Careering away from the rest of the pack with a certain kind of die cut beauty and a label roster that would make any self respecting musical futurist weep, the Apple Pips label turned 10 releases old recently with the release of Greena’s ‘Tenzado’ b/w ‘Actual Pain;’ and in a kind of unintentionally fitting masterstroke, the bastardized hybrid of Greena’s music, a sound that fuses as much house and funky as it does garage and dubstep bassweight, perfectly represents what Laurie Osbourne aka Appleblim’s label is all about.
Releasing music from artists as varied in style as T++ and Instra:mental the label has seen physical releases from Jus Wan, Martyn, Ramadanman, Brackles, Al Tourettes and the aforementioned Greena over its relatively short two year tenure, a feat which in terms of diversity and quality control has been seldom matched by any label, irrespective of genre.
“I see Apple Pips as a way of getting some of the amazing music that I am surrounded by on a daily basis,” Blim reveals, “either from the people I work with closely in Bristol, or from the producers round the world who give me their music to represent in my sets... I see the label - and the Apple Pips nights - as a way of giving something back to these talented people, to give them a platform and perhaps a step up so they can get more recognition and opportunities themselves.”
“I guess the label kicked off because Skull Disco [the label co-run by Appleblim and the elusive master of percussion, Shackleton] didn't seem appropriate to release certain music on...” he considers when probed on the inception of the label. “Myself and Shackleton always thought of Skull Disco as just being an outlet for our own strange experiments, and whilst it later came to bring in some people as remixers and collaborators it wouldn’t have seemed right to release other peoples music on it. Towards the end of Skull Disco I was chatting with Martyn who had expressed a love for Skull Disco, and whose 1st 'dubstep' release on DAT:music I had been battering at FWD>>. We were chatting about labels, about how I wanted to start one to release other people’s music, and how he was setting up his own, 3024 imprint. I loved his 'Suburbia' track to pieces, and he was like, ‘have these two tracks to start your own thing.’ I owe a lot to him!”
Working, like his artists, on a continual axis of discovery, Appleblim cites a kinship of music as his main proponent to keep pushing his label wares forward - “It’s just the love of music, and it’s the power to change people’s lives” - but within that undying appreciation of all styles and, what is imaginably a constant influx of submitted music, how does one pick what makes it onto the release schedule?
“Just something that gets me buzzing...” enthuses Blim, “the tracks all came from different connections. Sometimes it’s just a tune someone has sent me, sometimes its hearing a tune in a club and being like ‘what the *&^%$ is this?!’ and it’s the DJs tune. Sometimes it’s something I’ve worked on with someone in their studio, sometimes it’s a track I’ve heard on a mix and I try and hunt them down...that’s the exciting part of a label really, that thrill of finding a tune you know other people are going to buzz off..."
“When I first met Appleblim it was techno that we first bonded over,” admits Apple Pips signing Al Tourettes, “we both have a mutual appreciation of artists like Cristian Vogel, Robert Hood, Two Lone Swordsmen and Mathew Jonson. At the time I wasn't hugely into most of the dubstep I’d heard, so Laurie definitely got me into it, especially the Apple Pips output and that of artists like 2562, Martyn and Shackleton. When we came to do the Hector & Bryant remix [‘Tension’ was released physically on Phonica Records last year] it was really refreshing for me as I hadn't worked with anyone else before, and found collaborating with Laurie very natural.”
It's his openness and the self effacing freedom Osbourne provides for his collaborators that has seen him work with numerous producers over the last year, from his work with Geiom on the Berkane Sol imprint to his collabos with Ramadanman, Komonazmuk and Al Tourettes; productions which seem to bring out the enthusiastic side in his work, a way for Appleblim to keep experimenting and progressing within his own music. Likewise his label’s aural breadth has opened doors for so many listeners; dubstep enthusiasts who probably never ever thought about the space you can open up even further when you knock a handful of numbers off your bpm counter and techno purists who have found the emphasis on low end frequencies as warming and welcoming as their bed after enduring a 30 hour rave marathon.
Ever continuing his plight to uncover new music that has the power to move minds as much as it does bodies on the dancefloor, you can't help but think - on the strength of Pips' output so far - that there are going to be numerous other sonic curveballs from his associated crew; but speculation aside, what is next for Apple Pips as a physical record label?
“Over the next year I will be releasing a lot more music from Bristol based producers,” says Blim, “but just the fact of running the label, this is something that has come directly from moving to this great city, and being influenced by the people and atmosphere here. There’s something about it, I think Gemmy (a wicked Bristol producer) summed it up quite nicely by saying things move just that little bit slower down here than London so you can still catch styles and movements going by, but you have more time to just check it and put your spin on it. It’s a thriving city musically, and everyone just gets on with it without watching too hard what everyone else is doing...”
Come February 19th our top floor dancefloor and the brick lined recesses of Room Three will be invaded by Osbourne's Apple Pips vision as we play host to the first label takeover of 2010. He's bringing with him some of his label staples and a few fresh faces so, in his own words, what can we expect?
“Well...” Osbourne emits before a sharp intake of breath, “I hope people will enjoy the variety of music that will be being rinsed out. Wedge and Gatekeeper will come with some seriously deep dubstep to warm up, then Greena can - and will - weave between everything from old-school electro, through Dutch house, to UK funky and grime effortlessly. Al Tourettes’ live set has to be experienced, he puts everything into it, with a cool set up of controllers so he's really changing up his tunes, and also triggering drums from drum pads; his beats range from teched out house to stuff that’s somewhere between dubstep electro and the kind of thing Martyn is doing. Then it’ll just be me banging out whatever has made it into my bag this week! Currently I’m feeling the new stuff from Jamie Vexd under his Kuedo name, the techno of Marcel Dettman & Peter Van Hosen, some wicked new deep Mathew Jonson gear, and of course exclusives from dubstep producers from round the world!"
It might well be best described by fellow Bristol compatriot Wedge who chips in, “along with Dubloaded in Bristol and FWD>> in London, Apple Pips is one of the few nights that truly has its mind on music. Diverse, immersive, over bassy, and suitably dark with everyone on pure good vibes!”
A hefty statement that to a certain extent Appleblim agrees with, leaving our conversation with a lingeringly succinct and highly plausible aspiration.
"Hopefully everyone will shock out and have as much fun as we will...”
You can catch Appleblim & his Apple Pips brethren at FABRICLIVE on Friday 19th Feb. For just a taster of his impeccable selection check out this exclusive promo mix: