A chat with the SlothBoogie boys....
Deep within London's pulsating dance music scene, there exists a formidable force that's been making waves underground for many years. SlothBoogie - a household name in quality disco and house music - is more than just a record label, it's a DJ collective, a radio show and a regular party series.
We sit down with the guys, to find out about how the crew has kept so fresh since its inception and who are the key members of this tight-knit family that keep things together. We also find out more details on the label's most recent release, the Record Business EP by Tiptoes...
SlothBoogie feels like a family. How have you kept that crew-like feel after all these years?
I think it all comes down to an attitude we’ve stayed true to since the good ol’ blogging days. First and foremost we’re fans of the music and the community and we’ve always done everything we can to keep nurturing talent across everything we do.
Whether its supporting new artists on our radioshows or offering up slots in our guest mix series. Then as we get to know people better we try and bring them into the fold with limited vinyl releases or bookings at our label parties in London and Berlin. There’s just so many avenues for us to introduce artists and keep working with them so it feels natural to keep coming back and working with the lovely people we’ve met over the years.
The core crew of a label can fluctuate over time. How did the Covid-19 pandemic affect that core of the label? Did it bring you all together in a weird way, would you say? Or was it a time of change?
The pandemic was actually when we launched our first label collective album project called Dancing With Friends. We’d been wanting to do a bigger collective album project for a while and we’d already started sounding out our crew for new music to release as an exclusive compilation of all the styles that make up the SlothBoogie sound. Then the pandemic hit and it made us determined to release something that reminded us all of the things we missed about club culture and being with friends on a dancefloor. That album really captured something and holds such a special place in our hearts because of how it came about.
The label’s house cuts feel like they belong on wax. What are some of the best record stores you’ve ever visited? Why?
Its not a super secret niche choice but Phonica has supported us from day one. Simon and the teams are dons. They’ve been a lynch pin within the London record store scene for well over a decade now. The guys at Kindred in Farringdon and over at West London’s Next Door records are also beginning to evolve the concept of what a record store should be, and to great effect.
In Berlin, there’s so many options to choose from, particularly for second hand. Space Hall, Bikini Wax and Elevate are among our favourties.
Shout also to Underground Solu’shn and Rub ‘a Dub in Scotland for helping form the addition.
Name 3 artists on the SlothBoogie label we need to know about.
Well this is a tough one as we obviously love everyone we release with but Tiptoes has just released his third EP with us so seems like a good place to start… He’s a real House head and such a master of his craft. He deserves so much more recognition.
Philippa is another artist you need to know… Another proper production nerd in the best possible way. Young gun Soul Wun is over from Australia and we’ll be meeting him in the flesh for the first time at our Tola, Peckham residency later this month. He’s right at the start of his journey but already has such a mature sound.
Tell us about the visual aspects of your releases and merchandise. How do these fun visuals reflect the feeling of the SlothBoogie label?
Dancing With Friends artwork is all down to an illustrator in Australia called Steve Gavan who we discovered in the lead up to the pandemic. He’s a genius at creating simplified mascots that fits that concept perfectly. Then for the rest of the label and merch side its all done in house… Conor and Pat are both graphic designers and they’re the brains behind the look and feel of the label. Classic, no frills vinyl vibes for the records and then we have a bit more fun on the merch taking inspiration from the underground music industry and putting our playful spin on it.
On the parties you’ve hosted, what are some of the most memorable nights you’ve hosted, would you say, and why?
Its tough to pick out one in particular now as we’ve been doing our thing for over 10 years… We just love putting on our label parties and getting a chance to hang with people we release with or who we’re fans of as DJs.
The no photos thing in Berlin and their attitude to partying probably makes those parties all the more special though. People are only there for dancing and having a good time and the freedom of never closing makes those experiences pretty incredible.
And tell us about your 24hr Sisyphos parties. How did these come about? What is it about the space that’s so great?
Our Australian comrade, Lancelot, had recently played the Wintergarten in Sisyphos circa 2017. He came back to London, recounted tails of endless dancefloor energy and freedom of spirit, and basically told us we had to go. He connected Ken with Sisy and we booked our first 4 hour set there soon after.
Once we got to know the team at Sisy we found that we shared so many common values. In terms of what a dancefloor should be, how dance music culture should be celebrated as a community, why ego should be removed as much as possible when promoting and playing… the list goes on. It’s become a natural partnership, built on trust and understanding.
The partnership has grown, which has enabled us to invite artists from our roster to come and play alongside, and as the label has grown, so too have the set times. It’s so easy to spends days inside Sisy.
Sisyphos itself is a magical place… you can step through their famous gates into a mini festival atmosphere every weekend. They’re always building special hidden stages… A ski chalet last winter or a nudist tent this last summer. They’re always pushing things forward and tinkering with their free spirited formula. The crowds there really are the best to play for as a result.
What lies for the future of SlothBoogie parties?
We’re back at Sisy in October with another all star cast spread over 24hrs… Kristy Harper, Joe Cleen, Baby Rollen, Jive Talk and Tiptoes will be joining us for the ride.
Back in London we’ve got two further Tola editions of our SB2B series to see out 2023; Tiptoes and Soulwun on the 16th Sept and Philippa and Jason Hodges on the 18th November, As the label continues to grow so too will the events (at least that’s the plan!)… with wheels in motion for label parties in new locations and countries in ‘24, and we continue to connect with like minded venues and clubs where we can bring the SB sound. Also looking forward to hosting more SB Festival stages in ‘24 too…
On your new release with Tiptoes, what production-wise has the Glaswegian got so right here? It feels so, as you say, hazy! Is it the bass? The samples? Sound effects? What is it?
You’ll have to ask Tiptoes for how he does it. As we mentioned earlier he’s just a massive House head and he understands all of the things needed to make a really great House record so well. Its not just one small sliver of that spectrum but the many sub genres that make him so versatile as a producer. From groovy disco tinged warm up vibes to peak time hands in the air bangers and back down again to after hours deep vibes… He’s really got it all in his locker and he’s incredibly prolific too. Basically he’s a record label’s dream haha!
What can we expect from SlothBoogie moving forward on the release side of things?
It’s been our busiest year yet with 10 releases by the end of the year… and we expect a lot of the same crew to be back again next year… Ruff Stuff, Intr0beatz, Philippa to name a few.
Danny looks after the label management and he definitely needs a break soon! Its hard to keep the momentum up and give all our artists the focus and attention they deserve. We’re looking forward to having time off at the end of the year… before hitting the ground running again in the new year. Dancing With Friends Vol.4 will be a beast for sure and we’re looking at expanding our Remixing With Friends spin off with some more of our music heroes stepping up to put their stamp on our catalogue.
Dancing with Friends Volume 4 is out now. Buy/listen to the release here
Buy/listen to Tiptoes' Record Business EP here