Shapes Of Rhythm is a brand new independent label based in London, and they’re ready to drop their first release in the shape of the Dual Thought EP from label co-founder Tom Central (Keep Up! Records) with good friend BodyMoves. The label aims to showcase ‘original music on a variety of formats influenced by beats, afro, soul and disco sounds’.
I first heard of Tom and Keep Up! when I picked up the label’s debut 45 back in the day at Fat City Records, so thought I’d hit him up for a little chat to find out some background to the label and its debut slab of wax.
How did you hook up with BodyMoves?
I’d met Mark (BodyMoves) at a party years back and we realised we were both resident DJs at a local venue. At that time I was co-running Keep Up! and Mark had started to make beats too. We ended up doing an EP of his stuff called North Spaulding for Keep Up! and when we decided to put the label on hiatus I asked him if he wanted to continue to collaborate.
At the time we both lived close to each other and this EP is mainly the result of holing up at my home studio just playing each other records, then working up little jams together. We’d actually started Shapes of Rhythm as a radio show (about to restart it at Pyro Radio) before I suggested launching a label with the same name.
What was the inspiration for your first release?
There’s no one direction, but its certainly jazz, afro-centric, disco, beats-influenced. We’re both quite broad-minded in what we listen to so hopefully that’s come through in this EP anyway. We were definitely spurred on by seeing lots of new labels springing up over the last few years.
What’s the climate like for independent labels right now, and does this tally with the increase in mass vinyl sales? Did you debate whether or not to actually do a physical release?
I guess we’ll find out soon! We’ve certainly had a good reaction on launch, Gilles Peterson got behind it and things like Bandcamp help us reach our market a lot more directly. It’s not been easy getting this vinyl made and we had massively production delays so I guess that’s something smaller indies have to cope with. The waits are long! But certainly having a physical product gives us a bit more of a sense of purpose and achievement when it all works out.
I think that there’s enough demand out there for the vinyl product. The multitude of reissues is one thing that can hurt new music. People are often too busy buying ‘lost tapes’ or ‘never reissued masterpieces’ to keep an eye on people creating something new sometimes.
Is classifying genres a concern for you when pushing a release, or do you find that people get that we’re beyond that in a lot of ways?
It is a bit yes. I still try and give people cues when we’re releasing records like ‘file under’, ‘for fans of’ etc…
People definitely like their genres. If you’re doing grime you know where you are and your market. If you’re doing something that takes in many genres it’s harder. I guess you’ve got broader appeal but have to stretch out further to meet those people. I could never settle for just doing one thing, I love too many styles.
So Keep Up! is on hiatus, what’s the story there?
We had five of us DJing for the collective and doing the label. Javier (Cosmo Lopez) now lives in Berlin and is doing well with techno as 1/3 of LPZ. Some of us have kids now too. It felt right to start a new, different project. Zac (who recorded for Keep Up! as Avé Blaste) has got some great tunes that we are trying to tease out of him.
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