Knowing where we get our stuff, how it’s made, and who is giving it to us, is becoming an important aspect of everyday life. Gone are the days of being able to trust what you read on a label or the pitch of a seemingly trustworthy salesman. Rather than purchasing products blindly, people can do background research (with ease) thanks to the Internet. The ability for people to do their own research on products has changed the way we purchase ‘stuff’, and the way things are sold.
An area of our lives that we all hold near and dear is our music. We spend countless hours sampling, collecting, purchasing, sharing, and enjoying our music. In an era where ghost producers and sample pack DJ duos are in the news on a continual basis, applying this product curiosity and having peace of mind regarding where our music comes from is becoming more important. We spend our time and effort listening to and obtaining the music we enjoy, the least we can do is know who the hell made it and who’s responsible for the fact that we’re listening to it at all.
Dance music has well known, quality labels pushing tunes at us all over the place. If you’re a fan of progressive house or trance, you likely have a solid collection of tracks from the famed Anjunabeats and Armada Music labels. Really into electro house? We’d wager you have a few songs on your iPod via Spinnin’ or Revealed Records. But when it comes to dubstep, the lay of the land is much different. In our relatively young genre of choice, there are several labels consistently putting out quality tunes. Dubstep most certainly isn’t dead, and these labels are a big reason why.
The label that had everyone Going Gorillas last year, Circus Records has been huge in the bass music industry since their creation in 2009. Founded by Flux Pavilion, Doctor P, Simon Swan, and Earl Falconer, the London-based label got off to a fast start and hasn’t looked back. Smash hits from Flux Pavilion, also known as Joshua Steele, like Bass Cannon and I Can’t Stop, set the tone and Circus Records has been living up to their own high standards ever since. A roster that includes Cookie Monsta, FuntCase, Brown & Gammon, and more highlights a label that, while creating great dubstep, takes on all things bass. The Northwest last got a dose of Circus Records when Flux Pavilion toured with the Safe in Sound North American tour in the fall of 2014, and when Cookie Monsta went B2B with FuntCase at FreakNight 2014. We’ll gladly have them back whenever they please, or at least when our hearing has fully recovered from their last visit.
An article about dubstep labels without mentioning Skrillex’s OWSLA would be a waste of time. Co-found by Tim Smith, Kathryn Frazier, and Clayton Blaha in 2011, OWSLA is exactly the type of label dance music needs. An incredible roster of artists which currently includes Alesia, Jack Beats, Kill the Noise, Koan Sound, Snails, What So Not, and everyone that seems to be finding their way into our playlists, the Los Angeles label is at the top of its game. A diverse label, with releases spanning dubstep, trap, moombahton, electro, and more, OWSLA began by releasing teenage Porter Robinson’s Spitfire EP. They’ve since shown off their ability to find great young artists and give them the platform necessary to grow and expand into the greater dance music consciousness. You can get your fill of OWSLA anytime by subscribing to their drip.fm channel, where you can get exclusive access to new releases, a community forum, and other goodies.
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