Since their debut release with Terror Danjah’s ‘Bipolar’ EP just over 12 months ago back in March 2010, Butterz have firmly established themselves as grime’s most prolific label. In just a year they’ve set the benchmark incredibly high for all aspiring label owners and artists alike. Combine this tireless enthusiasm and astounding work rate with an artist roster that boasts the likes of Swindle, Terror Danjah and the outstanding Royal T and the label’s all-conquering run suddenly becomes all the more understandable.
2011 started with the release of Royal-T’s ‘Orangeade,’ arguably one of grime’s most impressionable instrumentals of the year so far, and it has since been followed by S-X’s iconic ‘Woooo,’ Swindle’s chest-plate rattling monster ‘Mood Swings’ and Ramadanman’s refix of ‘Woooo’; a delectable combination of his iconic ‘Glut’ and ‘Woo Riddim’ that comes together to form the aptly named ‘Woo Glut’. With the summer fast approaching, I managed to catch up with one half of the duo behind the label, Elijah, on the launch of what he is calling “Phase 2,” the next step for the ever-ambitious Butterz imprint. Like Elijah himself says, “I’m not here to build a niche little label, the point in the first place was to make Grime accessible, and putting out vocal versions of our popular tunes was the next obvious step.”
At the forefront of the thinking behind Phase 2 is a basic premise – raising the expectation of what you’d expect from independent labels and grime artists alike. As Elijah points out, the quality increase in 2011’s releases so far is plain to see – ‘Orangeade’ and ‘Mood Swings’ are tracks of the highest quality and each deliver something different in relation to what’s currently out there. However, before this year, Butterz’s emphasis was concerned more with the deejay than that of the casual grime listener, a fact not lost on Elijah. As a result, we were this week informed of Butterz’ much-anticipated first vocal release which sees P Money and Blacks combine over Royal T’s remix of TRC’s ‘Oo Aa Ee’ on a track entitled ‘Boo You’. Due for release on May 16th alongside the VIP extended editions of ‘Mood Swings’ and ‘Orangeade’, ‘Boo You’ won’t be previewed until a week before its release, a move Elijah hopes will encourage people to invest in the label and purchase the track. Future vocal releases are also very much in the pipeline; we can expect to hear new releases from the likes of Trim, J Sweet and Terror Danjah before the summer’s out.
In addition to the music, Phase 2 also extends to live shows; Royal T is set to make his FWD debut this coming Thursday alongside Jamie XX and Butterz are to host fabric’s Room 3 for a second time on June 17th, with Elijah and Skilliam playing a 2 hour set with Trim alongside sets from TRC, DJ Q and Royal T with emcee Merky Ace. A Boiler Room session is also in the offing, with Elijah confirming that June 7th will play host to the first Butterz showcase, a significant step in establishing the label’s credentials within not just grime, but electronic music as a whole. The Boiler Room lineup is as heavyweight as you’d expect with Champion, Royal-T and Merky Ace, Swindle and Roses Gabor and Terror Danjah and Mz Bratt all joining Elijah and Skilliam for what will essentially be the Boiler Room’s first ever grime showcase.
The ever popular Butterz tees are also due for a makeover with Elijah announcing that they’ll be back on sale as of the summer with new, innovative designs. The tees will also be available in shops too, as well as the well-stocked Butterz boutique.
Essentially, Phase 2 marks the next step in Butterz’s growth as a label with Elijah keen not to dwell on successes so far. “We could leave things the same and carry on putting out quality instrumentals but there’s an opportunity to do so much more… I know I can fulfil what lacks in UK hip hop, dubstep and even funky using a few different angles within grime.”
Bold? Yes. But would you bet against him?
Words: Tomas Fraser // Uncle Albert Says
You can pre-order P Money & Blacks ‘Boo Yoo’ on iTunes here, its out on 16th May alongside the VIP versions of Swindle’s ‘Mood Swings’ and Royal T’s ‘Orangeade.’