Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Deal Real Presents: Grind + Shine (Real Talk)

I'm hosting this panel discussion with Hyperfrank at the Deal Real store on Wednesday 22nd April. Pass through!

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Come Correct: 5 Steps For The Unsigned Artist

I get asked for advice a lot. So I thought I'd put it in one place.

Don't Be Too Quick To Sign To A Major  
This is probably the most important point in this list. I've seen too many artists get signed off of street heat who were never able to translate that into record sales. You need to be sure that your stable of fans is secure enough to support you, should you ever need to release a track for 99p on iTunes to keep that ink wet. Getting signed to a major label and then dropped for lack of sales has hurt so many careers. It's actually kinda sad, when I think about it. Of course everyone has to eat, but there are many different ways to break bread without the pressure of single sales hanging over your head. If you have a good team around you who actually know what they're doing, being an indie artist could in fact be more financially beneficial in the long-run. Touring, merchandise, mixtape sales, EP sales, single sales; there's money to be made as an unsigned act if you have a tight enough plan. Think beyond that quick £80,000 advance! Don't rush to blow; working the underground/unsigned circuit for a few years usually gains you more respect in the end, too.

Save Some Pennies For A Good PR
The days of the rookie, one-man-PR are over. Even if only one person manages your campaign, go with an established PR company that will collectively buy into your dream with the experience to take you to where you need and want to go. Say for instance your PR is off sick or goes on holiday? You need to know that another member of the team will be on-hand to keep things moving as you do. And no matter how many accounts any one PR deals with, be sure that you know they're trying their utmost best on a daily basis to get those placements. (Asking for a weekly report is standard). If you don't know of any good PRs, ask around, because having one is kinda important. Gone are the days when tweeting links and messaging journalists/editors on their PRIVATE Facebook page was deemed okay to do. In fact, unless you know them personally, never do that. "I'm about to change the music game fam. Watch my nu vid and RT." Okay, nice one. But don't come at me like that. If you can't afford a PR to handle your business, then you should know how to move in a professional manner. Politely ask for an email address, introduce yourself in an email with links to your music and recent press links (if you have any), attach a press release for your current project (a biography, too, if you have one), and just hope for the best. The more professional you come across, the better your chances are for a reply. Or, better still: the coverage you had hoped for.

Act Right Online
No one likes a talented prick. You can be as boastful as you like in your music, that's why some of you are where you are today, but never let that confidence meet arrogance and spill out online. Everyone loves Azealia Banks again after her emotional hip-hop rant, don't they? But just remember when she was cussing out fans and fellow artists on Twitter, and the bitter taste it left in everyone's mouth. You should want your fans to like and respect you, with no doubt in their minds that you'd greet them in the streets without a prickful bone in your body. Likeability factor is, I'd say, just as important as talent these days; people are buying into you as a person, and not just your music.

Originality Is Key
Don't focus too much on what other artists are doing to the point you get lost in their identity. Lock yourself away, get into your God-given zone, and give the world YOU! (Be consistent with your releases, also).

Don't Just Stay In-Camp
Working with different producers and other artists could never be a bad thing. If you have a strong camp already, that's great. But that shouldn't hinder you from hooking up with people outside of your unit. No one musician is the same, and you could come to find out that working with someone far removed from your circle could in fact bring out something completely different in you and your music that you never knew was there.

Friday, 1 August 2014

iRate: Donae'o vs Youngs Teflon - 'Oi Mate'

This is one unexpected pairing: over a house-inflected grime beat, UK rap's Youngs Teflon draws for his grime flow of yesteryear and spars with UK funky kingpin Donae'o on new track, Oi Mate. And, mate, what a banger it is!

Friday, 25 July 2014

Complex Magazine Is Coming To The UK!

Yo crewdem! I've been slack with updating this blog, I know. But for good reason: I've been focusing energies on the launch of Complex Magazine in the UK, of which I'm the new Music Editor. Having been a fan of Complex for the longest, getting to now join the media giant is truly a blessing. 

We're due to open up shop next month but, in the meantime, I want to hear from all you dope writers and PRs out there. Hit me up with some pitches: joseph.patterson@w00t.complex.com.

