Label Focus – Dubtek (Leeds)
Leeds. Home of Orbit, System and Mint. Basics, The Faversham and Wire. I studied there in 1996-1997 and the city provided my first clubbing experiences, and has a long and rich dance music history (see the excellent teshno article here).
Today the underground techno scene is as strong as ever, with the genre arguably better appreciated than in nearby Manchester, although there is also cooperation with nights such as Selective Hearing bridging the gap between the Pennines with their excellent parties. Leeds has also been a strong breeding ground for record labels, with stalwarts such as 20/20 vision calling the city home, and quality record stores including Tribe and Waxwerks.
And now comes Dubtek. The label’s first release features the cream of UK and European underground artists and reflects the knowledgeable, focused drive of boss man Omid Mahmoudi. When I got the promo of this, I was struck by how the release snapshots the contemporary scene today, and how well the tracks sit adjacent to each other – four superb cuts of intelligent, driving underground techno. I made the call, braved the Pennine weather, and went to find out more…
Thanks for talking to us Omid. Can you tell us how this release came about, how did you pick the artists and tracks?
Pleasure, thanks for taking the time to speak to me! I developed the Dubtek night as a breading ground for underground Techno DJs who may not be getting the attention I felt they deserved. The UK has so many talented DJs and producers in the “proper techno” genre and I wanted Dubtek to put them on a pedestal somewhat. I was looking for a particular sound. I wanted to see who can deliver a solid dancefloor techno set be it live or a DJ set, and over time, I created a list of producers who I wanted on the label. David Meiser is the only exception, who is a guy I rate extremely highly ultimately I wanted him in as he had released the “Those Who Still Remain EP” on Darkfloor Sound, a UK label who I respect highly.
When did you first realise that you wanted to put out records on your own label?
25 years go when i started buying vinyl. I’m a massive vinyle junkie, always will be regardless for technology or mediums used in clubs. I guess in a way being selfish, I wanted to fullfil a dream and a life long ambition. But ultimatley, its not about me, I want to show the world what talent this country has. Good quality dancefloor techno gets lost in digital releases or catageorised wrong on Beatport with the sheer volume of tracks released daily. I felt this way I could grab a bit more focus from the Techno lovers globally.
What do you think of the underground scene today, with so many people turning their hand to production and DJing?
The more the merrier for me, the digital age brings us this! However, I feel the whole industry is somehwat based on Ibiza – what works there fills the clubs in the UK. I guess in a way, as much as the old techno heads don’t like him now, Richie Hawtin sets the scene whether we like it or not. I personally can deal with that. Does it help the “underground” techno scene? I’m not sure. Dubtek parties were never about money for me as my intention was always the label so I was happy to invest in people who I invited to play at Dubtek regardless of footfall. The marketing was always done in a way to reach the global techno lovers with the intention of getting the right names in peoples psyche who I wanted to be on the label.
What motivates and moves you in music?
Music and techno is the frequency of life and the universe to me.
How did you find the experience of getting a piece of vinyl to market?
Somehwat scarey to be honest as I had no experience in it, I’ll admit. I have managed to build a great network of people who have their own labels through the Dubtek nights, such as Ross Alexander and Steve Mc of Forte Techno. They have given me great advice at the inception of this journey for which I am for ever indebted.
This is a big first release that is sure to get you on the map. What’s the next move, or is that classified?
Thanks, it’s had some great feedback and support from the likes of Perc, Phase, Audio Injection, Rebekah, Arnoud Le Texier, I/Y, Paul Mac and Krenzlin just to name a few, so I’m over the moon really. DV002 is coming along nicely. I had the pleasure of seeing InnerCystem live at Code in Leeds last March, and quite frankly they smashed it. One of the best live acts I saw last year, they delivered the exact sound I was looking for. Great lads having met them previously too, so it was a no brainer. The second release has 2 tracks from them. The B side has a remix of somehwat of a modern classic by Siege from Manchester so yeah very excited. I’m already thinking about 003 and 004 too!
Dubtek 001 features tunes from David Meiser, Jake Conlon, Kereni and Leeds’ own Louis Ray. It’s a vinyl only limited run, and is available for pre-order at http://dubtekvinyl.co.uk with a release date of 17 August. The label launch party is on Saturday 15 August, 11pm – 6am at Wire in Leeds. Event information here.
There are great things ahead, of that there is no doubt.
Interview by Stringer