much drug use in Lisbon?

Oh, there definitely is because it’s all decriminalized- everybody can do whatever they want to do there. But the fact of the matter is that the weather is so nice there, the culture is so lovely, and the city is so beautiful to look at. You’re right by the sea and there are beaches everywhere. In Berlin it seemed like all I did, was go clubbing. Lisbon has the clubbing, but it has the beauty as well. You don’t need to spend a penny – you can just walk around the city, take in the fresh air, walk to the sea and go for a swim, walk up a hill. You can just have fun sitting outside with your friends. Everybody that makes the move there loves it. At the same time, we don’t want to tell too many people, we don’t want it to be overcrowded.

When I met you in 2007, it was because of your first release that astounded me. I was pushing it like crazy at Turntable Lab and selling the shit out of it. The music sounded straight out of Detroit. Little did I know it was made by a lad in Manchester! What was going on for you back then? Whose productions were you listening to?

When I fell into that, I was actually doing my master’s in business. At the time, I was obsessed with Slum Village, Jay Dee, Madlib – hip hop based music. I was collecting this kind of stuff from a record shop in Manchester called Fat City Records – predominantly a hip hop shop. Then one day they pushed some Moodymann and Theo Parrish records on me. “If you like this, you might like this sound as well,” they said, because they knew what I liked. I was getting more into collecting samples in hip hop, so I started to learn a lot about disco, jazz and boogie as well.

I got hooked on this whole sound because I felt like the Detroit house sound was a way to put all of your flavors and tastes together in one. During that time, I started dabbling in music production and realized that this was the kind of sound that I want – where I can have African rhythms and hip-hop rhythms. A hip hop mentality, but with a disco sound and house elements in there too. Put it all in one big pot and shake it all together. I think there were a lot of people in Manchester at the time who were deeply influenced by the whole Detroit sound because clubs like Eyes Down, Electric Chair, Mr. Scruff’s monthlies were playing a lot of Detroit music. Anything from the hip hop stuff to Carl Craig and Juan Atkins,  Moodymann, Theo Parrish, and then all the boogie kind of stuff. So, Amp Fiddler, Dwele- all that kind of stuff was all in one big bubble. They joke in Manchester that a lot of us were “Detroit Childs.”

When we all produced music that sound came out of us because that’s what had been pushed at us for so long. It was just in us when we came out. When I made that stuff, I wasn’t predominantly thinking, “oh, I’m making Detroit music.” I was just making music, but from the outside everyone was like, “oh, this is very Detroit sounding.” I hadn’t traveled as much back then, so I didn’t realize that there were all these other genres of house and techno that were going on at the time. We were just heavily into the Chicago and Detroit sound to be honest.

What was the first piece of equipment you used?

I was so obsessed with Jay Dee that I was like, “right, I need this MPC 3000 limited edition,” blahdy blah blah. But in the end, I settled for and MPC 60 Mark 1, for the 12 bit sounds. That’s what you hear in a lot of the first two albums- me, painstakingly sampling beats of half BPM’S, then speeding them back up to get that grungy kind of sound. I used a Juno 106, I had a Sequential Circuits Pro One and a couple of other little bits like that. A Nord Lead 2X as well. When I was at university in Leeds, I was checking out a lot of people like Amp Fiddler (who I ended up working with), and Dwele, and the Soulquarians collective who started the whole neo-soul movement. All these kinds of people were coming in through the city and I was always checking what synthesizers they were using. Then I would go out and try and buy the same ones so I could emulate the same sound. So, my studio was very much this kind of thing.

And then the main piece of the jigsaw was when I bought a Fender Rhodes. The one I bought belonged to a friend of my brother’s, and he ended up being the keyboard player for Massive Attack. So, the Fender Rhodes that was used on the first two Massive Attack albums is actually what I used on my first two albums as well. I then sold it to a friend of mine who then sold it on to Max Graef. He has that same Rhodes now but I don’t think he knows the history of it. That was the backbone of most Detroit sounds, really. The Rhodes, the Pro One, the Nord Lead 2X, the Nord Electro, the Juno 60 or the 106, and a good MPC… then you had the basis of any kind of Detroit production for sure.

