Kmag touches down with Roklo, the duo behind the newly-minted Mayan Audio imprint that has already been causing a stir with its debut release. With an infectious attitude and an obvious love for the scene, there’s no doubt that big things are on the way so look out as the crew drop a guest mix on us and give us a glimpse at what the future holds.
Introduce us to the label, tell us the story/meaning behind the name and give us a sense of how the label came to be formed.
The label was started by Tony Labrum and myself, Gary Wilson. We met a few years ago through mutual friends and after finding out that we were both aspiring producers we built a studio together and formed our production duo, Roklo, at that time as well.
We both knew various other artists through our experiences within the scene and came to realise that we could see a group of talented guys around us, all trying to achieve the same goal of becoming drum & bass artists and making an impact in the scene we love.
This inspired us to bring together a family of artists together who represent the diversity of drum & bass, as well as other genres of bass heavy music. First and foremost, our label is a family imprint! We don’t want artists in and out through revolving doors, we are working closely with our guys and are building from strength to strength together; the ‘Mayan family’ is a value we hold closely and we are all close-knit friends with the same mission of living our dream and making history in the dnb scene!
The name Mayan Audio came about as we started to build the label in 2012, the year that many believed the Mayans predicted the world would end. We were intrigued by the Mayan prophecies and the civilization in general and quickly found that we had a lot of symbolic parallels that we could draw from: they were a jungle civilisation, we started from the early roots of jungle; they had sacrificial rituals which we saw as a symbolic representation of how much we’ve sacrificed to start the label. Instead of the end of the world we saw 2012 as the dawn of a new era: the Mayan Audio imprint!
This first single from Tuff Touch has been getting lots of love! It’s hard to believe he burst onto the scene only a year ago with his “Mindscape EP.” That release was very much a cross-genre driven release – should we be expecting a similar diverse approach to the output of Mayan Audio?
Most definitely! As an imprint we don’t want to be categorised as a dark label or liquid label, we want to be known for our versatility and putting out straight up bangers that make you want to move no matter what sub-genre!
With Tuff Touch his ability to make different genres and styles is what originally attracted us to his music. The Mindscape EP is a great example of that, and as a label we want to cover the full spectrum of fresh, cutting edge music, progressive or well-made classic styles as long as it brings the essential levels of musicality and unique craftsmanship to their sound.
Upcoming releases will have us showcasing artists who can manoeuvre around different directions with their music but all have a distinctive signature sound that makes them stand out from the crowd. The bottom line is Mayan Audio is not about releasing ‘set fillers’ but stand-out tracks with shelf life; future classics.
In addition to handling duties on the first single Tuff Touch has also gone and dropped the first in a series of podcasts you guys are planning on doing, yeah? Give us a preview of what we can expect not only from this first podcast but for all the podcasts to come and how you see that as part of your larger vision for the imprint.
The podcast is the insight into what’s coming next from us, the sneak peak of how the journey for the label will unfold next. It will also be relevant to the current events or releases at the label and a chance for us to talk about the incredible artwork designers and top creative minds we have had the pleasure of working with at Mayan.
When building the label we had the mentality that if we want to achieve great things we have to work with the best and that’s why we drafted in the best in the game from our artwork designers Rich Lock (Devolution Designs), Mitchy Bwoy (Mitchy Bwoy), and Toby Bamford (Ne Media) on through to Beau Thomas (Ten Eight Seven Mastering) and Shane McEnhill (Finyl Tweek) for mastering and of course, the prolific guys over at Cygnus Music!
For the first podcast Tuff Touch is our debut release so we felt a guest mix from him would be a great way for people to hear the music that gets him fired up and inspired. As the label moves forward we will have different formats for these podcasts, with us and our other artists hosting them, playing upcoming releases from us and other labels as well as other little surprises from the Mayan family.
The next podcast will feature the mighty Kritix the next artist to release on the label . They will be dropping tracks that they are feeling at the moment, exclusive dubs and a firing mini – mix.
This first single is already getting loads of love, including early play on BBC Radio1Xtra. How does it feel?
Amazing! The support and feedback we have received from the scene already has been fantastic. Big love to everyone who has supported us. We never knew the response would be so welcoming, we’ve been nurturing the label for over a year now and we were nervous about opening it to the world but we spent a lot of time getting things up to a professional standard before opening the doors!
Well, with this first single almost off and running, we can’t help but wondering where the imprint goes from here. Give us a sense of who else you’ve got lined up and any other projects we should be looking out for in the near future.
We have a solid line up of forthcoming releases already mastered and ready to storm the scene! Next up is the MYN002 from Kritix with tracks entitled Full Melt/Polaroid. These boys will be bringing a massive sound to the label. We have been working closely with this duo for as long as we have been building the label, these guys are set to blow the roof off! In the new year you will also see a whole host of new talent that we have been working with as well as forthcoming music from ourselves as Roklo.
As a label with massive ambition we are going to be venturing into feature videos and Mayan Audio events. We are working alongside some big vocalists so expect tracks next year featuring Tasha Baxter, MC Coppa and Nukclear MC. These tracks are already in the bag and we are really excited!
I understand you’ve also put together an exclusive mix for Kmag readers. What should we expect and are there any special treats in there we should be looking out for in particular?
In the mix we have included some of our favourite artists and tracks over the last year in a variety of styles as this shows what we are about as a label: versatility! We’ve included our first release from the label and a cheeky exclusive MYN002 Kritix – ‘Full Melt.’ The mix was masterfully hosted by our very own Nuklear MC who also has had some major collaborations this past year and is an MC on a mission!