Solid Focus – Black Butter Records
Black Butter – Winning in 4 years or less
The turn of the decade saw a fresh wave of electronic music storm the UK and break into charts and clubs across the world. However if you look behind the curtain of Drum & Bass, House, Indie Dance and Grime you will often be lead to the same source, Black Butter Records.
But what is this label we know so little about?
Since being founded in early 2010 by music fanatic Olly Wood on a measly budget of £5,000, the independent label has gone from strength to strength. Originally created as a platform to support and secure bookings for artists managed by Stack House Management, BB soon became it’s own entity signing electronic artists, rappers and singers across all genres alike. The London based label now boasts an eclectic roster of chart toppers, in addition countless underground artists, however it’s the label’s modest roots that keeps the name away from everybody’s lips.
To date, at almost exactly 4 years old, the label holds its it head high above other independent labels having bagged a UK No.1 album, several No.1 singles, even more Top 40 successes and 100,000,000’s of views across Youtube. It even went on to be given the AIM Best Small Label Award of 2012.
Black Butter is currently pushing a variety of music talent through the music industry but there are three flagship artists who are leading the way:
Feel The Love ft. John Newman
Based in Hackney, East London, the group Rudimental, formed by Piers Aggot, Kesi Dryden, Amir Amor and DJ Locksmith, rose to success in mid-2012 when Feel The Love (ft. John Newman) became the UK’s second Drum & Bass record to reach No.1. From that point on the rest was history. The four went on to release numerous chart-topping singles, the number one album Home and have been touring the world ever since.
The rough-cut sound of their first releases with BB in 2011, Deep in the Valley and Speeding, is a giveaway to their true London roots.
Deep in the Valley ft. MC Shantie
It was only until their 2012 single Spoons (ft. MNEK & Syron) when the polished sound we hear today began to take shape. This track later went on to feature in Home.
Spoons ft. MNEK & Syron
The band, comprised of brothers Jack and Luke Patterson, Grace Chatto and Milan Neil Amin-Smith, plays a fusion of classical strings combined with a modern pop-house backdrop. Having met at Cambridge, the band was originally a string quartet until Jack began sampling and adding beats to their recordings. Jack also claims to have remixed Shostakovich with his own beats and Dvoràk in Reggae style. Things finally clicked in 2009 and they named themselves Clean Bandit; a literal translation from a Russian phrase meaning ‘utter bastard’.
The band were launched into the public eye when they featured twice as part of Channel 4’s Random Acts series with the self-produced music videos UK Shanty and A&E. Naturally Clean Bandit’s unheard style was a perfect match for the Random Acts theme and with these productions a sense of the unusual is carried across.
By the time Mozart’s House reached No.17 last year, a transformation from something somewhat unusual into a winning formula had already begun. Mozart’s House had it’s own EP and featured remixes from fellow BB duo My Nu Leng and also XXXY.
2014 is to be Clean Bandit’s year having already grabbed UK No.1 with Rather Be and reaching top ten around the world. Album New Eyes will be released in May.
Gorgon City is one of the biggest names to come out of the recent house revival, but you would be foolish to think that this duo are new to the scene. Kye Gibbon and Matt Robson-Scott, otherwise known as Foamo and RackNRuin respectively, are masters of their scenes and have each had successful solo careers.
If you have been to a club at any point in the last couple of years or listen to the radio on the off-chance you will have undoubtedly heard some of GC’s work.
Real ft. Yasmin
The future is looking bright for Gorgon City; they climb gradually up the charts with each release having reached No.4 this year with Ready For Your Love.
Ready For Your Love ft. MNEK
Their solo productions, however, show a clear contrast in style to what we now hear today. Perhaps a reflection of the scene they both developed into, their solo productions were faster, harder and much more varied.
Foamo – Rumours
Wilkinson – Take You Higher (Foamo Remix)
RackNRuin – Soundclash ft. Jessie Ware
As a fan of both Foamo and RackNRuin it was exciting to hear rumours of Gorgon City being formed and their first collaborations lived up to expectation, although not quite in style we now hear today.
Santigold – Disperate Youth (Gorgon City Remix)
GC’s productions have taken a radical transformation since day 1. When comparing recent productions to those from 2012 the contrasts are clear but the roots are there. Their work seems to become deeper and softer as they gain more success with these productions.
With this in mind each of Rudimental’s, Clean Bandit’s and Gorgon City’s successes and transformations demonstrate the effectiveness of the brains behind outfit. Regardless of outside input, each group are highly talented and make great music, however when the success stories show such correlation we are hard pressed to look anywhere other than the management.
Within 4 Years Black Butter has grown as a label into a contender for any of the Big 4, yet it still remains small and independent, modest. So long as BB can hold onto the aspirations it has used to come this far, it has a future in music.
Black Butter, we salute you!
You can find more music and Black Butter artists here
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