Deep In The Jungle For 2018
Fresh for 2018, Jamie links with DJ Hybrid to catch up on the last 5 years of his successful label – Deep In The Jungle. Amens at the ready..
5 years deep and still banging out quality tunes on a regular basis! Would you say sticking to a consistent output was one of the biggest challenges in respect of running a label?
“For the first few years that certainly was a challenge but I think as the label has progressed we have built up a good team of artists which are now constantly working on new material so I’m very grateful for that.”
If you had to name some big milestones relating to Deep In The Jungle, what would they be?
“I would say when we released our first ‘Deep In The Jungle Anthems’ compilation album. I noticed a real surge in support for the label and I think it was number 1 in the Juno Download charts for a few weeks so I feel like that’s when we really started to get noticed.
Another milestone would have to be the first time we got nominated for best label at the We Love Jungle Awards as at that point the label had only been going for 2 or 3 years so to be nominated in the same category as legendary labels like Philly Blunt and Dread was a great achievement.”
Do you have any idea how many individual tunes you have released so far on the label? Do you have a particular favourite?
“I would say roughly around 250-300 so far spread across many different EP’s and compilation albums. It would be impossible to pick a favourite as I genuinely love all the music we have put out there but if I had to name a few I would say the Kartoon remix of my track ‘Badboy’ as that’s probably one of the only tunes I have consistently played out in every set for the last few years. The K Jah remix of ‘Rough Love’ by DJ Cautious and I would also have to say ‘Armed & Dangerous’ by Crisis & Ikon-B, to be honest I could go on all day so I better just leave it at that!”
The logo has had a switch up! What was the motivation behind this?
“The main motivation behind the new logo is that for 2018 onwards we are really trying to create a recognizable brand which people will associate with our music. We want to have more merchandise and event flyers with our logo on. The original logo I made myself years ago and although it served the purpose at the time, we really needed to get a graphic designer to create something bold and professional looking that would catch peoples eye.”
It must have meant a great deal to be nominated in this years We Love Jungle awards. The ‘best jungle label’ category features some heavy hitters in the scene that’s for sure! How’s the support going so far?
“Yeah its the third time we have been nominated now so maybe this will be our year! I would say the support is looking good so far and I have had a lot of people message me to say they voted for us plus we have a huge group of artists on the label now which are all more than happy to help and support the label.”
How would it feel if you won?
“It would feel like a great achievement, not just for myself but for everyone involved in the label. To go from being a small label that nobody even really knew about a few years ago to winning an award would be amazing. I have been nominated in other categories such as best DJ & best producer but if I am honest, I feel like there are other artists more deserving of those awards such as Bladerunner (who I voted for).
My main focus this year is the Best Label award as I genuinely feel like our output has been pretty solid this last year and is deserving of that award.”
The next release for the label is a big album featuring a whopping 44 tracks, that’s a big compilation! What’s the process for selection when trying to put together an album of this size?
“Yeah it’s the biggest compilation we have done so far! Our previous one was 33 tracks. I think we have become quite well known for putting out these large compilations now and people really seem to love them and they always seem to do well in the download charts.
We always plan them now as our first release of the year every January so we kick start the year with a bang. It’s something I am always planning throughout the year so for example, if an artist sends me 1 or 2 tracks that i’m feeling but we don’t have enough to release an EP I might ask them if we can put it aside for the compilation, also if we get the odd remix or VIP mix of a previous track we have released I do the same.
Usually what we end up with by around September time is a good collection of tracks so then it’s just a case of asking all the artists on the label if they can all contribute 1 or 2 solid tracks to fill in the gaps. It’s also a great way to showcase new artists on the label that we may be releasing EPs from later in the year.”
Would you consider releasing an album on CD in the future? Imagine it being stocked in your local Tesco next to the latest rehash of UKG by Ministry of Sound!
“We did actually release the first ‘Deep In The Jungle Anthems’ album on CD and as much as I would love it to be stocked in shops, there just doesn’t seem to be much of a market for selling CDs anymore. Saying that, though we are looking into doing vinyl releases as there does seem to be more of a demand for that.”
What’s the lowdown on the vinyl releases?
