AutomAte has just turned two, what can you tell us about these years?
Deficit: Yeah, this second year has really flown! Priority numero uno for us in year one was to set the quality bar at the right level, show that we’re serious, we have what it takes and we’re here to stay.
This second year has been all about consolidation and family. All three of the sub-labels that make up the AutomAte family have had a good half a dozen releases each now and we’re no longer living hand-to-mouth, we have the next six months of releases ready so we have the space to start exploring different and larger projects.
I love the gravitational pull the label seems to have, we’re building a family, a group of artists that we believe in and see eye-to-eye with. No-one is signed exclusively to AutomAte. Our core artists are proud to be associated with us, many of them release on other labels too and we support their music whether it’s released by us or not, it’s all very organic and easy going.
Esion: It’s all been so much fun. Our first year we laid a sturdy foundation on which we could build – AutomAte is our first label so we had, and still do have!) a lot of feeling around to do and lessons to learn. We launched the AutomAte Tech sub-label first, which is heavy dancefloor material, so this year Tech has taken a bit of a back seat to let the other sub-labels breathe and grow. AutomAte Tech is back though, I’ve got some serious weaponry lined up for that!
You’ve just released a sample pack – what’s that all about and why have you decided to make it free?
Esion: The sample pack was originally a promotional idea aimed at attracting a fresh wave of dnb producers to our Facebook page. I was pleasantly surprised by the number of our artists who were willing to be involved, especially as there’s no money in it for anyone, so big thanks to all for helping us make it happen!
This project was something I really got my teeth into. I was aiming to pull together something genuinely useful with a sense of humour in places, fairly raw, not too processed; the sort of thing I myself would enjoy using in the studio. The final product though is more than that, I feel we’re giving away a part of AutomAte.
Deficit: This giveaway is part of our second birthday celebrations, it’s one of the ways in which we’re saying thank you to our supporters for, well, supporting us! And of course a big thanks goes out to Philth, Neve, Vince Grain, Arclight, Agman Gora, DROPS, Wreckless, Fuj and PRTCL for getting involved.
Some of AutomAte’s core artists feature on the sample pack together with MC Agman Gora – what made you go for these artists?
Esion: The pack was always meant to feature artists who have released on AutomAte. We’ve ended up with a 1GB pack that contains plenty of fresh new sounds, a pile of exclusive vocals from zombie MC Agman Gora, plus we’ve stripped a number of AutomAte tracks down into their component parts.
Always wanted to resample that long warm subby bass from Philth’s ‘Submarine’? Now you can! Or one of Vince Grain’s trademark snares? You got it! I don’t think any record label has done this before, at least not to this degree. We just hope that people will be inspired to use them creatively and imaginatively.
Deficit: Agman Gora featured with Wreckless on a track called Deadly Contagion, released this time last year. However, I first met him when he MCed for me at Fractured Foundation in London. We worked really well together and when we get some AutomAte live events rolling I wouldn’t bet against him being a regular on the line up!
Where do you see AutomAte in the next two years?
Deficit: I set myself realistic but challenging objectives for each year, it’s something I learnt from Philth and look how well he’s doing! Next year’s agenda is to up our promo game, I want the legend of AutomAte to spread like rampant wildfire, haha!
Seriously though, we’ve concentrated on releasing singles for these first couple of years but we’re now looking at doing some larger projects involving a lot of effort and multiple people. I feel we owe it to our artists to continually improve our promotional clout so we can justly reward their efforts and they can grow with us.
I also want AutomAte to be a more regular sight in clubs. Most of our artists are gigging regularly but I’d like to get some AutomAte events up and running, where we bring the family together for a right ol’ knees-up. London in particular is feeling a bit one-dimensional to me at the moment and I genuinely believe we are one of the missing ingredients.
Esion: The last six months for me have been eye-opening. Now that we’re well and truly off the ground, I’ve been taking a more business-like view on the label and it’s made me rethink the way I see the music scene as a whole.
Distribution companies and websites closing down, the rise of Bandcamp and Spotify and the prevalence of illegal downloads – the industry is a very transient place to be right now! We really need to be thinking 2, 3, 5 years ahead rather than the next few releases because there will be casualties along the way and we don’t intend to be one of them.
Speaking of new releases, any exciting ones we should keep our ears out for?
Deficit: We’ve just released our very first solo artist EP. It’s a four-tracker from None Decay and I love it, it has a great mix of vibes whilst genuinely making sense as an EP.
I also have some absolute gold dust from Fuj that I can’t wait to put out on AutomAte Deep. There’s plenty in the pipeline but I do believe in keeping an air of mystery about the future, I think music is less exciting if you know it’s coming months in advance.
Esion: I’m thoroughly looking forward to releasing Fearful’s new track. He was one of our original artists, though at the time Fearful was a duo, and it’s great to see how far he’s come in the last couple of years. That release has the original, the Mtwn remix and another, more tearing remix from a legend who has been an inspiration to Deficit and I since the early days.
I also have an absolute monster of a tune coming from Fortitude, called Turn Bad, which will be backed with a remix from Dose. He is another artist I admire greatly and I’m really happy to have him make a cameo appearance on AutomAte Tech.
Any final thoughts or shout-outs you’d like to add?
Our resident computer whizz, and wicked DJ, Nathan E, and our new graphic designer, and wicked producer!, Ewok. A special mention to our mastering engineer, Chris Jarman (aka Raiden / Kamikaze Space Programme). That man has the magic touch and golden ears.
Flexout Audio, Peer Pressure, Diffrent Music, Nurtured Beatz, Therapy, Agro, Meth Lab and Flex FM crews. All the artists that have worked with us, sent us music or shown an interest. And everyone who’s supported us by buying or playing our music, spreading the word or just offering encouragement. You know who you are.