The Electronic Dance Music scene is one of the most rigorously changing landscapes within the music industry. The constant creation of sub-genres and the rotation of popularity of said sub-genres creates a highly evolving, extremely competitive market to break into. This never ending cycle of evolution leads dance music to the forefront of creativity and puts labels in a place to hand pick the next big trends. As labels find more and more artist expanding their horizons and trying to stand out, they are also stumbling across artist who are revolutionizing songwriting and production. This can make it difficult to weed out the good from the bad, but puts labels in a huge position to sculpt markets and foster growth.
Enter MalLabel Music, a label based out the San Fransisco Bay Area who is taking strides in the popularization of experimental bass. Their catalogue is full of interesting, forward thinking bass music that will expand your mind to sounds you may or may not have known were out there. As they discover new artists they plant seeds of growth in new areas and change the scene one release at a time.
I had the pleasure of asking Mal a few questions about her label and their movement. Check it out below.
How has experimental bass changed in the last 2-3 years?
I think there are many new sounds and BPM change ups in production that were not used a few years ago. DJs used to play in one style as well, whereas in the pas 2-3 years you are hearing more varied selections in genres found in one set from producers on the cutting edge. I think that trend will continue where eventually audiences will have wider tastes and can assimilate faster to new styles.
Where do you see MalLabel playing a role in dance music, which niches does it cover?
Forward thinking bass that leans weird. We are all about finding the newest sounds and emerging artists. The label has been consistent in almost 9 years of releases of being the jump off point for major artists career’s like Minnesota, G Jones, The Widdler, and Headphone Activist. We will continue that tradition by seeking out the most interesting new talent the label can find.
Is there any word on if the label will start throwing live shows?
We threw the first underground bass shows in the bay area almost 10 years ago and ended on a high note a festival with E-40 in 2012. The focus has been on promoting music and artists since the scene became very over saturated in both clubs and festivals. That being said, we are just starting preliminary planning for a mini label showcase tour next year while will hit several main US cities and a few international.
What inspired the new website design?
Our brand look has always been sleek, minimal, and dark. It had been a few years since our last brand revamp and I think its necessary to continually change up the look of the label as much as we do the sound.
What do you think is the best city for experimental bass artists to thrive?
Right now in the US, its all about Portland. There is a great fusion of Pacific northwest artists from Canada and the USA that are setting up shop in that area which brings in fresh lineups to that region. The Bay Area will always have a place in my heart for the bass scene, but with the Ghost Ship fire and SF gentrification pushing artists out, the underground scene has died off which has been detrimental to the Bay scene.
If you started a new label, would you do anything different you did with MalLabel?
MalLabel is all about not pigeon holing our sound, but that has led to some fans to feel alienated that there is not a consistent style to our releases. If we started another imprint, it would have a focus on a specific genre. I think it would be interesting to contrast the ideas behind both, one malleable and ever changing sound and the second imprint a very specific sound to compare how the fans would react.