Just in case Jade’s lockdown experience wasn’t frustrating enough…
To mark the landmark release of EATBRAIN100 on his label earlier this month, we’ve tasked the Eatbrain bossman to boil down his favourite releases to a mere 10.
“It would be a lot harder to pick 10 releases I didn’t think were my favourites, though,” considers the bearded bossman from his Budapest HQ. “That is the thing I am most proud of; the fact that nine years into the label there are only one or two releases that I’m not 100% proud of.”
This should include the centennial release, Angry / Never Be – both penned by Jade himself. Between them they represent everything Eatbrain has stood for; the former repping the gritty classic late 90s neurofunk sound that inspired Jade in the first place, the latter pushing D&B’s most complex subgenre into new contemporary territories.
“That’s exactly the vibe I was going for,” agrees Jade. “Angry is always the vibe I try and create when I want to sound rough. That original neurofunk era meant everything to me. My whole career and sound is based around the late 90s and early 2000s times. I love producing those dark neurofunk vibes that infected me 20 years ago and led to me being here. And actually Never Be is very different… It’s my first solo tune I’ve ever done with a female vocal!”
A release of contrasts – like almost everything Jade has released on the label – Angry / Never Be is indicative of the label’s unique stance and story. Continually carving its own path, its own unique look and tight collective of artists, Eatbrain remains one of the strongest and enduring independents to emerge in the 2010s. “It’s funny,” smiles Jade (real name Gabor) “I only set it up to release my own music. Now it’s a little empire.”
And this is the story of how the empire developed, told through Jade and 10 (of many) of his label favourites…
Neonlight & Mefjus – Puppet Master (EATBRAIN004, 2011)
“The first truly monumental release for me was the fourth release. I’m so proud of this one; it changed everything. Up until then, every release was effectively my own. The first was a collaboration with State Of Mind, but this one changed everything for me. I felt like I had recognised these artists long before they got signed by bigger labels and that was amazing. I was really proud I was able to pick these newcomers out and I was able to work with them before they exploded. I was running a very new label and everyone was after those guys, so that was very fulfilling for me.”
Teddy Killerz – Violence EP (EATBRAIN007, 2013)
“Another huge release for the label. I knew Place2b and Paimon already, but when they got together as Teddy Killerz their first release was on Eatbrain. It was a huge EP, too, with all of the tracks staying in my sets for a long time.
I remember having the dub of Violence but no party to play it at, so I went to a party my friend Mindscape was running here in Budapest. The headliner was Klute, who was also working with Mindscape, releasing his album on Commercial Suicide. I went to this party and told Mindscape he needed to play it. He wasn’t sure because didn’t know the key or how it dropped. I said ‘just trust me’. Thankfully he did play it and Klute ran up to the stage saying ‘I hope this tune is on your album!’ It was that big it had that impact… And meant they signed with Ram right pretty much straight after that.”
State Of Mind – Full Force EP (EATBRAIN013, 2015)
“State Of Mind have been very good friends of mine since the very beginning and we’ve done many collabs, including the very first release on Eatbrain, but this EP was their first full release on the label and it was another huge step-up for its reputation. I couldn’t believe it at the time: we had fucking State Of Mind! This was amazing for me and it wasn’t like the releases where the artists exploded afterwards, these guys were scene giants before they signed this music to us and we were only on release 13. That really gave us a boost. Plus they’ve stayed at the label, I’m very proud to say, and they’re doing a single for me right now.
Agressor Bunx – The Order EP (EATBRAIN021, 2016)
“This one is also very special and very different to other signings. With Agressor Bunx they blew up after this release, but they stayed with the label. That was a first for me; I was able to sign an act that’s really talented and the label was influential enough for them to want to stay with us and make it their home. I’m very proud of this. And the EP was incredible too!”
L 33 – Karate (EATBRAINLP004, 2016)
“I’m also very proud to say similar things about L 33. Like Agressor Bunx, he came on with some insane talents and had enough trust in us for him to make it his home. He’d released on the label a few times before this release but Karate was a huge step-up for both him and the label. It was his debut LP and our first solo artist album, and it remains one of the best-selling albums we’ve done. Like Agressor Bunx and also like Gydra, who I’ll get onto in a moment, it’s amazing to work with guys like L 33. They represent the spirit and sound of the label.”
V/A – Tales Of The Undead (EATBRAINLP001, 2014)
“So I need to jump back in time for this one. This was the very first album I released on Eatbrain back in 2014 and it was very important for the label’s development as the first release that went properly viral. Everyone was talking about it. The album was number one on Beatport, among all genres, and for a small label like us it was like I was dreaming. It was exaggerated. I couldn’t believe it. We were ahead of everyone else Tiesto, Guetta, Steve Aoki. The hype we got from that was crazy. I look back on that album fondly. The tracklist had lots of great people on there and it came together very naturally, including two tunes of my own on there. The VIP of Audio Hypnosis and What You Are. It was a very proud moment.”
Gydra – Lava Run (EATBRAIN093, 2019)
“It isn’t even out yet, but Gydra’s debut album will be the biggest thing the label’s released so far. Gydra are so hyped and viral and, most importantly, talented. They have more attention than any of the classic big neuro acts right now. Everyone is listening to what they do, even outside of neurofunk, and I’m lucky and proud to be working with them. Lava Run is one of the first tracks to come from the album and it’s been huge for a long time. It was in the Beatport top 10 for over a month. The full album is set for a release in a few month’s time and I can’t wait to get it out there.”
Mindscape – The Reanimator (EATBRAINLP008, 2018)
“I could have picked so many different tunes from Mindscape. He’s been an integral part of the label since the very beginning and we even talked about doing the label together 50/50 at the very beginning. That didn’t work out but he’s always been very important for the label and when I need to make a big decision I ask his opinion on it first. We often say he’s the godfather of the label! Like any album I’ve released, I’ve been incredibly proud of it but because of the deep connection and friendship we have, it’s extra special.”
Fourward – Wolfe EP (EATBRAIN053, 2018)
“I’ve always been a huge fan of Fourward but couldn’t release anything by them because they worked exclusively for Shogun Audio. But things changed and they’ve been able to release music with me now. The EPs they’ve given me have been out of this world and it started here with the Wolfe EP. Not only was it a great sounding release but it also featured Signal, Phentix and Virus Syndicate. All of those guys working with us was very fulfilling; I have unlimited respect for Jonathan Signal who is now known as IMANU of course. He’s the most talented artist in the new generation. I was very happy to sign a tune of his. I have a lot of appreciation for Phentix and loved his collaboration on this EP because he usually does deeper minimal stuff. This was huge, though. The whole EP is fire and it’s another very proud of moment to be able to work with Fourward.”
Joe Ford – Abstract Places EP (EATBRAIN084, 2019)
“This last one is such a tough choice. Before I talk about Joe, I want to mention Synergy, Redpill, Mob Tactics, Teleknesis, Smooth, Mizo, Billain and my friends in the Clashtone project. There are so many artists and releases that mean a lot to me. In fact there are only one or two releases I’m not so happy with and it’s been very hard to boil this list down to 10! But I think it has to be Joe Ford for the final in this list… When I started with the label I wrote a list of people I wanted to work with and Joe Ford was one of them. I tried and tried to convince him to sign with me back in the day but the label was very new and he decided to go for Bad Taste instead, then, shortly after, Shogun.
I have always had great respect for him. He’s severely talented. I got him on the label with a remix of L 33, which was marvellous, but this EP was a whole other level. I got so excited when he started sending me tunes. Building an EP is always an interesting process but everything he sent to me was perfect already. I still play all of the tracks on the EP in my sets to this day.”