And get ready for the takeover!

iRate: Maverick Sabre Feat. Chip, Devlin & George The Poet - 'Emotion (Ain't Nobody)' (Remix)

MTV IGGY: The 18 Best Music Festivals In The World

By Joseph 'JP' Patterson

April 19-20

DGTL Festival in Amsterdam took place mid-April, 2014, and it was like being in some sort of space-age movie: walking, talking robots randomly walking past you, men in suits waving their lightsabers around — it was bonkers! The NDSM Docklands was transformed into a space fit for a two-day festival, with various spaces catering to the sonic needs of techno, house, and trance-lovers. Sets by Gui Boratto, Soul Clap, Hot Since 82, Jamie Jones, and Amine Edge & DANCE were ones to remember, and even if you were strictly a shuffle-loving deep house head, you still got to appreciate and buzz off sounds you probably never thought you would.


May 27-31

Thought up in 2013 by experienced music business men, Andy Dean and Andy Woodford, Emerging Ibiza was created as an online and club event forum to give up-and-coming DJs and producers a chance at cracking the hard-to-enter dance arena. What makes Dean and Woodford’s concept even more unique to a discerning house and techno ear, is that all the names chosen to play at their curated events are handpicked by Emerging Ibiza’s “experts,” which, this year, included Mixmag Editors, IMS Festival bookers, and big-room dons such as Shaun Reeves, Steve Lawler, and Yousef.

The festival kicked off in a big way at the back end of May, 2014, and thanks to some unforgettable sets from the likes of newbies Andy Baxter, Joe Rolet, Tom Crane, Jamie Trench, Isabella, and Anek, it’s safe to say Emerging Ibiza shut the whole island down! From Sankeys and Ushuaia to Zoo Project and Space, these fresh faces rolled out the freshest underground cuts at top-line events and venues, that you’d be hard pressed to find in sets from a few of the bigger-known acts currently doing the rounds … Which begs the next question: Emerging Ibiza, 2015? Bring it on.

Read more over on MTV IGGY: H E R E

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

iRate: Fekky & Dizzee Rascal - 'Still Sittin' Here'

Heard this track a little over a month ago at Universal HQ. I approved it then. I approve it now. Club hit for days! (Good to hear from ya, Diz.)

Saturday, 28 June 2014

iRate: Benny Banks - #QoQ Freestyle

MTV IGGY: Jess Glynne’s Voice Stays On Top

By Joseph 'JP' Patterson

Name: Jess Glynne

Where She’s From: London, England

When She Started: 2011

Genre: Dance/pop/soul

For Fans Of: Katy B, Sinead Harnett

Here in the UK, the mainstream can’t seem to get enough of Jess Glynne’s husky pop-soul: her tone oozing '90s diva-esque qualities, the Atlantic Records signee has saturated the airwaves, clubs, and charts in the shortest space of time — and she hasn’t even had to put her own work up for sale, yet. At the back end of 2013, Glynne appeared on Clean Bandit’s xylophone-featuring, strings and piano-laden dance track, Rather Be, which went on to spend weeks-on-weeks-on-weeks at number one, and gained platinum status in over five countries. Following that, at the top of 2014, Rinse FM’s deep house don Route 94, got a hold of Jess to slay his anthemic big-room cut, My Love. It hit the top spot and remained in the top ten, at length.

With a load of newly-gained fans now secured in her vault, the chanteuse finally plucked up the courage to introduce Home a couple months later, her solo slice of melodic, grime-infused pop produced by east London’s Bless Beats — who she regularly writes with alongside singer-songwriter, Jin Jin. Many thought said track could have been her official debut but, in fact, it was all just one big tease for her July 16 drop, Right Here; massive on the hook, heavy the on horns and bass, Glynne’s Gorgon City-produced house number is clearly destined for greatness, as it currently sits pretty online with well over 300,000 streams and continues to notch up on-air spot-plays from key tastemakers… Something tells us her debut LP going gold or platinum — when she unveils the yet-to-be-named set, later this year — is already set in stone somewhere.

This also appeared over at MTV IGGY: H E R E

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

XXL: The New New: 15 European Rappers You Should Know

By Joseph 'JP' Patterson

The United Kingdom is known for birthing a few world-renowned spitters, namely Dizzee Rascal and M.I.A. But who outside the borders of North America has the potential to follow in their hit-making footsteps? For our latest New New column, we take a trip overseas to Europe to find out who is bubbling up and rockin’ the mic right on the European continent.

XXL searched the streets of London, Sweden, Germany and France to find out more about some of the up-and-coming spitters lighting Europe on fire. Click through our guide to the hip-hop newbies from across the pond who you need to know now. This is the New New.


