Dirty house merchants King Unique cut out the middle man with their own label Curfew. Debut release ‘To the Left’ continues to mine their penchant for dirty house, but why did it lead to the split with JBO?
King Unique, DJs Matthew Roberts and Matt Thomas, debuted on JBO in 2001 with ‘Dirty’, a track which set their agenda of rough-and-tumble dirty house. Follow-up 'Sugarhigh' had proggers grinning as they gurned, but after remixing everyone from Underworld to Luke Slater, the puzzled reaction of fans to their brief dabble in electro 'Lighters/Music Please' marked the beginning of a difficult period.
King Unique hunkered down in the studio working on their debut album for best part of 2003 and 2004 but the results didn’t please label JBO: the duo’s dogged pursuit of dirty house clashed with JBO more commercial intentions and the project was scrapped.
JBO was originally an acid house label that was subsequently bought out and reshaped by EMI.
Out of the blue, King Unique announced they’d three-single deal with JBO in October 2005, the first fruits of which was the electrohouse single 'Flashing Lights/Curfew Time'. But they’ve put follow-up 'To the Left' out themselves this week. What happened to the three-single deal?
“We were trying out some new ideas with tracks and they don’t really fit in with the direction that JBO want to go,” Matt Thomas told RA. “We talked it over with JBO label boss Steve Hall and suggested to him that we call it a day and release them ourselves.”
Label troubles can lead to bitter divorces, but the case of King Unique vs. JBO was settled out of court:
“The decision to leave JBO was that rarest of all things - entirely amicable,” says Matt. “They’ve been a major part of the success we’ve enjoyed, releasing many of our best tracks so it’s kind of the end of an era. There’s no saying that we might not work with them again in the future but at the moment all our energies are directed at Curfew.”
The launch party for Curfew is happening Friday, July 7 at King Unique's Curfew Time residency at Turnmills, London.
‘To the Left’ is released on Curfew Records on July 3, 2006.