When you put that first 12 inch out, did you have any idea that you would get such a great response?

I mean, I listened to it and I remember thinking, “I really like this stuff.” When I was making that music, I was playing mostly in bars and I wanted a way to bridge songs. That first track, the Nard’s track- the whole point of that was to be able to go from hip hop to soul to disco and house without having to just immediately change the tempo like he did it in the record. So, every track on there has some kind of essence where it changes the bpm but also changes the style effortlessly. And then, as I put it all together it ended up feeling and sounding like an album. But when I was first making the tracks, the idea was just to make interesting twelves that had three different types of tracks that you could take to a bar gig for three different occasions.

When I pushed that record to a Chicago label, they instantly hit me back and the next minute it was the number one bestselling record at Piccadilly Records in 2007 in Manchester, which back then was like the Juno of record shops. From that Chicago release,  Manchester label Fat City Records  – who I’d been learning everything from – asked to do an album with me. Fat City Records is where I was shopping for my records nearly every day. They were everything to me. It was like I was nobody and then next minute I was asked to do an album and was like, what the fuck, how did this happen?

It was interesting – I had to take my music to Chicago first and then be recognized in Manchester as who they thought was another Moodymann. Then they realized I wasn’t Moodymann, I was just a guy from Salford, Manchester. People always ask me, how did it all happen for you? It was completely by chance. If I had of tried it the other way around – delivering my music first in Manchester – it probably wouldn’t have worked. It all happened very quickly, really. The next minute, Fat City asked me to do my own label with them and then Prime Numbers started.

When you’re not listening to electronic music, what kind of music inspires you?

I’m listening to a lot of Brazilian music and a lot of Italo disco stuff.

Any Brazilian artists in particular?

Here are some YouTube links:

Ti Claude – Mété Gaçon Sou Ou

Tatiana – Karaib

Hypnotic Samba – “Stop – Watch”

Tell me a little about Bali as you’ve been spending winters there.

In the winter time, I always go towards Southeast Asia, China and Australia, and have been using Bali as a base because it’s really starting to become what feels like the early days of Ibiza. There are different clubs opening there all the time. People are starting to open studios, the food is great, and there are all different types of artists there. It’s is a nice home away from home musically and culturally, as well as being a beautiful place. It’s one of the most popular destinations in the world now. When I want to go to my gigs, I can fly direct. It’s like living in London or even being in Ibiza in the summer because you can just fly there direct. It really saves me a lot of time and energy. The down side is, Bali’s become so popular now, it’s heavily polluted. When you go in the sea, you are literally swimming in plastic. It’s really sad, but everybody seems to be trying to make a change. People are doing cleanups so it’s moving in the right direction.

If you really want to master something, you have to just concentrate on one thing.

What is your all-time favorite record label – any genre?

God, that is a tough one… It’s hard, isn’t it? I mean Peacefrog and Prescription are big influences for sure. But of the stuff that I collect now, it’s definitely the Elektra label. The range of music that label has put out is just insane.

If you were stuck on a deserted island and had one album to listen to over and over and over again, what would it be?

It would definitely be something like Bob Dylan’s “Blowing in The Wind.” The album is incredible – the lyrics and everything. You can sample the hell out of it. I have sampled most of it. It’s in a lot of my tracks.

Favorite club in which city?

I think the best experience I ever had in my life was at Eyes Down at the Road House in Manchester. The variety of music, the people – the vibe was insane. I was going there  around 2005 to 2009.

They were playing every genre. I didn’t know you could do that. Like they would start with jazz and get to Carl Craig by the end of the night. It was a place were I realized, “Wow – you don’t have to just listen to one thing – all music is good.” You just have to listen to good music, you know? That’s always stuck with me for sure.

What do you think you’d be doing with your life if it wasn’t for music?

I think I would’ve fallen deeply into photography. And if it wasn’t photography, I’d be working with food. I just love food.

