Get To Know: Rooted Recordings… Plus win a limited test press!

Get To Know: Rooted Recordings… Plus win a limited test press!

Last month saw the launch of Rooted Recordings. Founded by Chemical Ally, already at the tender stage of release one there’s a very clear and distinct sonic vision. And, we learn, a refreshingly humble MO behind setting it up. We thought we’d give him a call and find out more… And get our hands on a cheeky test press to give away to you lot, too.

“When I was 11 my old man taught me to make music on my computer,” says the Welshman who emigrated to London in the late 90s. “I’ve been dicking around producing since then. Badly, mind! It’s only in the last few years I’ve been doing it on a semi-professional level. That’s what Rooted stems from; having a platform to release my beats… But doing it properly. I don’t want to bombard people with shitty recordings of me, I want to get some real talent behind it. Create momentum and you end up with an ability to filter in an unknown artist like myself. But first I need to prove the label is worthwhile before I scare people off with my own stuff…”

We’ve all seen the labels he’s talking about… An emerging artist isn’t quite at the level for established labels so has a pop at self-releasing. In many ways you have to respect the drive and gumption behind that – it’s exactly the same spirit that drove Andy C to found Ram Records when he was only 16 – but when the label is only a vehicle for your own productions and doesn’t consider its future strategy, other artists or, most importantly, what the fans want to hear, then it’s a wasted opportunity. With years of DJing, countless radio shows for Rude FM and a lifetime tuned into the beats, Ally knows this so innately he’s not even included an original version of his own tune on his first release. Instead he commissioned Spirit to remix it:

“I could’ve released the original too but it wasn’t at a level I was happy with when launching the label. Spirit’s made my tune more fluid. He’s taken it to a level that will sing to many levels of drum & bass DJs. I can see jump up audiences and dark techy audiences going for this, which is really very clever.”

One blast on that remix; or its release counterparts – Fade’s Insider and 2-Sides’ True Skull – will give you glimpse into Ally’s sonic window. Dark but not overly techy. Techy but not overly angular and brutish. Minimal in its make up but not too whimsically spacious and clicky: Ally pin-points a very specific time in his life that influenced Rooted’s burgeoning DNA….

“I’m really inspired by the early 2000/late 90s drum & bass,” he explains. “I was a techno DJ before. I wasn’t hugely into the jungle thing. I played techno with crisp breakbeats over the top. When I moved to London in the late 90s that type of drum & bass really got me. The techno sound I was following was becoming too happy hardcore so when I heard this type of drum & bass I thought ‘this answers everything!’ I can’t get enough of that sound. Whether I’ll be joined by other artists in this quest or not is another thing, but that’s the decision I’ve made; for Rooted to represent and explore that sound.”

Giving props to labels like Dispatch who have developed a distinct, consistent sound that fans understand, respect and look forward to on every release, Ally promises that Rooted will never release music for the sake of releases or profile: like all good labels he’s talking quality over quantity vibes. And he’s keen to hear from new producers, too. If you feel you’re influenced by similar tendrils of D&B then send material over to: rootedrecordings@gmail.com


There are only a handful of these in existence and we’ve got one to give away. All you need to do is answer this really easy question:



What did Chemical Ally play before he fell in love with D&B?

–          Subbuteo

–          Chess

–          Techno

–          Classical music

STUPIDLY EASY! Get your answer over to comps@breakbeat.co.uk by December 5 for your chance to win. Good luck.

Drum&BassArena Editor: Dave Jenkins has documented beats for over 15 years working with the likes of UKF, Mixmag, DJ Mag, iDJ, Bandcamp, Resident Advisor, Radio 1 Xtra and many more.