Nearly four years since they got into the game, Nights Slugs, the label Bok Bok runs with L-Vis 1990, is still a leading outlet for fresh club music mutations. This year has seen them both riding and transcending a trend with Club Constructions, a series of percussive workouts that puts a typically inventive spin on lo-fi house, techno and grime. The series was established last year with music from L-Vis 1990, Lil Silva and KW Gruff, and continued to expand in 2013 with Helix, Jam City and Hysterics stamping innovative twists on functionality. The Night Slugs purview also broadened to include future-facing R&B. Bok Bok was among a crew of producers who recorded beats for Kelela, a new solo artist who in September released CUT 4 ME, a free mixtape released on Fade To Mind, the Night Slugs sister label based out of New York. The talent pool runs seriously deep between the labels, but Bok Bok and co are still nurturing new names: the latest Night Slugs night in London last week featured two new additions to the roster, Neana and Deamonds.
There are echoes of Club Constructions on RA.391, with Bok Bok getting busy on the drums. He joins the dots between Xosar, Keith Worthy and Karizma, before locking the percussion into a thrill-seeking groove.
What have you been up to recently?
Riding my bike a lot as usual. Otherwise holed up in my studio almost 24/7 now that the mix for you is recorded. You'd be surprised how long it takes me!
How and where was the mix recorded?
Recorded live in my house on two Technics, vinyl and Serato.
Can you tell us about the idea behind the mix?
The tracks in here all come from different places, and I try to bring them together and make them sound like they're all coming from the same place. In this mix, drums rule. It doesn't vary in tempo as much as I have at other times, so it's really about this steady, endless momentum from the percussion. I was thinking a lot about the parameters of our Club Constructions series, which I'll be talking about more in the coming months, but the key is to keep things stripped down. There's also a heavy slant towards what I've been thinking about in my head as "new skool club music," an idea informed by Jersey club and ballroom music and all the forthcoming Night Slugs material that's in this mix from artists like Helix, Deamonds and Neana.
You're a good few years into the Night Slugs project now. Do you feel as though your vision for the label has changed much down the years? Do you see stylistic shifts in what you've been releasing?
Yep, entering our fifth year in January. The vision for the label really hasn't changed, because it was something spontaneous in the first place, and was always dedicated to new / re-emerging / re-arranged forms of club music, and that's still very much the focus. What's changed is the scope of what can fit into that. The producers we work with inform a lot of the label's direction, so the textures they've used in their club tracks open doors to other places. It's an organic progression through which something like Egyptrixx's new album hopefully makes as much sense on the label as a Helix drum track.
But all of us each have a really consistent set of interests that we pursue in our music, with plenty of crossover between us, so the development of the label is just the organic result of the artists following their path. The way our catalogue is set up helps structure that a bit, so Club Constructions is there to encourage the raw dance floor stuff, the white label series is there for bootlegs/dubs/ideas, of which there is a always a lot. And that leaves the main series free for artists to really explore their personal project and make their statement.
Do you plan to extend your work as a live performer?
I've played live twice together with Girl Unit. Both those times we brought out something like half our (then shared) studio and basically covered both our productions live with all sounds coming from a 909, a DrumTraks, an MPC and some synths and processors. It's a ton of work but it's been really fun and rewarding both times. But I have to admit the urge to mix in another track is always gonna be there. I'm a DJ at heart. The live thing is just for special occasions.
What are you up to next?
I'm getting my next Night Slugs EP ready, which is due out in early March. The lead track features Kelela on vocals, I'm excited to share that soon. I'm releasing some more stuff soon with my boy Tom Trago. Following up on our collab in 2011, we're going to resume the Night Voyage "pop-up label" with three new 12-inches. The first of those is out 2nd December, and I played a few tracks from the project in my mix. I've also been working with my talented friend Sweyn Jupiter, who is an amazing keyboard player and member of the group Brtsh Knight. Some stuff from us forthcoming on Slugs as well.