You messaged me recently about not wanting this new release to be in the “Deep House” sections of record shops.

Yes, I don’t understand why a couple of shops did that. They throw it in deep house and I’m like, “this is not deep house – have they listened to it?” It’s either Detroit house or it’s minimal or it’s techno-ey, but it’s definitely not “deep.”  I guess that’s a problem with my stuff – it never really fit into any one genre, did it? They don’t know where to put me. Like where would you put ‘Working Nights’?

Moving forward, do you want to keep it that way or are you leaning towards a certain genre?

I want the music I make to be disco-oriented, not heavily house-y.  The way I see it is: people that can make music, can make good disco. You can’t fake disco. You can fake house music, but you can’t fake disco. It’s not possible. You’ve either got soul and funk or you haven’t. Anyone can make house – put a 4/4 beat on, throw some parts and some keys in, and punch the hell out of it, you know? But to make disco – to make someone groove and swing at a lower tempo is really difficult if you don’t have any kind of essence of sound and a sense of how it all goes together.


The Best! 5 highlights of FXHE

“Only a momma’s boy cares about artwork!” — Omar S / FXHE

If you thought that FXHE Records was just another House or Techno label, think again.

The label’s sound is pretty much synonymous with the music of its honcho — Omar S, an eccentric Deep House veteran from Detroit, well-known for the straightforward way he markets the imprint.

The label’s catalogue pretty much consists of Omar’s releases, occasionally spiced up with a few “guest” EP’s from people like Marcellus Pittman, Roy Davis Jr., Big Strick, Kyle Hall, Norm Talley, OB Ignitt, Luke Hess, and other sharks of the Detroit Techno & House scenes. Each FXHE record is a nod to the people who started it all in the middle of the eighties.

In order to understand FXHE, you need to observe the label in a certain context. While Omar’s early work appears to be ahead of its time, his latest projects are retrospective and nostalgic, while being listened to today, in 2018, despite the booming popularity of “Outsider” House and Techno.

FXHE has always embraced the style of what producers today call “outsider.” This is a testament to the fact that the idea there is a solid idea behind what the label puts out. The artists on it never wanted to be part of the musical zeitgeist. They were never interested in the fads and trends of the industry. They have worked in expressing their own artistic visions. Nothing more, nothing less.

Here are 5 records to get into FXHE.

omar s 002

Omar-S // 002

If you were looking for a release that put the label on the map, it was definitely “002,” an incredibly smooth EP, released back in 2003. This seemingly minimalistic record allowed Omar to showcase his talent in crafting captivating and entrancing nine-minute tracks, with almost no progression, tracks like “Miss You” and “U.” In “002,”

Omar was inclined towards a more organic sound, different from the rawer and rougher style that he developed an interest for later on in his career.

And there’s no secret behind why “002” was popular back in the day — it was innovative and versatile. While the first two tracks “Miss You” and “U” sound like Deep House anthems of the late 00’s and early 10’s, the last track, “Set It Out” is a frenetic Deep House banger but with a heavy Ghettotech spin to it, brought to you by a load of syncopated toms. It almost sounds like a track off Dance Mania.

Not only that, the record remains very relevant today. There have been 7 represses of this EP since 2013, which just pretty much confirms how important this record is fifteen years after its release.

Listen to more of 002


omar s the best

Omar S // The Best!


One of the latest LP’s Omar has put out, sounds like a compilation, rather than a thought out album. But let’s be honest, the name of the album pretty much implies it, right?

“The Best” was released on four twelve-inch records that host 11 uncanny tracks, some are even slightly unsettling. Here Omar doesn’t just deliver just a couple of white-label bangers, he explores the murkier and weirder corners of House music. Drum programming has become much more complex, but it didn’t lose any of that “dance floor charisma.” On the contrary, this is an album that needs to be listened as if Omar has nothing to prove to his audience or to his critics. The production is snappy at times, but it remains very funk-driven. To a person that is about to dive into the man’s/label’s catalog, it’s great to listen to “002” and “The Best!” in contrast. The latter is much more “in-your-face” and audacious. In this LP, you’ll also find a few collaborations with long-term friends of Omar’s like Kyle Hall and Big Strick.

