It’s the mid-90s and a teenage Antal Heitlager is on an overnight bus to London. When he arrives in the UK capital he plans to spend the day shopping at record stores like Fat Cat, Atlas and Reckless Records before, unable to afford accomodation in the city, returning to Amsterdam overnight that same evening with a fistful of vinyl.
“The most vital part has always been the music selection,” Antal continues. “When we started, musical areas were quite segregated in Amsterdam. You were house or hip-hop or trip-hop or funk or drum & bass. There were people who enjoyed different things but in clubs it wasn’t really mixed up. Nowadays that’s more accessible and accepted. “[As Rush Hour] we have always been all over the place. Something that might not be easy to pin down. When we opened the store we tried to make combinations with different types of sounds.
“I remember clearing dancefloors with these sounds that are now in fashion”
Rush Hour’s longevity musically, though, is largely due to its refusal to be pigeonholed under a specific sound or style. The music they purvey is singularly undefinable, growing from their love of Detroit techno and Chicago house to also encompass a discerning selection of electro, jazz, Afrocentric sounds, funk, soul, Eurocentric techno and way beyond. Through the years the brand has not only become a stamp of impeccable taste, but also a one-stop shop for records and releases that originally flew under the radar of international recognition.
The Rush Hour co-founder also enjoys a busy career as a touring DJ alongside his work for the brand, as well as being a family man with two daughters. “I am still finding out and fine-tuning all the time how to make it work,” he says of his work/life balance. “Often it means little hours of sleep but for now it is good.”