Thomas Kerridge, boss of RAMP Recordings and sub labels Brainmath, PTN and Fourth Wave, has been one of the most pivotal figures in the emergence and maintenance of the UK bass scene since Ramp’s inception in 2004. His accolades have included assisting in the career launches of scores of now-ubiquitous producers including the likes of Hackman, Zomby, SBTRKT, Maxmillion Dunbar, Ras G, Gerry Read, Doc Daneeka and Presk among many more. With almost ten years of experience on the scene, we asked Tom to put together an IA mix to celebrate the ongoing innovation and excitement of the UK’s dance sphere.
Tell us about the mix you’ve recorded for IA. How was it recorded and was there a special concept behind the selection?
It was recorded on two Technics 1210’s and a mixer, nothing fancy. No computers, no BPM readouts, no cheating.
There was no real concept, I just grabbed some records from my shelves and did a mix. It’s all pretty old stuff – thought it would be a bit more interesting to dip into my record collection instead of playing a lot of tunes that came out last month that everybody has heard. Just a relaxed mix for listening to – I play a bit harder and knock through tunes a bit quicker if I’m playing out.
How do you find so much fresh talent – do you listen to everything?
I listen to as much as I can, but it’s difficult. There are only so many hours in a day. Soundcloud is a good place to find new stuff, my artists sometimes send me links to stuff too.
You’ve got four different labels on the go at the moment. What’s the benefit of having sublabels? How do you decide what gets released where?
I don’t really consider them as being sublabels, they are just labels as far as I’m concerned. When I hear something I want to release, a feeling or something in the music will dictate which label I will release them on. I can’t really put my finger on it.
I treat all the labels pretty differently, be it with artwork, or the way we promote, or packaging, or whatever. Just keeps things interesting for myself, and hopefully for everybody else too.
I’m having some pretty serious problems with my distributor at the moment so not entirely firing on all cylinders right now. Hoping all “issues” will be ironed out soon and we will be back to normal – we have had a tough few years. Distribution companies have been the bane of my life since I set up RAMP all those years ago.
No one genre seems to dominate the sound of your releases. With such an eclectic range of styles, how do you ensure the labels retain a coherent vision?
I think the thing that makes my labels coherent is the fact the music is all wicked. It works because it’s all fucking sick!
You obviously care a lot about the artwork on your releases, how do you come across the artists? What constitutes a great sleeve for you?
Just like music, by just browsing through stuff. I like good design, so it’s something I tend to do anyway. A great sleeve is something simple and to the point, but holds the eye. Hard to put into words, like what makes great music.
The job of managing the labels must weigh heavily upon your time, but you still seem to find the time to DJ. Have you ever wanted to break out more as a DJ?
I’d love to DJ a bit more. I don’t think I could ever play out as much as my artists as I just wouldn’t have the time to do all the label stuff. It’s pretty crazy going for a few months without playing out, then suddenly getting to play Panorama Bar or somewhere.
I’m actually just about to get signed to an agency for the first time in my career, so think gigs will be stepping up a little soon. Pretty exciting!
What will we see from Ramp and its sublabels in 2013? Is there anything you’re particularly excited about?
Young Echo album is next on RAMP, news will be appearing any day actually. Alice Ant soon – I can’t wait for people to hear that. NOCHEXXX album, more ∆ ∆. Hackman album is drawing ever closer – have been spending ages getting in in the studio working with vocalists as we didn’t just want to bang out a stack of club tunes. Gerry Read album 2 is pretty much ready. It won’t be coming out for some time, but it’s mental good! His follow up to Jummy, a single on 4th is dropping really soon. Of course, lots of amazing stuff from lots of amazing new artists too!
What other labels and artists are you feeling for 2013?
I’m pretty fussy about what I listen to, it’d probably be easier for me to list who I’ll be avoiding sullying my ears with this year.
No Pain In Pop are great as ever so looking forward to what they have coming next, and I am totes obsessed with Vinyl Williams. Anthony Naples is in a whole ‘nother world of sick. Jabu and the rest of the Young Echo boys will do amazing things this year. I really want to hear the new Daft Punk album, that little clip they leaked was wicked. I have a feeling they are readying something special after being kinda dull for years. I really like an Atoms For Peace track I heard the other day – I wasn’t expecting to enjoy that project.
Do you have any words of wisdom to share for our readers?
They are artifacts, actual relics of art and culture from our time you can hold in your hand that is worth something. Digital music without any doubt has it’s place – I use Spotify and itunes every day – but digital files are exchangeable replicas of the real thing.
1. Paul Johnson Back To The Ghetto Acv
2. Rick Wade Your Love Elevate
3. ? ? ?
4. Boo Williams The Firmament Formaldehyd
5. Blue Boy Dub-A-Dutch Guidance
6. Dj Sneak Play It Again Cajual
7. ? ? ?
8. Disko Method Get Your Mind Together Glasgow Underground
9. Markey ? Relief
10. Stacy Kidd ? ?
11. ? ? Relief
12. Greylock Ctm (Rachmad Remix) Ec
13. ? No Sell Out ?