The man of many (record) labels, Jamie Russell, aka Cedric Maison, joins us in the lazer basement next weekend for another edition of Wet N Wild. Having just launched yet another label, Space Hardware, we caught up with him for an extended chat about his main label, Hypercolour, what it's like juggling so many imprints, what amazing artists are lined up for 2012 and what's in store for the dark recesses of the downstairs of Dalston Superstore....
Hypercolour is a great up and coming British label but we have to ask- did you take inspiration for your name from the awesome ‘90s tshirts?
Yes, yes we did actually. I think it was more to do with coming up with something that sounded good. We deliberated on lots of names, concepts and ideas. It’s a direct reference, but it also has connotations of the music that we put out. We’ve recently looked into getting some Hypercolour business cards that change colour so watch this space!
Can you tell us a bit about the ethos behind the label?
We’ve stuck to our guns from the off as we’ve always wanted to put out slightly left-of-centre stuff. We started the label when minimal was at its peak, when Minus, and Hawtin, and his army of minimal soldiers were the top boys. Even at that stage, the early days of the label, the type of artists we were commissioning remixes from were all fairly new, bar Glimpse. The remixes that we got reflected where we wanted to head with the sound and that’s just kinda stuck really. DJ Koze is one of our high inspirations and he emulated for us what we wanted to do with the record label.
Now it’s just veered off in lots of different directions. We’ve got a few sub-labels and I’ve got a few separate projects. There a strong thread through it all though, in that they’re all deeper and there’s a lot of melody. When we listen to demos there has to be something, it can just be something simple, something that stands out on a track that can completely change our perspective on what we thought about it. A friend of ours said recently that there’s always something interesting, something different, something to make you say “oh, that’s cool,” in our stuff. Which reaffirmed to me what I’d always thought. It’s just not generic stuff. It’s just got to have a bit of soul and a bit of depth and a bit of thought gone into it. I think we’re good at recognising that.
You’ve mentioned that you run quite a few sister labels to Hypercolour- how do you ensure they all differ?
We’ve always had a kind of tunnel vision of where we want Hypercolour to go, but what’s changed things for us along the way is basically down to the music we’ve come across. For example we received a demo from Jimmy Edgar, and it was really slow, really sexy; it was very much NOT club music. But it was still quite cohesive with what we were doing because there’s quite a strong after-hours vibe in our music. So that inspired us to set up Glass Table.
We were at a point then when we wanted to put together quite a nice product. Alex [Jones], who I run the label with, is a graphic designer and we were going through this phase where we wanted to strip things back and put out really nice physical products. Which is why that label is picture disc vinyl only now.
We had all this music that we couldn’t see fitting in at Hypercolour. So we just set up a new project for it. It’s been a similar story along the way. Losing Suki was originally a digital only project as it was music that was even more left of centre than the Hypercolour stuff. We just had all this amazing music but we couldn’t just put it out through one outlet. We’ve got a full schedule of releases this year and that’s across all the labels. If I had just one label I couldn’t release 80% of the music I’m releasing at the moment. I think it’s to do with the fact that we’re pretty on the ball with A&R and music and we have other interests outside of house music. All these labels are borne from the fact that we don’t like passing up on stuff that is excellent and interesting.
There’s actually six in total now, oh no wait, that’s a lie, there’s seven, as Alex and Ste (my two partners for Hypercolour) they’ve also just started up their own little project which was something that I was too busy to get involved in!
We’re actually just about to do Groove Armada’s new 12”! That’s a scoop for you there, nobody really knows that. Eats Everything is doing a 12 for us, Claude Von Stroke wants to do a 12; so all these artists that we massively respect are recognising what we’re doing, which is very humbling. So we’ve got a really great year ahead. We’ve even got Pariah and Darksky remixes coming up on a little 10” thing. It’s really crossing over and I’m excited about what’s happening in the UK at the moment.
You were saying you run things with Alex and Ste - how did you guys meet and eventually end up forming a label?
