Many of you readers who are connected with me on Facebook are well aware of this already, but in case you aren’t, I launched a brand new record label last month. It only dawned on me yesterday that I’ve completely spaced on mentioning even a single word about it on BBD!
The name of the label is Zakim and, simply put, is designed to be a platform to showcase the work of talented electronic music producers in the northeast. Coined after Boston’s iconic bridge, Zakim’s aesthetic is all about what I call the “Three F’s”: tracks that are Fresh, Funky, and Fun. I’m all about the merging (or bridging, pun intended) of different styles, and am using Zakim as a channel to promote this type of forward thinking.
Releases hit the streets on strictly limited VINYL runs first, followed by digital down the road (with tracks exclusive to both mediums to appeal to collectors). ZAK-001 was pressed up earlier this month and I have since sold roughly two-thirds of the 100-copy run. Needless to say, I’ve been humbled by all the support this project has received both locally and abroad, and am in the process of lining up ZAK-002 and 003 as we speak. The goal is to have both of them released by the end of the year.
Vinyl releases on Zakim will be self-distributed in the interim, but will look into seeking proper distribution in 2014 and potentially doing bigger runs then. I just want to prove that this project is sustainable first. From the way ZAK-001 has been selling thus far, things are looking good.
I wanted to make sure I launched Zakim with a strong release, so it’s only appropriate that I enlisted the talent of Andre Lira to make that happen. Graduating college and moving to his native New York City this past month, Lira is now able to focus squarely on developing his music career. With airplay on BBC Radio 1 and support by the likes of B.Traits, Shiftee, and Bot (of Crookers fame), Lira is becoming well-positioned to take his signature, genre-hopping blend of bass and house music global.
Lira splits his two artist personas right down the middle on the If U Want It EP: DRJ and Doctor Jeep. The latter is his original alias, reserved for the low frequency driven soundscapes he concocts that do not adhere to any specific style or BPM protocol. The DRJ alias, while still in its infancy, focuses on a more refined sound inspired by the innocent vibes of classic house music.
The DRJ version of “If U Want It” is a guilt-free house stomper that relies on little else besides scant vocal stabs, grooving bass, and a catchy TR-909 drumkit to start the party proper. It’s a simple affair in dance that quickly gets its point across without trying too hard.
The flip side of the coin opens with the Doctor Jeep version of “If U Want It”, which was actually the original version penned by Lira over a year ago. This mix traverses the relatively unexplored tempo range of 150 bpm. It hints at early 90s ‘ardcore and rave music with its flagrant use of pitched-up vocals and chopped breakbeats. “Together” pushes further in this direction, folding many of the same ingredients alongside lush layered pads to sweeten the deal. Essentially a power ballad that is actually fun to listen to!
If you’re interested in purchasing a copy of the If U Want It EP, I have set up a Bandcamp site: http://zakimrecordings.bandcamp.com. There are only about 35 left, so be sure to snap it up quickly! They’re hand-stamped and pressed on translucent green vinyl; they look and sound amazing.
In addition to updates here, you can keep tabs on Zakim through the following channels: