- Published on Wednesday, 09 May 2012 23:31
London and Berlin as often seen as twin pillars of taste-making within the dance music scene in Europe, as discerning clubbers don’t just look to the more established or more popular labels, but lately, more often than not to underground fledgling ones for their fresh new music. Whilst here in the UK it’s people like Hypercolour and Futureboogie who seek out new sounds and artists, over in Germany their counterpart stands as Shir Khan’s Exploited Records.
Originally a DJ, Shir Khan (real name Jan Simon Spielberger) now considers himself a jack-of-all-trades; label-founder, talent-spotter, radio host, remixer and promoter are all talents he can lay claim to. It’s clear he’s the type to be constantly pushing himself and evolving his multitude of projects in order to stay abreast of a industry always in flux.
Exploited’s genesis began around 2007 when Khan’s wish to make a DJ Kicks style compilation, but lack of label willing to clear all the necessary rights and release it on his behalf, led to him taking matters into his own hands. In the way of all good projects, it naturally led to him discovering a desire to take it further than the initial idea. As he spoke to different artists for the purpose of collating their music he came across tracks that he wanted for EPs instead.
However the very first Exploited Records release was a vinyl-only affair from the Parisian producer Surkin, that he modestly explains happened by accident. “A friend of mine was the A&R at Berlin label City Slang and he’d just recieved a remix for one of his artists by a French newcomer. He told me that the original artist hated the remix so much that they didn’t want to put it out. Since he’d heard I was about to start a label he offered the remix to me to put out as an original Surkin release.... and I did it and it was a pretty good start. Erol Alkan, Boys Noize and Soulwax all loved it around that time.”
Nowadays, of course, Khan doesn’t simply wait for music to fall into his lap. A considerable amount of work goes into discovering and nurturing the artists on Exploited, and into the music they subsequently produce. Taking unknowns like Amsterdam’s Homework, Austria’s Joyce Muniz and homegrown talent like Adana Twins, Claptone and the teen duo Cocolores, and establishing them as hot names to watch out for in relatively short spaces of time is a point of pride for Shir Khan. “I think it's great to work with new faces - but it is normally a tough and long way to get them where you want them to be.” he says.
Maybe it’s the thought behind the artist selection process that sees him first question whether considering whether they click as individuals that ensures strong bonds between the label boss and his protégés. He states, “Of course the releases are all about musical quality but still personal style comes first.”
This dedication to keeping relations tight-knit is somewhat at odds with the rapid rise of success. As new releases turn into instant Beatport and Resident Advisor chart-climbers, all industry eyes naturally turn towards the label. Shir Khan admits that (and apologises for) a large number of emails and phonecalls go unanswered as things get more hectic, promising, “Exploited will expand in the future. That's for sure.” With the debut from Purple Velvet, a recent side project from Coat Of Arms member Chris James, hitting the front page of Beatport upon release; they look set to be expanding sooner rather than later.
Indeed, they only seem to be building upon success after success at the moment, as Exploited’s popular disco edit series Black Jukebox hit its third edition a fortnight ago with Doctor Dru reworking the Italo disco classic Voice Of Q and rather aptly renaming it Voice Of Dru. With its souped-up, dancefloor ready sound, familiar and yet more exciting, it’s no wonder it too has made its way into Beatport users hearts and made a dent in the overall Top Ten.
If anything it is the Exploited Records ethos that truly sums up this label’s recent rise to fame: “Connect the dots. Destroy the genre…. Exploit popular culture by recombining elements from the past, twist them around, mix them up and make it sound fresh.” And therein lies the secret. Exploited aren’t recycling the same old deep house sounds that are starting to seem like an emcumberment to the scene, they’re looking to the past for that element of familiarity that keeps clubbers happy but providing a new, modern take on it. As Shir Khan himself says “In the end I don’t care if its house or disco or whatever - it's only about music that can excite you - even if it's only for a certain amount of time. It's hard to make timeless dance music these days. Time seems to move faster and faster.”
You can catch Shir Khan and other members of Exploited on a special label showcase on Beatport’s Ustream channel on Wednesday 23rd May 16:00 – 22:00 C.E.T
Words: Rachael Williams
- Published on Wednesday, 04 April 2012 18:41
Bank Holiday Easter Weekend 2012 – London's Top 10 Parties
With well over a hundred events taking place in the capital over the course of the upcoming Easter Weekend, Meoko thought it only polite we try and provide you with a much abridged rundown of the Top 10 best parties London has to offer between Thursday 5th and Sunday 8th. Starting with..
- Published on Monday, 13 February 2012 17:29
When one thinks of Miami, one does not think underground clubbing hotspot. Those visiting Miami are more likely to be confronted with the ‘super clubs’ such as LIV or Mansion, filled with girls dolled up to the nines, guys dropping tens of thousands of dollars for a table and the ‘Electronic Dance Music’ that is sweeping across the States thanks to acts like David Guetta and the Swedish House Mafia. But there is one club, tucked away Downtown that brings the type of atmosphere and music that the discerning music lover and clubber craves. That club is the Electric Pickle, affectionately referred to as The Pickle, and it’s pretty much the only club in Miami dedicated to bringing underground talent from all over the world to in-the-know underground house and techno aficionados.
- Published on Tuesday, 31 January 2012 16:16
I distinctly remember my first encounters with 25 Kingsland Road. It was 2005, I was 22 and had a collection of fluro leggings that put American Apparel’s S/S 2009 collection to shame. I also had an obsession with appargiated bass lines and Miss Kitten style lyrics that saw me prance into Trailer Trash at On The Rocks on a weekly basis. Transvestites to the left, shoulder thrusts to the right, I was in the middle of electro clash heaven. Resident Hannah Holland would take her place in the odd motorway toll style booth while the queues of young, creative freaks that resembled the cast of The Rocky Horror Picture Show trickled through in their masses. Inside, a packed, dark, sweaty room and some of the most horrendous toilets you’ll ever have the misfortune of squatting in became a magical playground. The music was a mix between electro, disco, house and techno with a sprinkling of acidic pop for good measure. It was…FABULOUS.
- Published on Wednesday, 21 December 2011 13:04
Love them or hate them, there’s no escaping the end of year polls that descend upon us year after year. From top ten YouTube video’s to top ten films of the year, best fashion brand or most powerful photographic images, every December the whole world turns into a competitive ‘let’s rate everything that exists’ monster. Tucked away in our not so quite little corner of dance music, we are equally guilty of partaking in this bizarre obsession like some warped ‘underground’ X-factor competition. I have never voted in any of these polls or awards with the exception of the annual Resident Advisor charts where we, as staff or contributors are asked to submit our top compilations, labels, albums and tracks of the year. I have also never been that interested in them, not interested enough to vote outside of the staff polls anyway.