Here with Dipped Recordings mastermind, label president, imprint controlla Self Evident. We’re by the Gorge waterway in beautiful downtown Victoria, the sun is shining and our bellies are full of breakfast.
Self Evident, you’ve done really well working this project for over a decade now, what’s it like to be a veteran DJ, still excited about it?
For sure, it’s always getting better cause I’m getting better as a producer, so It’s always more enjoyable for me because I have more control over the sounds I’m throwing down. Refining my skills as a producer just makes it more and more fun.
And when did you start producing tracks? Do you remember the first track you ever released?
I actually started producing first. It was Max, my brother who’s been DJing for a long time, watching him is basically how I learned. The first track I ever released was Set My Soul on Fire on East Van Digital.
Did you ever have dreams of getting tunes released on some big, or small, label(s)?
I have a vinyl coming out, collaborating with Blind Prophet on TUBA, with some big remixes. That’s a kind of jump in the right direction. I also have some other labels in mind for the future, but you’ll just have to wait to hear about those
More Vinyl is always nice, it stands the test of time better in my opinion. So, Dipped Recordings has been building a presence for little over two years now, how has the process been, what are the challenges and highlights you’ve had?
Well originally I was trying to do it on a bandcamp style format, just because I didn’t have the connections to have the kind of distro I wanted, and it was nice having that control over everything. But then I managed to get some good distro worked out through a sister label, South Fork Sound out of NYC. I do all the design work for SFS, so we’re very sisterly—or brotherly. That got things going and made me think of the bigger picture because through that distro I can release on any online store. It’s been a great ride, I’ve learned a lot! The future is looking really bright for Dipped right now. I’m really proud of the artists who’ve released with us so far, glad to work with young artists coming up in the scene and also release some really heavy Lighta! Stuff.
Very exciting, and why do you call it Dipped?
Dipped was referring to a really-good-sort-of-feeling, like post-dipping into something. That could be a sexual thing, a drug thing, or it could be like a dipping sauce. It’s the feeling that you’ve been dipped, I kind of like that. You’re kinda feeling “pretty fly”, to use an old ass term. Hahahah.
“Fly like dipped”, is that the vision, motto, main vibe behind the label?
The vibe is the Self Evident sound. I’m trying to sign things that I would play myself. I mean, it’s definitely grimy and sexy at times. Also originality, those are the most important elements. As a dancer the thing that really gets me off is hearing something I don’t really understand, for example when I’m on the dancefloor and I hear a track that moves me but I literally have no idea what genre, or what the hell is happening in the polyrhythms—I can’t even pick it apart in my mind, that turns me on the most! Especially recently that’s what I’ve been pushing more in some new productions I’m working on. A really really hybridized feeling, which of course is happening a lot across the scene with labels like Tectonic and Hyperdub, you’re hearing some crazy fusion there. I take from genres of course, but I also crush them with something that ultimately doesn’t fit the envelop.
Forward, we they say. You’ve released works by 22:22, Cable, Skrulls, Kid Kurse and yourself, is that right? Am I missing anyone so far?
Well there’s a Legsss release coming out, there should be some previews up soon. That’s going to be a really heavy release with two originals from him, with remixes from GREAZU$, Metafloor, myself and disociate. And then, really excited for DIPPED010, a bit of a milestone, a full length vocal grime album with the rapper riddimz from Toronto, originally from Manchester. That’s done, just need to send it off to distro after the album art is finished. It’s been a long time coming so I’m really excited to put that out. I also have some things in the works with Taal Mala Michael Red, myself and Josh from Daega and a full length album from 22:22.
From a label head perspective, could you describe the commonalities you see in all these artist’s sounds? And what attracted you to them in the first place? Or did they reach out to you?
Usually me reaching out, you know, luckily all these people are my friends, so that simplifies things from a label perspective. From the business side of things, it’s all a handshake, pretty straightforward in that sense. Even from the creative side because we all speak a common language. But as far as a thread that holds it all together, you know I mentioned grimyness and sexiness and originality, those are the main elements. I’m always looking to surprise myself. I build the label the way I build my DJ sets, including everything I love, though with another level of creative control. It’s fun for me to run the label, which is different than the way I see a lot of labels being run.
Interesting, can you elaborate on that?
