When Will Saul set up a little off-shoot to his Simple label with Ninja Tune artist Fink way back in 2006, it’s doubtful either of them imagined it would become the hive of underground talent it is today. Beginning life with a roster of just two (Fink, under his Sideshow alias, and Lee Jones) the label scored key releases from the likes of Joy Orbison, George FitzGerald and Dusky before becoming a regular haunt for fast-rising talents such as Midland and Huxley.
Now a decade old, Aus has just dropped its 100th release — a celebratory 24-track compilation that showcases why the label is still at the cutting-edge of dance music. Offering ominous techno, bum-wiggling disco and mutant crossovers of house and electronica, it couldn’t be a better representation of the Aus mentality. A label we simply couldn’t live without, this one’s sure to still be a favourite in another 100 records time.
How did it start?
“The label was founded as an outlet for Sideshow (Fink's alter ego) and Lee Jones to release artist albums. It was set up as an off-shoot to my other label Simple Records and Aus means 'off' in German.. and also sounds like house (bonus!).”
Who is behind it?
“Me (Will Saul), my label manager Jodie and the !K7 team. Just under three years ago I did a deal with !K7 who distribute the label and provide all kinds of wonderful support — accounting to the artists, budget to sign albums and marketing and legal support… they are amazing and have enabled the label to release way more music. Previously it was just me and my wife.”
What does it sound like?
“Whatever the artists we're working with sound like. I NEVER try to make the label sound like anything. This, for me, is the beginning of the end... as soon as people pin down what it is you sound like, they will grow bored of how you sound. I try to work with as diverse a range of artists as possible. That said, the majority of our music is aimed at the dancefloor.”
Who have you released?
“Bicep, Joy Orbison, Midland, George FitzGerald, Cassy, Dusky, SCB/Scuba, Leon Vynehall, Recloose, Komon, Pearson Sound, Huxley, Shenoda, FOLD, Appleblim, Ramadanman, Lee Jones, Sideshow, Sian, Youandewan, Sei A, Roland Appel, Trevino, My My, Geeeman, Nick Hoppner, Marquis Hawkes, Timothy Blake, Cottam, DJ October, Deetron, Breach, Bwana and DJ T. This is just original artists and not considering all the remixes we've had over the years.”
Who’s playing it?
“Too many to list over our 10 years of existence…”
Proudest Aus Music moment?
“Holding the first finished record in my hand. Still being in business after 10 years."
“Trying to remain interesting, exciting and relevant whilst making enough money to stay in business. Same as it ever was. Our 100th release comes out in July and this has 24 new tracks from the majority of artists (see above) we've worked with over the last ten years.”
01. Joy Orbison ‘The Shrew Would Have Cushioned The Blow’ (with Actress Remix)
“Joy's second release featuring a remix from a pretty much unheard of artist back then: Actress. Our biggest selling vinyl release of all time.”
02. Ramadanman & Midland ‘Your Words Matter’/‘More Than You Know’
“This was recently one of DJ Mag’s top 100 house records of all time and sounded like nothing else out there. Midland's first record release.”
03. Ramadanman & Appleblim ‘Void 23’ (with Carl Craig Re-edit)
“A very, very big record for us and to have Carl Craig's seal of approval was a huge life moment ticked off for me. I have a long story about this remix that proves what an absolute legend Carl Craig is, but I don't have enough words to tell it here...”
04. Bicep ‘Just’
“Mainstays on the label, this is a record that just carried on gaining momentum after it was given a play by Jamie xx in his Glastonbury set, which was broadcast live on BBC One. It finished the year 'Tune of 2015' as picked by you in these pages.”
05. Dusky ‘Careless’
“Number one on Beatport for nearly two months. Who cares about Beatport, I hear you say? Well it was a pretty big deal for a self-run and tiny (me and my wife) independent record label, with absolutely no marketing or PR budget. David Guetta was number two and Tiesto was number three."
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