Hometown: London, England
Twitter: @TheRealDVS
Notable Song: 'Hometown'
Sounds Like: The soundtrack of the British hoods (it’s not all tea and crumpets!).

Why You Need To Know Him: In Brixton, South London, dwells one of the UK "road rap" team’s strongest players. Armed with a polysyllabic rhyming pattern, DVS is mostly flashy and boastful with it ('Life Of A Real G'), but can also switch it up and give you visceral thoughts on everything from religion ('Back In Jahiliyat') to relationships ('Black Waterfalls') when he’s ready. His fans are die-hard, too, which was further proven when London Boy American Dreaming—the rapper’s third tape and first for-sale project—landed at No. 1 on the iTunes Hip-Hop Chart upon its release in January. Even when there’s been gaps as long as four years between mixtape releases (One In A Million dropped in 2007, One In A Billion in 2011), at the drop of one three-minute freestyle, DVS can have the scene in the palm of his hands all over again.

Piff Gang

Hometown: London, England
Twitter: @PiffGangUK
Notable Song: 'Bow Down'
Sounds Like: A$AP Mob grew up in London's "ends."

Why You Need To Know Them: London Posse, who parted ways nearly two decades ago, is no longer the only UK hip-hop collective to make noise outside of their London postcode; in 2011, the blogosphere was introduced to a ten-man-strong crew from north-west London, whose Brit-rooted "cloud rap" came through strong and filled that gap in the market. With five free buzzworthy mixtapes floating around the 'net, Piff Gang's fervent penchant for women, drugs ("piff" being a slang term for that God-made green smoke), and hazy, trippy beats has led to them performing alongside A$AP Rocky – who, at this point, is pretty much a P.G stan – and entering the pages of high-profile music and style publications. Up next? Global domination.

Little Simz

Hometown: London, England
Twitter: @LittleSimz
Notable Song: 'Mandarin Oranges Part 2'
Sounds Like: Smart rhymes from a young lady determined to defy convention and pre-conceptions.

Why You Need To Know Her: Jay-Z's Life + Times dig her, BBC Radio 1's Zane Lowe spins her, and legendary record exec Sylvia Rhone may one day sign her: Little Simz is that new rap chick everyone wants to know. Last year, this 19-year-old conscious mind with a flawless flow released her Blank Canvas mixtape to rave reviews; it put her on-stage at SXSW and landed her in studios with the likes of Dizzee Rascal, Kelela, and Pro Era's Chuck Strangers, too. On June 16, Simz is dropping a new EP titled E.D.G.E, which will no doubt see her keep winning.

Yung Lean

Hometown: Stockholm, Sweden
Twitter: @YungLeann
Notable Song: 'Ginseng Strip 2002'
Sounds Like: Lil B’s white, Swedish nephew, or the closest you could get to the definition of "sad rap."

Why You Need To Know Him: It’s unclear if he’s a rap prankster or not, but teenager Yung Lean is being consumed by an abundance of online gas right now. The youngster from Stockholm, Sweden, has accumulated millions of views on YouTube for his Lil B-like head-space and camera phone-shot visuals. And where most outspoken, English-rhyming white rappers enter the game with an Eminem comparison attached to their names, RiFF RAFF is probably more fitting where Yung Lean is concerned. Kid’s clearly got something going on, though.

More picks from Hyperfrank, James Walsh and Tobi Oki at XXL: H E R E 

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

iRate: Mumdance Feat. Novelist - 'Take Time'

Novelist is one of the 7 MCs Holding It Up For Grime. And Mumdance, well, he's just a beat-making don gorgon. This track right here? Future grime music >>>  

Monday, 2 June 2014

iRate: Skinz - 'Ready Or Not'

Skinz has got more in store. Don't sleep!

MTV IGGY: Selector: Bok Bok Picks His R&G Classics

By Joseph 'JP' Patterson

So, R&G, the singer-led spin-off borne out of grime’s left rib, lives to see another day. Sparked up in the mid-noughties by grime composers Terror Danjah, Scratch DVA, and DaVinche, R&G (rhythm and grime) took a genre known for its angst and high levels of testosterone, and threw sweet female attitudes in the mix to soften the relentless blows. And the result was nothing short of sonic amazement: soulful powerhouses pouring their riffs and runs out over screwface-inducing rude boy beats fit for the aggiest of mic men, it was a sound that called the fairer sex to the floor without getting caught up in a mosh-pit, a sound that hoodie-wearing guys could bump 'n' grind with their girls in a club to, without the fear of looking like all the other mushy, drunk-in-love messes you typically see during the slow-jam section.

