In The Lab Recordings

On The Rampage with In The Lab Recordings

In The Lab Recordings opened the legendary festival on February 22

At the end of February, the entire bass community celebrated the genre on Rampage’s 15th anniversary. In The Lab Recordings had the privilege to open this party, and today, we are looking back to their set with co-founder Kendot

The Northampton label is everywhere nowadays. What started as a dream and a hobby a few years ago has now turned into a mentorship with Hospital Records, being regularly booked at Worried About Henry nights, and opening the legendary Sportpaleis for Rampage. 

This In The Lab Recordings wasn’t just a showcase to the label. It was their chance to show themselves and to bring everyone together. “Many people from our group chat were in the crowd that night. There are gigs where you get one or two local people from the area that come down. You rarely get people from Germany, the Czech Republic, Belgium, Austria, the Netherlands… all come together in one place,” says Kendot. And with no less than 35 nationalities releasing on In The Lab, Rampage was the perfect opportunity to bring them all together.

Hi Kendot! How did it feel opening Rampage with the crew?

It was incredible to play a stage that size at such a legendary venue and night. I’ve been watching Rampage on the live stream for years. We had no idea that we would ever play on a stage like that. I’ve never been until this year, but everybody from In The Lab has been going for years. I remember getting the invitation well. We had a new guy at work; it was his first day, and I was training him. I got an email through on my phone. When I opened it, the guy asked me, “Are you OK,” because I’d gone completely white. I just froze, apparently. After that, I went outside for a quick break and messaged my girlfriend that I had been booked for Rampage at Sportpaleis.  I remember that very well. Andy and I were also messaging each other, saying, “Wow, what is going on?” It’’s funny because when we saw Murdock two days before and were out in the smoking area with him, he didn’t tell us anything about the booking. 

How did you work towards that goal? 

Some people reach the top of their careers and never play at an event like that. It feels good, and it’s an honour. That’s so cliche, but playing on such a legendary night is a massive honour. It’s 15 years of Rampage as well, you know. Sometimes, the imposter syndrome creeps in, and I catch myself thinking that we didn’t work that hard right or put that much work in, and it’s just happening. But there have been a lot of moments where it feels like every booking leads to the next. About one year ago, Worried About Henry, one of the UK’s biggest promoters, booked us. That was the biggest thing we had ever done. It was massive. They then started booking us regularly every time they threw an event in our local place, Northampton, and they still book us every time. After that show, it felt like everything we did started leading to the next big thing. 

We played Worried About Henry, then got booked for Rampage Open Air, which was the next big step. Then Rampage booked us again for their UK show at Motion, one of the UK’s most famous venues, which was a huge honour. We played Room 2, but it doesn’t matter. Then, getting this booking through to play Sportpaleis was the next big step. It’s hard to go somewhere new from here. I guess we’ll just keep doing what we’re doing and cross our fingers that more people are interested in the label and the music and that it keeps going. 

Who did you bring with you for the In The Lab showcase? 

For this showcase, it was Trinity, [Borders], Spectra T, and myself. It’s tough to decide who to invite on these takeovers because we always get booked as In The Lab Recordings. Spectra T and I could just not go, but it’s hard to get an email like that and not go. We always try to bring at least one of our label acts on. For Rampage Open Air, we brought Default Noise. For Rampage UK, we brought Vici from France. And then we brought [Borders] from the Netherlands for Rampage Sportpaleis. We bring them on as a thank you for trusting us with their music. We don’t do the biggest of numbers like some labels do. All we have is authenticity. That’s all we can offer: truthfulness and authenticity, and occasionally, maybe some big gigs. All of them are fantastic DJs. We’ve been offered this incredible opportunity, and it’s the one thing that we can do for them.

