Tell me a bit about both of you
Luke: Coming from a relatively musical background, I grew up playing piano and drums and involved myself in bands throughout secondary school. My time at university, both academically and socially, has fuelled my passion for music. It has developed my interest in electronic music, DJing and production. After initially mixing drum and bass, I made the transition to UKG, however I also enjoy listening to jazz, broken beat, breaks and jungle. Mine and Louis’ shared love for high-energy music, as well as our close friendship, allowed Gimme A Break to form naturally.
Louis: Same as Luke and most other music students, I’ve been into music since I was really young. Electronic music was something I only got into shortly before I came to uni, around the time I was old enough to go out and enjoy it. I think for me the appeal of it then was the energy of it all, particularly in clubbing environments. This quickly led to a pretty serious obsession with techno, DJing, and building a soundsystem. Luke and I met at uni and started playing in a band together, doing the odd b2b DJ set at house parties, which led to us sharing a lot of music with each other, and gave us the idea to start up a local record label which could showcase the music which we were into.
" we really wanted to engage further with Leeds’ electronic music scene. "
What inspired you to put your heads together and establish a record label?
During the unsettling times of dissertation hand-ins and final exams, in a desperate attempt to be creative, GAB was born. Having played together in our band Arnold Ziff, Luke joined Louis’ soundsystem project in second year. After playing at many grotty Hyde Park house parties, we really wanted to engage further with Leeds’ electronic music scene. We were also keen on representing other creatives, both musical and artistic, from within our friendship circles and the local community. As well as this, under lock-down restrictions we were seriously missing Leeds’ vibrant nightlife and wanted to create a platform in which students could discover new, exciting and club-ready music.
What do you look for in artists you want to sign?
At GAB we try to take a relatively relaxed and informal approach to the standard conventions of record labels. Whilst we hope to release original work, GAB Records does not believe that producers should be tied to one label. We think that, at this level, collaboration between creatives across multiple platforms, whether these are record labels or artistic collectives, facilitate growth and high-quality output. The artists we are currently working with, including Josh Richards, Thomas Dalzell, Finn Page, Mean-E, Slim Shae, Papa Nugs and BootlegBob, produce experimental electronic music, with flavours of UKG and Breaks.
"collaboration between creatives across multiple platforms, whether these are record labels or artistic collectives, facilitate growth and high-quality output."
What makes GAB unique?
We believe that we are representing innovative music, through an original record label which prides itself on promoting obscure but talented producers. Our unique partnership with students at Leeds Arts University makes for a visually engaging representation of exciting sounds. Although we have drawn on important themes in the label’s development, we try not to take DJing and production too seriously. We believe that dance music has pretentious elements within it which limits the scene’s accessibility.
Why have you decided to base the record label in Leeds?
Having spent 3 years in Leeds at university, we have become engaged with current musical developments and we hope to promote the producers we have followed so closely. However, parts of Leeds’ music scene have become trapped in a cycle in which students engage creatively with the city and then return to the South. We hope to extend our engagement with Leeds beyond university and, more importantly, beyond Hyde Park. Furthermore, although Leeds is engaging strongly with the UKG revival, London and Manchester still control much of the nation’s cultural resources. By establishing our label in Leeds, we hope to support the current movement and build on the North’s creative infrastructure.
You are working alongside plenty of visual artists as a record label. How do you align your sound with these visuals?
We have been very lucky to work with some incredible visual artists in the early stages of the label’s development. Tom Wilson’s introductory video aimed to portray the escapist themes of our label, but also to tie our label into Leeds’ industrial history and industrial music. Alex Kubis and Ian Munro have also been vital in providing futuristic and abstract branding. Inspired by the work of Floating Points, Ross From Friends and others, we hope to merge the two disciplines more overtly and push the limits of this collaboration in digital and live settings.
The record label is centred around the genres of UKG and Breakbeat, what do you find so standout about these genres?
In the past year, Garage and Breakbeat have undergone an unprecedented revival within the UK’s electronic music scene. With radio stations such as Rinse FM and popular labels including Shall Not Fade, championing these genres, it now feels like the perfect time to support and build on these developments. Garage and Breakbeat possess a particular hold over our millennial generation as both genres boomed at the turn of the century. Whilst we pride ourselves on incorporating a range of genres in our mixes including broken beat, techno, electro and jungle, UKG and Breakbeat form a strong foundation for an accessible label in 2020. Most importantly, the high-octane nature of these genres is perfect for stirring up dancefloors or (for now) people’s headphone sessions.
What are your next steps in developing GAB Records?
Whilst our launch has constructed multiple sectors of the label including our weekly mixes, the Edit Room and track selections, GAB has ambitious plans for the future. Within the next few months, we hope to release a compilation album of Edits, inspired by the success of 199’s recent releases. As well as this, we plan to release a number of EPs featuring original music and hope to produce a Various Artists compilation of originals towards the end of the year.
" dance music has pretentious elements within it which limits the scene’s accessibility. "