R&G’s romantic, empowering anthems proved that grime could be tamed under the right note, and gave females in the scene who didn’t wanna do it like the "man dem," a voice they could own, and be proud of. Following the release of Scratcha DVA’s The Voice Of Grime album in 2006, however — a now-classic, critic-approved work featuring over twenty vocalists — the once bright spark, that had a good chance of lighting up the charts, fizzled out with no clear warning, and, surprisingly, disgruntled grime nurturers weren’t at the root of its demise. It was a little closer to home. "The singers were just dropping off left, right, and center," said DVA in a 2009 interview with Blackdown. "One minute, Gemma Fox would come in and make a banger, and then she’d disappear … Sadie would come along, and then disappear. No one just stayed there doing that whole sound, and that’s where it fell apart."

After many years of forum discussions and the odd online column mention, the world was finally re-introduced to the short-lived movement in October, 2013, upon the release of Kelela Mizanekristos' debut mixtape-album, Cut 4 Me. The LA-based R&B singer’s sweet-scented, arresting vocals and lyrics of being cocooned in love ('Bank Head') and devastatingly heartbroken by it ('Enemy') captured the true essence of R&G, underpinning synth-laced, Ruff Sqwad-nodding backdrops from new wave experimentalists like Jam City, Nguzunguzu and Girl Unit, in doing so. Kelela added a whole new depth to the R&G concept, striking chords with the electronic and alt-R&B scenes almost immediately, and leaves Cut 4 Me in 2013 among the top five outings from an independent artist — or any artist, for that matter.

One of the heroes behind the seductive 13-tracker, and someone who has been instrumental in this second coming of rhythm and grime, is south-east London graphic designer by trade, producer, and Night Slugs co-founder, Alex Sushon — or, Bok Bok, as he’s widely known.

Alongside Kingdom of Fade To Mind, the US sister label of Night Slugs that distributed Cut 4 Me, Bok Bok’s on-going search for grime’s heart came through strong in the A&Ring of Kelela’s debut, and, he believes that R&G’s return was a long time coming. "I always think pop music could be more exciting and challenging," Bok Bok says, "and R&G is the way to do it. You can give it the rawness, realness, genuine emotion, and human aspects of the grime scene, as well as the polish of radio appeal. If you listen to old Timbaland, when he produced for Aaliyah and Genuine, who’s to say that’s not R&G? They were different beats but there’s that warmth and human emotional element to it. One of the Rodney Jerkins beats for Destiny’s Child had a similar vibe, too. I’m still a big believer R&G is feasible for the charts and the public. The production’s not there on many well-written songs, and that’s where we’re trying to take it with R&G."

Bok Bok’s new 7-track EP, Your Charizmatic Self — his first full effort since 2011’s 8-bar grime-influenced EP, Southside — sees him staying in R&G’s frame, whilst weaving through 80s funk and electro soundscapes, with all but one vocal contribution: Kelela, on the shimmery throwback vibes of 'Melba’s Call' (above). For Sushon, this set cuts deep. "This EP is about being true to yourself,"  he explains. "It’s about figuring out what it is I want to do in music but, at the same time in my life, it was really figuring out who I am, as a person. Those two things went hand-in-hand."

"It’s almost like some producers want to make nice music but have to conform within their genre," he adds. "I decided I didn’t care about any of that stuff, and if I wanted to go for more colorful melodies and express myself differently, I would do just that." In light of the EP release and Night Slugs celebrating six years of its club night, Bok Bok recently set off on a world tour, where he’ll be spreading the UK club music gospel across the States, Oz, and various EU locations. And what will he be bumping on the tour bus? R&G, of course. MTV IGGY got the grime romantic to select his fave R&G cuts, of all time. Tune in below.


"This track has to be in my top five, without a doubt. Katy Pearl made Kano sound like a bit of a dickhead on ‘Leave Me Alone.’ He gets kinda boyed! [Laughs] Most MCs have an ego, and he decided to not come across that way. Katy told him where to go!"

