Diffrent: Necks level
Despite the blazing array of Diffrent’s roster, they may – inexplicably – not be on everyone’s radar. Yet. How can people not love a Giraffe-centric take on D&B? But all is about to change. Put it this way: it’s like walking into a strange store and seeing some unfamiliar names on the shelves. You approach with trepidation to start with but something tells you to stock up. The locals smile approvingly when you take your laden basket to the counter: A good choice! And now’s the perfect time actually as the Diffrent comp Evolution of the Giraffe has dropped. In the wake of a recent ON FIRE launch, we were not only given the lowdown by label boss Dexta… he gave us the nod on a mix! Talk about sticking his neck out.
Hello Dexta. Tell us about the Diffrent ethos.
The ethos and business model behind Diffrent Music has essentially always been about high quality music that breaks the mold of the usual antics that people are constantly churning out. Obviously sound-wise, we’ve always gone for big low bass and stripped back drum grooves, which has always been a recurring feature of each and every track released to this date.
Another part of the ethos which has only just started making some progress is the family/collaborative vibe. It was tried a few times since 2010, but this album project has brought so many artists together who are now constantly working together, out in the clubs partying together, loads of social activities, and mainly communication. These are the key elements of the brand which will carry on until the day we crash and burn!
In a year of so many wicked compilations what is happening on this compilation then, who will we find?
Before I go in, when I started planning this album – and it is an album, rather than a compilation – I didn’t know that every man and his dog was going to start doing these massive V/A compilations, but to be fair, there is a lot of quality out there and it’s given me a bit more confidence and hope in the scene.
The Diffrent album was put together by me in my head, I had a few tracks from some of the acts involved at the zoo, and I wanted to build it into a concept(ish) long player. I had a few artists build stuff to fit into the gaps, and it started looking really clear to me in my head. The line up of the album consists of some recurring artists, some from the back catalogue and some new faces that I have been working with in the A&R department.
Names such as Arkaik, M-Zine, Jekyll, Kolectiv, Dominic Ridgway, MTWN, Shiver, Mauoq, Dexta… who are the names that are quite ‘core’ to the label?
To be totally frank, there is no favouritism or egos allowed in the movement. Peter Arkaik has been working and releasing with Diffrent since 2010, so hes kinda already a giraffe, but all the other artists are all bringing their own thing to the table both in the studio, and behind the scenes.
You speak about A&R: what sort of A&R filter do you apply?
This is always a hard question to answer, but I suppose that if there was a way of laying it all out on the table, the secret would be out and everyone else would cop on. Realistically, I’m listening out for elements that are risky yet interesting. Tempo is not locked and never has been; there has been a couple of up/down tempo bits in the back catalogue that have sneaked through!
What’s planned for 2014?
I’ve already lined up about five or six firm releases for next year, from artists featuring on the album and also from more new faces. I want to wait until the album is out and about before anything else gets announced.
What about 2015?
By then, my name should be high up on the petite lap giraffe waiting list, when the day comes that he/she arrives in the studio, I may retire. Who knows!?