Bombstrikes records has clocked up something of a huge milestone this year with the label notching up 15 years at the forefront of all things beats, bass and funk. To celebrate the occasion head honchos Mooqee & Beatvandals have compiled an album showcasing musical highlights of the journey so far alongside new exclusives. We have been chatting with them about all things Bombstrikes. Not only that but we will be doing a special 15 tracks in 15 days giveaway, with a new track from the Bombstrikes catalogue being made available for free each 24 hours!

The compilation charts Bombstrikes' rise from DJ only limited vinyl into what it is today, recognised as one of the leading purveyors of their sound. Having achieved countless number ones across many genres, there is no room for fillers on this album! Each one of the chosen tracks has battled to earn its rightful place on the release. When you consider the pantheon of amazing talent to have graced the label over the years, selecting what should go on to the album can't have been an easy task. Just look at the artists name checked on the album's tributary artwork and you will understand the calibre of music we are dealing with here. Effortlessly gliding through the realms of Funk, Disco, Hip Hop and Bass music, the one thing that has always stayed true through the label's rise is the consistent high quality of the music and of course the Funk which is self evident throughout this release. Something which Mooqee & Beatvandals capture perfectly with their track selection.

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Interview with Mooqee & Beatvandals

Hi guys, thanks for taking the time to talk to us today, first and foremost can you tell us a little bit about yourselves, who you are, and what the inspiration was behind starting Bomb Strikes?

Bombstrikes is run by the two of us, Glenn, who also records under the name Mooqee and Tim who records under the name Beatvandals. We both started the label initially as a way to release our own music on vinyl that we were making at the time. What inspired us to do this was actually a lack of music that we wanted to play out in the clubs and bars we were both DJ’ing in at the time. We both liked playing on vinyl and this was a time before digital platforms like Serato and Traktor, so we just made tracks and pressed them on vinyl.

Things started to take off from there really. It turned out there were lots of others who wanted to play that kind of music and we were blown away by the support that quickly came in. Radio 1 in the UK started showing us some love early on and we started hearing some huge DJs dropping our releases in their sets. It was quite a moment when we heard about Mix Master Mike opening Beastie Boy’s arena shows with one of our tracks! As anybody will tell you, releasing vinyl is not cheap and each release required quite a large investment so we had to make sure that they were all very good so that we could sell them and invest back into the next release. These initial releases set a very high quality threshold for the label which we have tried to keep across the 15 years, even after we moved to being a digital label.

Did you have a particular goal in mind when first starting the label where you hoping to achieve something specific or was simply for the love of the music?

We always had a goal to put out consistent high quality music and make each release special as we started out by doing vinyl only. We released Volume 1, volume 2 and so on and we wanted to make people collect each one in the series so that there was anticipation for the next release. It was also important for us to have a good look with the brand logo so that it stood out on the record racks and looked good on a T-shirt. There wasn’t an overall label master plan at the start, just a desire to release great music. Our only requirement was that every track had to be a bomb hence the name and you could drop at peak time in a club and it would hold its own against any other track.

15 years in music terms seems like a lifetime, whole genres have been born and pretty much died during that time, how have you managed to keep the label relevant during the ups and downs of different music trends and tastes?

If you run a label and DJ as well then that progression is more natural as you are just putting out music that you think and have a good idea that will work out in a club. If you play records and they work for you then you know that they will work for others and therefore are worth investing in. All our initial releases with the label were also either by Mooqee or Beatvandals (ourselves) and it was only after that we started to release music from other artists so those initial releases set the foundations for the label in terms of quality and music style. The underlying thread which ties everything together with Bombstrikes though is the Funk and you can have that in pretty much any style of music whether it be Hip Hop, Glitch, Disco, Breakbeat or Drum and Bass and we have released music with all those styles over the label’s lifetime. We also have more of a party style to our releases as well which we are not scared to shout about.

Did you diversify your sound to accommodate these new markets or did you do your best to stick to your guns and continue to push what you knew best?