Well I don’t really do a lot of promos and freebies and stuff. I just make everyone buy it. By the way huge shout out to everyone who has bought a Dipped record! I don’t do a helluva lot of pre-hype either, because I find in this day and age when so little people are taking the plunge and really buying music like they should, if you’re pre-hyping for three months before hand, by the time it comes out people have even forgotten it’s coming out, I have. It’s too busy a world nowadays for people to zone in on a release date. At that point, two month’s into pre-hyping people are already looking for the free download, before it’s even out hah! I’d rather hold things close to my chest, I think this is a service to the artist. Some people might say “oh no, you gotta get it into all these DJs hands hands and get them to play it and get the name out there”, and there’s something to that, I’m sure the hardcore fanboys will be noticing stuff like that, but all in all I don’t agree with that any more much. I get promos of my own songs out to certain djs but I don’t think that drives sales necessarily. Exclusivity drives sales, not having tons of promos floating around, not having so many people expecting promos. And, sales have been pretty good for a label of this size and budget, four releases in the top ten now in Juno, my album HISS was at number one in the Grime and dirty dubstep charts for a couple weeks, and that was just promoting through my personal network on FB Twitter and soundcloud. I think people locally are getting the message, go out and buys this and support your crew, because that small amount of sales go a long way. Did I say thank you to all those who have bought our records? thank you!
As a Dipped consumer, I appreciate the way things are coming along, it’s a pleasure to support. Now so far in two years, I’ve found two freebies! Such a tease, but I get it and I agree with you that it’s a lot less work to avoid doing three months of pre-hype.
Hahahah that too! It’s a win-win. Plus I feel like labels gotta draw things out a lot, I don’t like to do that. It’s like OK it’s signed, let’s master, let’s art, let’s get it to distro as soon as possible. I feel like a lot of artists I know at least, are sitting around waiting for some label to do what they said they would do. No slight to any labels out there, but some of them are dealing with a lot of stuff they would like to get done, that waiting around is murder for the artist. You know, your track is just getting more and more stale in my opinion.
Way to keep things fresh! And coming up on June 7th you have DIPPED007. A really fucking huge and a highly anticipated release that’s been in the works for a long time now. Can you talk about this release, the back story of Numba One Stunna and why it’s getting a proper release now? Can you talk about all the remixes on the release as well?
Well originally it came out on my brother’s and Lorn B’s short lived label Ten Pin, they may still be going, but I don’t think they are. It was miss labelled as a track by my brother and I, which is fine, but not quite the release I wanted for that track; maybe not even the proper songs to be going with it necessarily, but a good release that Eastsiders EP. I’ve always wanted to re-release it myself under my own name, I have a couple VIPs that’s I’d done and had been playing at festivals for a couple years, those got a good response so it was nice to put them on there. It’s kinda a goodie bag EP because there’s a remix of my song NXT LVL, and Michael Red remix of HISS the title track from my album, and one new song at the end that’s in the vein of Numba One Stunna. It’s been a long time in the making, it’s nice to have it on the books officially because it’s got a lot of love over the years. I really appreciate that.
Can’t wait to pick it up and rinse it in its entirety. A couple last questions, I found myself scratching my head for a while over this so I had to ask, what’s the deal on the soundlcoud with that Frank Grimes track “That Ass” and the other one “Hit Them Wurks” by Jlin? Are those part of the Dipped catalogue?
I’d like to release them one day on a compilation. They were from the original Dipped release from before I had distribution. That was the Frank Grimes song the Jlin and a few originals by me. I just never took those off the soundcloud because I love those songs so much. It was a real honour to have Jlin on the label, I don’t know if she’ll agree to release that song officially, I hope so. She’s gotta be my favorite juke producer, such a raw, guttural style and she’s close with the Chicago footwork dudes. I think she just release with Planet Mu, so somewhat unlikely she’ll let me release that song—hahah. Though, I’m working on a compilation for DIPPED012, maybe I’ll get her to let me for that one.
Lastly, weird one, if the label was a meal and a drink to pair, what would the label be?
Hmmm.. it’s a very personal label, so it would be a very personal meal. Definitely some potatoes in there and some meat. That’s the main. The starter would be a salad with a dressing made of herbs from my garden. To drink, to get to feel fly, a buffalo trace bourbon and some fancy ginger ale.