Kmag catches up with Andy Sim of Think Deep Recordings to discuss liquid drum & bass, selecting tracks for the label and their incredibly busy release schedule, including their new compilation Creative Consensus Part One Andy Sim has also given us a free tune called Revealed that he made with Paul SG, download it at the bottom of this post.
What do you look for when you’re choosing tracks for the label?
It’s going to be hard not to sound clichéd but I really just look for anything that gives me a warm fuzzy feeling inside. You know, those tunes that just instantly seem to make sense, and make me smile and nod my head instinctively.
Truth is I spend most of my time listening to jazz, acoustic & folk music so generally with drum & bass it’s the tracks that bring in those real instrument sounds: jazzy soulful keys, horns and bluesy vocals. I’m pretty much a sucker for a minor piano chord and a deep sub.
When did you start Think Deep and what did you want to do with the label?
I started Think Deep in 2009 and the very first vinyl release came out about two weeks after I left Bristol for Sydney, Australia. Right from the start it’s been about quality over quantity, and attempting to carve out a signature sound for the label. Having spent a few years promoting a night in Bristol with my friend Bevan, we realised so many of the tunes we were hearing at our Breakout parties were unsigned, so that was the original motivation.
Why did you decide to call the album Creative Consensus?
Well, this is the third various artists album released on Think Deep. The first was ‘Collective Unconscious’, then there was ‘Selective Soul’, so we had a bit of a theme developing!
Creative Consensus seemed to fit with the tradition, and also tell a bit of a story of its own. You know, over the years I’ve seen a lot of great liquid producers switch to jump-up, dubstep, trap, juke, and whatever other new subgenre is popping up. But here we have a creative consensus that jazz-infused liquid drum & bass music is as strong now as it ever was.
You have included tracks by Paul SG and Random Movement as well as some newer producers. Are you consciously trying to push newer talent rather than established artists?
It’s not that I’m consciously trying to push newer talent; it’s more that the prestige or reputation of an artist is irrelevant – the music is the only thing that matters in my eyes. I mean in the last year I’m pretty sure that four artists have had their debut EP released on Think Deep, Skeletone, Kalum, Al Pack & Lurch, and just last month we saw Euphorics’ debut LP Midnight Mist – all of them are fantastic producers and I’m sure will go on to make massive names for themselves.
It does feel great to be in a position to recognise the talent that is coming through and give new producers an opportunity to get their music out there, but it’s never really been a conscious objective – I’ve just loved their music. Simple as that. Equally I’ve rejected EP submissions from well-established artists with nicely polished mixdowns, but I just wasn’t really feeling the tracks and didn’t think they fit with the Think Deep sound.
In your opinion, which labels within drum & bass are the most interesting at the moment and why?
I have to give a shout out to my good friend Paul SG for Jazzsticks Records, he’s done an amazing job at pushing the liquid sound, and also for not getting hung up on weekly releases and big name remixes etc. It’s really all about quality music.
Think Deep has released music on vinyl as well as digitally, do you have any plans to release more?
Yes, absolutely, and in fact there would have been many more but unfortunately Think Deep took a massive hit with the bankruptcy of Nu Urban Distribution a couple of years back so it’s taken a while to basically rebuild from scratch. Vinyl releases are lucky to break even nowadays with so many people using digital formats, but I will always have a passion for vinyl and believe there are enough people out there who feel the same to make it worthwhile.
Creative Consensus Part 2 is released on 1 December. Can we expect more of the same or is the second part of the album different?
Well, I have to say it’s more of the same – why change a winning formula? But really there are some massive tunes on part two including the vinyl release from TDR003 by Paul SG (Fascination). I did my best to get a good balance across the two LPs. Some artists have a tune on each part (e.g., Silence Groove, Satl, Skeletone), but I did also hold back some huge tracks for Part Two from artists like Robot Redford, Duoscience & Clart, plus a Zyon Base collaboration to name a few.
Labels like Shogun, Ram, Hospital and True Playaz have enjoyed incredible success with their club nights as well as their music, would you ever consider doing a large scale label event and what would be your dream lineup?
Haha, I think my promotion days are behind me. Three years of promoting parties in Bristol was some of the hardest work I’ve ever done and I experienced just about every possible emotion along the way. No regrets whatsoever, but equally not something I would necessarily recommend!
We did do a launch party for Think Deep back in 2009 – Paul SG, Submorphics & Zyon Base were on the bill from memory. I guess if I was ever going to put on a large-scale event again it would have to feature Calibre – living legend.
Your release schedule is looking busy until the start of December, can you tell us anything about next year’s releases yet?
Yes, already getting excited about next year, although I have to say it will be back to the more normal bi-monthly release schedule – three LP releases in four weeks is not something that will become the status quo! Firstly in January we have an amazing EP lined up from Glen E. Ston. Then I hope to finally put the finishing touches to an Andy Sim album. I’m also in the process of putting together an EP from Satl. Then perhaps another various artists album will be in the pipeline at some point as well. thinkdeeprecordings.com is the best way to keep in touch with all further developments.