mobile_logo_v2.jpg

menu

shop

menu

shop

BLOG

BLOG

This spotlight is a monthly feature showcasing some of our favorite independent record labels. For the month of October, we got an inside look at Brighton’s electronic dance label Donky Pitch. David and Pete, the two men behind Donky Pitch, took turns answering a few questions about celebrating their five year anniversary, how the label has developed over time, and tips for young entrepreneurs. 

Check it out below and feel free to click play/download their free compilation titled “Donky Pitch: Five” released to the public for allowing them to thrive as a label and featuring Slugabed, The Range, Lockah, and many more.
 


How was your five year anniversary party? 

Grinel: We ran two, we had to really. One in our hometown of Brighton and one in London. We did Brighton in June which was exactly five years since our first party in 2009. Plastician headlined, 900 people passed through the doors of a 270 capacity venue. It's no exaggeration to say it was amazing. There was a queue from 11.30 to 3.30am. The London date was our first official label party up there, no real idea why it took us so long to get round to doing something in the capital. It was at a basement in Dalston called The Alibi, full by just gone 12. The dance floor area there is a tiny little room so it really went off, so much more fun in a space like that. We're already talking about a return leg early next year. Both these events were a perfect reminder of why we started this whole thing, we're both past 30 now and there's always the temptation to slow up the parties but when they're as fun as those there's just no reason to.

DSC_1338.jpg


To people in the music industry, Donky Pitch is a few things. How would you describe Donky Pitch to a complete stranger? 

David: It's a tight collective of electronic music producers, plus me and Pete, who run the label. We release melodic music. Music for clubs and music for your headphones. Nothing too dark as I can't cope with that. It started out as bass heavy club leaning hip hop but these days we don't release only one genre. A strong synth-line melody flows through almost all our releases. I feel it's accessible music, but then when I play it to my older brother, he pulls a funny face.


Do you have any specific memories of nights when Donky Pitch was a just midweek club party? 

David: Lots. I actually just compiled all our club night posters into one folder so these memories seem fresher than ever. The first one, of course. In the early days we'd stay up all hours flyering lots of other club nights. There were no real events like ours in the city so we'd hit a wide variety of parties. We were both so nervous no one would come. In the end 80-90 people came to a tiny basement space and we called it a success. We met Ghost Mutt and Slugabed properly for the first time on this night, and they are both still irreplaceable members of the team. The party with Debruit was incredible, it was the first time we sold out the venue. Our good friend Boss Kite played his first live set and Debruit tore the roof off. Meeting Blue Daisy at the train station with a desktop computer and a monitor in a suitcase (I think this was his first ever live set). The label launch in October 2010. The Dod Pop Skweee showcase in March 2011; it was Pete's birthday and he never does anything for his birthday, but the night just fell on the same night. I still don't know why or how 200+ people came to see three Norwegian guys play weirdo 90 bpm synth-heavy music, but it was amazing. Both of those last two were on a weekend, I may have cheated this question.



How did the club nights develop into a label?

Pete: We didn’t have any plans at the start for it to become a label, the parties were our focus and we put everything into running those..after a few shows and having met our early resident team of Slugabed and Ghost Mutt and being aware of their productions it just seemed like a fun thing to do, we cobbled together the first release as a split of those two guys, added in a remix from one of our favourite producers (Mweslee) and started to hit up distributers and slowly work out what was needed to get it all off the ground. Looking back we should have maybe planned beyond one release but you learn very quickly how things work and now as we approach 20 releases we have a back catalogue and roster of artists I’m immensely proud of.

DSC_0120allmatterlo.jpg


Who is on your team now? What are their roles at Donky Pitch and in life?

David: The label team is the same as it's always been, me & Pete. It took us long enough to work out how to deal with each others ideas of where things were going, I don't think that we'll ever get a third member to run the label. We decide everything together, if one of us disagrees, it just doesn't happen. Everyone else makes music because we can't.


What were some of your favorite releases this year? Could be something you put out or not. 

