Next level: What began as a platform to support, encourage and incubate exciting new talent and a shared love of deep, dark drum & bass during lockdown has just gone fully paid label legit this month.
Elevating from a well-established free download and mix platform, Phase Records galvanised its community vibe and collective power last week with Perspective: a full VA release featuring a wide range of exciting, forward-thinking names from across the international D&B community.
Flexing from Brazil to New Zealand via UK; Dunk, Intertia, R3IDY, Kalane, Artillery, Premonition, Seven and label boss Gifta all feature on Perspective, delivering premium hurters that flex from smouldering minimal rollers to all-out neuro slap-abouts. Mapping the label’s sonic parameters moving forward, it’s a statement release that puts Phase on the label radar as a new-generation force to be reckoned with. As if it wasn’t already.
With plenty more exciting plans in the future, 1 More Thing caught up with Gifta to find out more…
Phase is going full paid label vibes! Why now at this very particular time?
I think we’re just ready as a team for this next chapter. It feels natural that this is where we should be now. We have enough experience in free downloads, we know we can smash events and enough of us have the knowledge and technical ability on production to truly make a great imprint on the scene. It just feels like the right time to do what a record label is meant to do, which is release good quality music.
Tell us about the Perspective VA!
The Perspective EP is a blueprint of what you can expect from the Phase Records sound. Collectively, we all enjoy quite dark and aggressive music, but we’re all different people ultimately and we all see and experience the world through different lenses. This makes for different perspectives of what dark drum and bass can be, how it can be expressed and how it can make you feel.
In terms of the artists releasing on it; Dunk has been a good friend of the label for a while, having done a guest mix for us already, it was great to have a track from him on the album. Inertia NZ are some fresh talent coming out of New Zealand that I have been speaking with for a while, so to have them feature on our VA alongside some of the Phase family is a huge honour. A VA album felt right for a first paid release in order to truly show those different expressions of dark drum and bass that we want to represent.
You’ve been building up a community and a presence for almost two years now with free downloads and loads of killer mixes. Take us back to the very start of Phase…
Phase started during the covid pandemic. I had lost my job and took it as a sign to really throw myself into my passion, I had all the time in the world to do so after all! The pandemic was an interesting time for drum and bass because the entire scene went online. It was networking galore, livestreams almost every single day. Loads and loads of people, women especially, started to really try and push themselves musically because the opportunities were there despite the clubs being closed. It became somewhat of an even playing field.
We actually began as a platform for up and comers called Elevation with dreams to eventually turn into a label when the pandemic was over. I had a few residents at the time already and loads of other fresh talent and cool people I was speaking to. In essence, we were just a little community of D&B heads who liked to do livestreams together, talk about music and encourage each other.
Then one day I was on Beatport on a hunt for new tunes and discovered the record label Elevate. From there things just kind of clicked that we obviously needed to rebrand and decide properly what we wanted to achieve. I was quite close to the duo Premonition during this time, after loads and loads of discussion with them and back and forth with ideas, Phase Records was born with a fresh, clear vision. Things just sort of went on full steam ahead after that… adding more members to the team who fitted who we were. Each resident was talented already and had a lot of potential, they just needed somebody to believe in them and push them to be the best that they could be. I wanted to be that person for them. I just hope that I am really, I hope Phase helps them feel that they have that home.
What have been the biggest moments and favourite success stories so far for Phase Records?
Our first few events at The Cause in London when sit down events were still a thing were monumental for us… it was the first time many of us had played in a venue… it allowed us to truly comprehend what we could do together. I just remember thinking ‘We can do this’. We bring unmatched vibes and we bring people together through the love of fantastic music. More recently, the success of our free downloads on Soundcloud and hitting milestones of follower count in the space of less than 12 months has certainly felt really humbling and really motivating. We celebrate every single win together as a team and that feels special.
You’ve championed some outstanding new talent like R3IDY, Komatose, LV… The list goes on. Please big up the new generation of artists and where D&B is at right now in terms of new talent.
There are so many people to big up when it comes to the new generation! I would be here all day if I named everybody worth mentioning… off the top of my head though: Pinks is absolutely smashing it, as can be said with the entire Unorthodox crew to be fair.
Aduken is also incredibly talented and I have to big up the entire In The Lab Recordings gang. They’re really doing things differently and they’re run by two of the nicest lads. Yamatai have also done a great job this year with their releases. The up and coming scene right now is super interesting. Its MASSIVE and very diverse, not just in terms of people’s gender, race, ages and background buts we are seeing so many different and unique tunes and mixes come out of the new wave of drum and bass. It makes me very excited for the future of the scene.
Absolutely. I couldn’t agree more! Big up all Phase residents, too!
You bet! Big ups my team! My family! Premonition, Artillery, Kalane, R3IDY, Savvy B, Lucidik, Ana Crusis, Che, Wilkz, MC Boonie, Yours Truly, Jamurai and SWID! What a bunch of talented and lovely people these lot are.
What support on releases have you had from DJs so far?
Firstly and for me, the most important… our residents play and support the tunes we are putting out. That is of vital because they are the ones that have to believe in the sound, if they didn’t I don’t think things would be the same. We have seen Rush by myself and Seven (one half of premonition) be played at Tomorrowland festival, Jersey weekender and even feature on Kiss.
That track, and the rest of the tracks on Perspective have been downloaded and given some really great feedback by people in the scene who we all massively look up to. It’s truly been a dream come true so far. I get messages all the time from friends of Phase using our tracks in their mixes, it’s such a lovely feeling. We also have had Error Code 3000 by R3IDY feature in Teej’s Trust Audio mix as well as make the cut for the Incurzion audio podcast. Inertia have also been good to us and played our stuff out in New Zealand. This sort of thing truly amazes us all, we’re living our dreams everyday.
The way you’ve built up the brand before going full-on paid label is becoming a tried and tested way of setting firm foundations and a strong following. How have you guys found the experience? And what have you learnt during this formative phase of Phase?
Phase of Phase haha! Nah honestly we have learned a LOT. It hasn’t always been easy, but the best things in life are never easy. Fundamentally, we are all just grateful to have found each other and to be on this journey together, seeing everybody progress and achieve amazing things individually away from the label as well as here as part of Phase. We have all learnt the power of hard work, persistence, being open to brutal feedback and not to take it personally. We have also learned the value of staying humble and enjoying every single moment of the journey. I think a few of us have also learned that burnout is very very real and that no matter how hard you are chasing your dreams, your mental and physical well-being needs to come first and you need to always look after yourself and rest. Rest is a part of hard work. Also… never stop learning.
What have been the biggest surprises of launching, building and running a label that you didn’t expect?
That’s a good question. Top of that list for me has to be how stressful managing events can be. That was a real shock. And how much work goes into launching paid releases, organising a release schedule that makes sense, and all the different ways you can go about promoting things… just how much work and how much you need to know and be aware of, the legal front of absolutely everything that you do. I knew none of this before… it’s been a real eye opener. I do love it though. All these things are part of the process.
What comes up next after the Perspective EP?
After the Perspective EP, starting from January we have paid releases coming almost every single month next year. From our resident producers as well as a few bit more established names in the scene. Our release schedule next year is fully booked! We aren’t slowing down! We are going to continue to release free music, hopefully continue to grow our podcast and just keep growing together as a family and improving and bettering ourselves everyday. Maybe another cheeky event could be on the horizon too!