The minimal dubstep sound has made a comeback. ‘Classic dubstep’ as the purists would call it, is now more popular than ever. System dance music events are appearing all around the world enabling producers to play their digital fabrications to a crowd so they can feel the sound as it’s meant to be felt. The result is an exhilarating experience that brings many collective minds together. On top of that, records are bolder, more creative, more appealing, and even more accessible to the masses than ever before. One reason is due to the number of labels that have risen to support the scene and supply the output to the demand. Launching a label is by no means easy, especially when the genre is already extensively covered. Promotion is key. I spoke with Soul Captive about his newly launched imprint; Kaium Records.
TRUSIK: Easy Dan. First up, so our readers are familiar. What is your name, where are you from, and which record introduced you to ‘Dubstep’?
Kaium Records: My names Daniel Smith, I’m 19, and from London. The first dubstep tune I heard was Kode9 & Space Ape – 9 Samurai.. a friend recommended me a compilation about 5 years ago and it was featured on there. Also had some other classics on it like Midnight Request Line, so it was a good place to start!
T: Thoughts on the current state of the minimal dubstep scene? The increase in new labels has provided people with access to more tracks than ever before, however, has this had an effect on the overall ‘quality’ available?
KR: The minimal scene is ever developing, reaching new sub-genres. But some people really don’t understand the minimal stuff, they think it’s half arsed. I’ve played tunes at friends houses and had them ask ‘how do you dance to this?’ or ‘wheres the drop’? Still, theres a group of dedicated heads who love the sound and continue to push it no matter who else listens to it or not. Theres quite a few new labels trying to do there thing, but I think its made it maybe too easy for people to put their music out. Some labels prefer quantity over quality, they think by pumping out releases constantly it makes their label appear active / a decent label to release on, which leads to a lack of quality control. On the other hand, you have labels like Innamind Recordings putting out solid releases to get you excited about!
T: Bearing in mind the small returns you make from sales, why have you started a label? What has been the most difficult part so far?
KR: I started up a label for the love of spreading the music that I’ve grown up listening to, and adore. I saw labels approaching things in a different way to how I would, so I wanted to take a stab at it. The return isn’t even something that I think about, it will go straight back into funding the label anyway, so the little return I do get will go straight back to helping the artists with releases and promotion etc. The most difficult part for me was finding out about how everything is run, and in what order you do things to set it up. Before you launch a label, you need to spend many hours researching and planning things, and seeking advice from people. There was a lot more research and planning than I originally thought, it’s consumed a lot of my time and I haven’t produced a full track in about 4 months, but it’s all worth it!
T: What are your aims with Kaium Records? What do you plan to achieve with the label?
KR: My aim for Kaium, is to release music that I enjoy and that makes me move. Some of the tunes on SoundCloud recently follow the same structure and sound palette, things are starting to turn stale. There are tunes where I can’t tell who’s produced it because it sounds similar to other people. I want to promote the artists on the roster as much as possible, I know how much it means to the artists when you show them support for what they love doing. I also want to try and help keep vinyl alive. Whilst some people say it’s a ‘gimmick’ and ‘expensive’, for me it’s just how I grew up experiencing music. My brother used to spin garage going back about 9 years ago, I used to see him mixing on decks with vinyl. So I’ve always associated listening to / mixing music with a turntable and a piece of wax.
T: How will you develop Kaium in order to stand out against the rest?
KR: I plan to take things slow with the label, making sure every release is solid and something that I would get excited about if someone else had released it. There’s no real plan to stand out from the rest. I’m just going to put out tunes that are crying for a release, and do things with my own flavour. I think a lot of people get caught in the idea of, ‘well that labels doing x, so we need to do x too’, just in the same way people are approaching productions now. As small and silly as it sounds, I also want to maintain good communication between myself and: artists, people submitting demos, fans etc. I know how annoying it is as a producer to send a label your tracks, and not hear a word back, even if the answer is no.
T: The debut signing is always a critical start. Why Widowmaker? And why Cerebral / Abscess?
KR: Before I even thought about starting a label, there were a couple of artists I was following and thought deserved to have more support behind them. Widowmaker being one of them. I listened to Abscess on his SoundCloud a few months ago, and it instantly had me head bopping. It was a tune I would of loved to of released, but at that time we didn’t even have a label name. I started talking to Widow after I had things in place, and he sent me some tunes (one of them being Cerebral). This was a perfect flip for Abscess as it was a half-time stepper, with catchy synths and melody lines.
T: You’ve had a lot of support from DJ Crises under your own alias, Soul Captive. Do you plan to release some of your own material under Kaium?
KR: I’ve been very humbled by all the support I’ve been getting from Crises. He’s been giving me radio play and has released one of my tunes on the latest Mindstep compilation. However, at the moment I don’t plan to release my own material on Kaium. Some labels choose to release their own material, but I don’t want to take advantage of a platform I’ve created. I don’t feel my production is up to the level of other tunes that I’m going to be releasing on Kaium. Maybe in a year or so, when I feel the time is right!
Widowmaker has kindly recorded a Kaium promo mix which you can stream below