Formula Records: Why, When & How

From since I started producing seriously, I knew that eventually I had & wanted to start my own label. I never thought about the details, I just knew that I would know when i feel like im ready. It wasn’t until about mid 2011 after I started working with Terror Danjah & Butterz and the Motherboard EP came out on Hardrive Records that id started to take the idea a bit more seriously.

“Motherboard EP” HDR004

What they were doing was just inspiring to me, they were just mad focused & professional with it all and were they was dealing with credible underground music and pushing it to the forefront, I was blown away. Working with them gave me a chance to see how record labels were run and what it took to do them until I noticed that my style of music didn’t actually have an official home that I could release on.

You had the one or two labels that put out the occasional ‘UK Funky’ EP or something of the sort but that was it, then when I looked over the tunes I would play in my dj sets, hear on soundcloud or on the occasional mixed CD, I felt that I was playing/hearing a lot of sick unreleased music, mainly funky tracks, that a lot of people were feeling but weren’t available to the ravers or general listeners!

It was just mad to think that there was such a big audience for these tracks but nowhere for people to go to find them – it was at a point where only a somewhat established DJ could get there hands on these tracks and I remember starting off as a DJ, the minute I heard a new garage track on the FM, 9 times out of 10, I could go Wired for Sound in Mare St, Hackney or Rhythm Division in Roman Road, Bow to buy it and I just wanted to bring that vibe to the music that me & likeminded producers were doing.

It wasn’t until ‘Lighter’ got to a point where I was hearing it everywhere and the emails and tweets started flooding in about it is when I decided it needs to be put out.

“Lighter” FRM001

Now, big up Terror Danjah because I fully look up to him and I always want and value his opinion so I ask what he thinks and he just said it plain “You could shop the EP around or I can release it but it wouldn’t do anything for you. Start a label and put it out yourself!”. That was like the final push that made me just get up and do it. Brainstormed on a name with everyone and came up with Formula.

It made sense because I felt like it related to the music I was looking to put out. Theres almost like a recipe or formula to the sound of the stuff I proper like that’s so distinctive but cant quite put my finger on – I just know it when I hear it and I know the ravers could hear it too because when these tracks get played – popular or un-heard, they always get the same massive reaction!

So, with the name sorted, now I just needed the artwork for the label done & I was fully feeling the artwork for the Motherboard EP, found out DJ Shandy was behind it and reached out (Big up Shandy!!).

“Formula Records” logo – Designed by DJ Shandy (Devilmode)

I then needed a distributor for the label but I wanted to come correct and not just do digital only releases, spoke to everyone around me & it was obvious that I had to go to Cargo Records and we made it happen. Big shouts to Bill, Joe & the rest of the team at Cargo. In the same time I’d met Dane of TwoPlates through Elijah at a little meet up at Butterz HQ and we got to working together too.

In between all this now, I’d already made & wrapped up Sensitivity with Ruby Lee Ryder just after her single with Terror Danjah ‘Full Attention’ and with the ‘Lighter EP’ doing well in the shops after launching the label with it in September 2011 & ‘Sensitivity’ getting a lot of love in the clubs & on radio – it just made perfect sense to make that the next release on Formula to get the label going.

“Sensitivity w/ Ruby Lee Ryder” FRM002

Sensitivity did really well on the sales with it peaking at 47 in the iTunes electronic chart and reaching number 1 on a few digital download sites after coming out in November 2011. In between that ‘Crazy’ with Princess Nyah was being played by myself and a few key DJ’s and it was getting a lot of love after I sought of premiered it at the first Butterz & Hardrive rave in August 2011 and uploaded a rip to Soundcloud. I also had an instrumental EP out on Roska’s Kicks & Snares label so it made sense being the 3rd release which ended up coming out in January 2012 and again being really popluar with the digital download sites.

“Crazy ft. Princess Nyah” FRM003

While ‘Crazy’ was getting sorted for the release, I’d headlined a show with Royal-T in Hereford when a guy comes up to me, introduces himself as Notion and drops a CD of demos on me while I’m waiting to go on.

Notion

I listened to the tunes when I got back to London and I went crazy! In the strangest way, his tracks had that sound or formula that was just perfect for the label. The CD had early versions of ‘Digits’ & ‘Watch Here’ on it and only after listening to it, realized that id already heard Digits once about a year ago and didn’t know who it was and I felt the exact same about the track then. Hit Notion up by e-mail straight away and organized a release. In looking for a third track for the EP now after back and forth emails & testing out the rest of the demos on the CD at my bookings, just when I think ive found the 3rd track I see a cheeky little soundcloud upload from Notion called Soundboy. That was it, phoned him and was like “whats this soundboy tune?! This is hard, this has to go on the EP!”. The track got finished & got renamed to ‘Soundbwoy Killa’ after the sample in it and the masters was sent for processing. The ‘Digits EP’ came out in July 2012 & the EP and Notion as an artist has been doing really well since.

“Digits EP” FRM004 – click HERE to listen

That release was a testament to what I wanted to achieve with the label. It was 3 straight club bangers that have been about for a while, not available to most and wasn’t getting noticed in the right way and Formula was around to give it a home where they might not have ever found one. The feedback I got from announcing the ‘Digits EP’ on the social networks was what its all about, there was loads of people that knew the tune already and was just proper excited that these tunes were finally seeing a release.

Since then, we’ve been doing the Formula nights at East Village, Shoreditch which has been a huge success were me & Serious along with Notion & future Formula artists have resident slots with recent guests like Funkystepz, Ill Blu, Sticky, Royal-T, P-Jam, D.O.K, Terror Danjah, Elijah & Skilliam to showcase all the material and to mainly just have a place where you can go and hear all the stuff that we put out.

“The 3rd & most recent Formula party”

I’m now just working with a few other producers on the next lot of Formula releases and im looking forward to announcing them with me being a fan of the tracks & the scene as well as being a part of the movement so keep your eyes and ears peeled!

Just a little insight on whats going on for you all – sorry if it’s a bit much and if you’ve gotten this far, thanks for reading! lol

All the links to the past Formula releases are below:

FRM001 – Champion – Lighter EP – http://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/lighter-single/id459578369

FRM002 – Champion & Ruby Lee Ryder – Sensitivity – http://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/sensitivity-single/id477403385

FRM003 – Champion ft Princess Nyah – Crazy – http://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/crazy-feat.-princess-nyah/id499771625

FRM004 – Notion – Digits EP – http://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/digits-single/id534373309

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  • Photography by Sarah Ginn

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    Bookings - ben@elasticartists.net

    Send music to champion@formularecords.com

    www.formularecords.com
    www.soundcloud.com/championdj
    www.mixcloud.com/championdj

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