Andy is founder of Bristol-born independent digital label, Slime Recordings.
Now based in London with artists worldwide, Slime is returning to Bristol at the end of this month to bring you The Future Sound Of Garage in collaboration with New Movement. The event runs next to the release of a, so-far, two part compilation under the same name which lead beatport to describe Slime as “one of the most substantive, interesting labels around”. We caught up with him to find out more.
Interview by Beth Sheldrick
“From its inception at the start of this decade, we have strived to bring you the very best in forward-thinking electronic music, designed as much for your own headspace as it is for the dancefloor.”
So the Future Sound of Garage compilation was a huge success for you, debuting at #1 in the Juno Download UKG Album Chart and remaining there for the five months following. How did the compilation come about?
The main idea was to showcase some of the unsung talent on the Garage scene. A lot of artists don’t get the recognition they deserve, and in a small way with Slime I wanted to address that. Not just in the UK but worldwide too. We’d done a first volume the year before that was more aimed at featuring artists who’d released on the label before. That did well in terms of turning up in DJs sets and so on, but I felt for the next volume we could do better and expand the idea. I’ve got to give props to Aaron Static and Al Chewy who work on the compilation series with me, their help in shaping the release was invaluable. What was like 10 tracks became 20, then 30…I had in my mind a really broad spectrum of what garage is defined as, and where it’s going as a genre. So there was some classic-sounding stuff on there, some more grime-influenced stuff and so on. Something for everybody. I was really happy with the end product and how it’s been received as a bit of a blueprint for what’s to come in Garage.
Had you always planned on running an event alongside it or did that happen organically?
Yeah that was the game plan from day one. I actually wanted to run an event in every country one of the artists came from but that was logistically a nightmare, so we settled for events in the UK and Australia. Originally the idea was only to support the release, but the nights went so well we’re continuing with it, looking to feature DJs and Producers who are doing something interesting in the genre, something fresh.
Slime Recordings is hugely multi-genre in terms of electronic music but, having had such success with a garage compilation, is your focus likely to shift mainly toward garage artists from here on in?
Slime at a basic level is just a reflection of my taste in music, so it shifts around a lot. Back when I started it, I was putting out all sorts, I didn’t really think too much about it as I just love all electronic music really. I basically wanted it to be Warp Records! Over the past three years though, the focus has been slowly moving toward Garage in all its forms. It’s quite a loose term these days anyway. The genre is a lot more flexible and creative than people perceive it be.
How did your partnership with New Movement come about?
Al Chewy! He’s the Don, the connection to everything that’s fresh and exciting in garage. The guy’s enthusiasm and passion for the scene is boundless. I’d worked with him on an event promotion in London, and from that I invited him to contribute his experience to the Future Sound of Garage series which was great for me to get a different perspective on things. He developed the idea for bringing some heads together to push fresh garage as New Movement, he saw something missing from the scene. The crew is packed with talent. I’m looking forward to seeing what they can do this year, it’s going to be a lot of fun.
Where do you see the [Future Sound of Garage] project going from here?
Well the third volume isn’t out until autumn but we’re already working on it and compiling tracks, which shows how much work goes into it. The next one I want to be just as open-minded about what Garage can be. I’m hearing some incredible music and I’m excited to share it with the world. Just going to have to hold it down until October! Beyond that I want to get these artists on the road playing shows and spreading the word, pushing new garage to the next generation of fans.
Tell us a bit about the birth of Slime Recordings in Bristol...
Boredom really. That’s what got it rolling. I’d been running a night in Bristol for a few years, and when that ended I was a bit restless, looking around for something new to get stuck into. I always need a project! I’d been a DJ for a long time, a promoter…so why not combine a bit of both of them and form a label? It just started as an idea really, but a good friend of mine persuaded me to give it a go. The first few releases came from Bristol producers and originally it was supposed to be an extension of what I’d started in promoting – showcasing eclectic artists and sounds. This was at the tail end of dubstep being a big deal in Bristol so people were looking around for other styles to experiment with. From there it just grew into what it is now, bit by bit. It’s been six years so far but it feels like I’ve barely started. Last year I brought on Aaron Static to help me run the label and try and grow it into something bigger. We’ll see how we get on with that this year!
"As an artist, I can’t think of a better place to live. And it can be properly weird! Bristol never stop being weird."
Have your links here with the scene here remained strong since?
I lived in Bristol for over a decade and I still have a lot of good friends there. It’s a fantastic city and I hope to come back to live there sooner rather than later. I’ve moved around a lot in my life and it’s the one place that feels like home to me. The scene has changed a bit since I was promoting and playing out around there, it feels like there’s been a lot of venue closures that’s impacted things somewhat. But it’s one of the most creative places to work out of. As an artist, I can’t think of a better place to live. And it can be properly weird! Bristol never stop being weird.
Which artists on Slime are you looking most forward to working with in 2016?
The main project this year is Lauren Neko’s debut album. She doesn’t know this, but I’ve been dreaming about working on the album since she laid down vocals for a release on the label in its first year. I love her voice. She is an incredible singer and songwriter, and her work rate is insane. She’s shaping up the album now with a whole bunch of producers and musicians and it is sounding amazing. Beyond that we have a strong family of artists who are making awesome music and who I believe will be getting some serious attention this year – Bad Habit, Cup & String, Taz, Greed to name a few. Plus we have the New Movement crew getting involved with releases from Cellardore and Mind Of A Dragon. There’s a lot of music to come in 2016!
Can we expect much more Bristol activity from Slime in the near future?
Absolutely. We’ll back in Bristol with more events in the next few months, as well as a few collaborations in the works. Any excuse to come back to the city I’ll take it!
The Future Sound of Garage event is this Thursday 28th January from 10pm atThe Love Inn, Stokes Croft, Bristol.
Click here to view the event on Facebook or see their Soundcloud below.
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