“Sadie’s ‘So Sure’ is such a classic; it was produced by Terror Danjah. I personally think Terror deserved to get a No. 1 with his R&G stuff but probably didn’t because he didn’t have the right infrastructure behind him. Besides that, he is an amazing R&B producer, let alone R&G. Some of his beats are timeless.”


"I love this slow mix of 'I Luv U.' The production’s much sweeter, but still dark, and has an Asian melody and sinogrime feel about it. Although it has a couple of MC features on it, it’s still such an earnest track. No aggression here! When you make tunes for the girls, it can work so well."


"Swiftee had a few sick beats … I don’t know if they ever got vocalled, but he sampled all this Motown stuff. He had a tune called 'Motown Dreams,' which I could not get enough of. There’s another guy called Low Deep, who made 'Straight Passion,' and them two guys had a little instrumental side to R&G; girly tunes but still with that grimey edge."


"This is a bassline/4×4 track, but it used to melt my heart. 'Lifey' shows just how much you can do with bassline, when there’s a nice vocal on top of it. Sweets was only 14 when this came out. She was young, and shouldn’t have even been out in the club [laughs]."

Bok Bok's Your Charizmatic Self EP is out now.

This also appeared over at MTV IGGY: H E R E

Essential Viewing: The Police Vs Grime Music (A Noisey Film)

Noisey UK's grime coverage hasn't always been on point, but their JME-hosted documentary on the whole Just Jam / Barbican / Form 696 debacle, is deserving of a clap or two. Watch on.

Friday, 23 May 2014

MTV IGGY: Get Ready: Blizzard's About To Reign Down

By Joseph 'JP' Patterson

Name: Blizzard

Where He’s From: Manchester, England

When He Started: 2005

Genre: Grime/hip-hop

For Fans Of: Shotty Horroh, Jack Flash, Maxsta

Manchester’s Blizzard can "shower it down," at any given moment. A piano-playing grime MC since the age of 11, who counts Wiley and Pink Floyd, Thom Yorke and The Streets as influences, Blizzard has been on a road to self-discovery with his music for near-on a decade now, making his debut in 2005 as a member of local collective, Mayhem Crew. Even back then he showed a maturity and a confidence in his delivery that had the power to command the attention of any listener passing by.

It hasn’t been all grime for Bradley Green, though. The lyrical firecracker’s widely respected in the battle rap arena, too, appearing on Don’t Flop a plethora of times, as well as Jammer’s (grime-centered) Lord Of The Mics 5. And although some might say more bar-for-bar clashes have been lost than they’ve been won, Blizzard’s freestyling ability, razor-sharp wordplay and hard graft has put him in places OG rhyme-throwers still dream about at night — namely Glastonbury, where he’ll be performing on the Left Field stage later this year.

Green released his much-hyped debut EP, the rowdy Sooner Than Never in 2012, which was followed-up in March, 2014, with the highly introspective set, Testing The Water. With both offerings safely securing him an army of followers (you know the ones who march across the country just to get their picture taken with him at a CD signing? Exactly!) and the British music industry finally taking to him as a potential chart-cracker (MTV UK, BBC Radio 1 are noted supporters), soon, this Blizzard will be one you won’t be able to run from. Get ready.

This also appeared over at MTV IGGY: H E R E

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

iRate: Louis Rei - 'Sing About Me'

Back to put west London on UK rap's map, Louis Rei unveils his nothing-short-of-wavey track and video, Sing About Me

MTV IGGY: Selector: Getting Deep, Dark and Techy with No Artificial Colours

Joseph 'JP' Patterson

Lewis Wright and Ryan Ellis, known to most as No Artificial Colours, are tech-house front-runners who are only three years into their roles. The south-east London producer/DJ outfit, whose name came about after randomly observing a can of fizzy pop (obviously), already count big-room names such as Jamie Jones, Maya Jane Coles, Kerri Chandler and labels like Defected as backers of their rolling, percussion-heavy house works — which, in some cases, can take more than the duo’s whole career span to garner such attention.

Heard all over Shoreditch nightlife and peak-time Ibiza, N.A.C have also released a handful of well-received EPs via underground labels in their time: Street Knowledge on Pet Food Records, Jack & The Beans on Resonance Records, Crying Wolf on MadTech, et al. But following their bumpy-bumpy 2013 remix of Cyril Hahn’s Perfect Girl for PMR Records/Virgin EMI (Disclosure, Jessie Ware), Wright and Ellis now have said major on board to release their next set, Reach For Me, later this year to a largely mainstream audience. Deep house has had a superb run in the UK charts these past couple of years, but now, in all its tinny glory, time is ripe for tech-house to steal some shine.

