Thanks for taking some time out to speak to us today Alex.
First can you give us a little background info around Audio addict, where your passion for D&B came from and what was the catalyst that helped you decide to set up a record label?
My passion for D&B really started when I went to my first raves about 15 years ago, I always had a very eclectic taste in music growing up but seeing DJ's like Andy C, Zinc & Dillinja live for the first time got me hooked and I've never looked back. The idea for a label started when me and my good friend Chris wanted to get our music out there and I worked at a record shop in Coventry so we thought it would be a good opportunity to get some vinyl’s pressed and try our luck. When we first started DJing locally we quickly realised that you really had to be a producer to get where you wanted to be in the scene so I started working on music every day before and after work at the record shop. I think the main idea we had for the label was to get our names out there and then use that to help us work up to bigger labels but I had no idea how far the label would go over the next decade.
Did you have a particular goal in mind when you first started out? Like getting a particular artist to release on the label or driving a particular sound?
I think the most ambitious thing we had planned in the early days was just to get a reasonably big name producer to remix our tracks. We were always open to lots of different styles of music but we were more interested in releasing our own music at the time rather than signing new artists.
Which artists and/or labels were your biggest inspiration when you first started the label?
I think I've always looked to labels like V Recordings for inspiration over the years I think the range of different styles they put out there is amazing. Also Ray Keith and Dread were always a huge inspiration to me in what I do with the label but also in my own productions.
After running a label for a full decade you must have had a few ups and downs, can you share any standout high or low experiences you have dealt with over the past 10 years?
Yeah sure! I think when we sold out of our third vinyl release and it charted in the top 5 that was a massive high for us but then it was quickly followed by a massive low of our distributor going into administration. We had originally set out to be a vinyl label but we no longer had a distribution deal so we ended up just releasing digitally after that.
What advice would you give to a budding producer looking to get their first release signed with a label?
Don't bombard a label with everything you make, send your best two tunes maybe once every few months and be patient. Also remember that just because you don't hear back it doesn't mean that the labels aren't taking the time to listen to your stuff.
If you could turn back time is there any advice you would give yourself or anything you would have done differently?
It's hard to say really as there are loads of things, I could have done differently over the years but then I might not be where I am today with the label. I think maybe the first couple of releases we did were a bit over ambitious as we didn't sell that many vinyl’s, but everybody has to start somewhere. The label didn't have the smoothest start but it's been a slow burner over the last 10 years and I think that's given me the opportunity to really develop the label and the artists.
2020 has certainly been a testing year for the music industry, how has the current global climate effected how you run audio addict? (releases, shows, parties)
At first I was deliberating whether to put some of the releases back but because of everything we had planned for the 10 Years anniversary I just went ahead with what I already had planned. Obviously, any shows we had planned were cancelled due to Covid but we might do a livestream instead. It’s been a tough year, but I've tried to not let the situation get me down and I'm still working hard to keep labels output healthy with loads of great new artists coming through.
Can you tell us a little about what you have planned for the 10th Birthday celebrations? Releases - artists appearing – standout tracks, Events – Dates and locations – DJs playing
Yeah so, we have a load of different releases to celebrate the 10-year anniversary. First up we have a LP Sampler which is dropping 2nd Oct, that features just a taste of what’s to come with Remixes from Disrupta, Jappa and more. After that we have The Classics part 1 & 2 which will feature a selection of our favourite tracks over the last 10 years. Last but not least we have the Remixes part 1 & 2 which combined features over 50 Remixes of our back catalogue from producers such as Manual, Bruk, JAK, J Select, Subcriminal, Hexa, Warhead, Gray, Kamoh, Conrad Subs and many more…
We also have a couple of radio shows coming up on Flex FM with Twiz where we will be going through the history of the label and talking to special guests. You can catch those on the 17th & 24th October on Flex FM London.
How did you go about putting these 10th birthday releases together? Are the tracks picked from your favourites and/or most popular? For the remix album how did you go about selecting the right remixers for the tracks?
It's something I had been planning for way over a year, I started messaging all the artists that have released on the label over the years and asked them if they had any remix stems from old projects. I really wanted a contrast of new and older artists so a lot of the Remixes are by artists that I have only discovered in the last year but are already making a name for themselves. When it came to choosing tracks i tried to make it a mixture of my favourites and other popular tracks that people have rated over the years. Then with the Remixes it was more of a case of seeing what stems people could find from old projects. There was also a good few of my tunes that hadn't been remixed over the years so I thought it would be a perfect opportunity.
What else do you have planned for the reminder of 2020 and beyond? And gigs or special releases to look out for on the horizon?
After the 10 Years project we have a Euphonique Remix EP and then we have Ep's from new artists such as XAV, GLM, Refracta and Foks. So far next year we have a Various Artists compilation planned for January featuring all new tracks from a lot of new artists.
This has to be one of my favourite tunes we have released over the last decade mainly because of the amazing vocal talents of Sinead McCarthy but also some very smooth and professional production from Section. Its always been a track that I listen to regularly so I'm really pleased we signed it many years ago.
I was starting my sets with this track for a long time as its got a really melodic intro but drops into a really heavy track. Some very hard hitting signature drums from Octo Pi and Kumarachi always smashes it with his basslines.
I've always loved this track! i remember when they sent it to me and the mixdown and production was spot on and we had a lot of artists from Canada coming through and the label back then so it had become a bit of a hub for Canadian DnB artists.
The original of this was always one of my favourite tunes from my debut album and I had recently met Benny for the first time in Bristol and he said how much he loved the album so we talked about doing a remix, it wasn't long after that he blew up with his tune Low Blow on Metalheadz.
This tune is probably one of the biggest tunes we have released over the years! it went straight to number 1 in the charts and stayed there for quite a while if i remember correctly. Big up to RMS! him along with a few others were really the foundation of the label for many years.
Section were one of the first artists we signed back in the day and we had a really good run with them and their contribution to the label over the years has been huge! This tune with Junior Red was an instant classic and I've always regarded it as one of the best pieces of music we have released on the label.
Kumarachi was an artist we took an interest in very early on and we were honoured to release his debut album on the label in 2016. This track always stood out to me as it had such a unique flow to it so when he sent it over I was very keen to put it on his album.
I've always been a big fan of vocal tracks so this one was right up my street! I had known Euphonique for quite a few years after doing so many gigs up in Manchester and a few years ago she really started coming through with her production so i asked her if she would like do an ep for the label.
This was actually one of the first tunes we ever signed and it has always been one of my favourites, I just love the originality of it combined with all the musical elements and vocals. I wanted to do a remix of it many years ago but the project file was lost unfortunately.
I had to include one of my own in here and i think this is probably one of the biggest tunes of my own i released on Audio Addict. I remember being in the studio at around 5am one day and came up with the rough idea and knew straight away it was going to be a big tune.