Mad Decent records
With Diplo, Crookers and Boy 8-Bit heading to Scotland David Pollock enters the world of Mad Decent records
‘We look for people who are trying different things,’ says Jasper Goggins, New York-based manager of the Mad Decent label, ‘and who aren’t afraid to be a bit experimental with their sound. But more than that everyone on the label is friends, there’s definitely an easy camaraderie, a certain shared mindset which everyone who comes into the Mad Decent world shares’.
Scottish crowds will get a chance to open a window on the Mad Decent worldview later this month, when the MD of MD Diplo comes to Edinburgh with his fellow signee Boy 8-Bit, and their sometime labelmates Crookers play at the Arches in Glasgow. Diplo – aka Thomas Wesley Pentz, or just ‘Wes’ to Goggins – founded the label back in 2006 in his native Philadelphia, when he discovered the music of Brazilian baile funk outfit Bonde do Rolê and wanted to make sure it was heard further afield.
Since then Mad Decent has released an eclectic bunch of sounds from artists based around the world, including the ravey computer game retroisms of London’s Boy 8-Bit, broad-genred party soundtracks from Italy’s Crookers and the description-defying work of people like South Rakkas Crew, DJ Sega and Blaqstarr. Diplo’s production work, remember, has been integral to the furiously contemporary style of M.I.A. and, to a lesser degree, Santogold.
‘Wes spends an enormous amount of time on the internet,’ laughs Goggins. ‘He blogs a lot and he’s really good at replying to his emails, but he also just likes to keep his ear to the ground and really soak up the sounds of every new city he tours to.’
Milan duo Crookers are one act that Diplo met through iChat and invited to send recordings. Their name has been on Mad Decent recordings in the past, and they look set to blow up around the world later this year with the release of the debut album Lots of Friends, which features guest appearances from Rye Rye, Kelis, Tim Burgess, Radioclit, Marina Ribatski (ex-singer of Bonde do Rolê) and Soulwax.
‘It’s a real pleasure to work with Diplo,’ says Crookers’ Andrea Fratlglo, aka DJ Bot, recording partner of Francesco Barbaglia, DJ Phra. ‘Wes is a great guy, and he does things the way they should be done in the record industry. He isn’t just interested in one style, he goes out of his way to discover new artists from around the world, and he will give young people with raw talent advice on how to become better in the studio. It’s all about making the best music possible.’
That’s the continuing intention for the future too, says Goggins. Upcoming on Mad Decent are a Buraka Som Sistema remix EP, a new London-based artist called Elvis 1990, a Dominican girl from New York who raps and sings called Mulaca, and a Philadelphian trio of brothers who make punk rock as Popo. ‘There is,’ says the label’s manager, ‘no lack of cool stuff on the horizon’.
Crookers play Death Disco at the Arches, Glasgow, Sat 16 May; Diplo and Boy 8-Bit play Sicknote vs Sugarbeat at Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh, Thu 21 May.