Pete: Obviously I am a big fan of all our releases and think we have put out a real diverse set of unique sounds this year so I will focus on music from outside of the label instead. Here are a few that I have enjoyed that cover a real range of styles:

Anenon – Sagrada (Non Projects)

Oneohtrix Point Never – Commissions I (Warp)

Mac De Marco – Salad Days (Captured Tracks)

Mo Kolours – Mo Kolours (One Handed)

Fatima Al Qadiri – Asiatisch (Hyperdub)



What does 2015 look like for Donky Pitch? 

Pete: We will continue to release music from our current artists as well as some exciting new talent, just keep on the same path we have been really – hopefully get out to play some more showcases overseas and continue to spread the Donky Pitch sound into as many ears as possible.


A day in the Donky Pitch office is like…? Feel free to describe in detail etc. 

Pete: Well, we don’t have an office to start with – both of us have full time jobs outside of running the label so the majority of our work is done in the evenings and weekends via email and phones, with regularly meeting up to discuss various things. There is no standard day, we are usually really busy in the lead up to releases, doing press and media work, sorting out physical copies of stock, dealing with our distributors and publishers. Outside of that we spend time listening to demos, sending each other bits of music that we might think of approaching for the label. We do pretty much everything in house between the two of us, so dealing with the artists, sorting out accounts, numerous admin tasks that whilst sometimes boring are the most important parts. One of the most enjoyable things about the work we do for the label is that it is unpredictable, and that you constantly learn new things and ways of approaching situations.



Do you have advice for young people looking to start their own dance label like yours?

Pete: I’d say people need to be different, to put out music they believe in and that stands out in what is a very crowded market. On a basic level, don’t expect to make tons of money, make sure you pay your artists and keep up levels of communication whether it’s telling them something they want to hear or not. Reputation is all important, people will know if you run your label professionally or not – artists talk to each other all the time! So be professional, don’t shirk the boring jobs and continue to seek advice from others that are doing similar things or in similar situations. It can be really tough and frustrating at times and amazing at others, I’d recommend it to everyone.

undefined


This one is just for fun but if you can describe Donky Pitch as a plate of food, what would it be and how would it be arranged?

David: Well, I just ate a massive pile of chilli cooked up by Lockah (we live together) so I'm going to run with that. It's a whole load of ingredients, some that just don't go together (let's be honest, you can put whatever you like in chilli). When it's too hot it makes you wince in the best possible way. It's covered in yogurt and cheese and extra hot sauce. It's a mess on the plate, but if you look closely it's meticulously made, brewed in a massive pot over a long period of time and it just works perfectly.


About the author: Briana Cheng has a lot of feelings that she sometimes writes about but mostly she takes twitter screenshots of online dating apps, follow her @banacrisp.

In its first year in the U.S., China’s Modern Sky Festival brought a diverse lineup to New York City’s Rumsey Playfield in Central Park on Saturday and Sunday, October 4 & 5. Acts included not only popular Chinese bands but also some indie favorites as well. It was one of the most unique festival lineups! Here were some of the highlights from the fest below.


Atomic Bomb.JPG


An all-star cast of musicians came out to dazzle for Atomic Bomb! The Music of William Onyeabor, including performances from Jamie Lidell, Hot Chip’s Alexis Taylor, Sinkane’s Ahmed Gallab, Beastie Boys collaborator Money Mark, Dead Prez, Pharoah Sanders and Peaking Lights. The energy of the show really amped up with the addition of the Mahotella Queens (dancers from South Africa) and a couple sparkly rollerskaters.

Liars.JPG

 
Liars frontman Angus Andrew appeared onstage with the same mask that’s on their latest album cover for Mess. He finally took it off about 4 songs into the set, and that’s when their set really exploded as the crowd (even a couple costume Pandas) started dancing for these art punkers.

Blood Brothers.JPG


Post-hardcore band The Blood Brothers reunited this year (they broke up in 2007) and brought their spastic energy and screaming dueling vocals to Rumsey Playfield.

Cat Power.jpg


Cat Power came out looking like the “Cross Bones Style” era of singer Chan Marshall -- short floppy brown hair and a tom boy white button down with a flannel over top -- and her voice sounded amazing, all enchanting and mysterious. It’s hard not to adore her ethereal vocals and her endearing shyness onstage.

Stars.JPG


Canadian band Stars charmed the crowd with their sweet boy-girl vocals and enthusiastic stage presence playing some songs of their upcoming album No One Is Lost.

