J:Kenzo Guest Mix

Dubstep pioneer J:Kenzo gives us the lowdown on his co-run label Artikal Music UK and its new album The Compilation

Firstly it’d be really interesting to know what spurred you on to start up Artikal Music? I understand it was a joint venture by you and Mosaix.
Yes, we started the label together and our first release was in January 2012. There was a track we co-produced called ‘Alone In The Darkness’ (ARTKL001) which was getting a lot of interest, and we thought ‘why not press it on vinyl and release it ourselves?’.

We weren’t sure how it was going to sell so we only pressed 200 copies, which sold out within days. At this time I was getting sent a lot of music, which I felt deserved to be released. We decided to make the label an outlet for quality deep underground sounds, and put out whatever we were feeling.

Artikal Music UK has been running for over two years as a label, and I feel the ethos has stayed the same. We are blessed to be working with some very talented artists like Thelem, TMSV and EshOne, who are making some amazing music right now.

Do you feel the label has a direct relationship to the way in which the UK bass music scene is going, or do you feel it is going it alone regardless?
It’s hard to say. We just release whatever we are into, whether it’s trendy or not. I listen to all different types of underground music and I feel Artikal has its place in the scene. In truth I would leave it to other people to decide whether we are going it alone or not.

What do you feel artists on Artikal like Thelem, Eshone and Sleeper have shown creatively to stand out from others?
Every artist that has featured on the label has had their own sound. Originality is key when we look to release music from a producer. It’s good to have the diversity of say Thelem and EshOne, as they are both coming from completely different angles of the scene. They have different production methods but still deliver a vibe that fits in with the Artikal sound.

As such an established artist yourself do you feel that this has given you the upper hand in creating the label and enticing the artists involved, or do you feel you could have created the label regardless?
That is a tough question. I think that we would have created the label regardless, it may have been a little bit harder in some areas to make things happen but there are plenty of great labels in the scene that put everything they have into what they do, and concentrate on quality. That is what always what shines through in the end.

What have been the key focuses for you whilst creating the label and looking for talent to be a part of it?
My idea was to have a group of artists who are all pulling in the right direction, and who keep surprising me with the music they make. That’s what gives me the buzz of running the label. We have a great pool of talent with some great projects planned for the future.

Where do you see the label heading in the near future? Are there any plans underway for some changes in the genres relating to the label or would you say it’s very much a natural progression of what suits your taste at the time?
Whatever suits our taste. Although the label has released music around the 140 bpm tempo, I am fully open to hearing music from all over. As long as it fits the vibe… we are into it.

As a business, where would you like to see the label in a few years time or are you just happy to keep it rolling and see where it takes you?
The idea for the label is still the same, to enjoy what we are doing. We are planning some larger projects for the future, so there is a structure in place, but we are taking it one step at a time.

You’re releasing a compilation soon, tell us about the sort of stuff we can expect to hear on it…
Yes, we have our first Artikal Music UK compilation dropping on October 6th, which I’m really excited about. We’ve called it simply ‘The Compilation’ and have sourced 14 new and unheard tracks from artists that we have a strong relationship with.

We’ve had a good reception already; the pre-orders have been coming in for all formats, CD, digital and vinyl, which feels great. This is a big step for us as a label and we have some great music involved.

Expect to hear tracks from Skeptical, Biome, Thelem, TMSV, Sleeper, and EshOne, as well as a track from myself featuring Collinjah. I’ve also included a collaboration with stateside producer Matty G, plus lots more. We’ve got artists from all over the world featured – from Canada to New Zealand, Italy and the UK and further afield.

It has truly become a celebration of dubstep worldwide, and we’re proud to present what we feel is the best of the global scene right now. We’ll be heading to North America next month to showcase our new music, and what we do as a label.

We’re excited to hear the guest mix you’ve made for us… what sort of direction have you gone with the music played?
Thank you, the mix is the vibe that I am feeling at the moment and play out in my live sets.

Some really interesting stuff coming from Artikal Music UK and we’ll be keeping an eye out for all things to come… keep us updated!
Of course! Much respect to Kmag and all the Artikal Music UK fans!

Download J:Kenzo’s Kmag guest mix here


  1. EGOLESS – From Dust To Dub (Lion Charge)
  2. Sleeper – Coxsone Dub (Artikal Music UK)
  3. Biome – Rumble (Dub)
  4. TMSV – Elegy (Artikal Dub)
  5. Sleeper – Ritual VIP (Dub)
  6. Skeptical – Something In The Sound (Exit Dub)
  7. J:Kenzo & The Others – The Prophecy (Dub)
  8. Caspa – Submission (Dub Police)
  9. Thelem – Foul Play (Artikal Music UK)
  10. J:Kenzo & Matty G – Flatline (Artikal Music UK)
  11. TMSV – The Cosmonaut [Thelem Remix] (Artikal Music UK)
  12. Faze Miyake – Firefly (Rinse Dub)
  13. J:Kenzo – Magneto VIP (Tempa)
  14. J:Kenzo ft. Collinjah – Straight Defeat (Artikal Music UK)
  15. LX One – Cloud City (Wheel & Deal)