Tuesday 24 January 2012, 07:54
Right, a little test for me: how many Welsh dance record labels can I name? There's Ten Thousand Yen from Swansea; Associated Minds from Cardiff (who are more hip hop than dance); there's Electroneg for pure electronica; there's Catapult Records' own imprint, but now, shamefully, I'm already starting to struggle.
Feel free to enlighten me in the comments section below, but in the meantime, there is a new dance record label, already making very positive and confident moves in their tentative steps into the music industry.
Meet Jettset Records. I caught up with head honcho James Bennett to find out more.
Hi James - a welsh dance record label! There aren't many, so I thought I'd find out a bit more about you. How long have you been running?
"We started up last year, and our first release came out in November."
What's the musical remit of the label?
"Our aim is simply to get great music out in front of people. Our current roster is mostly made up of electronic artists that also incorporate a live element into their music. We are big fans of bringing live performance into dance music, for us it's just a really good combo."
Who's on the roster so far?
"The label was originally set up as a platform to release records by Million Way, a live electronic three-piece from Bristol/Cardiff who play dance music in the vein of Daft Punk and Chemical Brothers but using drums, bass and synths. They are making a big impression across the board as their sound sits under both the 'band' and 'dance-music' umbrellas and their live shows are banging!
"Alembic is a super-talented producer from London who writes African influenced hip hop/electronica. His EP Shadow Tapes was our first release in November and has been really well received. It even made it into Rough Trade's 'Most Wanted' section so we were really happy with that!
"Also we have Jasper who is the synth player in Million Way. He is constantly producing great music that doesn't always fit into the Million Way remit but is far too good to be just put on the shelf.
"I will also be releasing my own music through Jettset as Bennetton. I produce bouncy electro and house, mainly, and am currently working with some vocalists and MCs in Cardiff who will feature on my next release. I'm also doing a few remixes for local bands which you will hopefully hear more about soon."
I've really loved the tunes from Alembic - tell me more about him.
"He's actually an animator/designer as well as a producer and has worked on things like Channel 4's FoneJacker series. His EP Shadow Tapes came about after he borrowed an African thumb piano and it just developed from there. Live he performs with a mbira as well as a laptop and other electronic gadgets. His writing style is very creative and unrestrained, he formulates song structures around what feels right rather than following standard pop structures."
Had you any experience of running a label before? What have you learned so far and what's been tricky to deal with?
"Yeah, it's the first time I've been involved in running a label and it all came about by accident really. I was spending a lot of time reading up on new ways to promote and market Million Way and when it came to releasing the next EP I realised that we could put it out ourselves. Alembic got on-board when we were staying at his flat in London after a gig and before we knew it we had started developing a roster.
"Getting people to hear about what you are doing is probably the hardest part. When you're a sapling label no one has really heard of you yet so it can be difficult getting people on your side. But if you keep sending people quality music a buzz soon starts to grow."
What physical shape do the records take, or are you mainly downloads?
"We try to release physical copies where possible as that's what we buy ourselves. But obviously the download market is huge at the moment and a lot of people prefer to buy the mp3s rather than CDs or vinyl. We sell both physical and digital copies of all our releases from our online shop as well as in independent record stores and on iTunes, Juno and Bandcamp. We also put them up to stream on Amazing Tunes and Spotify as a lot of people are using those now."
What's the next release of the label going to be and when is it out?
"Jasper's EP Mixed Messages is coming out on 3 February. It's a five-track digital release and you can pre-order it from our online shop. We usually give a way a few bits and pieces to tie in with the release too, through our website and Facebook page."
What are your plans for the rest of the year?
"Million Way's second EP is nearly ready so that will be the big one this year. My Bennetton release will hopefully be out in May so I'm looking forward to that too. We are currently booking festival shows for our acts next summer so we will be out on the road doing the festival circuit as well as a Million Way tour in the coming months."
How do you hope the Jettsett music message will grow?
"Our aim is simply to be known as a label that releases great music. We would like to encourage people to think creatively when it comes to making music and to write music they are really happy with, not what they think other people will be happy with."
When are your acts next playing live or DJing?
"Million Way are getting out on the road in March and April and then hitting the festivals. Alembic is going to be coming out with us over the summer and has a few shows booked in London this spring. I'm putting some DJ shows together at the moment so they should be up on our website soon too."
Anything else we need to know?
"In the run up to Jasper's EP release we are running a competition. It's called the Alembics 2012 and we are giving away three digital copies of Shadow Tapes. Gold, silver and bronze medal winners will be announced on 31 January. To enter just join our mailing list on jettsetmusic.com."
Where can people find you online?
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