The Both.JPG


The Both, Aimee Mann and Ted Leo’s new project together, sang their sweet dueting melodies, including crowd favorite, “Hummingbird.” To his credit, Ted Leo came out and spoke in Chinese to the crowd and in his cute humorous way said thank you in Chinese throughout the set.

Lenka.JPG


Aussie singer Lenka had an adorable set with her playful vocals and her adorable personality.

Queen Sea Big Shark.JPG


Of the Chinese bands that performed, I really enjoyed Re TROS and Queen Sea Big Shark. Post punk band Re TROS definitely had a Gang of Four vibe that was easy to relate to. Electro band Queen Sea Big Shark had a lead female singer with a big, fun personality that had the audience jumping along. It was refreshing to see bands that sang mostly in a different language but were still able to cut through the language and cultural barriers to delight the mixed audience.

 Second Hand Rose.JPG


Clearly though, Second Hand Rose was the big Chinese act of the festival -- as the crowd erupted when they stepped on stage. Big props to any man who can wear glorious long lashes like Second Hand Rose lead singer Liang Long.


Thank You For Coming.JPG


About the author: Jin Moon has been affectionately writing about music and the arts since 2002 on her blog, Jinners.com. She also currently runs her own agency, On the Moon Arts. Tweet salutations to @jinners

Whether you're a born and raised local or a lost Bay Area transplant looking to find the best tunes in the city, we've picked out this week's best live shows in our home town of San Francisco for you to check out.


Mammoth Life + Magicks + Kitten Grenade @ Brick & Mortar (Tuesday)

mammoth life.jpg


Get Tickets

With freshly released visuals for their track "Wanna Be Loved" off their first full length, Mammoth Life reminds us why we want more of their local self-described Pop n' Roll. Also on the itinerary is a brand new Bay Area transplant, Magicks. Having headed west from Chicago, their dreamy soundscapes have influences from shoe-gaze to hip-hop. Rounding things out are the ukulele oriented stylings of what is more than just one of the best band names in town, Kitten Grenade.


Rubblebucket + Royal Canoe @ The Independent (Wednesday)

rubblebucket.jpg


Get Tickets

If it is your first Rubblebucket show, there is a strong possibility you will be won over upon the band taking the stage. Kalmia Traver commands a crowd with ease and is backed by the full force of a rock band ensemble complete with a horn section. Forget how great the new album is, just be prepared for a lot of crowd participation, from using a parachute to carrying around band leader and trumpet player Alex Toth. Kicking the night off is a rival to such an elaborate instrumental array with a strong focus on effects heavy guitar and keys.


Wildcat! Wildcat! + White Hinterland + Rio Rio @ Bottom of the Hill (Thursday)

WildcatWildcat.jpg


Get Tickets

Are you behind on some new synth focused, pop friendly, indie poised for prime licensing opportunities for new present day network dramas? Great, go to Bottom of the Hill. Wildcat! Wildcat! and White Hinterland jumped on the road together with new albums and the match-up sounds great. Throw in locals Rio Rio with fresh new tunes, stage lighting, and their amazing covers of songs like "The District Sleeps Alone Tonight" or "Silvia" and you're set.


Kate Boy + Kite String Tangle @ Rickshaw Stop (Thursday)

undefined


Get Tickets

Further cementing the Swedish stranglehold over dance-pop, Kate Boy's addition to the ranks a few years back has led to a steady stream of bass thumping singles ripe for a new round of Popscene. Acts like this can often fool people into going to a show with only a vocalist and a laptop but fear not, a full band will be taking the stage. Supporting is Australian newcomer The Kite String Tangle. Fans of fellow countrymen Thief, Touch Sensitive, and Hayden James will easily become fans.


PUP + Hard Girls + Mini Death @ Brick & Mortar (Friday)

PUP.jpg


Get Tickets

These loud, aggressive Toronto-based hellions unleashed their debut album this year, along with a string of epic music videos. Proceed directly to YouTube to take the PUP journey as they chronicle a legend of their own through forming a band, playing parties, and saying goodbye to a member's first car. If the recurring sweat and blood imagery is any indication, I would start preparing to make some physical contact. Give the record a listen and you'll find some dangerously catchy hooks for all those looking to merely spectate and spare themselves a theoretical bruise. 