Trinity has been a part of ITL for years now. Right from the start, Spectra T and Trinity have been friends. She’s a mainstay part of the label. Because she’s such close friends with us and she’s such a good DJ, it makes perfect sense to bring her on every chance we can get. That is one way we can incorporate her with us in some way, to get her involved because she’s not currently writing music. Anybody who’s involved with In The Lab Recordings knows how close we are with Trinity. 

In The Lab Recordings

How did the four of you complement each other yesterday? 

I like that question because we have different styles and techniques, but during our In The Lab Recordings sets, the most important thing is having fun and enjoying ourselves. Maybe there’s a journey in our music, but that’s not how it works for us. That’s not how we usually play. We just have an hour of pure fun. Trinity is mainly like a dance floor DJ. Spectra T is also a dance floor DJ but leans into the jump-up and techy side of it. [Borders] is a techy DJ. He usually plays a lot of his own stuff. I typically play a lot of In The Lab Recordings tunes. 

I love pushing the label, and seeing the music played in those big venues is amazing. Spectra T is probably not going to play the tunes that I play. [Borders] is probably not going to play tunes that I play. We all have our own little niches in drum & bass that we feel comfortable with. 

How did that come together at Rampage?

Trinity prepared some incredible tunes last night. The funny thing is that she always scares us because the day before the gig, Trinity freaks out. She freaks out badly, which then freaks us out. And then, she gets up on that stage every single time and just absolutely kills it. Spectra T and I always fall for it, but we really shouldn’t, haha! When she performs for In The Lab, she comes through with the tunes. When you see a Trinity set, you usually expect some heavy Dancefloor. Not dark In The Lab-style techy music. But she brings an entirely different style when she plays at our showcases. That’s why we bring her on all of the time. 

I love that we’re not playing the same music because if we were playing the same music, then what’s the point of having four of us? If you’re playing the same tracks, then what’s the point? We’re constantly playing different sets, and when people ask, “What’s an In The Lab Recordings set like?” It’s difficult to answer because what gig? If we’re playing in our hometown, Spectra T will play house music all night because that’s the vibe in the room. But then you get nights like at Rampage where you can be fully yourself, you can be that indulgent label, “This is what we do, and here’s what it sounds like,” it’s not often you get the chance for that.

How did being on the same lineup as some of these big acts feel?

Delta Heavy was a special one to me. I’ve been listening to them for a very long time now. I remember going to their album launch in 2017 in London, and it was a phenomenal set. They had a promo mix out; I listened to this about a hundred times. That promo mix is one of the things that made me want to DJ. I also want to give a huge shout-out to Abyssal. I’m very close friends with Blanko, and for us both to be opening Sportpaleis at the same weekend is amazing. Another artist I’m a massive fan of is Space Laces. It was unbelievable to finally see him in person and be on the same line-up as him.

In The Lab

Who else was with you?

We have Georgia, our photographer, with whom we’ve worked for nearly two years now. She went to her first-ever rave in 2022, and we were playing. We were the support acts for our Worried About Henry gig. She messaged Spectra T after the show and said she was doing photography and videography. So we talked, brought her on, and then she became one of our closest friends.

There are many people in our group chat who support us, and many of our close friends from that chat were in the crowd that night. Some of our friends in the UK, Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany… A guy from the Czech Republic came. I played his track last night because I knew he’d be there.

It’s incredible seeing people all come together for one event. It’s fantastic to bring everyone together in person like that because you do not often get a chance to do that. There are gigs where you get one or two local people from the area that come down. You rarely get people from Germany, the Czech Republic, Belgium, Austria, and the Netherlands… all come together in one place. We’re really proud that, as a label, we have artists from all over the world. We have over 35 nationalities on ITL, so to be able to actually see people in person is awesome.

How did your set go?

We played some big shows before, but when we stepped out onto the stage at Rampage, I had to turn my head to see both walls. The day itself, we got there about an hour early, and we went up onto the stage while they were setting up all the equipment, and it was just, “Oh my God, I’m going to play music in this room…” As one of my first-ever gigs, I went to a Slipknot concert, and last night, the room was bigger than when I had seen them!

