Why Manchester is the new creative epicentre of neo-soul and hip-hop
Founded three years ago in New York, Doom Dab is an independent label of epic proportions. Embodying both a strong, politically driven ethos as well as functioning with a forward thinking attitude – the label owners and artists are just as collectively focused on being good role models as they are releasing music, constantly questioning the industry and creating a welcoming safe space for real people to experience the fruits of their labour in real time.
Staying true to a pop-centric output where songwriting is key; their artists include singing go-go dancer and “cowgirl with the matching chaps” K Rizz, the energetic and enigmatic Jay Boogie, "herbal lifestyle" inspired duo AHBS and connoisseur of the comedown love song, Thurmon Green. So, whether you’re into ballroom sass, comedown soul, or apocalyptic reggaeton – there’s something for you on Doom Dab.
Ahead of their label showcase at Dummy Presents on February 27th at Elvis Guesthouse in their homestead of New York City, we caught up with the Doom Dab team for an open discussion around what it's like to run a record label in 2k16, the search for songwriters with personality, and their dream squad uniform.
Read the interview below, and whilst you're at it, warm up in style with NAR's mix from earlier this week below.
Tell us a little more about Doom Dab? What inspired or pushed you to start the label?
BS: "It began organically. It got to a point where we couldn't help but try to create a collective force to get after music together."
HD: "With the resources and access we are privileged enough to have, it became a responsibility to use this to support incredible young talent we believe in."
Is there a common sound between the artists or a defining sound of the label, or do you cast aside genres and just do what you want?
BS: "The main common thread is that all Doom Dab artists are very song-centric. Everyone has their own genre niche, but regardless of what type of music it is, at the core is a proper song."
AHA: "We find commonality is our pop centric approach to song writing and presentation. We also all aim to create role-models out of ourselves. We share a strong sense of societal responsibility and hope to create a better, more self-empowered music industry for those to come."
"I first saw K Rizz go-go dancing dressed as an angel at a party in Bushwick." – AHA, Doom Dab
HD: "We’re lucky enough to find ourselves in an era where most every rule in the industry is being actively contested. What even makes a record label in this day and age? Each of our artists approach genre in interesting ways, and bring a set of social politics into their sounds and personas. It is thrilling to be a part of that development."
Tell us more about some of the Doom Dab artists. Are there any weird stories of how you started working together?
AHA: "I first saw K Rizz go-go dancing dressed as an angel at a party in Bushwick, then all of a sudden she’s got a mic in hand and is singing original songs. She was magnifique! I introduced myself and we were in the studio a couple days later."
HD: "Thurmon and I literally met in the first days of university. We skipped class to go to an Adele concert! Ever since then we’ve been shirking responsibilities for the sake of the music."
What do you look for in artists?
BS: "Songwriters and personalities."
AHA: "A desperate search for creative truth, and a need to create."
HD: "Drive, vision and above all, good music."
How does New York City feed into the label's identity, output, and ethos?
BS: "NYC is in our DNA. The hustle and flow of this vibrant city is what turns us on and everyone associated with Doom Dab has that drive pulsing through their veins."
Are their any non musical inspirations on Doom Dab?
AHA: "There is always a strong visual component to any project, firstly through the obvious such as press photos, album art, music videos, etc. But secondly and almost as important is the live element, a release party or a performance in which people get to live an experience and interact with an artist in a real space and time."
"Our kitchen table talk is of race, gender, sexuality and our current cultural climate." – HD, Doom Dab
HD: "Many of our artists also bring a political dimension to their practice, even when the outcome is pop music. Our kitchen table talk is of race, gender, sexuality and our current cultural climate. Our artists feel passionately about making art to make a better world."
If you could have a Doom Dab squad uniform, what would it be?
BS: "Something that's easy to run in, can keep you warm in the winter or breezy in the summer, and has wearable technology as part of it."
AHA: "Have you ever seen Saint Seiya: Knights of the Zodiac?"
Whats on the horizon for Doom Dab?
DD: "A 4 track EP from Nar – titled ‘Jujeh EP’ – is the next release. We're also working on putting together a compilation CD and getting some merch ready. Also a touring showcase… want us to play your city? school? community event? Hit us up on firstname.lastname@example.org."