Listen to more of The Best!


m pittman ep

Marcellus Pittman // M. Pittman EP


Two years after the label released its first record, Marcellus Pittman released an eponymous EP, which still receives heavy rotation today. “M. Pittman” features three head-nodding tracks, which go hand in hand with the aesthetics of the label.

At first glance this is just a stripped down Detroit Techno release, with a “Housier” drum programming. But after having listened to the release a few times, it becomes apparent that the tracks have no basslines. Instead, Pittman just cranked the sustain on the kick drums. The decision to strip the songs of bass transformed them into really tribal and sultry compositions.

Pittman released a follow-up EP a year later called “M.Pittman #2,” which is a more laid-back project with much lighter percussion and less obtrusive kick drums. Both “M. Pittman” and “M. Pittman #2” are significant milestones on the FXHE roadmap, since they remain relevant today. Pittman’s early work is now receiving a lot of attention especially from the Russian House and Techno scene, and can often be heard in the DJ sets of popular artists like Nina Kraviz and OL.

Listen to more of M. Pittman EP


big strick 7 days

Big Strick // 7 Days


Big Strick is a name you’ll see a lot on Omar’s label and “7 Days” is among his most noteworthy projects. The EP flirts with Afrocentric motives, especially “Black Talk,” which touches on the social injustices that the African-American communities are facing in modern-day America.

“7 Days” sounds more like a compilation of artistic statements that aren’t destined to be played in clubs, but rather given maximum attention while listened to at home. Especially since only one track is longer than four minutes.

The entire record is moody and introspective, a style very specific to Big Strick, an aficionado of percussive, minor, but self-assertive House music.

Listen to more of 7 Days


omar s 006

Omar-S // Detroit! (006)


Another eclectic compilation from the label head himself released back in 2006. Yet again, this record can’t be called “thought out,” and neither can Omar be called an “Album artist,” but that doesn’t in any way diminish the artistic value of this release.

The highlight of “006” is “Churchill,” a track that can surely be called among Omar’s most memorable tracks. It’s a nasty and murky banger with a very heavy, almost gabba-esque kick drum and a really catchy bassline. This isn’t the main mood of the record. Omar very skillfully plays with IDM-ish themes in “Polynesia” and “Micronesia,” while two other two tracks feature almost naïve melodies, which nevertheless contain lots of raw energy that is highly appreciated on the dance floor.

Listen to more of Detroit! (006)


Other notable mentions:

Omar S // Psychotic Photosynthesis

Norm Talley // Norm A Lize

Ob Ignitt // Oh Jabba

Omar S + L Renee // SEX


What is Sound Shelter?

Think of Sound Shelter as your own personalised record store.

As DJs and vinyl collectors ourselves, we know the time and effort that not only goes into finding new records, but also actually finding a store that sells the record you want.

So we’ve taken the best parts of an online record store, like curation and quality listening samples and combined it with machine learning and a real-time marketplace that connects you with an independent record store selling the record you want.

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Label Liaison: Groovement

As many of us bemoan, there is too much music released these days. Now imagine if there were no record labels, the bastions of quality that act as the initial filter between producer and listener.  While DJs and producers garner so much attention from the media and fans, the role of the independent record label has had an immeasurable impact on the shape of the music world. Our Label Liaison feature  profiles the people who take on the role of creative director and commercial manager and wrap it into one difficult balancing act.

Lisbon is buzzing right now. A combination of stunning architecture, balmy climate, low costs and a load of media coverage, the city has undergone a renaissance in recent years, firmly cementing itself as one of the places to visit in Europe.

Whilst this foreign popularity may come and go, the locals have, and always will be creating and innovating and this is especially true for the Lisbon music scene. One such outlet is Groovement, a local label who’ve been releasing high quality underground house music since 2004. The label is the brainchild of influential Portuguese DJ Rui Torrinha, with additional input from rising star DJ, producer and record shop owner, Jorge Caiado. We caught up with Rui to learn more about the past, present and future of Groovement.

