Self-Portrait: Not An Animal

Not An Animal heads Andy Bainbridge and Chris Stoker might, by their own admission, bicker like an old married couple but they can always agree on the musical delights that should grace the imprint they’ve built together. Born out of the Bad Passion parties they’d been throwing in the capital for eight years, Not An Animal began as a platform for the pair to release their own productions, Andy as Machete Savane with Saul Richards and Chris as Ess O Ess with Jamie Blanco. Not pinned down by a certain sound or style, the pair have welcomed the likes of Suzanne Kraft, Man Power, Red Axes, and Kuniyuki to the family, spurred on by the friendships they’ve made through the parties.

Ahead of their joint stage with Future boogie at Gottwood next month, we chatted to them about the mission and motivations behind the imprint, alongside a mix of 100% original Not An Animal releases.

Not An Animal play Gottwood (6th-9th June 2019).

Can you tell us a bit about how Not An Animal started? What’s the philosophy behind it?

Not An Animal is the natural evolution of the Bad Passion parties we used to run. After putting on parties for eight years our jobs meant that we were having less time to find the right venues and promote them properly. By that time we were both releasing music which was becoming more of a priority; Andy as Machete Savane with Saul Richards and Chris as Ess O Ess with Jamie Blanco. With the parties being less of a focus we decided to start a record label as a platform for our own music, as well as music from our friends, but didn’t want to use the Bad Passion name so decided on a little rebrand. We still run a smaller 200 capacity party a few times year in conjunction with the label which is more suited to where we’re at now. Much less of a headache.

Is it more of a family affair or are you looking far and wide for potential releases? What’s your approach to A&R?

It’s a little bit of both. It certainly started out as more of a family affair but we do cast a wider net now. We receive a lot of demos that aren’t really for us but it’s always refreshing when we receive something from farther afield which is really on our page. I guess our approach to A&R is that if we both like it and its suits the label we’re happy to sign it regardless of whether the artist is well known or not. Then we’ll try and pair it up with a strong remix to support it. A lot of the time the remixes may be from someone who’s played for us before or released on the label, so in that respect there is bit of a circulation of the extended Bad Passion family.

Since starting Not An Animal what has been the greatest difficulty you’ve had to overcome?

Besides some of the usual pressing I’m sure that every label faces throwing their releases schedule into upheaval, the only problem we encounter is the arguing between us. It doesn’t take much. We bicker like like an old married couple. Entertaining at times for any of our mates in ear shot.

What’s coming up on the label? Any releases we should know about?

We’ve got three releases in the pipeline. The next by Komodo – a producer from Jakarta with remixes from Eric Duncan and from La Trec, which is Andy’s new project with one of our mates Ali Colling. After that we have the fourth release on the label from Ess O Ess which is myself and Jamie Blanco. Remixing that is The Backwoods and Craig Richards. Then Ian Blevins returns to the label with support from Discodromo and Chida.

This mix is comprised of 100% original Not An Animal material. Could you tell us a bit about it? Any tracks that are particularly special to you?

To be honest we weren’t crazy on the idea at first but we once we got into it we both really enjoyed to it. It was nice to take stock of everything we’ve done since the label started and mix some of the earlier releases with some of the upcoming stuff. It was interesting trying to decide what would go with what and find the common thread that runs through everything we decide to sign, irrespective of tempo or genre. We tried to cover everything and have something from each release. We could have strung it out for longer but feel that the final selection are the ones that work best with each other without compromising the flow and feel.

Anything on the horizon you guys are excited about?

We’re at the stage where we’re actively looking for new material after having to press pause on the process for a while due to delays in pressing. Now everything is running smoothly again so it’s always an exciting part of the process for us. We try and put time aside to get together and listen to all demos properly, so when we get something that strikes a chord with both of us and is a good fit for the label it’s a great feeling. Getting all of those ingredients right is tricky sometimes. Just because we like it, doesn’t mean it’s right for Not An Animal.

Other than that we’re about to embark on the summer festival gauntlet kicking things off with Gottwood in a few weeks. We’re teaming up with our friends at Future boogie for a joint stage takeover. Ourselves and our other resident Wayne Holland will be joining Dave Harvey, Christophe and Felix Dickinson plus special guests, Palms Trax & Ivan Smagghe. Then we have another label take over at Love International with Frank Butters and Roman Flugel.

It’s also probably worth us mentioning the next of our aforementioned label parties is taking place at the Lion & Lamb on Friday the 14th June with Quinn Whalley of Paranoid London and Nathan Gregory Wilkins of Cowboy Rhythmbox.

Ess O Ess – Take You To A Secret Place (Angophora Remix)
Que Sakmoto – Uchuu Hikoshi
Machete Savane – Manticore
Komodo – Slow Burning
Eric Duncan & Chris Munoz – Zona De Perigo
Ess O Ess – Take You To A Secret Place (Kuniyuki Heavy Remix)
Lizards – Tanni
Ian Blevins – Birds
Ess O Ess – Voice Inside (French Version)
James Hadfield – Buried Answers (Jamie Blanco Remix)
Bogdan – Pravoznikov
Ess O Ess – Flamingos & Wombles & The Blue Oyster Cult (Cyber Dub)
Modxi – Amalgam (Roman Flugel Remix)

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