“My biggest achievement with the label is how excited my Nan is about it. I like to think she imagines me having boardroom meetings with complimentary bagels or something!”
Emerging out of the fertile South London musical milieu, No Bad Days started life as a party and radio show supporting much of the same music we cover on a daily basis on the site. We don’t like to put names on these things, but the approach is an eclectic one, all with an eye on the lesser trodden paths in the corners of underground music, all delivered with a positive attitude, encompassed in its name. Thanks to an insomniac director (Hollick, also affiliated with Church), the idea for a label began last September and this month the label begins in earnest, also run by Boiler Room‘s Gabriel Szatan. In the label’s first online interview, we got the low-down on this new London imprint, and Hollick has also provided us with a mix of plenty exclusives of forthcoming releases and demos, as well as some NBD favourites.
What’s the story behind the origins of No Bad Days? What prompted you to first start?
I actually discovered the term No Bad Days in a short film called Whateverest. Somewhat of a character analysis, it’s the main character’s life-mantra. I first watched it with my friend Tom and we immediately thought “that’s such a cool name for a party!” Tom also happens to be a dope graphic designer so when it came to coming up with an aesthetic for the label I hit him up and we got to work.
Before we get to the label, you’ve also been running NBD parties and a radio show. Is it just you heading up that, or are there others who have helped you develop?
Generally yeah it’s been something I’ve been having fun with, I’ve had some close friends involved along the way too though of course. Harry from Joy Fantastic and Joshua from Body Motion, for example, have both played at a few of the parties. My buddy Gabriel Szatan also co-hosts the radio show on special occasions and is naturally involved with the label too.
At what point did you decide to turn NBD into a label?
I was going through a period last September of being somewhat of an insomniac, often staying up all night listening to music or generally getting lost in the deep dark depths of the Internet. As these things often do, the idea of the label all came together in one night. I messaged Gabriel around 6 or 7am, he had only just woken up I think but was into it immediately!
What would you say is the key philosophy or mission statement for the label?
For me it’s a natural extension of the radio show. The show certainly has a certain vibe to it and my aim with the label is to reflect that, when listening to demos I ultimately think “would I play this on the show?” and then take it from there.
Will you be sticking to digital, or will vinyl also be playing an important part in the label? If so, why?
I think to start with it’ll definitely be vinyl and digital. Occasionally I work at YAM Records and I find myself thinking about what records I’m drawn to; the finer details etc. When it came to thinking up the philosophy of No Bad Days, the idea of how the record would look and feel was right up there, so yeah that’s a pretty important aspect for me.
On the radio and party front, NBD has a pretty diverse music policy. How have you condensed that into your label? Has there been a clear scope to your A&Ring, or even just common characteristics you’ve looked for when signing tracks?
I actually started by putting together somewhat of a wish list of names that I could envision working on NBDs. Compiled mainly of artists I’d either played on the show before or whose records I’ve enjoyed playing at parties. Myself and Gabriel also have a very similar taste in music and I guess it’s all generally quite fun and/or euphoric in some way…the label is called No Bad Days after all!
Have you faced any difficulties or challenges in setting up the label?
The biggest initial hurdle is getting other people to buy into your vision. Sharing your ideas with friends they’re all naturally going to be very supportive which is of course great. Jimmy at Lobster Distribution was the first person I shared the idea with on a professional level. I sent him a couple of initial design ideas and some of the demos I’d been listening to and he digged it all which was a bit of a confidence boost. Having Jimmy, Joe and the rest of the Lobsters involved has been a massive help.
What aspect are you most proud of about NBD the label?
How excited my Nan is that I’m starting a record label! We chat every now and then and she always checks in with how it’s progressing. I like to think she imagines me having boardroom meetings with complimentary bagels or something!
Your first release is with a young producer called Selvy, one of many talents in a burgeoning house scene in Poland. Why did you decide to launch the label with him?
What drew me to Selvy in the first place was how he creates such cinematic music that sounds so playful at the same time. The first track on NBD001, titled ‘Wishing Well’, has such a grandioso vibe about it that I liked the idea of making a bit of an entrance by making it the first release.
