All things Footwork at Good Street Records.

August 8, 2014 3:04 pm This post was written by Didi Aben.

One of the biggest aims behind Sublow is to champion and celebrate the rich underground music culture that we have in the UK. We really enjoy coming across new record labels and pockets of musicians working together on brand new music. One of the latest labels we have come across is Good Street Records. We have been chatting to the labels founder, Ventah – on all things juke and footwork…

Tell me about Good Street Records, how did you start the label and why?

Truth be told, it was never really a conscious decision to start a record label. It just sort of happened. I graduated from university in summer 2012, and I knew that I didn’t want to waste my degree and the skills I had learnt. I had two options – get a 9-5 job and start earning, or take a gap-year and live off my humble amount of savings. So instead of getting a job, I spent my days making music, DJing, working on animations and experimental film projects. And somehow Good Street Records was born from this.

The answer to ‘why’ I started Good Street has evolved over time. What started out as a platform on which to release my own music has turned into a label that gives lesser known and under represented artists a chance to release their music. I think it’s so important to support the grass roots UK scene and to champion the music.

I’m not one to sing my own praises, but I feel that Good Street has done this quite well.

How did you come across Juke and footwork music?

I had originally found Juke and Footwork from listening to Sub FM during 2010-2012. At the time Sub FM played various types of bass music, it really was an education in underground bass music.

Is there Djs in particular who inspired you?

The two DJs/shows that got me into Juke/Footwork was Donga (who ran Well Rounded Records) and DGGZ (who hosts Vibez Refresh Session now on Bassport FM). They were playing a lot of juke/footwork-orientated music, which at the time confused the hell out of me! But somehow the blend of insane rhythms and vocal cuts made sense in my head.

I also started producing footwork around this time. Before that, I had produced electronic reggae, dub and ragga, with a few jungle elements. I don’t know whether I started producing at 160bpm before I really knew about footwork and the culture, or whether while researching footwork I saw that it was 160bpm and decided to give it a go. Maybe this revelation/connection came on the same day. I can’t remember.

How do you think the UK music scene has embraced footwork culture and why?

I wouldn’t necessarily say ‘the uk has embraced footwork’, not fully anyway, as its still such an underground scene. However, the crowd that has embraced footwork music (though sadly not the footwork dancing itself) has done for a number of reasons.

That’s interesting, could you expand on some of those reasons?

Firstly, the tempo (typically 160bpm) is an interesting tempo to work at. It’s almost the meeting point between the tempos of DnB/jungle and house/garage/techno. I think this gives footwork an interesting and unique blend – junglists who are producing at a slightly lower tempo, and house/garage heads that are working at a higher speed.

160bpm is virgin territory in terms of musical styles. Apart from power soca, there isnt really a scene that produces exclusively at 160bpm. I think this allows for more experimentation and new ideas, as there are no pre-conceived ideals on how 160bpm bass music should sound.

Secondly, it’s something new and different on the UK scene. The production methods, the vibe of the tracks and the DJ-ing style are all different to anything currently out there, and I think this piques interest among producers wanting to try something new. The vocal chops and rhythms are fresh and open to experimentation, and I feel footwork allows producers to really explore rhythms and vibes outside the standard 4/4.

Speaking of rhythm, I think the movement away from four-on-the-floor is a logical progression for those bored, alienated and uninterested in the deep house/EDM vibe. Though I mean no disrespect to the deep house heads out there, I feel footwork is groundbreaking and is really pushing the boundaries of Bass Music.

Thirdly, in the UK there is always an interest in musical trends that emerge from America, and vise-versa. In the same way the Americans took dubstep and ‘made it their own’, the UK has looked to America for footwork/juke. Footwork was born in Chicago and was virtually unknown outside of there until 2010. Theres such a rich heritage of Footwork dancing in Chicago, and its an honour to bring their music to a wider audience in the UK and Europe.
Both sides of the Atlantic seem to have a knack of taking the others musical styles and adding their own influence and production styles. In this way, we’ve taken footwork and added a UK spin. We’ve added the big booming sub bass and jungle-esque breaks that works well in clubs. In that same sense, we’ve begun producing footwork/juke for the clubs rather than the dance circles. It’s a shame that this has happened, but it was an inevitable step I feel.

We have noticed that you have started a radio station, how’s this going?

Good Street Radio is off to a good start! The station has some quality Djs onboard. The stations main focus is Juke/Footwork, but theres a lot Jungle, Bass Music and Hip-Hop on there too. I started the station to give Good Street DJs and producers a centralised place to broadcast live, and now we have a good selection of weekly, fortnightly and monthly shows. The station will grow in the coming months, adding more Djs to the schedule and building a bigger community. As far as I know this is the only internet radio station dedicated to Juke/Footwork!

What does Good street records have lined up for the rest of the year?

A ton of releases! On the 4th August, we’re putting out the next UK Footwork compilation, FWUK TRAX Seven. Six big tracks from Dispondant, Duckett, myself, b3no, Bovine Dance Syndrome and newcomer Curl$.
Later in the year we’ve got a big project with Beach Club x Relic and an equally exciting project with the lads from Polish Juke. Also quite a few EPs from producers all round the world – Londy, Chimping, Brad Pitch, Ulex, Lungz and of course Sublows very own B3no. We’ve also got two clubnights in two nights in September – Friday 19th is a Sublow x Good Street night in Falmouth, Cornwall. Saturday 20th is Frenetik in Bristol. Keep your eyes peeled for info about clubnights in Leeds and Manchester!

We collaborated with Dan to produce our Footwork T-shirt, which is available to purchase here.

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