For our latest Selector column, we hand things over to No Artificial Colours’ Lewis Wright, who gives us a rundown of he and his pal’s techno-infused house faves of the moment. Get cutting those shapes, after the jump.


"We’ve been opening our sets with this, recently. It’s such a great track to bring everything down and start again, and it hasn’t failed us yet! Arabian Sexcapade is a complete percussive workout … Everything you’d expect from Dennis Ferrer, really."


"Always such solid productions from Jakkin Rabbit, Moving, which is out on the 5 Years Of No.19 compilation, is a cool track that bounces along real nice. It fits in absolutely anywhere in a set, and also at any time of the night."


"We love, love, love this track. Rules Of Life is used to pick our sets up. Although the kick is most definitely at the forefront, we like how it stays interesting throughout, leading you into a nice little breakdown. We’ve always been into LEON’s work, and always look forward to thumping this out on a proper system.”


"Although it’s been out for some time, Shelter does the business on the dance floor. Everything Christoph touches right now seems to be working so well that we have to try and limit ourselves to only two of his productions per set [laughs]. We played this track in Amsterdam a few weeks back, when playing in a circus tent out there, and people lost their minds! His style is right up our street."


"Really feeling this remix from Alexis. Proper, lovely stuff. This one is for creeping into the early hours, for sure. And we just love how it keeps bubbling away, with its nasty noises throughout."

This also appeared over at MTV IGGY: H E R E 

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Pigeons & Planes: Premiere: SLOWOLF Feat. Raekwon, Benny Banks & Takura - 'Princess'

By Joseph 'JP' Patterson

Copenhagen, Denmark, may be known for its below-minus temperatures, but that hasn’t stopped the blogosphere from feeling the heat of native SLOWOLF’s fiery, amped-up productions and refixes. A relatively new name, SLOWOLF’s juxtaposition of tripped-out, melodic hip-hop and glitchy electronica has already pricked up the ears of mainstream radio station DJs in his hometown, as well as BBC Radio 1Xtra’s MistaJam and XFM’s Eddy Temple in London, England.

But, that’s not all: based on his skills on the buttons, the rising beatsmith—born Adrian Asingh—has managed to rope in a few slick verses from the most unexpected batch of wordsmiths for his May 26 BOUNTY EP, including UK rap’s Benny Banks, MTA Records grime boy Dream Mclean, and rapping Wu-Tang Clan chef, Raekwon—no less. Featuring the Staten Island vet himself, Banks, and frequent Chase & Status collaborator—vocalist, Takura—stream SLOWOLF’s standout EP track, Princess, right here:

This also appeared over at Pigeons & Planes: H E R E

MTV IGGY: Selector: Joe Kay's Essential Guide To Soulection

By Joseph 'JP' Patterson

For an indie to be homed in such a competitive world of its own like Los Angeles, Soulection has done well in utilizing the online space and the curating of intimate, live events as its marketing ploys for next-to-no dollar. A diverse platform, which began as a radio show and resulted in a full-time-staffed record company, founders Joe Kay and Guillaume Bonte’s penchant for atmospheric, electronic-licked soul beats helped mark Soulection’s territory in 2011, and, by taking under-the-radar acts they spun on-air and putting them through their major label-envied promotion process, a global, cult-like movement across producers, DJs, and creatives has formed off the back of it, too. As cliché as it may sound, for many, Soulection really is more than just music. It’s a way of life. A culture, even.

By the day, by the hour, artists from far and wide (Manchester, England to San Diego, CA) Dropbox Kay and crew the leftest of cuts in hope of obtaining an EP deal or, less, a Soulection SoundCloud stream to help kick-start their career; the demand for this independent’s co-sign has never been more high. Last year, however, right in the thick of things, co-founder Guillaume Bonte decided to up-sticks and leave Soulection to start new concept-label, Cosmonostro. But no love was lost: he was quickly replaced in the form of renowned art director Andre Power, and the proof of what he’s brought to the fold is all in the name.

Now in its third year of business, Soulection couldn’t be in a better position. Majors? Mainstream radio? Yep! They all want in. MTV IGGY spoke with Joe Kay recently to get his essential guide to the future-thinking label, but also insight on what it brings to the current music industry. (He includes a few tips on how tune-makers can catch the attention of his A&R scouts, too). Read on for inspiring thoughts.