Hey Rui, how’s it going?

All good. Keeping myself busy with Groovement

How is the music scene in Lisbon right now? Which Lisbon artists, labels, record shops and clubs should we check out?

Lisbon’s scene is very vivid at the moment. Going strong with lots of festivals, good clubs and exciting new labels releasing great music. Carpet and Snares is becoming the hub to check. The record shop run by Jorge Caiado is now a very important reference point for vinyl lovers in town and for a whole new generation of producers that is taking the lead of the underground scene. Carpet’s own imprint and satellite labels are paving the way for the sound of the city. Check also specially curated Shift Imprint and of course Principe, the most visible of all of the afro electronic influenced sound.

You recently had Mike Huckaby to play at the Groovement label night at Lux Fragil, how was it? Any time in the studio with Mike?

It was a great night on the best Portuguese club. Mike is a very special person and we feel very privileged to have him collaborating with Groovement. It’s very rewarding to have this kind of energy and music on the label from like minded people like him.

Unfortunately Mike’s schedule was really tight for studio time but we managed to take him to a live radio show on Oxigenio FM. The show is now available online.

Jorge Caiado – Cycles (Mike Huckaby remix)

Can you tell me about the beginning of Groovement. What inspired you to start the label? Who’s in the label team and what do they do?

The label started a long long time ago when I was doing my weekly radio show at Porto’s Radio Nova early 2000s. I was pushed by some international artists I was supporting heavily back then, to release a compilation and I said: ok but only if give my some original/exclusive music and… they did! The name of the show was “Transcendances” and it baptized Groovement’s first release which was a compilation with a lot of exclusives.

Honestly I didn’t know what kind of trouble I was putting myself in but well we’re still here and growing internationally. I usually say that what gave Groovement the power for this longevity was the fact that I committed a lot of mistakes, otherwise a perfect story would have ended by now.

The team is pretty amazing. Jorge Caiado is the main man. We work and decide everything together but to be honest he’s the driving force of the label in the field right now. He’s going to be big. Then there’s Adilia Lima our brilliant artistic director that takes care of the label’s precious visual side. And Pedro Terror, the talented photographer behind all those beautiful pictures you see on the cover. So it’s a two men operation plus 2 other creative people.

How do you select the artists to release through Groovement?

Well, the name Groovement is a neologism fusing Groove with (Move)ment. It means a groove on constant evolution, so me and Jorge keep the label open for styles like disco, house and techno. We like to believe that our sound signature comes from the richness of a diverse ecosystem and the freedom given to artists but maybe there’s something else: a kind of astral element – music with sublayers that pull your spirit up while making your body move – that might link our most recent catalogue as one big constellation.

So departing from there it’s fundamental to say that personal connections play a very important role on our decisions. We see the label as a family therefore we try to release artists we feel we can support because they represent certain values of integrity and a genuine artistic vision that represent what we want to tell about our time. That’s why it either can be a newcomer or a more established producer we met through the years but there’s always for sure a chemistry behind it.


Terrence Parker Deep Detroit Heat Re Edits Vol 2 vinyl records House

Terrence Parker – Stand Up For The Soul

From the Deep Detroit Heat Re-Edits Vol 2 EP

Who does the fantastic Groovement artwork? What is the process behind creating artwork for each release?

Adilia with Pedro supervised by Jorge and me. We’re a very solid team.

What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve had running the label?

Staying strong in a peripheral country like Portugal and wanting not to play the market’s game. Also being happy with the outlet and making artists happy too is, for me, extremely important.

And what have been the highlights?

There are so many great things I could point out. I’m very proud that we released Tiago’s first album under TNT Subhead (Ecstasy & release) which was a big step for the label and also launching Organic Series sub-label that this year put out the outstanding “Em Paz” LP by the great Japanese artist, Kaoru Inoue, was for us a great achievement. In fact the link with japan has been amazing. Besides Kaoru we have 2 more Japanese artists on the label, Stereociti and Sai.

