Having been shaking things up in 2011 with his electroid soul mechanics (on releases like ‘The Timps’), launching his own record label (Cosmic Bridge), not to mention dipping into footwork interpretations with his short-lived Philip D. Kick experiment, Om Unit aka Jim Coles has been responsible for keeping the UK underground increasingly fresh over the past year. Appearing alongside Kutmah and Illum Sphere at this weekend’s Tempo Clash event in London, we emailed him to see how things are shaping up.
So you return to Civil Music for your second EP with them – ‘Transport’. Can you talk us through the influences for this release, and the thinking behind the title?
‘Transport’, without going into too much detail, is just something we all know too much about in London which is where I live. I like the idea of mixing slow and fast rhythms together and the idea of looking out of a train window where close objects move fast and distant ones seem to move slowly -it seemed to match that feeling.
How are things going with your new Cosmic Bridge label – what’s planned for 2012?
It’s going well, we’ve had a great response so far. I run the label literally out of pocket for the love of music that I think is worth putting in to the marketplace. I still think there’s room for the 300 or so records we press anyway, fingers crossed. Our 1st release is pretty much sold out, and the second just dropped which is a 4 track EP from Kromestar called ‘Parallel Sounds’. It is really an education that Kromestar can reach quite far beyond what he has been stereotyped for. For 2012 there are some longer term plans in mind which I hope to pull off in the spring, there’s certainly at least 2 more releases pencilled in.
Are you working closely with Kromestar still – anything in the pipeline?
We’re back-to-back at the Hare and Hounds in Birmingham on the 17th December with an Xmas dinner and good vibes, come through!
You recently put your Philip D. Kick project to bed – why was that?
That was by design, 3 volumes of edits and it’s a done deal. It was never even meant to be so far reaching as it became. I would call that a musical experiment that worked.
How do you think juke/footwork is shaking things up in 2011?
In a small way, I would very much recommend watching the Spinn and Rashad RBMA interview when it’s up. People should know it’s such a tiny thing in the US and even in Chicago itself, and it’s directly related to the street, which I think in a way is what makes it so pure right now. Those guys are very much into the European answer to footwork music, and were very open to getting sent music too. I’d say the use of the 808 with footwork and rap stuff has certainly influenced most people in 2011, but personally I find it quite limiting.
What does Om Unit have planned release-wise in the new year?
Look out for my ‘LA Refixes’ 7″ coming on All City in January.
You can catch Om Unit playing alongside Illum Sphere, Kutmah, Blue Daisy and Kidkanevil at Tempo Clash this Friday November 11. The ‘Transport’ EP will be released via Civil Music on November 28, and you can watch that Spinn & Rashad interview in full below.