What does Soulection bring to the music industry’s table that other labels, perhaps, don’t?

We’re all about honest music. And, not to take away from anyone else, I feel like we have really built a culture, more than just music. Our sound’s very niche and diverse, with elements of every genre, but when you hear it — you know it’s Soulection. It’s pretty much progressed into its own genre. There could be a big artist who isn’t associated with us, whether inspired by our sound or on their own, and if they do something similar, everyone automatically connects it to Soulection, so it’s crazy how things have progressed.

I think having no format, we pride ourselves on not following what’s been done before. We just do what feels right. We follow our hearts with consistent content, whether artistically, musically, our clothing, merch, the way we interact, it’s all about a personal connection. The business came afterwards, at some point we gotta eat off this and take care of the artists. Everyone involved, the artist, staff, interns, they’re about the inner person and very loving. There’s no hype with numbers and all of that bullshit.

You guys have released a few bass and future garage cuts, too, so it’s not all leftfield hip-hop-soul as some might think. What qualities do you and your team look for in a producer?

We look for music that stands out and hits the soul. It doesn’t always have to be R&B samples or warm chord progression, which is what we’re known for. In the beginning, we were trying to find that sound that was heading where we wanted to be, and we do have that signature sound, but it was harder to find that then. Now, there are so many people doing similar sounds to our artists. We get many submissions now that sound like music we were putting out a year and a half ago, and they’re assuming that’s the sound we’re still looking for. We’ve already broken away from what we did, and are constantly moving to a new direction. Is it unique? Has it been done? And, if it has been done, is it a new fusion? Is there a timeless essence? I don’t need to mention labels or names but you can decide who makes music for the moment, and who makes music that you can purchase on vinyl record and play it literally years down the line for friends and family.

The Soulection collective will be touring Europe from May 23, with two stop-offs in the UK. So, your live shows. What’s the vibe?

Our live shows are really personal. A couple months ago, we played in Miami, first time for a lot of us, and the stage was on the second level and looking down on people — which we’re not used to. We like being connected to the people, engaging with the people; it’s all about audience engagement. There’s a good balance of playing the right track selection: we keep it smooth, melodic, and bring up the energy. We hate it when people are sitting down, so we try to get them moving. The UK’s our second biggest market out of Los Angeles for us.

The people in Europe, in general, they’re ready for the music. They just tend to get it a lot faster and I want to make sure we bring that energy. The significance of it being our first time there and the demand to see everyone for the first time, along with the history in music culture you guys have, will make it really special. Our events are always good, ‘cos we’re almost like a band when we play. We get booked as a crew a lot of the time, and know each other inside out. The flow and teamwork is really on point. It’s gonna be a party with variety, just know that.



"This is one of the first tracks we released that had an original vocalist. For the most part, we’re a producer-heavy roster, primarily because we couldn’t find the right vocalists or MCs so sampling comes into play a lot of the time. It’s hard to come across a really great vocalist that could flow over the records. Middle Of Things, Beautiful Wife is one of our top-selling records to this day, and I think it’s a quality example of what a complete track should sound like from start to finish. Spazzy Rocket is so unique with the vocals. The message and storyline behind it, matched with the production, makes for a great listen."


"Evil Needle’s So Fly is a top three classic record of all time. There’s been 33 official releases to date, 8 white labels, so over 40 releases, and this track has been one of our most signature drops. I’ve noticed a lot of artists who aren’t on Soulection have written to ‘So Fly’ and put out their own covers of it, which is super cool."


"DPat, Sango, and Isles' Above Us is one incredible record. To me, the vocal direction nods towards James Blake, The Weeknd – it’s got that kind of vibe to it. The delivery of the production and Isles’ vocals mesh really well."


"This Atu track is sample-heavy but original. He flipped it into a whole new direction. Atu was really one of the first producers from SoundCloud to take R&B samples and flip it into his own. You feel like he creates it. After him, you’ve seen hundreds uploading similar vibes. But no one can do it like him."


"Pheo is a rapper from Maraino Valley, California, and Real Old Cigar is a track I worked closely with him on. He’s very soulful, and the delivery of his flow is too smooth. A grown man talking about this woman and how he’s going to approach her, rather than just fucking her, is refreshing to hear."

This also appeared over at MTV IGGY: H E R E