Driven by house music’s staple values of generosity and freedom, Bristol label Banoffee Pies are slowly but surely leaving their own mark in the city’s effervescent nightlife, reshuffling classic Chicagoan tropes and breezy dance material through a top-notch series of mini compilations featuring a fine cast of DJs and producers including Adam Strömstedt, Ruf Dug and Jaffa Surfa.
Fresh off the launch of their third disco-house assortment, we caught up with Ell and Sandy to discuss the label’s raison d’être, Bristol’s music legacy as well as their latest outings and further projects.
Interviewed by Baptiste Girou
"Bananas are good for you. More people should eat them in the rave"
First of all, what’s with the banana?! It’s an obsession!
As for the bananas however, no obsessions.. to worry about.. – just good clean fun. Bananas are good for you. More people should eat them in the rave – We used to hang them up around our parties but the venues weren’t so keen as you’d imagine.
Sandy, you also run Dr Banana, a clothing company focused on exotic-influenced streetwear. What prompted you to set up Banoffee Pies together?
I had been running Dr Banana for around a year when I moved to Bristol, it wasn’t long after touching down in the West Country that I met Ell through a couple of mutual friends and a shared love for good music.
We quite quickly got to talking about starting up a night of some description and the name Banoffee Pies came pretty organically. It was drawn from the Banana theme of Dr B as we wanted them to be in association and link up for collaborative projects as we have most recently with our Banoffee x Dr Banana tees which are available from our webstore.
"Both of us spend a lot of our time finding new music, unreleased gems and sourcing young or upcoming artists that we feel are really important to support"
What’s the label’s motto?
Generally the ethos is good music, good parties, and playful times. Something like that or feelings of similar ilk.…
Mark Nicholas’ ‘Sacred Space‘ was the first and only solo record (and album) you released to date. Can we expect more individual slices or do you prefer to just not plan this kind of things?
We generally don’t like to plan too much. For us most importantly we want our releases to be of real value to the DJ and listener alike. At the time we unearthed Mark’s work, it seemed like a solo LP was the necessary credit it deserved, and the tracks provided a fantastic variation of sound.
We still have copies available here if you want to snap one up – It’s a real good listen, lots of experimental jams but some club ready bits in there to. We have a few new series to introduce this year but I imagine somewhere in 2017 we will have another solo special ready for you..
How do you operate when collating tracks for your compilations? Do you try building up a cohesive whole or is it all about pure feeling?
Generally we have an idea/element or feeling that we are trying to deliver or convey with each release. Compiling music on a VA basis is really interesting and we hear a lot of music that artists may be unable to find the place for on traditional EPs, so we often have the scope to make things weird from the off.
Both of us spend a lot of our time finding new music, unreleased gems and sourcing young or upcoming artists that we feel are really important to support. That’s essential to us, and the scene.
"I guess we are trying to build some kind of strange family, not just a record label"
Do you mainly release friends’ music or do you browse the internet on the lookout for fresh blood?
We are really lucky to know and have met so many great producers. Most importantly though, we let the music do the talking. We don’t select tracks for the artist or name that is attached. Anything we release has our full support as sounds that should be heard by the people.
On top of that, I guess we are trying to build some kind of strange family, not just a record label. You can expect continued support from all our artists and directly our close crew: Adam Strömstedt, Philou Louzolo, Christian Jay, Hansel and others – all shaking the cage in their own right.
Are you vinyl fetishists?
Would you say it’s considered an obsession if you wake up and monitor the postman’s activity from your window every morning? Probably. We buy too much wax and our bank accounts are constantly bruised – so yeah we are fetishists I guess. A terrible addiction that we sadly love.
Bristol’s always kept tight bonds with electronic music, being at the heart of many revolutions. Despite your free-minded approach to genres in general, do you think the city’s heavy musical legacy still inflect your vision?
Interesting question – for sure, subconsciously I think if you spend enough time in any city with a musical foundation you can’t escape it’s influences. Whether that be for a specific genre or not, there are definitely elements that can be picked from our releases that definitely pull on Bristol’s technical heart strings. On top of that, the feelings and moods we try to convey are often reflective of Bristol’s party attitude.
What’s hot in Bristol at the moment?
Hmm – Bristol is always HOT. There’s something about this city, I can’t quite put my finger on it – but the people, the culture and the scene together create a lovely combination and environment to push our work and that of like minded others. Have to say though, Dirtytalk are still doing the best parties – the vibes.
"I am a firm believer that people should welcome all realms of dance music into their lives"
Tell us more about your new baby, ‘BP003‘!
BP003 is a really special release for us. The A1 is a powerful piece of music that we hope will create some memorable dance floor moments. Jaffa Surfa was an artist introduced to me during my time at MEOKO, he’s a great DJ, we had him here to play one of our parties last year – if you’ve seen him behind the turntables it was only logical to start supporting his work, genius.
As for Hansel’s track, that was an unreleased beauty we have been listening to and playing for a good few years – somehow we were put in touch and one thing lead to another – sophisticated groove through and through with more to come on banoffee! ;)
The producers come from very diverse music horizons and the release does the splits geographically-wise. Is this something you want to achieve with BP? Breaking frontiers both intellectually and physically?
Definitely – intellectual and physical barriers in music are made for breaking. Something that we are pushing for is to create a platform that allows artists from many different backgrounds, locations, styles, and interests, to release music all together, giving us the chance to showcase a really mixed bag from young, old and underground producers.
I am a firm believer that people should welcome all realms of dance music into their lives, which is why we are not pushing for a certain sound, only for an ideology that runs fairly close to our preference as DJ’s – all music goes. We personally listen to so many different sounds that it would seem unfair to only push in one direction – there’s a lot of talent out there all doing good things in their own right. All things said though….tribal and cosmic sounds have a special place for us.
What does your schedule read for 2016?
It’s taken sometime to develop the label to this stage. We needed to get the correct variation of music under our belt before we could start to do some other things…But now we have your attention…2016 is looking good.
Following BP003 will be another in our original white label series, the second addition to our limited series, and the first in our black label series which may offer something a little deeper for you all.…..if you keep your eyes peeled we have a very niche RSD surprise too.
On top of that we have a lot of dj appearances for our residents, a summer packed with festivals and partnerships, and a load more of our own events. It’s all go here at Banoffee HQ, get in touch!
Here’s their next party!
Discover more about Banoffee Pies Records on Inverted Audio.Banoffee Pies RecordsHouse