Record labels have all pretty much gone the digital route these days but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Sure we don’t have the tactile feel of a piece of vinyl or CD in our hands when we play music now, but we do still know a good song when we hear it. The digital revolution has definitely brought a new influx of music into the market, and for DJs that sometimes means having to listen to hundreds of tracks in order to find one or two gems. Fret not though, as there are actually a number of local labels that have been releasing quality, dancefloor-worthy tracks. Here’s a list of five Vancouver electronic music labels that are worth checking out, and have been making a considerable impact on the electronic dance music scene in a variety of different genres.
1. Nordic Trax
2. Homebreakin Records
3. Hybridity Music
4. East Van Digital
Nordic Trax was started up back in 1997 by Vancouver DJ/producer/promoter, Luke McKeehan and since then has built up a solid reputation in the house music scene. Recent releases received glowing reviews from the likes of IDJ Magazine, Musik Magazine and XLR8R, in addition to support from heavy-weights such as Mark Farina, Terry Francis, Luciano and Mark Knight. Definitely a go-to label for fans of fine, classic house.
Genres: House, Deep House
Label Manager, Malcolm Levy, who is also the Director behind the city’s longest running electronic music festival, New Forms, seeks out to showcase artists who fuse music, art, technology and performance. The combination of all these elements creates an interactive, immersive environment. Hybridity is more than just a label, it’s a conceptual vision encompassing many forms of art.
Genres: Electronic, Synth Pop, Hip-Hop, Electro, House, Bass
Label owners, Matt Dauncey (aka Neighbour) and Cal Bass are all about the funk. In 2006 they set out to create a platform where they could release tunes that showcased their love for the sounds of the 70s, 80s, disco, house, funk and hip-hop. Seven years later they are still going strong and now have a hybrid physical-digital model that alternates between vinyl pressings and digital releases. Their artist roster boasts heavy-hitters in the local scene such as Hoola Hoop, Audit, Spilt Milk and Wax Romeo, and they’ve also expanded the label to include Punch Out! Recordings, 10pin Records and Bigfoot Records.
Genres: House, Disco, Funk, Hip-Hop, Glitch, Indie Dance/Nu Disco
East Van Digital
East Van Digital was founded in 2010 and is headed up by local producer, Joseph Martin. The label fosters the growth of many Vancouver based DJs and producers, in addition to some international acts over a wide range of genres, sub-genres, sub-sub-genres, sub-sub-sub-genres…well, you get the idea! East Van Digital has worked with local artists such as Andy Clockwork, Longwalkshortdock and Timothy Wisdom, and has also received international support from Above & Beyond, ill Gates, Nic Fanciulli, Roger Sanchez and Sander Kleinenberg to name a few.
Genres: Breaks, House, Hip-Hop, Glitch, Trap, Electro, Techno and many more
Jay Zoney and Josh Garrett founded Subspec in 2012 and since then they’ve been on a mission to release classic, quality, DJ-friendly techno to the masses. With garnered support from established artists such as Danny Tenaglia, Slam, DJ Sneak, Drumcell and Bryan Zentz, and a stacked roster that includes The Automatic Message, Sone, Complicit and John Massey, this is one label any techno fan will want to stay up-to-date on.
Genres: Techno, Tech-house