After nine years, Terabyte Records relaunches this week as Tenfold Audio with a release from High Demand. I sat down with their founder and manager James Austin to find out what he’s been up to and what the future holds for the new label.
With nine years already under your belt, what’s been the thinking behind the relaunch?
“There were a couple of things. We started the label with the idea that we’d have a minimal sound. At the time a terabyte was the biggest unit of data, and we thought it could never be usurped, “what could be bigger?”. Now it’s become outdated as technology has progressed.
I’d fallen out of love with the way things were, and that the branding had served its purpose. After years of different ideas, we settled on Tenfold, something punchy.”
Comical to think that evolving technology has been a cause for the name change but that’s part of growing.
[At this point I attempted to describe the growing process from a more theoretical approach before losing my train of thought and sheepishly moving on to the next question]
So, what’s the story with design? It’s looking slick. Is it a Nordic rune or a Japanese insignia?
“Unfortunately, it’s not as exciting as that [James laughs]. It’s actually a ‘T’ and an ‘R’, overlayed with each other, part of the legacy of our former name, ‘Terabyte’. I initially saw the similarity with Shogun’s logo but I’ve realised that they come from such different origins. Rather than Shogun’s connection with Japanese culture, ours is part of our history and bridges the story of our background to what we feel an affinity with now.
Shout out to Bea Cetina who’s done the brilliant work on our rebranding.”
Very excited to see High Demand as the debut release on the label, is their heavy-set sound a reflection of what Tenfold will look like?
“We first started speaking to High Demand back in 2017 and they initially sent over two tracks which we loved. We signed them to the label and for different reasons and obstacles, this release is only seeing the light of day now. Life gets in the way and we took a hiatus from the label to focus our attention elsewhere. This has always been at the back of my mind though, and all this time I’ve known this was going to be the first release after the relaunch.
Interestingly, their style has changed quite dramatically since we signed them as they’ve been pushing the sound of dnb in different directions. What they have in this release though is what we want to pursue, our sound of tech/minimal-dnb. We went through a phase where we releasing a number of half-time tracks but on reflection, this was muddying the sound and direction of the label.
The record comes with a remix from Bungle. I’ve been listening to his mixtapes since I was in school over 15 years ago, so to bring him on to the label is a personal accomplishment for me. I remember when he sent the remix in earlier this year. He said he was trying to recraft that late-ninety’s/early-naughty’s liquid vibe. I really love it.”
Yeah, it strikes me a markedly different from Bungle’s other work, is it also from 2017?
“This is a far more recent project. Once we’ve got our ducks in a row, we’re planning on having every upcoming artist on the label to be accompanied by a remix from a more established producer.
We’ve actually got quite a scientific process of how we’ll be matching our artists together.”
Have you got an algorithm; what kind of Excel formulas are we talking?
“I can’t give too much away.”
What does the future hold for Tenfold? What can we expect?
“We went through a period of bringing on internationally based artists under our wing but with our relaunch, we want to rediscover our roots in the UK. Where I get the most joy out of this project is to give that platform to up-and-coming artists, and it makes me proud to see them grow and move on to more established labels.
I’m not sure how much I can say but in the near future, we’ve got plans with the Goat Shed guys for their new radio station. We’re going to have a residency on the station and our first show is on the 18th May [12pm-2pm]. We’re lucky this has all come around at the same time!
I miss organising projects, going out and seeing DJs doing what they love. As things begin to reopen, we can start to think about running our own label nights.”
Will Tenfold be hosting a post-lockdown label launch event?
“I’d love to! We’ve done a surprisingly small amount of nights over the last nine years. Nothing planned yet and we’ll probably be spending this next year finding our feet. This is on the horizon though and if any promoters are reading this, give me a shout!”
Anyone else you think deserves a shout out?
“I feel like I couldn’t let this finish without a nod to my old business partner, Sam Gartside (aka Altered Perception). We spent the best part of nine years working on the label together and he was integral to me reaching this point. We wouldn’t be where we are now without the passion and influence that he had.”