This month sees DJ Hybrid pull up the biggest reload of his career so far… His first label Audio Addict has undergone a complete switch up.
With many of its original artists now releasing on more prominent labels (including himself), the south coast artist is taking Audio Addict back to its roots and original mission when he launched it with his own releases: to use it as platform for new talent.
Last week’s release Audio Addictions Vol1 is the rebooted result. New look, new vibe, new generation of artists leading from the front. New Addictions marks the label’s 10 year anniversary, it features exciting new-generation names such as Hexa, Burnzy, T Zone and Foks and hints at the new plans he has in store for the label.
Still running his other label Deep In The Jungle in parallel to this, working on releases for both Born On Road and Liondub and responsible for the latest Welcome To The Jungle album with Dope Ammo on Jungle Cakes this week, we caught up with one of the hardest working men in D&B to find out where he’s at in 2020…
Big moves with Audio Addict!
It’s something I’ve been planning and working hard on for the last six or seven months, it’s nice to see it happening and out there.
New chapter, new artists, new energy…
Yeah, it’s a new generation. It’s been interesting. Guys like Kumarachi, RMS, even myself… We’ve gone on to other labels now, which is amazing. It’s great seeing everyone progress and do bigger things. My job’s done, they’re on to the next step. But I also think I let Audio Addict slip a bit. I put so much time and energy into Deep In The Jungle that I’d neglected nurturing new artists and I felt like it became a bit stale. Last summer I was sat there thinking ‘what can I do to reinvigorate it?’ I thought about bringing it to an end and starting something fresh but I thought that would be a waste of the energy I’d put into it for 10 years so instead we should switch it up completely.
You’ve recruited new artists and gone back to the original roots…
When we first started out no one knew who we were and we didn’t have any pull so all we could do was sign new artists or people in the early stage of their career and we got really into that approach. That’s always been one of the label’s strengths: finding new talent and nurturing them. A few of these artists have released a lot of things on their Soundcloud. Some of them may even have a buzz about them but they’re still on those early release stage. That’s the main thing we’re going to focus on – taking new artists and helping them develop their career and support them. After the first V/A EPs we’re going to focus on solo EPs for each of these artists throughout the year.
EPs to showcase all their styles…
Totally. As much as we want to put out dancefloor bangers, if you’ve got a six or seven track EP then you’ve got some leeway to show some range. We want to be versatile as a label, even if most of the output is focused on the bangers.
Would Yung Hybrid who set up Audio Addict 10 years ago be happy with how the label’s gone?
Certainly yeah. It’s been a very gradual thing for me. I’d be very happy with everything Audio Addict has achieved so far. Looking back over all the names we’ve had on the label. Both artists who’ve grown on the label and artists who’ve done remixes. If I went back and told young me we’d have Ray Keith and DJ Vapour and Callide on the label I’d be pretty amazed by that 10 years ago.
I imagine you’re inundated with demos for both your labels. Was it hard to pick the artist on the V/A eps?
Just before festival season was kicking off last year I was noticing a huge influx of young artists coming through. They’re so talented and some of them have only been producing for a year or two so I started following them. Any time someone on DNB Talk asked everyone which new artists they’re feeling I’d go through each suggestion and check each artist. I heard some amazing people as a result. Some weren’t quite ready, some definitely were and I ended up with a list of about 20 people I’ve been keeping an eye on since. My main challenge was finding ones who hadn’t been approached by other labels. Usually Born On Road!
They’re smashing it. They turned guys like AC13 and Ben Snow into big names overnight…
I’ve got to take my hat off to them. The way they run that label and the guys they’ve signed are amazing. AC13, Ben Snow, Gray. I did a Lost Tapes release with AC13 last year and he’s been producing a fraction of the amount of time I have but I’d say his tunes are already better than mine. You get guys like that though don’t you. Your Benny Ls and AC13s just suddenly come through and set a new benchmark.
The new generation always change the game…
Yeah it’s gone back to being very DIY again which is great. All you need to do is make tunes and have a Soundcloud account. People are breaking through without being on any label, they’ve kinda created their own system. Plus the new ravers coming through are the same age and they identify more with the younger producers which gives it a massive boost. I think it’s really important to get behind up and commers, it all contributes to the growth of the scene doesn’t it?
It does! I’m wondering if there’s any space for you on the label now, though?
Not really! Last year I did a series of takeover EPs and the third part was going to be my last solo EP on the label although of course I’ll be doing remixes and things like that. I want the focus to be on the new up and comers and I’m getting to the point where I’m working with bigger labels myself. I’m going to be working with Born On Road quite a lot, I’ve just had a release on Program and I’ve got my album coming out on Liondub.
Album! I remember you saying it was going to be a jungle concept album a while back…
It did begin that way when I started the concept two years ago but it’s evolved since then and become more of an eclectic body of work. I’ve been making heavier D&B stuff and that’s filtered into the album a bit. It’s more of a dancefloor album compared to my original concept.
Repping all your styles!
Yeah when it came down to it that’s what I wanted to do. I love the idea of a jungle concept album that went into the roots but I suppose where I am currently, and where the scene’s at the moment, this type of balance of tunes feels right.
Sounds like you’re in a good place, with your own labels and working with other ones…
I am, yeah. Over the years I put so much time into my own labels and releasing my own music I’m getting to the point where I’d quite like to release on some of my favourite labels. If I’ve got this far without releasing on big labels but it would be cool to work with other people and get my stuff out to different audiences. It’s not a position I’ve felt I’ve been able to work in before, it’s cool.
How frequent will the Audio Addict releases be?
I don’t want to clutter the release schedule so it will be one EP a month. The first VA EP is out now and the next one will be in April. Then it’s solo EPs from there on. The first one will be Burnzy from New Zealand.
Definitely. This guy is only 21 and he’s mad talented. He’s going to be one of the main artists on the label going forward. We’ve got Hexa from Newcastle who’s got some good stuff. Then a guy called Xav. He’s just turned 18 but I’ve been playing his tunes out for the last year so he’s been churning out tunes that kick raves off before he was even old enough to go to them.
So those will be the first solo artist EPs. We hve a few artists who were on the label last year and will be back. Kamoh from Bristol. T-Zone from Birmingham, Replicant from LA. I’ve been working with him for a long time. He’s not a newcomer at all but he’s an artist I want to promote as much as possible because he’s so sick. The new focus might be on up and comers but if we have artists who send us good music then it won’t be overlooked. We’re just trying to put out the best possible drum & bass we can…