I also have to mention our legendary “Groovemental” clubnight residency at now defunct Brownie in Principe Real, Lisbon, that we run for 3 years non-stop. It was an epic journey with an amazing crowd. I miss that place!

Finally, the complicity with Jorge has been so great and special.

Groovement release a lot of vinyl, why do you continue to support the format?

Vinyl is a beautiful medium. There’s an artistic dimension to the format that we do not want to give up. For us, music has to have a body and a certain sound. We do not like the idea of an artist working for long time on music that will be then carefully mastered, just to end up being compressed – not criticizing digital though – I think it’s a natural decision when you’re looking to build a stronger artistic identity. You incorporate elements in your work that help representing a deeper universe or vision.


Sai Flying With You EP vinyl records House

Sai – To Be

From Sai – Flying With You EP 

Outside of artists signed to Groovement, which DJs, producers and labels are you excited about?

Concerning DJs, Harvey always amazes me. And Maurice Fulton or MCDE. But I also like a lot Move D or Levon Vincent among many others. It’s hard to do this!

Producers, I love Omar S., Move D and a lot more.

Labels, I always check Running Back, Rush Hour, Dekmantel, etc

One of the difficulties in being a new producer is getting labels/A&R to listen to your music. What is the best way for a new producer to get their music heard?

Well, one very important thing is to check the label’s ethos first, to be sure that the music would make sense being released there. Aesthetically, I mean. Then try to figure if someone connected to the label would be able to introduce you. And finally deliver your music to right person the most personal way possible and be patient.

In my case, I need to listen to the music a lot of times before assimilating its quality and taking a decision. Most of the music sent is online but I still like downloading it for my travels. Planes and trains are often moments when I dive deep into new music.

So I would say that there’s no proper formula to reach out… use your intuition to show your talent and never give up trying.

And concerning Groovement, after great music comes the personal side which is really important to us too.

Stereociti Reflexions EP vinyl records Deep House

Stereociti – Wee Hours

From Stereociti – Reflexions EP

What’s coming up next for Groovement?

A lot but hopefully not too much. We care about every little detail in the process of putting a record out so we do not rush things in number. We’ll surely have new music from Stereociti and Sai between end of ‘18 and beginning of ‘19. We’re also having conversations with 2 known international producers but nothing has been decided yet. The next 12” is being mastered and should be out in September. It’s from a french producer Molly and it will make some waves, I predict.

So, yes our international family is growing very organically.

You’re asked to book your favourite DJs and live acts for a night at your favourite club. Who plays?


DJ Vibe, Rui Vargas, Jorge Caiado, Tiago

Room 2

Omar S, Move D, Motor City Drum Ensemble

Want to find more records like the sound of Groovement? Head over to Sound Shelter and get an ever-changing list of vinyl records personally picked for you, and buy them from some of the best stores in the world.


Label Liaison: Lumberjacks In Hell

As many of us bemoan, there is too much music released these days. Now imagine if there were no record labels, the bastions of quality that act as the initial filter between producer and listener.  While DJs and producers garner so much attention from the media and fans, the role of the independent record label has had an immeasurable impact on the shape of the music world. So our new Label Liason feature will profile the people who take on the role of creative director and commercial manager and wrap it into one difficult balancing act.

Marcel Vogel setup Lumberjacks in Hell in Amsterdam at the turn of the 10’s. Focusing on soul-infused, disco-fuelled sounds, the label has released killer records from the who’s who of the modern disco tribe such as Rahaan, Jamie 3:26, Cratebug, Philou Louzolo, Giovanni Damico, Dan Shake and Eddie C.  We caught up with Marcel to learn more about the past, present and future of Lumberjacks In Hell.

Can you tell me about the beginning of Lumberjacks In Hell? What inspired you to start the label? Who’s on the label team and what do they do?

I started the label in 2010. I did a lot of edits at the time that I put on Soundcloud and the feedback was nice and encouraged me to try something. There is a quote from Mike Huckaby that I like: “People are trying to get involved with the music and everybody is trying it on their own terms.

