Hessle Audio is a dubstep label, and its origins were in the most dubstep of locations. The queue for seminal, scene-defining night FWD>> at London’s Velvet Rooms (which currently lives at the city’s Plastic People) was where Ben Thomson and David Kennedy first met. Already DJing individually, the pair were both studying in Leeds, which is where they founded their own radio show (and, by extension, the Leeds dubstep scene) with Kevin McAuley. From there, it was a short step to their own label and a dubstep identity of their own as Ramadanman (Kennedy), Ben UFO (Thomson) and Panagea (McAuley).
‘Shops are saturated with dubstep releases now,’ says Thomson, ‘but two or three years ago what we were doing was pretty left of centre. Plus we don’t have such a big garage influence; we wanted to bring a bit more of the swing, the shuffle of house music to the rhythms. You see that now in London, so many kids who are basically making house music, but without knowing the classic house tracks or the conventions of the genre. That’s the direction we’re going in.’
Originally intended as their own vehicle, the Hessle Audio team have also released tracks by TRG and Untold. At the moment they’re strictly a 12” only label, and Thomson says they’ll think long and hard before moving into albums – despite the genre’s increasing ubiquity, he considers Bristolian producer Tom ‘Peverelist’ Ford’s forthcoming debut to be the first dubstep long-player that’s truly worthy as ‘a listening experience’. Their hosts should take note, because their own label Fortified Audio is about to launch with a release from Loops Haunt.
Glasgow School of Art, Glasgow, Fri 27 Nov