Alex was part of formidable DJ duo in the late ‘90s called The Insurgents who were resident DJs at Big Beat Boutique, and they used to book Tiga, and Diplo. It was kind of a Bugged Out of its time, although Bugged Out ran parallel. I was living in Oxford and putting on parties in East London. We met through a mutual friend and we just hit it off. He’s got very dry, slapstick, Alan Patridge type humour and makes me laugh a lot. As we became good friends, he would send me music he was making that I thought was good, and we proceeded to set up a record label off the back of the fact that he also had a mate who was doing stuff under the name Glimpse, who is obviously doing very well for himself now. So Glimpse was our first release, Alex was the second; it was just two young lads really, just having a punt at trying to do something with their lives. The relationship we have, he’s the creative one in the sense that he does all the art and he’s a dab hand in the studio and I’m the organised one with, apparently, not a bad ear for new music.
Ste kinda came further down the line. He’s based in Leeds, used to work in one of the key record shops up there and for a label called Immigrant. We just got on well with him so we brought him in as an A&R ear and scout. He’s actually also an excellent DJ, which is where the mutual respect came from. He’s just started making music and is doing a lot better than most people after a really short time! Watch this space! Ste Roberts!
You’ve talked about Glimpse being one of the first releases and you’ve got artists on your label like Maya Jane Coles and Jozif who’ve had great success lately. Who do you think is next from the Hypercolour family to breakthrough?
A lot of the forthcoming releases, as I mentioned earlier, are from renowned artists. From my personal point of view, I’m a lot more excited about what’s happening outside of house music. We’ve got this new artist called Last Magpie on Losing Suki. It’s not an easy craft to make effortless sounding music. Everything about that track sounds amazing to me. It’s a tried and tested formula but it’s executed very well. He’s a young artist and it’s just really impressive. It’s great to hear fresh talent making such mature music. It excites me as to what’s to come.
Of course Huxley. That release came out this week. Again, it’s just an effortless sounding house record. I think it’s going to divide opinions as it treads the peripheral line of cheddar. I think it’s bloody wicked. It’s the type of track that people walk away from a night out and they’ll remember. The vocals, y’know, they resonate with a lot of young lads. We’ve said it’s the tune that young men will put on before they go out on the charge looking for young women. It’s just fit.
Huxley - Let It Go
Which other labels do you find inspiring?
I’m a massive Hyperdub fan. Especially loving that new Burial release. I like the whole concept, what they stand for, the fact that they’re really daring, putting out stuff that is unusual but staying cohesive with the UK bass scene, south London in particular.
And I’m a huge Warp fan. Warp is what I aspire to in terms of quality and outreach. They’re an institution.
On a house tip? I’m going to big up the Bristol posse here. I think Futureboogie are doing some really cool stuff, some really interesting releases. I went to one of their parties a few weeks ago and it was probably the best rave I’ve been to in about 10 years! It was held in an old coroners court and they still had all the old docks, and the booth was up where I imagine the judge would have sat. So it looked very surreal. Four or five hundred people were there. It was quite inspirational really.
You’re playing at Wet N Wild on Friday in the lazer basement. What kind of things can we expect from you?
Wow. It’s called Wet N Wild? There’s a theme park in Florida called Wet N Wild. Just thought I’d mention that….. Well as Superstore is a gay hotspot, I think I’m basically gonna pull out some Patrice Rushen type disco stuff… maybe some Hypercolour bits if that’s of interest to the crowd. It all depends on what whoever’s playing before will play. It’s so cliché but you have to read the crowd.
What one tune just won’t leave your record box at the moment?
There’s one that’s back in my box after quite some years, a tune by Kerrier District, who is Luke Vibert, and it’s called Yesco. I’ve been playing it the last couple of months; in fact I’ve even been listening to it today! It’s got the funkiest sound, and it’s got elements of darkness, it’s heavily sampled and the melodies on are just awesome. If you haven’t heard of Kerrier District I would just buy everything you can. And Luke Vibert, he’s a hero of mine.
Kerrier District - Yesco
Cedric Maison plays Wet N Wild in the lazer basement alongside a very special guest, Deepgroove, Sam Wicks & JT, with Shay Malt and Emma Rudge in the bar next Friday 24th February from 9pm to 4am.