Friday, August 31, 2012

Ingredients Records

Former chef and now owner of Ingredients Records out of the UK, Clive Psylence is also the director and artist agent at Evolution Artists, responsible for booking tours of top-flight drum & bass DJs like veteran junglists Total Science to young upstart Villem.

While Clive may claim his cooking is miles better than his jokes, the 37-year-old's tastes in music cannot be faulted. Since forming Ingredients in 2009, the label has made a name for itself for its consistent quality, releasing music from brand new artists Skeptical, Jubei, Koto and Sato, amongst others.

On Sept 17 2012, the label will release the Mise En Place EP (pronounced [miz on plas], French for "putting in place") made up of a remix by dBridge, a remix of Foreign Concept by Villem and two originals by Mark Recoil & Kinetic and Stealth & Stylus.

Ahead of that release, Clive took time out of his busy schedule to answer some pressing questions. He also tells us of his dream - to produce the first drum & bass themed cook book. Read on...

Ingredients Records had its first release in 2009 and has since made a name for quality drum & bass. What drove you to start the label in the first place?

I had been into this scene since around 1991 & tried a few avenues to work within it including DJ'ing & production but it clicked one day that i felt my strengths lay in A & R so I decided to start Ingredients.

It's worked out well and I think it's been a combination of good music and a refreshing approach to running a label. I was willing to put out music by anyone who i felt was writing good music, wasn't deterred by lack of profile & also Itreated the producers with respect. I educated them on the whole process including taking them to mastering at Metropolis. I think my reputation was good & I got an abundance of people wanting to be on the label.

Indeed, Ingredients has become a platform for breaking some of the best new producers around right now - Dub Phizix, Jubei and Mode being a few names to first gain notice via your label. Why take that risk and how do you manage to keep the quality so high?

Well it has worked out to be the case, and is something i really value. I can't take all the credit but I've certainly played my part in the progression of a load of new producers & the reason I do it is genuine. I felt the genre needed more labels taking risks, it was very hard for new guys to break in and some of them are really talented, so i wanted to put energy into that side of it all & try to make people realise just how much good drum & bass was getting over looked.

Uncovering raw talent is definitely a commitment. Do you spend a lot of time listening to demos? What's the process behind deciding on a release?

Yeah I'd say that's been the key part really, actually listening to it all. But you have to believe in your own decisions and I go through an elimination process until i get from say 100 demos to 10, then it's where i decide if to proceed with any of them or scrap the lot. I won't tell you what I'd look out for as that'd be giving away my secret, but one word i'd use is 'longevity'.

At one point there was a focus on more of the ‘minimal’ half step styles on your label. Did it worry you, being pigeonholed that way?

Yes it did, but drum & bass does go in waves and you couldn't escape the amount of minimal that was being made. I signed one 12" by Mode & it opened the flood gates! But my interpretation of minimal may be different to others, i wouldn't say Skeptical & Dub Phizix is minimal for example. I also signed tracks by Dub One & dRamatic & dbAudio to keep away from that bracket and everything i was releasing was selling similar units so I felt the fan base was just believing in the label.

These days Ingredients is often cited as one of the best new labels at the moment. Looking back, what do think is the secret behind your label's success?

Is it? I've not really ever felt that, although I'm obviously loving the music I sign & to be honest i don't play much other drum & bass tunes in my sets. As i said earlier, i do look for longevity in the tunes, try not to sound like from a particular era but i think involving people from the artists to the consumers has played a big part in it's momentum.

That said, I'd never felt any pressure because i was just getting sent so many good tunes. But it did eventually come when i released Skeptical's 'Blue Eyes EP' That record is so amazing, it made me realise i needed to follow that. But i stick to the same principles of releasing music I think is good and not looking at who is doing well in the sales charts & all that carry on.

Your upcoming release certainly seems like an ambitious project...

Yeah well I was originally going to do a 2nd Recipe Book album, but i looked at how many d&b albums were coming in the next 3-6 months I just thought the concept of the album was getting a bit rinsed out! So we decided to pick out 8 of the best tunes i had & release over 2 EPs. I'm really excited about both of them especially the Kinetic & Mark Recoil tune, that's Ingredients down to a tee.

What else have you got lined up for Ingredients for the rest of 2012? Any full length projects in the pipeline?

Up after the EP is the 1st Ruffhouse 12" - The Foot / Bypass in October, then it's a 12" from arguably one of the best d&b producers of the last 10 years Marcus Intalex in November. That will be followed by another Ruffhouse 12' (new outfit signed exclusively to Ingredients) in December & 'Mise en place pt2' around January.

Now to the million dollar question, one of the most distinguishing features of each Ingredients release is the recipe card. It is a well known fact you were a chef previously but what made you decide to include receipes in your releases in the first place?

Yeah that idea came from a chat with Breakage. I told him the label name and he suggested putting a recipe on the sleeve, which was too expensive so the idea was adapted! But the point of it really was to get people to notice the label. So many of them around, the music is fairly deep compared to many so what could make it stand out, because the music was good, so the recipes did the trick. Sadly i stopped them from RECIPE022 due to cost and the fact it was so hard getting the producers to do them!

Mind you, Jubei's lamb shanks were really good! But I don't want to upset anyone haha. But some day, I i will do a recipe book one day including all the d&b artists that contributed, will be great to look back on, especially for those doing really well now too.