Oxford-based producer Scalade debuts on Hear Other Sounds with Sad Machine Trax Vol. 1.
Now gearing up for their fourteenth release, South London imprint Hear Other Sounds have put together a pretty incredible run over the past few years, with material from the likes of Ben Hauke, Atlas, Nomis and J-One. Touching on garage, grime, techno and most co-ordinates across the bass landscape, the digital label has managed to engineer a great sense of community amongst its artists, who frequently DJ together and remix each other’s tracks.
Scalade is a grime-influenced producer who makes melancholic, space-age beats. While his compositions are stark, his textures are lush and his melodic instincts are seriously impressive. These contrasts are what makes Sad Machine Trax Vol. 1 such an arresting listen.
We’re happy to be premiering ‘Stray’ from the new EP. The tune harks back to a slightly older sound palette, yet manages to sound refreshingly forward-thinking. A skeletal drum carcass decorated with little splashes of icy synth melody, the whole thing is underpinned by chilling sub bass. Feels like floating through space without a tether.
Listen to ‘Stray’ below, and read on for an interview with Hear Other Sounds boss Terry:
I’ll let you introduce yourself first!
Hi I’m Terry. I co-run South London label, Hear Other Sounds. I run the label with my good friends, Matt and Tom.
So, how long has HOS been operating for now? What made you want to start a label?
The three of us have been running HOS for a few years now. The idea was originally conceived by Matt while he was at Notts uni. He was given 5 brilliant tracks from Ben Hauke, which eventually formed our first release, Lalala. Tom and I got on board after Matt graduated and came back to London. We haven’t looked back since!
What sort of music were you into growing up, and when did you first discover clubbing/electronic music?
What’s great about the three of us running the label is that we all have different influences in music. But garage has been a major thread throughout all of our upbringings, as was grime, and jungle.
My personal experiences with electronic music started with some hand-me-downs from my uncle when I was about 11/12. He was living in Croydon at the time, and about to move to Australia, so I was given a box of bootleg garage minidiscs. I don’t think I realised their importance at the time, but they were definitely formative years for me.
My first clubbing/raving experiences came in the form of going to “free raves”, in my home county, Norfolk. I was about 17/18, we used to call the “party line” on a Friday/Saturday night to find out what was going on. My mates would then drive for hours on end to try and find these ridiculous raves. I was exposed to huge sound systems, thumping techno and jungle as well as the other necessities that go along with it.
You’ve mentioned before how smaller labels need to focus on a particular sound in order to stand out – how would you describe the label’s sound, and how did you find your way towards it?
Maybe my opinions have changed, I still think it is important to focus on particular genres or movements, but it isn’t imperative. Our “sound” now happens to be quite eclectic, and that’s a good thing. It’s a degree of variation that allows us to be a bit different, and means we’re not pigeon-holed. We’re very passionate about releasing good music by good people. It’s always been a key part of our ethos.
How do you go about finding new artists – do you get sent lots of stuff, or is it a matter of actively seeking them out?
After our first release with Ben, we had to do a lot of searching, but we came across a good group of producers that we’re proud to call family. We also get sent some great tracks, and that’s how the next release came about.
Could you tell us bit about how the Scalade release came together?
I’d exchanged a few emails with Scalade around May/June time last year, after being sent a great zip of tracks. I passed them on to Matt and Tom to see what they thought as well, their responses were really positive. We then progressed to getting the tracks finalised, sorting the track list, and had some brilliant artwork produced – out to Sagepay for that one!
How do you balance the workload of running a label with your other commitments? Is there anything you’ve learned that would have made things easier when you were starting out?
We very much see running the label as a full-time project that runs alongside our day jobs. Especially when a release is nearing completion, there’s lots that has to be done, so there are often no lunch breaks, lots of phone calls and late nights. Personally I’ve learned having a good crew to support each of you is crucial – without Matt and Tom it would be really tough. So for that I’m really grateful. I’ve also learned that no two releases work the same way, so you have to keep your wits about you! 🙂
It’s cool that you guys DJ as a crew, and the artists remix each other’s tracks… how important is it for HOS to have that sense of community?
I think a sense of community is fundamental, it’s great that our family of artists are able to collaborate and influence each other.
What are the most satisfying moments of running a label?
Nothing beats coming across a great new artist and music, the sense of accomplishment once a release is completed, and also when we get to see everyone we’ve released with.
Out to everyone: Ben Hauke, J-One, DJD, LKD, Thief aka Abe, Charlux, Ardstepz, Atlas, Chaksa, Fresh Paul, Nomis, Scalade, Nights and Harmful Logic.
Choose one recent record that you’d love to have put out yourself?
There’s no regrets, I’m very grateful for the music we have put out!
Finally, can you give us any hints about what’s in the pipeline for HOS?
More great music from great producers!
Sad Machine Trax Vol. 1 is out 15 April on Hear Other Sounds.