For us, Switched On is one of the more exciting young labels around London at the moment. The impressive debut release from Alex D££mnds set the tone, and this forthcoming ‘Autonomy’ EP from the boss himself is set to push the sound in a new, yet coherent, direction. See what S.E.F had to say about the label in general, his first release, and forthcoming material below.
- Firstly, tell us a bit about yourself, and how you came to be a DJ, producer and label owner.
Growing up in London made it easy for me to enter the world of music as I was surrounded by it from early on. I’d always listen to pirate radio and found it almost magical. The reality of things as I later found out was that it’s a very long learning curve. I worked in record shops, promoted events, handed out flyers in the snow, eventually went on to set up a few labels and now run and own Switched On Records.
- What do you like to listen to outside of making music and DJing?
Rap was my first real love, I grew up in it’s “golden era” and a lot of money that I didn’t really have at the time was spent on imported CDs from the States. Wu Tang Clan, Nas, Rakim, DMX and Dr Dre were some of my favourites. I was also into electronic stuff like Prodigy, Chemical Brothers and Roni Size, before discovering UK Garage and later on Grime. I also listen to a lot of North African/Arabic music as that’s where I originate from.
- What is the idea behind Switched On Records? What do you think makes a good record label?
The inspiration behind Switched On Records is all things creative. I’m generally a creative person and am inspired by all types of culture, cinema, art, music, food etc. I have travelled a lot and really like taking what I have seen and learnt across the world and trying to include it into the music I make and play. To me a good label consists of artists who are open minded and have the talent to produce stuff that isn’t just what is current or popular and ultimately for it to have its own unique identity.
- Which labels do you look up to as having a similar vision to your own?
There are so many great labels from around the world. My favourite House music label is Poker Flat from Germany; they have been around for years and always manage to stay relevant without changing their values.
- What have you found to be the main challenges of starting a label?
I have to admit that the introduction of digital media into music has made it a lot easier to set up a label. Before getting your label off the ground was a long and expensive process but today it’s a lot easier with social networking, platforms like Soundcloud and the ability to sell tracks purely online. Obviously it’s a great thing that more people get the chance to get their stuff out there. The major problem with is that because it’s now easier to release music some labels choose to flood the market with substandard music just because the option is there to do so without having a long-term plan, luckily they don’t seem to last very long.
With Switched On there were no major challenges setting it up as I had been thinking about doing it for some time, I was waiting for the right time to kick things off properly.
- Where do you see yourself and Switched On in five years?
For the future I hope we manage to grow as much as possible and continue to find new artists and put out good music.
- Your ‘Autonomy’ EP is next out. This will be your debut release, and the second release of the label. How long has it taken you to find an S.E.F sound, and how much can you see it evolving?
Producing is always something I have wanted to do but never dedicated enough time to. I’d always listen to tracks and think I would change this or that about it, the ideas were in my head but I never got round to making them into reality. As I was setting up
Switched On Records I thought I couldn’t really ask people to trust me with their work if I didn’t have my own on there.
I think I’ve reached a stage where I can be comfortable releasing my own work and playing them alongside other productions I like. I’m quite particular when it comes to most things I do so didn’t want to do things half-heartedly. In saying that I’m still learning new things all the time and hope to carry on developing as a producer.
- How does you release compare to the first Alex D££mnds’ EP and the forthcoming Rob Lee stuff? Is there a pretty clear pattern throughout all the material you have confirmed so far?
The only clear pattern between all of the tracks that will be released on Switched On is that its House music. I personally think its pointless releasing the same style over and over again just for the sake of it. One of the latest signings is a guy called Lost & Found, he has his own take on things but still fits in with the label. Having your own style is key if you are to stand out and that’s something I look for in everyone I work with.
- And finally, please complete the following sentence: Get Some…
.. Good footwear. Everything you need to know about a person you can find out from their shoes.