T3K Recordings has been – and continues to be – a total hotbed for D&B. Label boss Kaiza gave us the lowdown on what’s been happening recently – such as that new release by Sponce – for the label, as well as the bigger view over time. Not easy to condense as it’s a tale of change, of different styles, of what partly came to be known as Neurofunk… and then there’s the fact that Kaiza himself is an artist, in solo capacity and as part of Instinkt. Phew.
Read on, and look out for some free downloads too.
First of all when did T3K Recordings come to be?
The label’s first release was back in 2009. It was started because I wanted to drop stuff that wasn’t meant to be out on Tilt-Recordings, T-Files or T-FREE… labels in which I was involved at that time.
I had access to some interesting tunes by people around me and so one lead to another. Basically, the first wave of releases were beats by Isotop, Shots and Forbidden Society plus a bunch of crazy people from the East like Walder, Stereotype, Sunchase. Also, I found out about Eiton from France and Proton Kid/Kriotek from Romania. The first year was all about hard and stiff Techno-D&B.
It was just that time.
But then I decided to split the label into ‘subseries’ to cover more various styles of Drum & Bass and go away from the ‘all techno-influenced stuff must be hard’-statement. A slight design relaunch accompanied deeper and trippier releases within 2010 and beyond.
Plus, I always thought the label should drop free tracks to give something back to all supporters and to have another possibility to spread music by new artists.
The roster you have, the lineup of artists is just amazing. Take us through some!
Well, Forbidden Society was one of the first guys on the label and who I did not know personally. I was pretty much stunned by his radical sound. He went ‘famous’ afterwards by releasing on bigger imprints. Sunchase was doing neuro-oriented tracks way back when.
He then adulterated his sound and made waves with really nice and deep music on well-known labels. Impressive stuff.
End of 2010, T3K Recordings dropped a track by Mefjus who had his first releases on our labels a short time before and so this step was just natural. We always knew that this guy would go nuts. We just didn’t know that he was about to flip the script of the dnb scene in general!
Later on, in 2011, Brain Crisis had tunes out on T3K Recordings who now is releasing on Subtitles Music.
I could go on and on: various people, most of them doing harder sounds, started to release on T3K Recordings, then were picked up by known labels or made themselves a name with their very own approaches to Drum & Bass.
Now I couldn’t not mention your great cover art (above and below)… who does this?
That dude is wicked. His name is Yan, he is from Switzerland and studying ‘Special Effects’ in Vancouver right now. And he is gifted. He made a lot of artworks for our releases as Rune & Kaiza / Instinkt and the whole T3KNOLOGY anniversary series on T3K Recordings.
Very proud to have him onboard. Yan Hirschbuehl
Tell us more about actual releases you have, for example the very cool Howz release…
It’s simply just that I found this guy on soundcloud and was impressed. Ha ha.
I asked him and he was ok with it…
The EP has four pieces that are pure rolling darkness. Love it.
This release is part of the anniversary releases which came out in the last few weeks. The T3KNOLOGY releases were just my way of celebrating 50 releases on the main series, 50 releases on T3K-FREE and loads of stuff on the other subseries. I am kind of proud of this particular continuity.
And what are some more key releases in general on the label…
All the tracks from Isotop and Shots at the beginning of the label were really important. I just wanted to release tunes from friends who also showed me how to make music together. I was so proud of our collab ‘Mesoterik’ in 2009.
Tracks by Proton Kid his Kriotek Crew were blueprints of a next step in Techno-DNB for me and so I was very pleased to have them with me. They changed their approach a bit after some time and so their works were also shaping the face of the label within the years.
‘The Six Names’ by Kenei and Eiton was one of the first neurofunk tunes on the label and the starting point for stronger developments in that direction. I was very thankful to get this one and also it was one fundamental step in the long term partnership with Eiton.
A lot more tracks from him came out afterwards and I really love his consistency… check ‘Thorax’ and ‘Prazno’.
Triamer and his pre-crossbreed tracks were important for the label, too. My Belgian mate T-Psy had really harsh stuff on the label as well which lead to further releases later on. He released a full album with Sinecore as Human Error in 2012.
2013 was a strong year for the label and there were quite a lot releases that were really hard but also various flavours from other ends of the spectrum. A great album by Acid_Lab was a perfect milestone at that time.
The whole crossbreed thing got bigger… maybe too big.
What do you mean?
Too much hard stuff was poorly made or simply boring.
Time to leave that aside.
I decided to concentrate on neurofunk and deeper stuff and 2014 was the year of the neurofunk renaissance of T3K Recordings. The quality of the releases got better and quite a few talented guys dropped nicely-done beats… check Konfront.Audio from Switzerland, Hoob and Isee from Austria, Kela, Autorun + Iaco from Italy, Bone and Insect from Estonia, Audio Habitat from Germany.
Very important for me was the Flip The Script EP by Zeph4r who just gave certain developments towards deep stuff a name at that time.
The latest wave of releases showed way more confidence to drop more experiments and deepness without leaving out the dancefloor. I am thinking that in 2015 I realized that I can take the label where I want to and that the only person I should take into account is myself.
Of course we lost followers when switching more and more to deeper sounds within the last years but I don’t want to have the label be the next big thing.
I am just trying to release some good stuff and support upcoming talents with fresh ideas.
You also released a sample pack?
Thats right! It was a very interesting project as I was able to manage it all online through a group called ‘Spektrum’.
Some of the finest producers from Germany, Austria and Switzerland contributed to it like Neonlight, Wintermute, Bowsar, Epidemic, Konfront, Audio and Kryptomedic.
And it features material by some up and coming talents like Dreadmaul, Emphasis, Phlage, Erazer, Hadron, Mindless, Neothrope, Phaera, Ultramagnus, Rune and Kaiza.
Additionally the pack features a special guest from UK which goes by the name of Foken.
Aaaand tell us about your newest release? I see it is slightly changing the script.
Our actual release by Sponce, the HSKT EP is out now.
This guy was featured in a recent edition of Noisia Radio, S01E19 (below) and has got some nice vibes going on.
Artwork is wicked as well. Yan killed it with this one.
And I hear there’s a recent free track from the T3K camp… and a story?
I signed tracks from German artist Epidemic a while ago and we decided to put out a four-track EP in 2014. This guy was not really known but he had a very distinctive sound and loads of skills. Anyways, at some point a guy from portugal was putting Epidemic`s tracks on his soundcloud and tell people he made them.
A phalanx of friends, afficiados and D&B heads told me what’s happening and together we forced him to take them down and apologize. That was a stunning experience. Not only the madness of what happens within DNB but also the togetherness of stopping this guy.
Anyways, one of the tracks from the EP was chosen to be remixed by ourselves – Instinkt – afterwards and we needed quite some time to make it work. I showed to Epidemic and he was not really convinced so we did another one which is not only way better but really shows which way we want to go in the next months.
Listen below and tell us what you think. Full download’s enabled…
Back to YOU, what D&B really struck you as a fan yourself?
THAT is just a really big pile of stuff that influenced me. But one outstanding thing was Phace playing in my radioshow in 2003 (check the tracklist).
He played a set containing all the artists that founded what is now known as ‘neurofunk’. This was so ahead of our time.
One release that blew me away this year was the Seeing Sounds LP by DLR who is at the top of not only his game and I really admire his mixdowns which are outstanding and incomparable.
And to wrap it up, tell us about you as part of Instinkt?
Well, we are some of those German guys who wasted their youth and were hanging around at D&B parties. Now that we are getting old and having serious problems with spending nights in clubs, we were thinking ‘It is a good idea to make some tracks. It is way better for our health, you know!’
After living the lifestyle of a D&B head for nearly twenty years, making a lot of weird experiences, we are interested in focusing on making music.
We had some nice feedback from all around the world lately and released quite a few tunes.
You can find info about Instinkt and T3K Recordings via the news section at the T3K site