About Mike: Habitual Bay Area show-hopper and new music junkie. Currently Artist Relations at DeliRadio and occasional DJ at KALX. Follow the music based ramblings on Twitter.

We tend to socialize with our favorite DJs in the dark confines of the club as they spin vinyl to get us dancing. So we wondered what would it be like to meet them in the light of morning, eat breakfast and discuss deejaying with them. In this new series “Breakfast with DJs," I got to hang out with Jacob Peña of San Francisco DJ crew Sweater Funk in the daylight to talk about boogie and soul. 


Where?

sweaterfunk1.jpg


On an overcast Tuesday morning, Jacob Peña of Sweater Funk met me at People’s Cafe in the Upper Haight before he headed into work at Amoeba Records.

jacob9.JPG


What was on the menu?

jacob2.jpg


Jacob ordered the Fresh Herb Scramble with roasted tomatoes, fresh basil, parmesan cheese and zucchini. I opted for an Eggs Arnold with poached eggs, salmon and hollandaise sauce. Breakfast was good, but unremarkable. We both drank coffee and water.

 

What piqued your interest in deejaying? How did you get started?

I was going to this monthly soul night, The Good Foot, in Long Beach, CA. Didn’t miss a month for the first few years. Figured I could make folks dance too. The Good Foot guys helped me out, let me spin a bunch of times and showed me what's up. They're still going strong after 16 years. Which means I've been deejaying for about 16 years.  

 

What are your essential tools?

 sweaterfunk2.jpg


Records I love hearing played over and over again are essential. I play what I love. No sense being miserable doing this, right? 

 

Tell me about Sweater Funk and how that began?

Sweater Funk is weekly Sunday Night dance party at the Knock-Out in the Bernal Heights neighborhood of SF. 

KO_sign.jpg


In 2008, Jon “Sweater Funk” Blunck and I started Sweater Funk to play the boogie, 80's funk and modern soul music we loved. At our first Monday night party, The Better Half, folks would ask us to NOT play "that 80's disco stuff." Soon, Jon bought sound system speaker cabinets, an amp, two technics 1200s and a mixer and we began spinning in Li Po Lounge’s Chinatown basement on Sundays. Li Po didn't care WHAT we played, as long as they made money. 

We christened the night, “Sweater Funk” - in reference to the funky sweaters wore by musicians on funk and boogie album covers. Soon we were playing to a growing crowd of boogie heads. Along the past 6 years, we pulled other folks into our now 14-strong crew. Now, we’re part of a movement pushing this sound (back) into the ears of folks. Other crews responsible for this resurgence include Dam-Funk’s - Funkmosphere (The Mothership), O.C.'s - Funk Freaks, Chicago's - Boogie Munsters, Austin's - ABC crew, Portland Oregon's - Let It Whip and Omega Supreme. Funk is back in a HUGE way. But for us, it never left. 


What type of music do you have on deck?

sweaterfunk-720x480.jpg


At Sweater Funk, it’s boogie, modern soul and 2-step soul. Only vinyl. When I’m at home, I’m usually listening to something mellow. Lately, it's been Cocteau Twins and Taylor McFerrin's debut LP.


Get your dance on to this Sweater Funk Promo Mix:


About the author: Based in SF, Mai deeply obsesses about music, fashion, art and social justice. Chances are high she's photographed someone you know for her seven year old street style site, fashioni.st. More info than necessary can be found about her, here: about.me/mai

On September 2nd, a Brooklyn resident by the name of Caleb Olson began an incredible mission of biking across the country to help spread the word about Street Soccer USA. If you’re unaware, Street Soccer USA is a non-profit organization that uses soccer to help the homeless with a mission as explained on their site: “to improve health, education, and employment outcomes for the most disadvantaged Americans by using sports to transfer the skills necessary so that they can achieve these outcomes for themselves. We also seek to raise awareness about the challenges of poverty in America so that as a country we can develop a more level playing field for all.”  

streetsoccerusa.jpg


Caleb Olson quit his desk job in Arkansas about three years ago to pursue his passion for helping others and incorporating new music discovery along the way. He is now a coach and the NYC program director for Street Soccer USA. He tells us that “I see the power to change through soccer and ride because I want to inspire others to get up and do something they are passionate about."

