Having done his bit to foster cordial relations between the US and Russia by releasing excellent EPs from Anton Zap and Nina Kraviz, Underground Quality chief Jus-Ed turns his wordly gaze in the direction of the small, unassuming island(s) of Malta. The producers who have earned the affection of Ed is production duo Owen Jay and Melchior Sultana, who lay down four slices of sumptuous deepness in the vein of Fred P. Owen is regarded as one of Malta’s deep house pioneers, with 15 years experience in the disc spinning game that has taken him to some of Europe’s most revered venues (Tresor, Plastic People), while fellow Malteser Melchior (we sincerely hope that is his real name) has a musical background that touches on hip-hop, downtempo, house and techno.
One thing Jus-Ed is known to do before welcoming another member of the UQ family is make a concerted effort to get to know the producers as people, to “suss them out”. “There’s nothing they have to do except for be themselves,” he explains, adding that “if I collect enough positive energy from them, if I feel comfortable with them, I’ll release their record”. It’s a simple and effective policy that has reaped rewards so far.
The Memories Of You EP very much adheres to the Underground Quality audio aesthetic, with everything you hear produced on vintage analogue gear and pressed up onto purple marble vinyl. The A Side is split between the title track and “Days Gone By”, both of which drip with the emotive warmth that anything carrying the UQ stamp demands. The crisp kick augmented by floating synth flourishes on “Memories of You” in particular resonates long after the first listen. Flip over for the eerie melodic shuffle of “Forever”, while the jazzy organ swirls on “Peach” round off a dope 12”.
Jus-Ed is quite possibly the hardest working man in house music. You probably know him as the Underground Quality guy – label boss, DJ, producer, radio show host. But to others he’s also the firewood guy, the lawn guy, the junk removal guy, the handyman guy and a devoted father and husband. He’s a people person, and even the most fleeting of conversations will elicit some kind of laughter, and probably leave you with a deep and lasting sense that this is a man doing what he loves.
Ed (full name Edward McKeithen) has been DJing on and off since the age of 10, but his first production didn’t hit the shelves until as recently as 2005. Since then he’s been in prolific form, with 33 releases to date, most of which have been pressed up on his beloved UQ imprint. His weekly radio slot on Myhouse-yourhouse has served as a platform to preach the virtues of underground house music, and Ed has used the position to give up-and-coming producers a boost (indeed some have reported getting label deals soon after getting the Jus-Ed stamp of approval).
We logged onto Skype for a chat with Ed, who, speaking from his home in Bridgeport, Connecticut, had much to say about going digital, DJ politics and how 2010 has been a watershed 12 months for his label.
Toronto based producer and DJ extraordinaire Basic Soul Unit aka Stuart Li has enjoyed a fine 2010 to date, with one exceptional release in the shape of his Tuff Love EP for the Crème Organization and the introduction of a production style that touches on dubstep as Herman. Combine this with some heavyweight Detroit and Chicago leaning releases for the likes of Ostgut Ton, Philpot, Left Of The Dial, Versatile, Mule Electronic and Mathematics Recordings and it’s not hard to see why Li is considered a talent on the rise. Stuart has already graced the pages of Juno Plus in a very interesting interview back in June so we decided to quiz him again,this time on the tracks that are standards in a Basic Soul Unit DJ set right now.
Cutting his teeth as a DJ in New York the 90s, Levon Vincent witnessed first hand the impact of former Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy on New York’s nightlife, and saw his gigs and hence his livelihood dry up overnight. So Vincent went back to school, in his words, to “take a negative and turn it into a positive”, and devote himself to learning the many complexities and nuances of music theory and production. In 2008 his star began to rise, with the first signs coming not from NYC but London, where his tracks drew raucous receptions from the Fabric crowd when dropped by close friend Jus Ed. Affable, humble down to the ground; Vincent’s rise to prominence is a remarkable and heart warming tale. Aaron Coultate met up with the man himself during his recent stay in London to find out more.