The Frijsfo Beats label has always been swung. They’re an outfit whose work has hinged on the clipped 2-step of a producer like Sully, giving a voice to and backing his music with the kind of care and attention it deserves, but they’ve never stuck to a pattern over their 13 vinyl releases and numerous digital transmissions. As much as you can draw a line between what people like Sully, Geiom and Martin Kemp (SR Mix #21) do musically, there aren’t really that many major similarities between them, they each do what they do in fine style. Dave Kelso, aka DJ Oslek, is the man behind the diagram, the guy who connects the dots, the A&R and the facilitator behind the outfit. He’s also pretty nifty and splicing records and blending mixes.
Having just released the German Salad EP by one of our favourite producers, Martin Kemp, and with a slew of material from Geiom and other respected dudes in tow, it’s safe to say we’ve been in discussion for some time. The label’s output constantly cropped up in the tracklistings for our Hivemind FM show (RIP) and a bunch of it graces the archives of this site, so when he offered to make a mix for our ongoing series we took him pretty seriously. SR Mix #143 belongs to him. We’ve waited long enough…
Sonic Router: Tell us a bit about Frijsfo in your own words. Do you have any kind of mission statement for it? What is it you’re trying to use the label to do? What does the name mean etc etc…
DJ Oslek: Frijsfo Beats is the record label I started in 2008 by compiling and releasing my friend Jack’s (Sully) Phonebox EP, which was the first set of his garage and 2step tracks to come out. Point B was another producer I knew who like Sully was making original 2step beats at the time, so we got him involved too. We’ve worked with a lot of brilliant musicians and producers since. I was only 20 when I was setting it up so there was no mission statement or long-term plan. I knew I wanted to carry on collecting records and exploring music, learn about producing and cutting good vinyl, work with artists and encourage them but not much else aside from the kinds of sounds and rhythms I wanted to hear.
The label’s name was born out of trying to avoid commitment to any genres or scenes, as much as youthful naivety and a complete lack of knowledge about brand creation, marketing, and the music business in general. I wanted to give it the freedom to develop its own aesthetic.
I’ve always been more than aware that some of my favourite labels (Anticon, Def Jux as much as Hessle or Night Slugs) were born out of a necessity to give people a voice when no one else would pay attention to that type of music. Do you feel like you are trying to create your own crew through what you release? Does that type of thing matter to you?
I like to think Frijsfo gives artists the opportunity to experiment more, or explore other sides to their music. A lot of these guys are releasing on other labels too, but their output for them will sound notably different to what they bring to Frijsfo. It’s a different vibe. I’m not trying to create a ‘crew’ of artists – the label is signing tracks, not people – but a lot of us know each other well and DJ together, collaborate on music etc; so we’ve kind of got a team already.
How do you feel the drop in vinyl sales has affected the label’s output? Are you more choosy with what you release do you think?
Vinyl sales are dropping?! Just the fact that it is a different format and therefore different people buy it affects what Frijsfo presses up, and what just comes out digitally – there’s no point in investing time and money into cutting records if hardly anyone is going to enjoy that vinyl. I want Frijsfo Beats vinyl to appeal to good DJs and dancefloors, and not just the popular ones or those who are really into mixing or talking about genres either. The tracks really need to deserve their place on that plastic…
Some tracks you can just hear they will sound incredible on vinyl – like Martin Kemp’s stuff always does, or Buzzin10’s (SR Mix #131) tracks – the way that they’re made, it works really well. Anyway, as a record collecting fool myself obviously I do think a lot about what to get pressed to vinyl. If it’s a really hard decision sometimes I’m just selfish and cut the tracks I want most for my own sets.
In terms of A&R, Frijsfo feels pretty set on swung rhythm. Is that a fair statement? What makes an artist right for the label?
Yes for sure, 2step and swung beats remain the main focus and basis of the label’s sound. It’s not a set rule or an obsession though, and it’s not only about new rhythms and variations of beats – stuff like song structure, mood, recording and compositional techniques are all also important. I’m always interested in talking to artists about how their tracks have been made. Sometimes I’ll lend them synths or gear if they want to mess around with something new. And if analogue synths are involved it’s definitely a good look as far as Frijsfo and I are concerned.
What else is coming up on Frijsfo?
The next few months are going to be dominated by Geiom – the man has got so much game producing music it’s unreal. His Yllw Grn EP, which features Martin Kemp, is out in a few weeks, then there’s a vinyl EP before we release his third album – the follow-up to Island Noise – and that’s just what he has coming out on Frijsfo; there’s other labels he’s working with as well. Other than that, Warlock’s getting involved (some bits get premiered on this mix) plus there’s still material to come this year from Martin Kemp, Point B, Buzzin10, and maybe one or two surprises.
Tell us about the mix you made for us?
I mixed it by hand using vinyl and CDs in one take.
Any words of wisdom etc?
Follow your ears.
DOWNLOAD: DJ Oslek – Sonic Router Mix #143
Martin Kemp – Cracks [Frijsfo Beats]
Martin Kemp – Humpback [Frijsfo Beats]
Point B – Versus (Warlock remix) [forthcoming Frijsfo Beats]
Warlock – Too Late [forthcoming Frijsfo Beats]
Geiom feat. Terrible Shock – 246 (Desto remix) [forthcoming Well Rounded Records]
Desto – Remember [Signal Life]
Geiom & Hizatron – Digitithe [forthcoming Frijsfo Beats]
Teeth – Vibrate [Signal Life]
Point B – Comfort Zone [Frijsfo Beats]
Cardopusher – Antisharkz [Tigerbeat6]
Mr Gasparov – 1975 [Steak House Records]
Cardopusher – Juice In Blender [Tigerbeat6]
Hey o Hansen – Extinguisher (Karl Marx Stadt mix) [Hey Rec]
Maddslinky – Future Chicano [Sirkus]
Clueless – Griswald House [Frijsfo Beats]