We planned to do a rotation for our set, but we didn’t plan anything further than that. None of us knew what the others would play, which I like to keep that way because then you get natural energy in the booth. I played a track by Arkea, a VIP. I’m the only person who has the track. When I played it, [Borders] ran over, wrapped his arm around me, and went, “What the fuck is this?” We love to keep that energy in the booth because it’s real. If the DJs don’t look like they’re having fun, why should you? One thing that I think ITL is kind of known for is that when we’re in the booth, it’s always energy. We’re always having so much fun. We’re just happy to be there.

I think the fact that we had all four of us there felt good because we all had our partners with us as well. We had a crew, basically. All people that we love and hold close. We sat there and just thought, “We’re going to do this. We’re going to play at the biggest venue in D&B.” It was amazing. We were on a big buzz after that, obviously. The buzz didn’t wear off for ages. I walked all over Antwerp City like “I’m the guy” all weekend. I remember telling Trinity, “I’ll never stop talking about it. It’s a part of my personality now.”

It was great to have the opening set because, after every rotation that we did, there were more people in the room. At first, there were about 20, then 500; at the end, there must have been about five thousand people in the room. Another thing is there were a thousand people there on the livestream, so I wanted to play hard for the people who were watching already, but there was no one in the room yet. It was a bit of a weird vibe. If there were a thousand people in front of you, that’s a lot of people. That’s a full venue, you know. It’s kind of a strange thing to get your head around. 

What are the next steps for In The Lab now that you’ve done this? 

Last night was the culmination of the label coming together to play the music we love indulgently, not worrying about how the crowd will react because you know how they will react. Recently, we were selected for a business mentorship with Hospital Records, which has put us in a more professional headspace. We’re just some guys that love to play tunes, right? We release music we like and don’t think about it much further. There’s no six-year plan or six-month strategy. We plan ahead, of course, but we’re not putting our business caps on and thinking about what will sell some records. 

However, having the mentorship has made us think a bit more long-term because they’re talking to us in timescales of two, three, and four years. I don’t plan to quit music anytime soon in my life ever. People are paying for tickets now. People are buying tickets to see us, so we have to deliver properly. That mentorship is making us think about those things a lot more in a more professional sense. One of the main things that they’re pushing on us is professionalism.

We’re not unprofessional, but when it comes to the business side of it, they’re just nurturing us in the right direction. If you want to go big, if you want to push it further, if you want to go for ten years, 15 years, this is how you should be doing it. That energy comes across in our sets now.

In The Lab

How is that forming you as an artist?

We would just play our set, and there would be nothing much more of it. But now, the more serious gigs are more of an event. We think things through before we play. We never pre-plan any tracks, that’s still, but we will think about the flow of the event more. Now that we’re moving into a more professional realm, we should be a bit more professional with our gigs. When people pay money to go and see In The Lab Recordings, they want to hear a proper In The Lab Recordings set. It makes us think about that aspect a lot more. It’s important to want to deliver for the people who have paid to see us. Even if they haven’t paid, those people still came out to see us perform, so we want to deliver for them. 

Any final thoughts?

What we’re going to do is keep releasing music. We have a lot of music plans. We’re booked with releases till the end of this year, so we’re already settled. We will keep playing silly tunes that we love and hope the energy stays. We hope that the energy we bring and feel when we’re playing carries on because I want everyone to feel the same energy. I want everyone to experience it because it’s so much fun right there. Like I said before, we’re not in it for the money, but seeing the line go up is good, right? It’s obviously validating when you see numbers grow.

We’re looking forward to building the brand, you know, and the style. Not many labels do what we do. There’s Modus, Stellar Audio, SINFUL MAZE. If you’re looking for really sharp, techy stuff, not many people do it. We just want to keep pushing that style, and we’re lucky that it’s growing. 

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