Palmistry on how his father’s death inspired ‘Afterlife’ and working with SOPHIE on Rihanna material
Growing up, Will Saul always followed the musical path – initially playing a variety of instruments before making the shift into to getting serious about buying records. By the age of 16, he was locked into the dance music scene and started frequenting clubs and then, as the bug well and truly bit, bought a pair of turntables and a mixer. Fast forward a few years, and Saul had built up a name as a producer, remixer, and A&R, as well as holding down a DJ residency at the legendary, now defunct, London club End for many years. Already working on his Simple Records label with friends, he then decided to go it alone, setting up his own label, Aus Music.
Now a fully formed independent and a steadfast staple for dance music enthusiasts, Aus Music celebrates a milestone 10 years in operation this April. A label that is regularly showered with end of year praise from the likes of Resident Advisor and XLR8R, Aus has consistently explored the more cutting edge and leftfield sounds of dance music, developing itself into an outpost for a range of unique artists – from the live dub of Sideshow, through to the bass-driven house and techno delights of Joy Orbison, Scuba, Pearson Sound, and Appleblim. Always targeting all things exciting in the UK’s underground electronic music scene, they were also early adopters of current house music pedigrees Bicep, Dusky, George FitzGerald, and Midland. To mark the label's 10th birthday celebrations at XOYO tonight, Will steps up to share some of the most pivotal and important releases from the label's rich discography, which is a mammoth task in itself.
In Will's own words:
"Rather than my 10 best in terms of preference I've done it chronologically, starting from the labels inception, as the 10 most important records. Oh and its also a top 11, as I couldn't leave any of these out."
Read about Will's selections below and listen seamlessly via our YouTube playlist.
Sideshow Scary Biscuits
[Video isn't available on YouTube]
Will Saul: "The first record on Aus Music. 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!)."
Lee Jones There Comes A Time (backed with Prins Thomas Discomics)
Will Saul: "I prefer the original (one of my all time favorites from Lee), but Prins Thomas's mix was raved about in the press as one of FACT's tracks of the year. It was masked in a layer of feedback (deliberately), that Prins Thomas increased and decreased to build the intensity of the mix. Pretty bonkers and pretty much unplayable to be honest. I've not heard it done since."
Joy Orbison The Shrew Would Have Cushioned The Blow
Will Saul: "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."
Ramadanman & Midland Your Words Matter/More Than You Know
Will Saul: "This was recently one of DJ Mags top 100 house records of all time and sounded like nothing else out there. Midland's first record release."
Ramadanman & Appleblim Void 23 (Carl Craig Re-Edit)
Will Saul: "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…"
Will Saul: "Scuba's alter ego and just before he went all trance. Number two in RA's top 100 tracks of the year, so that means it must be good right?! If you know me, you know there is a heavy hint of irony in this comment."
George FitzGerald Child
Will Saul: "This spawned a whole host of sound-a-like records, launching George into the world as a global superstar (with great taste in shirts)."
Will Saul: "It's all about that bassline and the reversed vocal sample. Harry Midland didn't think it was very good and didn't want to release it. I think (and hope) that he's glad I convinced him otherwise now."
Leon Vynehall Brother/Sister
Will Saul: "This was a breakthrough record for Leon Vynehall at the time."
Will Saul: "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. The success and visibility we achieved with Dusky's records enabled me to sign a label deal with !K7, so it was a really important building block in the label's history."
Will Saul: "Mainstays on the label, this is a record that just carried on gaining momentum aftter it was given a play by Jamie xx in his Glastonbury set, which was broadcasted live on BBC 1. It finished the year as Mixmag's tune of 2015."
Will Saul celebrates 10 years of Aus Music at XOYO on April 15th with Huxley, Marquis Hawkes and more (tickets).