As a label, Local Action has been a little bit all over the place, stylistically, since its launch in 2010. Obviously all the music it releases is rooted in the dancefloor and in label owner Tom Lea’s passion for new and interesting music, but there’s definitely something positive to be said about the label’s openness and the way it can jump from say the vocal driven 4x4 of T.Williams and Terri Walker, to the sparse grime inflections of Slackk or the rugged tech of Artifact’s more recent work.
With their second Room Three takeover happening on Friday we asked Lea to put together something that could help us get our head in a similar sort of space as his own. What he delivered was a mix that thrives off the energy of grime, something he’s professed an undying love for many times before; so with in mind, we shot him a few questions to help make sense of the mix and find out a little more about his future plans for the imprint…
There’s a few tracks from Footsie and a lot of grime leaning tracks in the start of your mix, I know that’s always been a bit of a touchstone for you and you’re part of the team behind Boxed or whatever, but is grime still informing the music you choose to release do you think?
I'm not actually part of Boxed but I played the first one and once they killed the lights and some girls turned up it was the best night I've been to in ages. I know it's a cliché but it was a dead dark room with a really loud system and music that felt genuinely new, and given that it was only half-full it really had that early FWD>> vibe to it. I know it's a drum that Slackk and others have been beating but there's such an exciting wave of new grime producers and labels coming through - Rabit, Samename, Sublo, Trends, Inkke, MissingNo, Bloom, Glacial Sound, Coyote - and there's also a group of us who're really up on it: me and Slackk played all night at Alibi this weekend gone and a lot of the same crew who'd been to Boxed came through. It's nice. It's starting to feel like there's an interesting community bouncing off each other again, which I haven't felt since 2009/2010.
Grime definitely informs what I choose to release on the label because it's my favourite kind of music and has been for a long, long time, but more than anything it helps remind me to not release bait, rebore shit, and to focus on stuff that's real. I don't just mean UK either - one of my favourite Local Action releases is a Detroit techno record, Contakt's 'Not Forgotten', but Contakt's actually from Michigan and has a really interesting musical background in the States (though he's old and smart enough to not want to shout about it, so I'm not going to go into detail here), so there's a big difference between him and some Brit ripping off Kerri Chandler or whatever. I think the label's had missteps, but most labels take a couple of years to find their feet, and right now with DJ Q, Slackk and a couple of others, I think there's a nice core to what we're doing.
There’s been a real throwback to Eski lately with producers applying that clicky kind of sound palette to slower and weirder tempos. What do you make of this new spate of bleakly informed productions?
Well people like Sublo, who's all over this mix, do it really fucking well and I'm all for more of that around. I just hope it doesn't become a preset-style signifier in the way that stabby New York house baselines or Lex Lugar risers have become. But you can always tell when people are just throwing stuff in a tune for the sake of it.
What’s coming up for Local Action this year?
After Artifact's Cologne Tracks and DJ Q's 'Trust Again' we've got Lil Jabba's debut album, which has been a long time coming but is finally ready - lacquers have been cut and we're just waiting on TPs and artwork. There's two more forthcoming DJ Q singles, one of them this month, followed by his debut album. A new EP by Slackk, which is almost there, a new project by an old face on the label, which will be under another name and is probably the heaviest stuff Local Action's released yet, and possibly a new name or two before the year's out. I'm never in a rush though.
Tom Lea - FABRICLIVE x Local Action Mix
Compa - We Go
Footsie - Bubblers
Footsie - It Feels Safe
Sublo - Black Veil
Inkke - A.K.N.F
Sublo - Realm Freeze
FGM - Slapper
Kid D - Apocalypse
Noaipre - Butterfly Knife
Noaipre - Frosty Time
Inkke - Thinkk Star (Club Mix)
Sublo - Snow Blind
Inkke - Fully Charged
To the City - Kurobei Hills
To the City - Ghosts in the Abattoir
Rossi B & Luca feat. Scorcher - Optimus Prime 3style
Samename - Devil Eyes
Kid D - Godfather
Slackk - Jackpines
Samename vs Aaliyah - Kastform That Somebody
Noaipre - Ghetto Kyote