Launching a label into the ever evolving wilderness of the drum & bass world can be daunting and challenging. Even for a seasoned soldier such as Taxman.
Trials, tribulations, twists and turns have all gone on in the background of the launch of TXM; a project that’s been in the pipeline for a number of years and is finally being launched into the stratosphere… As Taxman, his own worst critic, explains his numerous battles with himself and various other speed bumps along the way.
Immersed in the scene his entire adult life with releases going back to 2004, Dominic Tindill has drum & bass running through the blood in his veins and has learned all about the dark art of running a label after his long tenure with Playaz from Hype and Pascal, his multiple label running brother, Original Sin and Serum who’s recently dispatched Taxman trouble on his Souped Up label.
Just like the scene, his sound has changed up over the years and we’re set to hear it evolve again. Initially a label for self releases, TXM will find its feet before taking on new talent. But even at this burgeoning stage, he’s being blissfully bombarded with music from producers far and wide.
The task TXM faces is to push its sound out and capture new audiences. If its first release is anything to go by – Push It, which dropped last week on August 18 – it should have absolutely no problem melting the faces off the newer D&B connoisseurs. So strap yourselves in for monthly releases from TXM, the future of the drum & bass ecosystem is safe as soundwith conservationists and wardens like Taxman at the helm.
Firstly, congratulations on the launch of TXM! Let’s dive straight in, you’ve had an illustrious career as a producer, what made you launch this label?
I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time and I’ve never got round to it. I kind of think I was a bit complacent from being with Playaz for all those years. I think I was with those guys for about 17 years and got through five contracts with them!
I should have done this label years ago but as usual, my procrastination gets in the way as always with everything I do. I kind of really decided I wanted to do it last summer and I titled it Utopia Recordings and I didn’t realise there was already a label with a similar name to this. As soon as I posted about the label a load of people were like, ‘Oh sick!’ But then I also had a load of people messaging me saying, ‘What about Utopia Music?’
So in the space of a few hours I pretty much had to backtrack and apologise so I just wrote an open apology saying, ‘Look guys, I didn’t realise there was another label called by that name.’ So I apologised and everyone was like “Yeah fair play for apologising.” I was down in Bristol with Original Sin, who’s my brother, and also Sub Zero. We were just discussing names and I had the distribution company tell me a lot of people are using their own artist names as the label name.
I thought that was a bit of a cop out just calling it Taxman Music or something like that. So I came up with TXM, which is an abbreviation of Taxman. It’s short, it’s quite sharp. So it came about this year, I got the artwork done. I actually did the logo myself and then I sent it off to a guy who made it a bit more proper.
Love it! Can you give us a basis on what we can expect from TXM in general?
It’s primarily for my own music. Over the past two years I was pushing the jungle kind of sound, like my twist on it but now I’m just trying to evolve that, I don’t think the first release shows that but I’m trying basically to evolve that. I came from dancefloor and jump up sounds, that’s where my roots came from so I’m basically going to try and incorporate it all, like a hybrid of jungle, dancefloor and the jump up sound.
So I think what I was doing with the jungle, it was easy for me to make because it was just the detuned sub basses, processed like that and it was quite simple and I think I was going for the old ideology of it just being melodies and sub basses like ‘94/’95 jungle was. So I think if anyone’s going to be expecting like more of what I was doing over the last two years, it’s not going to sound like that. I just want to do more up front stuff, I’m thinking like more aggressive dancefloor kind of stuff. But saying that, i’m not ruling anything out. If it sounds good and it works, it will probably get a release.
Great. You were on Playaz for a very long time… What did you learn from Hype and Pascal about the dark art of running a label?
Yeah quite a lot! Seeing how it all works, getting the artwork done, pitching it to people like yourself and other editors. I think I learned everything from them basically! As you may or may not know, Hype was the A&R guy so he would select which music was going out and Pascal would do like the back end and the artwork, get all that sorted and make the decisions if it was to be released exclusively to Beatport.
It was quite stressful getting it off the ground, like I said, procrastination is always following me around. I think I knew what to do before I started up, it was just quite daunting doing it all by myself basically and just knowing it was all on me rather than anyone else. Once the artwork was done, the logo was solid and all that, I could just relax a bit more then and concentrate on actually making music for it.
You mentioned that this will be an avenue to focus on your own material. Is there any scope of having any new talent being showcased through TXM in the future once the label is a bit more established?
Yeah, I think there’s definitely a possibility of that! I mean there’s a few people that send me music that I do really like and they don’t seem to be able to get many releases out. So it’s definitely a possibility but I think at first, definitely for the rest of this year and going into next year it’s just going to be myself releasing.
Have you faced any other challenges getting the label up and running?
Just myself really! It was challenging to decide what kind of music to put out on the label. I’m my own worst critic so the first track that’s being released, I would say it’s definitely not my strongest piece of work. I do like it but I was just at a point where I was like “I need to do this!” I want to get this label going so this is going to be the first release. So basically I made the decision that it needed to happen now and that just pushed me to keep continuing after that.
Do you have anything special planned for the launch of the label, are you planning TXM events or anything?
No not at the moment, just doing the music first and foremost. I’m definitely going to look into doing some merch and I really will look into doing some events! I did two events during lockdown in Leicester and I’d never done an event before, I really enjoyed running it! I called it Inside The Ride and I think I sold it out! I would like to go as big as possible really! Definitely get some other artists on there, get some remixes out after a point, grow it with merch and just push it as far as it will go really.
You seem really inspired at the moment! Is that a fair point?
Yeah definitely! I think I’m late to the party but I think learning and getting my head around Serum, you can just do anything with it and there’s just all the wave tables on it. I was using Zeta back in the day, and then mainly the Moog for that last couple of years, and that was just like analogue modelling so you’ve only got like the basic wave forms, you’ve got triangles, squares, pulses etc, and quite basic routing. But with Serum you’ve got all these other digital wavetables that just make all these ridiculous sounds. I’m just really looking forward to reinventing myself once again and I think that’s what TXM is going to be all about. Pushing my sound, reinventing myself and just pushing myself!
D&B is in a really interesting place right now. Lots of new styles and sounds doing the rounds… How does it feel to launch a label to this backdrop of new energy?
It is slightly daunting! Because a lot of the new kids out there don’t really know who I am. I think a lot of the new kids started getting into drum & bass through lockdown. I just need to capture a new audience I think. I mean I tried doing that by releasing on Souped Up, I’ve had two releases on there which I thought was aiming towards another audience rather than just the Playaz audience. But hopefully I can get this out to the right people and hopefully people will take an interest!
I’m sure they will! This brings me to my last question! So what’s next for yourself and for TXM?
I’m looking at doing a release every month or every four weeks. I’ve got the next two releases lined up. At the moment that’s pretty much it! I’ll start looking into some merch, I’ll wait until it gets off the ground a bit more and go from there. Obviously I saw Hazard going quiet for a bit and then he brought out Hazardous Material with a string of releases and I think it looked and sounded good! So this is what it’s going to be about, a self promotional vehicle to start with I guess, my plan is just to push it!