It takes a lot of energy these days to run a label because it’s not like it used to be in the good old days. I take my hat off to those angelic upstarts from the north east Lost My Dog Records because I respect the time and effort that they put into their label. I tracked down Strakes from the label for a quick Q+A session. Have a read then check out their releases.
What the story behind Lost My Dog please?
There are three of us involved in Lost My Dog – Strakes (me!), Pete Dafeet and Nags Modhwadia. We first had the idea to start a label at the end of 2004: Nags had a record shop in Loughborough where Pete and I were at University. I helped out a bit in the shop on the ordering side and Pete was a customer. I also organised a couple of events around the Midlands, which the others always played at, and was picking up other gigs all around the UK. At the time Pete had been producing for a few months; he’d released a bootleg of ‘Lick My Neck’ which was doing really well and was having some success with labels like Shaboom. Yousef had also asked him to remix Tyra’s ‘Other Woman’ which was pretty massive at the time. A few other friends were also producing and so between the three of us we thought it’d be cool to release some of their music. We were lucky that Subterfuge DJs, who we DJ’d with lots, had made a track with Tony Thomas that they were looking to get signed, so that got us off to a flying start. Through the record shop we had a few contacts with distributors so spoke to a couple and they liked what we were doing. What started as a not much more than a hobby quite quickly developed into something more when we realised other people also liked the music we did; DJs would play it and people would buy it!
How would you describe the sound of Lost My Dog?
Lost My Dog is house, pure and simple. Lots of people say we’re a deep house label and it’s true that we do lean towards more underground or deep styles, but there’s still a lot of variation in what we put out. There’s acid from people like Tommy Largo, that unique UK deep/tech sound from Harold Heath and Nathan Coles & Dave Coker, jacking house from Jay West and Chris Harris & Dominic Martin, more soulful offerings like East St Louis Players, solid no-nonsense deep house from Jay Tripwire and Kelvin K and then Pete’s music with its infectious groove based sound. Someone said to me recently that we’re one of a few labels where you could play a whole set from warm up through to peak-time just using our catalogue, which I quite like as a way of looking at things.
Is it too easy to be an MP3 label these days?
I think it’s certainly easier to release music into the public domain now than it was, say 5 years ago, and I think it’s a positive move that more people can get their music heard. That said I do think there can be some quality control issues with digital labels in that there are often no barriers to anybody sticking up any old rubbish. In my opinion one of the key roles of a record label is to offer that quality control. In the past the fact that you had to invest a large chunk of money into vinyl or CD manufacture helped to make sure only the higher quality and sell-able music got through, but now the investment required is next to nothing so there’s less risk if the music flops. Some of the bigger download sites and aggregators are now looking at quality control more closely which I think is good. At the end of the day though it’s down to music buyers to choose what they like and, as a record label, it just means that you have to do that little bit more to make sure you stand out from the crowd.
Is it important to LMD to push UK artists?
We’ve never really thought about nationality too much when signing music to be honest. If we like something enough then we’ll look to release it and work with the artist wherever they are from; I think we’ve worked with people from all continents with the exception of Asia so far. Being UK based there is a slant to us working with more UK artists than people from overseas, but I think that’s more to do with the contacts you make in your own country through travelling to DJ, speaking on the phone or whatever.
Can you please fill me on your LMD artists?
There’s a lot to cover! There are a few artists we work very closely such as YSE, Jay Tripwire and Harold Heath. We always look to see what new material they have available. There’s also Pete Dafeet who uses Lost My Dog as an outlet for his own productions and remixes (once Nags and I agree they are good enough of course!). Other than that we make links with people and listen to demos that get sent in and if we like something then we’ll speak with the artist about releasing it. Where remixes are concerned we use a combination of artists we’ve worked with before and also people whose music elsewhere we’re currently into. It always depends on what will complement the original song and we’ll take suggestions from the original artist as well. There’s information on pretty much everyone we’ve worked with so far up on the Lost My Dog website.
What’s the future for LMD?
More of the same really – we’ve got a string of string of releases lined up in 2009 for vinyl and digital release from Kelvin K, YSE, Jay Tripwire and Pete Dafeet, plus we’ll be continuing our exclusive digital series with new music from Danny Stott and Pash & Norm. We’re also looking at a couple of album projects and doing something in that area. Plus we’ll hopefully have a few more events round and about.
Interview by Roual Galloway