Lifestyle Music are compounding milestones right now like a diesel-powered A.M.C triple. Not only are they hitting their 100th release on Monday October 28. Not only are they celebrating 10 years this weekend. They’re also hosting their first night at Fabric this Friday…. On the very same date the label was founded in 2009. For added poignancy; Fabric was the venue that inspired the label founder Felix Clemson (AKA Animus) to launch Lifestyle in the first place.
Felix, the Lifestyle crew and many of their core artists (Ill Truth, Creatures, Volatile Cycle, Vowel, Objectiv, Arkitech) will be celebrating all these things on the 18th in Fabric Room 3. But the real celebration is the future… Lifestyle 100 drops a week later and it will be followed by a string of singles and the next new-gen championing edition of their Lifestyle Future series. They’ve also had a visual rebrand and will be launching a series of interactive mixcasts and content aimed at enabling and helping aspiring producers. And as impressive as the label’s milestones are, it’s the future they’re really celebrating.
Fresh from dropping the third instalment of their extensive Lifestyle Remixed series just last week, Animus and his right hand man Tarik his us up with more details…
Fabric, 100 releases, 10 years… There’s a lot going on here.
Animus: Definitely! It’s quite mad how it’s all come together like this. It’s a good time to reflect; we’ve looked at what we’ve achieved, we’ve been going through some changes and have got a good team together. There’s a bit of a visual change and a fresh feeling and look to the label. There’s a fresh focus, too. We’ve developed a good name for finding new talent, now we want to build on that and focus on developing our core artists.
Tarik: Totally. We’ve worked with a few artists on their early releases and a good few have risen to some great heights! Acts like Klinical, Vowel and Objectiv. Signal also had a great release with the track Indirect which was a great benchmark into the kind of sound that was being pushed. We love that energy, it’s been a huge part of Lifestyle. But now we’re 10 years in the game it’s important we put our focus into core artists who have a strong catalogue on Lifestyle and we all move forward together.
Quite a few of these core artists are at Fabric with you this week, of course.
Animus: That’s very meaningful for me. I used to work at Fabric and I launched the label while working there. I started as promotions then I moved into stewarding and worked in the Room 2 booth looking after the DJs, which is where I saw so many people break through. Chase & Status and Plan B for example, just before they released More Than Alot. Seminal nights that genuinely changed my life. It was while I was there, I thought it would be a good place to launch a label. I was in a trio called Lifestyle at the time and we really wanted the cut our tune on vinyl. I was too naive to get it cut to dubplate and just got 500 copies pressed AND 100 test presses.
Wow, big spender!
Animus: Haha. It was blind naivety and 100% student loans.
But I love this; the label came from the heart and was launched as you were immersed in one of the most important clubs for drum & bass in the UK. I’d say passion instead of naivety.
Animus: Yeah there was passion in there for sure. What’s really cool is that the party is to the actual day of Lifestyle hitting 10 years. We incorporated the label on October 19 and the night is the 18th so when it ticks over into midnight it’ll be exactly 10 years.
Awesome. Let’s go back and visit Yung Animus in my shiny time machine… What advice would you give him?
Animus: Oh man! A lot of me would like to say ‘don’t release that vinyl! Focus on your own music!’ But I’ve had some of the best experience, met some of the best people and heard some of the best music through doing this. The main reason I started it was a bit selfish because I wanted to do vinyl. I was billy big balls back then, if you’ll pardon my French! But, as a result of launching the label, I had so much incredible music sent to me I had a responsibility to get it out there and worked really hard on getting good at that and doing the artists who were sending music some justice and exposure. So the advice I’d give to me is to keep on going and don’t do anything differently.
Tarik: I have to say, this is why I’ve got that trust and respect in Animus. I’ve worked with a few labels in my time and I’ve not met someone like Animus who’s as good as he is at guiding new artists through their early stages of their career, that’s really not easy.
I think as a result, Lifestyle still feels like it’s part of the new wave and generation who’ve been killing it in the last few years. You might be 10 years old but there’s still that sense of freshness
Animus: That’s good to hear. We rebranded heavily five years ago from Lifestyle Recordings to Lifestyle Music and that confuses some people as they think we’ve only been going for five years. We changed direction a lot over the last few years. It’s been good and bad because it confuses people, but we’re happy with how we’ve developed and with the direction we’re heading in now.
I’d say there’s been a forward-facing, quite techy thread running through all of Lifestyle’s output over the last 10 years.
Animus: I think the strongest thread throughout it all has been new artists but I feel we’ve definitely focused our sound a lot now. From the last five years on, we’ve found a sound. And that’s something we’re looking to develop even more in the future.
Tarik: I think both the remix album and the 100th release album would be a good example of this. The artists have certainly delivered some of their best work.
Animus: I’m really proud of both. Lifestyle Remix has Black Barrel, Wingz, Ed:It, Klinickal, Nami, Objectiv, Fre4knc, Synth Ethics, Was A Be, Revaux. Then Lifestyle 100 focuses on the core artists likes Klipee, Vowel, Objectiv, Kiril, Jazzatron who’ve been with the label for one of the longest times any act has been with us and are one of our biggest selling artists, but are often criminally overlooked. They’re super interesting and did a few albums with us years ago. We’ve got a good range of people on there. Later in the year then, we’ve also have another V/A project Future Part 2. That’s a series where will be focusing on new acts and the next generation of artists we’re really feeling.
You’ve just accidentally highlighted the international nature of your crew…US, Italian, Portugal, acts from all over Europe. Like you national collections – Belgium, Estonia, Australia…
Animus: It’s always been that way. We launched with vinyl at the lowest point of vinyl sales of all time but after that we went digital and the internet did what it does best; the music started coming from all over the world. I was still incredibly new to drum & bass, I’d only got into it at uni a few years before, but I didn’t care where the music was coming from… I just wanted to do everything I could to support it, get it out there and support our scene. 10 years later, that’s never changed…