While Brighton based artist Nick The Lot and his label Pick The Lock are outwardly associated with an immediate and very British comedic overtone, when you delve a little deeper into their back catalogue it becomes instantly recognisable that the music coming out of this stable is deadly serious.
With a steadily growing global roster, the label is picking up a dedicated fanbase that relies on the quality of the music coming through. With a brand new six-track EP ‘Back Of A Lorry Volume 1’ out now, we touched down with Nick to talk a bit more about the label.
So, firstly tell us a bit about how you got into D&B…
I’ve been listening to D&B since I was back in school, which then led to going to raves. Then I got myself a pair of decks and started buying vinyl, which I became addicted to! I used to go by the name of DJ Lockdown back then, which sounds ironic now!
Are you primarily a DJ, producer or artist (or all three)?
Initially, it all started off on the decks as a DJ, and then I was given a CD of Cubase not long after, which led to a new addiction to making tunes, so I’d class myself as a DJ/producer.
Your first two label releases were free downloads. What was the idea behind that?
The final touches were still being made to setting up the label, so I thought it would be a good idea to get it moving on Soundcloud with some free tunes. We will always be giving out a lot of free music along the way, as it is part of the Pick The Lock brand.
You use the label as a platform for your own music, but also for other new artists breaking through, from the South American producers Yatuza and Dunk to Germany’s Cramz, to homegrown talent like Brighton’s StillZ and other UK producers. How do you link up with these artists in the first place? Is it a case of keeping one eye on the inbox?
Well, I had already been chatting to a few of the artists like Yatuza and Dunk, and a lot of the other lads got in touch, sent over folders of tunes and we’ve gone from there really. This has happened a few times now with some wicked tunes coming in thankfully. I already knew StillZ from living in Brighton, but I also hunt through Soundcloud, finding some great producers that are or will be released on the label in the near future.
From the outside looking in, I’d say you were making a conscious decision to champion up and coming talent?
Absolutely. I’m all about that. I’ve been releasing tunes for nearly three years myself now, so I know how frustrating it can be to get people to even listen to a demo, let alone get it out there. I also like to keep it all sounding fresh and new artists are essential to that.
I love the DIY feel to the label artwork. Was that a purposeful touch to the label branding?
Well, I had ideas for the artwork but nothing I was paying for at the time was coming back right, so I decided to have a crack at Photoshop myself, hence the DIY feel. I feel that it really works and each release/producer gets their own theme. I also really enjoy doing that side of it now.
Tell us a bit about the concept behind the ‘Back Of A Lorry’ series and if you can, a bit about the artists themselves.
I needed another tongue in cheek name to fit with the brand and Back Of A Lorry fits nicely I think. All the lads smashed their tunes on this EP, starting with Nury aka Amplify, a 23-year-old producer from Newton Abbot who has released on many labels including Ram and Subway sounds.
Joe aka Stillz, is 20 and from Brighton and has been a regular on the label with his sound since we started. He is currently working on his next EP.
Next is Metal Work, a 29-year-old producer from the Lake District. He’s been making tunes for nine years and has been previously known as Envenom. He and Nury also are the label managers of Gradient Records.
DisKrete is an up and coming producer from Cardiff and has had a few releases with the label so far.
Cramz, is a 21 year old coming from Leipzeg, Germany. He had his debut EP on Pick The Lock and has been on many Various Artists compilations, including Born On Road.
Lastly Reece, aka Kormz is 22 and a recent addition to the label. He’s been producing for about four years and is already crafting his own quite unique jump-up sound.
What other plans do you have for the label then, and is this series set to continue?
There are loads of plans coming up for the label and plenty of projects are being worked on right now by various producers, including myself. We will also be returning with Back Of A Lorry Vol 2, which is almost complete. After this crazy time, we’re all going through is over, I will be putting on some big Pick The Lock Nights too.
Finally, then, Pick the Lock is a label to keep a close eye on?
Yeah! The first Pick the Lock Remix EP is coming next. Most of the producers signed up so far will also be returning with new projects. I’ve also signed some new artists who are already well known in the scene who will be bringing their own sound to the label, and there will also be a 6 track ep in the next few months from myself.
There’s plenty going on so watch the label and keep an eye on the free downloads that will be popping up on Soundcloud! Back of a Lorry is out now on Pick The Lock.