We caught up with DJ Sashwat to find out more about the story behind the label and to get the low down on what the forthcoming months hold in store.
How did the idea of creating the Dank 'N' Dirty Dubz label come about and what’s the ethos behind it?
Dank 'N' Dirty Dubz actually started off as a radio show, it wasn’t until 2009, believe it or not, when I was formally introduced to dubstep. My friend, with a $20k+ sound system, turned on an episode of Widdler’s ‘Basement Diaries’ on Dubstep.FM and I felt the low frequencies instantly engulf my body. This was the moment where I decided to leave my love for electro/progressive house behind and fully dedicate myself to dubstep and it seemed that this new passion of mine really opened up a lot of doors for me.
Almost instantly after making this radical switch, I was approached by the content director for the Digitally Imported Drum & Bass channel to see if it would be okay to feature some of my dubstep mixes on there (DI.FM didn’t have a dubstep channel at that time). Being a DI.FM listener for nearly a decade, this was an opportunity I jumped on right away.
A few months later, in January of 2010, I officially launched my monthly Dank ‘N’ Dirty Dubz radio show in conjunction with the launch of the Digitally Imported Dubstep channel. Less than a year later, in December of 2010, I was in the position where I was in touch with a large number of producers who were sending me dubs and exclusives regularly and, with the radio show being quite a success, I felt it was only natural to then expand it into a label to further support these artists.
When I started this label, I made it a point to never let money be my primary focus (which works out nicely considering the extremely poor sales that digital bass music achieves). Sure, it’s great to be able to provide artists with some money and nothing makes me happier to see fans out there that are willing to shell out a few bucks to support an artist that has worked incredibly hard and invested a lot of time and money to produce their music.
However, for me, and I think for most artists that I release with, giving their music as much exposure as possible is equally if not more important. This is why I make it a point to allow a minimum of one month between every release I put out (right now, it’s averaging around one release every two months). This gives me the time to properly push the artists music and give it quality exposure.
What do you look for when finding new tracks to release?
The short answer: Nothing.
The long answer: Everything. I never look for any particular vibe when I am searching for or considering music to release. Unlike many other labels, you will find, after listening to the label’s catalog, that there is no particular sound that would be easily boxed into the category of “Dank ‘N’ Dirty Dubz material”. I do this for a number of reasons. 1) My taste in music is extremely diverse, so not only am I not stuck on releasing a particular sound or vibe, but I’m not even stuck on releasing a particular genre, 2) I like to keep listeners on their toes and like to expose them to the wide variety of amazing sounds that bass music has to offer.
I don’t like the music I release to be what everyone expected it to be before they even hear it. I guess if I had to describe qualities I’m looking for in songs, they would be the following (just to name a few): proper bassweight, dynamic range, well-balanced levels, complexity, melody, soul, and more. I’m not the kind of person that will tell a producer how to produce their track. I will happily give anyone constructive feedback if I have any, but I’m very much against “shaping tracks” to “fit the label”. For me, the more natural and organic the process is, the better.
One thing I’m really trying to strive for in 2013 is being even more strict with my selection and really looking for music that really has some depth to it rather than simple riddims with copied/pasted second drops. A varying melody, I feel, is something that is essential to achieve this sort of “depth” that I am looking for.
2012 has already seen a number of releases, what else can we expect from you this year?
Well, there are some planned releases and some “works in progress”. The confirmed releases include DANK011 (Out September 8th), which is KeseK’s Mt. Zion EP. This release has been in the works for more than a year now, which is much longer than I would’ve hoped, but I couldn’t be more excited about it. Aside from the original mix, there are also remixes by Radikal Guru (one of my favorite producers ever) and ENiGMA Dubz (also one of my favorites and definitely one of the strongest artists on the Dank ‘N’ Dirty Dubz roster). We’ll also be giving out a Legend4ry remix of the track for Free to help promote the release, which is nothing short of amazing.
After this, will be the DANK012 release, which is going to be the second collaboration EP by ENiGMA Dubz & Sub Antix. This will be called the Easy EP and will probably be out on October 10th. It’ll feature ENiGMA Dubz & Sub Antix – Easy, Sub Antix – Gully Youth, and ENiGMA Dubz – Aliens and we’ll also be giving out a Free Download of ENiGMA Dubz & Sub Antix – Premonition to help promote the release. Aside from this, before the end of the year, I hope to release an EP with Controlled Kaos and I also have plans to announce a production competition in the very near future to get any and all producers involved for a chance to land a spot on a Dank ‘N’ Dirty Dubz release – more details on this soon.
As for 2013, I do have some more projects already in the works: A full-length album release by Legend4ry, an EP with Sawfunk, and hopefully the label’s first physical release! My hope for the latter is to use crowd-funding to raise money to put out a compilation on physical CD, which focuses in on deep, melodic, chilled out, experimental, and forward-thinking electronic music – got some amazing artists locked down for this one already.
Any producers you recommend checking out that we might not already know about?
I’m undoubtedly going to be leaving some underrated artists out here, so let me just give you a disclaimer to check out every artist that I’m following on both of my SoundCloud accounts Sashwat and Dank 'N' Dirty Dubz. I am following each of those people for a reason – because they are incredible musicians.
However, underrated artists that come to mind immediately off the top of my head that you NEED to check out include: iFa, A-List/Impey, Aftee, Ted-E, N Dread, Heny.G, Bluesy, Jazzy Jazzy/J.Tijn, Kiev, Calski, Curzed, Dee:See, Retro, Controlled Kaos, Demure, Experiment1, Lokrian, P-Note, Hiloxam/Eyela Beret, Seraph, Grave Robber/Amun, Rufus/C7eye, Kapture, Laney, Sine Here, Sparc, Stigma, The Dub Mechanics, sMILOdon, HxdB, Daega Sound, Valor, Ruckspin, Legend4ry, Patrick Duvignacq, Riskotheque, Tri-Funk… okay, I need to stop immediately.
What is the single best piece of advice you could give to somebody looking to start their own label?
I’ll give you three for the price of one…
1) Don’t do it for the money… you’re not going to make any.
2) Only do it if you are passionate about the music.
3) Make sure you are dedicated… and I mean REALLY dedicated, not just “oh yeah, I’m dedicated”. It’s important to be consistent with your releases and you’ll need to invest a lot of money, time, and energy into the label to really run it properly. Running my label has literally been a full-time job on top of work and school, so don’t take that lightly.
Biggest pet peeve?
SoundCloud/Facebook spammers and people who ask to check their track/ask for favors without making any attempt to properly introduce themselves and/or have a real conversation like a real human being. A little bit of courtesy goes a long way.
Any shout outs?
Yes. For the sake of keeping things short, I’m going to give out a couple shouts that may seem generic on the surface, but they are really coming from the heart.
First, big up to all the fans who have been supporting us – especially those who spend their hard-earned money to purchase our releases and/or help spread the word in any way. I cannot stress enough how much both I and all of the artists appreciate it. SERIOUSLY!
Second, big up to all the artists on the Dank ‘N’ Dirty Dubz roster and all the artists that submit their music to the label for consideration/to be aired on our radio show. Without you, we’d be NOWHERE and I’m not just saying that. Without all of your help, love, and support, we wouldn’t be able to continue doing what we love to do.
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