“It is something that I have wanted to do for a while now as we do get a lot of messages from people asking for vinyl releases. When I first started out running labels and releasing music around 2010 we did a few vinyl releases and lost money so I think that made me skeptical of taking the risk but I think because we have quite a big following now it would be a safe bet.
It is something which I am still planning at the moment but I think what we would probably do is release say 4 tracks from one of the compilations as a special limited vinyl run or possibly even do a few exclusive vinyl projects that wont be released digitally to appeal to the collectors. I’m not sure how much stuff we will be able to release on vinyl but it’s definitely happening at some point this year so watch this space!”
Should we also expect some small scale rave operations anytime soon? Dimly lit and vibey please!
“Yes that is also something which I am working on for 2018! We really want to try and expand the brand of the label, not just for releasing music but also for putting on events, booking artists and also to give the opportunity to artists on the label to play out more. We can’t reveal too much yet but we’re currently looking at putting on events in Manchester, Bristol and Birmingham this year and then hopefully even more places in future.”
In 2017, there was a real trend on social media for slating people on mailing lists not taking advantage of their fortunate position. Do you think this will carry on or are labels trying other ways of roping in the right support?
“I think it is especially hard with labels when it comes to mailing lists as every single person that is a DJ messages you asking to be put on the list but most of the time its just because they don’t want to pay for music and they don’t necessarily support the label or promote the releases. I’ve had to put up a few statuses on Facebook and have a bit of a rant about it here and there as sometimes you’re sending promos out to around 200-300 DJs and then release day comes and they don’t even share the posts on social media so it can be disheartening when you put so much time and effort into getting these releases together and trying to promote artists and then people will download promos without even really saying thanks or helping you promote them in any way.
I have even had people be quite rude to me purely just because I am not willing to send them all my labels music for free and I am not talking about big DJs, these are just random people that do the odd live stream or mix from their bedroom!
I think people just have the mentality of ‘if you don’t ask, then you don’t get’ but it does get very frustrating when it feels like everyone is asking can I get on your mailing list as where do you draw the line? From my own experience I think if a label wants to add you to their mailing list then they will so people really need to stop pestering labels for free music, especially when music is so cheap to buy these days.”
Another popular move was merchandise, so many jumped on it but only a handful got it right. What’s your thoughts on this wave of t-shirts, hoodies, lighters, USB sticks and so on. Promoters will be selling their Nan’s soon!
“I think merchandise is a good thing but as you said, people do get carried away with it. I have been a little bit slack with getting merchandise done for my labels but I think it’s better to actually wait and see if there is a demand for it rather than going mad and getting t-shirts, caps, hoodies, mugs etc made to sell when you may even just run a small club night in your hometown.
On the other hand, the USB thing is something everyone has jumped on these last couple of years and to be honest why not?
Because of things like Spotify, piracy and every bedroom DJ thinking they are entitled to get free music off mailing lists its left very little money to be made off actually selling music and with the amount of time and effort that goes into it people really should be earning more. I think the USB format has given producers and labels the opportunity to sell exclusive music that won’t be available on download or streaming sites to a limited number of real fans that are genuinely willing to pay and support the artists or labels and in return they get tunes that maybe only 100-250 other people have so yeah, I think the USB format of selling music is a good idea and will more than likely increase over the next few years.”
Finally, what do up and coming producers need to do if they want you to hear their music?
“The best thing to do is send a link to 1 or 2 of your best tracks to my email. I would not recommend spamming labels with SoundCloud links to your tracks that have already been sent to 100 other people or labels. It’s always best to contact labels individually in my opinion, just a quick email explaining who you are and your contact details.”
Any shouts or big ups?
“I would like to say a big thanks to everyone that has supported me and the labels this last year, thanks to every promoter who has booked me, thanks to all the amazing artists and labels I have worked with and thanks to all the great people I have met on my travels.
A very big thanks to my wonderful wife for putting up with me and helping me make music my full time job. Also got to say a massive big ups to some of the people who have helped me along the way and given me opportunities in the past such as Ray Keith, DJ Vapour, Serial Killaz, Run Artists Agency and everyone at Cygnus Music!
If I have missed anyone out ..sorry and big up to them too!”