Just over a week ago, Olson started this Bike Cruisade from NYC to San Francisco. He has been/will continue to live blog every part of the journey with SOL REPUBLIC DECK speakers soundtracking curated playlists for this two month trip on the bike. We are excited to be sponsoring Olson’s social change and will be keeping you guys updated on his adventures through our social platforms. 

bike cruisade2.jpg


Check out Olson's planned bike path on the website. You can also follow Olson directly on the blog and Facebook page.

Here is a playlist from a radio show called CAN YOU NOT for Olson’s Bike Cruisade:


About the author: Briana Cheng has a lot of feelings that she sometimes writes about but mostly she takes twitter screenshots of online dating apps, follow her @banacrisp.

Prince has just simultaneously released two new albums that are streaming on Spotify -- PlectrumElectrum with his backing band 3rdEyeGirl and Art Official Age, his first solo album since 20Ten in 2010.

The prolific Prince has been songwriting since he was just 7 years old and released his first album, For You, in 1978 at 19. That’s how much of a musical wunderkind he is with 10 albums to go platinum and 30 Top 40 singles. Not to mention he’s had his own NPG label since 1993. His catalogue is distinctive with sexual innuendos and his famous falsetto combined with a blend of post-disco, funk, soul, pop, R&B and rock influences. 

prince.jpg


Here are some of our favorite Prince tracks over his 36 year career thus far…


His self titled album in 1979 was the first to go platinum with hit singles, “I Wanna Be Your Lover” and “Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad.”


In 1982, Prince released the album 1999 with this band The Revolution with popular songs like “1999” and “Little Red Corvette.” The album made it to the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2008. The video for “Little Red Corvette” was one of the first from an African-American artist to receive heavy rotation on MTV, which had just launched the previous year.


Prince and the Revolution released Purple Rain in 1984 as the soundtrack to the eponymous film.  It’s one of his most successful albums to date and one of the best-selling soundtracks of all time, spawning some of his most iconic tracks: “I Would Die 4 U,” “Let’s Go Crazy,” “When Doves Cry” and “Purple Rain.” “Let’s Go Crazy” and “When Doves Cry” both reached #1.


As the soundtrack to his second film, Under the Cherry Moon, Prince released Parade in 1986 before breaking up with The Revolution. The song “Kiss” was his third #1 hit.


Sign O’ the Times in 1987 was released by Prince as a solo double album. His single, “If I Was Your Girlfriend,” was written in response to his jealousy of the close relationship of his then fiancee Susannah Melvoin with her twin sister Wendy. Though at the time, there wasn’t much commercial success for this song, today it is considered one of his classics. Also on this release was the duet with Sheena Easton, “U Got the Look.”


Following Sign, he released a couple more soundtrack albums: Batman in 1989 and Graffiti Bridge in 1990. He debuted his new band The New Power Generation on his 1991 release, Diamonds and Pearls. The title track and songs “Cream” and “Gett Off” are still faves today. 

Who could forget when Prince changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol that people just ended up referring to as the Love Symbol in 1992? He also adopted the symbol as his new performer moniker. He released “My Name Is Prince” and “Sexy MF” as the first two singles off that release but neither were big hits. Under the Love Symbol name, he released several more albums without any huge hits, mostly to fulfill his record contract with Warner Bros, who he was unhappy with. He finally dropped the Love Symbol name for Prince again on his 2001 album The Rainbow Children, which had a jazzier vibe than his past work.

prince now.jpg


Prince won two Grammys for the release of Musicology in 2004 for Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance on “Musicology” and Best R&B Vocal Performance for “Call My Name,” while “Cinnamon Girl” earned him a Grammy nomination for Best Pop Vocal Performance.


Check out the album streams for PlectrumElectrum and Art Official Age below:



Artists (probably) influenced by Prince: Pharrell, Outkast, Daft Punk, Cee-Lo, D’Angelo


About the author: Jin Moon has been affectionately writing about music and the arts since 2002 on her blog, Jinners.com. She also currently runs her own agency, On the Moon Arts. Tweet salutations to @jinners