My own productions just weren’t good enough to be released but I needed to get myself out there and participate on a wider level.

Lumberjacks in Hell is all me. I do the A&R, the release schedule, every decision goes through my hands. Since LiH 002 I work with South African Graphic Designer, Chris Keyz who drives me crazy most of the time missing all deadlines but the look of the label talks for itself.

Apart from that, there is Lana who helps me a bit with social media.


Soulphiction Parking Lot Blues EP vinyl records Funky,Club House

Soulphiction – Dirty Hot

Listen to Soulphiction – Parking Lot Blues EP

Where did the name come from? It always makes me think of this underrated film

Please bear with me that I didn’t click the link. It’s more or less an inside joke between Mark Seven and me. It was an unfortunate gig, a really empty party and two DJ’s in Lumberjacks shirts that made me think of the name. Simple. I suppose my advice to all aspiring label owners is, whatever you start probably will become bigger than you can foresee if you mean it. So you might wanna consider the name twice. It’s a funny name though and I guess it works.

How do you select the artists to release through LIH?

Quality is really the only thing I consider. Sometimes I get a track from big-name artists that just don’t fit the bill and at the same time, I have released a lot of great first records by a bunch of artists and people really liked it. If I think it’s interesting, I‘ll go for it. It’s a bit of a family thing, so I guess it helps if I like you and you like me.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had running the label?

Cash flow I suppose. There is always money that needs to be paid for all sorts of things and if the other end is disrupted that’s where it becomes problematic. If you prepare a lot of releases but for some reason, you get some delays and all these things. It must be great to have a huge security net to catch you. But for me most of the times when something goes wrong, it becomes tight for me.


Dan Shake Shakes On A Plane vinyl records Disco,Nu-Disco

Dan Shake – The Bee Won

Listen to Dan Shake – Shake’s On A Plane

Which other labels do you admire?

I love Sound Signature, KDJ, Philpot, EGLO records, Stilllove4music, Razor N Tape, Al Tone’s Label ( i don’t really know the name), BBE, Clone, Rush Hour, Stones Throw, there are tons and tons… and maybe for different reasons. I also have a thing for labels that have unusual releases but I would have to go through my shelve to remember what I am talking about 🙂

What role do you think labels play in the music industry?

What is that, the music industry? For the small bubble in that we operate, labels are a tastemaker. A creative force itself. Filtering a certain sound from everything that is available. Nowadays that everything is available to everyone, it becomes more interesting to be more specific with your sound.

Major labels have a different role of course. They have more power to force a certain product into the market. I find that interesting and appealing too.

What’s coming up next for Lumberjacks In Hell?

We just released Andy Compton & Shamrock – Bunny Chow which is pretty much what I mean. A very original beautiful record that was recorded in South Africa. I have another record coming next month and in July we have Alma Negra joining the label with a great record.


Andy Compton | Shamrock Bunny Chow vinyl records Disco,Nu-Disco

Andy Compton & Shamrock – Roga Mizki

Listen to Andy Compton & Shamrock – Bunny Chow

Which record do you wish you’d signed?


In your opinion, what is one tip that an aspiring producer needs to know?

It’s all about your own taste, your vision, your sound. Stop copying others. Your education is in the record store. You need to listen to as much music as possible and stay thirsty. Learn to play instruments, go and dance as much as possible. Be in love with music. Inspiration lies everywhere. Movies, music, books, musea, theatre. If you are just trying to have the next club hit you are probably boring as fuck to me.

You’ve got an unlimited budget and no one is dead – who would play at your ultimate club-night, and where would it be?

That question is so boring because the answers must be so similar. There is beauty in the limitations we have. If there are no limits often we follow a formula to make more money and foster more success. It is much more interesting to try to create the perfect night for 200 people that are all in the same vibe. Creating the perfect vibe is maybe more important than the biggest lineup. But obviously, it’s easier to book the hippest names to try to achieve that.

Want to find more records like the sound of Lumberjacks In Hell? Head over to Sound Shelter and get an ever-changing list of vinyl records personally picked for you, and buy them from some of the best stores in the world.