We have never deliberately tried to diversify our sound to tick genre boxes but our sound has always evolved naturally because we both like to push things forward and would lose interest if we did the same thing time and time again. We do get sent a lot of music for potential release, and in so many different genres, but both of us seem to have this knack of just listening to a track and straight away we have this gut instinct and know if it will make the grade as a Bomb Strikes release or not and that can be in any style or genre. We don’t always play safe though and do like to take chances on projects we believe in. It is important for us as a label to grow musically and progress with our audience but at the same time we try to give people a little of what they expect and know the label for, so it is a fine balance. As streaming has become a much bigger part of our core business as well, today’s record labels have also taken on more of a role of music curators which was part of the idea behind starting the compilation series; Funk N Beats, Bass Funk and Disco Funkin’.

You must have had a small army of artists on your label over the years. Bit of a crazy question but if you were going to make a super-group or bomb strikes dream team, who would you include and what would be their role in the group?

As the artwork for the release shows we have worked with some great people over the years and rather than do a super-group as it would be too tough to pick from that list we think we would throw a big party and have everybody jump on the decks and do one big back to back set with say Beatvandals starting the party and Mooqee shutting it down so it would be one big Bomb Strikes Supergroup.

After a decade and a half running a successful label you must have many achievements under your belt. Can you share a few highlights the label has seen over the past 15 years?

We have plenty of highlights we’ve been proud of over the years. As we mentioned before, the early days of radio support was a big moment. It was beyond what we expected pretty much from day one. It still feels great to hear someone like Nemone, Craig Charles or Ana Matronic playing and shouting about our music. We have always done pretty well in the specialist charts with our releases but the thing that still makes us both happiest is hearing people love what we do and continue to buy our music. The support really does mean everything to us!

We’ve also had some amazing nights with our sound system events or stage takeovers. There is probably too many to mention but we’ve hosted stages at V Festival, room takeovers at Fabric and even hosted nights in Australia and Canada. It’s always special to get the crew together and get crowds going crazy. In fact, we just did a 15 year takeover at Shindig Festival which was fantastic! We had Fort Knox Five, Shaka Loves You, X Ray Ted, and we both did a one off back to back set and we even managed to coax Nick Thayer to dust off his headphones!

We really like your 15 tracks in 15 days idea! You guys always seem to have something going on for your fan base. How important it is that you give some love back to your fans?

It’s really important for us to give back to fans and this is a great way of doing it! It is great to be able to give away a track free for 24 hours and all of these 15 tracks are all big releases from our catalogue. We have put a lot of thought into which tracks are included and the order of releases on what day so it is definitely worth grabbing these while you can as this doesn’t happen every day!!

From the 15 tracks on offer do you have a personal favourite?

Beatvandals – My mix of Music Saves me by Ali B featuring Baby Bam of the Jungle Brothers as I have always been a lifelong fan of the JB’s so to work with such a great vocal was so much fun.

Mooqee – That would be like choosing one of your children as favourite! Couldn’t do it. I’m huge fan of each one of the tracks in there. Looking back through the catalogue when choosing what to put in was a bit of a moment when you look at some of the artists we have had the pleasure of working with!

So what else do you have in store for the immediate future?

After the release of the 15 years album this year we will have a new compilations which will include Disco Funkin’ Volume 2, a new Funk N Beats album and another Bass Funk album. All of them are in the works as we speak, with some great guest curators on board, which keeps things exciting. We also have some new releases from Shaka Loves You, Ali B, Alexander Norman with Dynamite MC, X Ray Ted and more! Even after all this time our artists are still pushing things forward and getting stronger with each release. So there are lots of great things to come this year and beyond. We’re also hosting the second part of our 15 Year party with another takeover at Beatherder Festival in July, we have the crew ready and have added DJ Hazard, Andy Buchan and DJ Q to the proceedings. Beatherder is always a special event for us and would strongly recommend checking it out if you haven’t already. It’s the real deal, a truly independent festival with soul! Hey, they even have Sister Sledge alongside Rudimental and the likes of Skream, Hannah Wants, Opiuo and loads more, a cross genre vibe which we fit perfectly.

And in the longer term? Can we expect to be doing a 30 year takeover in another 15 years? :)

There are no plans to stop and that would be an amazing achievement if we can do the 30 year takeover. Shall we book it in now? ;)

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