Have you got any other releases planned after NBD001 that you can tell us about?
Yeah, NBD002 hails from Manchester, NBD003 from Toronto and NBD004 is based a little closer to home. Keep them peeled!
We’ve noticed a nice visual theme running through your radio shows and parties, so would we be right in assuming you’re also putting a similar level of thought into the aesthetic of the label?
For sure yeah. Working with Tom on the aesthetic has been really rewarding. He approaches it from a graphic design perspective and I from a DJ’s perspective. It’s been super fun to create something we’re all proud of and hopefully other people will enjoy looking at.
What are some of the labels you admire, that have inspired you in the creation of NBD, whether it’s their philosophy, music identity or aesthetic?
I really dig labels that have a diverse sound whilst all sounding cohesive under a sort of musical umbrella. 1080p and Future Times immediately spring to mind. The latter’s slogan of “Things Will Be Better In Future Times” most certainly rings true with our mantra. Moon Records out of Japan had beautiful artwork too back in the 80s. I’ve also recently got into a lot off Bullion’s label, DEEK Recordings. Sort of goes without saying but Church too of course!
We hear you’ve just started up a management and bookings agency called Coastal Haze with your Church buddy James. Could you fill us in about that a bit and who you’re looking after?
Coastal Haze has been something James and I have wanted to do for a while now. We’ve naturally been working really close with a few of the Church artists along the way. Felt like a good time for us to brand it and in somewhat of a chilled way – friends helping friends etc. We’re really enjoying working with Aquarium aka 外神田deepspace, Debukas, Deejay Astral, Hidden Spheres, Ishmael, James Booth, Max McFerren, Selvy and Warren Raww. We got a couple more cool cats we haven’t announced just yet too and who knows maybe we’ll do the odd release ; – )
With Selvy involved in Coastal Haze and No Bad Days, can we expect plenty of musical reciprocity between the two?
Since working on NBD001 with Selvy, we now talk online near enough every other day and have become good friends. When it came to me and James putting together a little roster for Coastal Haze, Selvy was pretty much my first suggestion of who I’d like to approach. Again, a very natural process for both parties.
Aside from the Coastal Haze crew (who all come with our endorsement too!) are there any young producers you think we should look out for in the coming year?
Ah thanks! Well a couple of them are making waves already but keep tabs on Sobrenadar, Jon Sable, Telfort, Human Plus, Dear Earth, Forever, DJ Sonikku, Thool and Z Lovecraft. So much talent bubbling up always!
Same goes for labels…are there any new imprints that you think are in for a good 2016?
Wholemeal have some dope bits coming up and YAM are starting their first imprint soon (EXCITING). Also my buddy from Canada is involved in a new label starting soon called Sobo and the inaugural release is very good!
Could you tell us about the mix you made for us?
The mix is predominantly compiled of tracks that are signed to No Bad Days or that have influenced the label in some way. Some are early ideas, still in demo form or haven’t quite been mastered yet. I wanted it to reflect the radio show too so it’s a bit of a blend rather than a mix per say in parts. It’s ideal for listening to whilst in the bath, eating brunch and or shopping.
You’re also involved in the South London Record Fair coming up. What’s in store for those who aren’t aware?
This will be the second instalment of the SLRF (we held the first fair at The Paperworks last year) and will be at Corsica Studios, 14:00 – 20:00 on Saturday 26th March. Some great labels and local stores are involved, plus Balamii Radio will be broadcasting live from Room 2. We’ll then be carrying on into the night for the South London Record Party with DJ sets from Mr Bongo Soundsystem, Tom Blip, Charlie Bones…YOU GUYS…and yours truly. Cheap and cheerful tickets are available on Resident Advisor for the party, but the fair itself is free!
And finally, with Church celebrating its fifth birthday this year, where would you like No Bad Days to be in the next five years?
For me it’s all about building something that’s greater than individuals: an entity, a community, whatever you want to call it. Creating something you love, presenting it and having other people dig it too is why we do it right?! That doesn’t really answer your question perhaps but …¯\_(ツ)_/¯… No Bad Days x