In-Reach caught up with James Horrific to chat about his label ‘Horrific Recordings’, a brand new ‘vinyl only’ label which launched today. James tells us all about his past, the concept behind the name of the label and future plans for Horrific Recordings. The first release already has strong support from the likes of Fabio, Random Movement to name just a few. Things are starting to get exciting over at the Horrific HQ.
Good afternoon James, can you tell us a little about yourself?
I am 39 years old and an artist (I paint huge oil paintings) . I have lived in central London since 1997 when I moved to York Way to study at the Royal College of Art. In the 1980s I listened to Electro/Hip Hop & Rap. Since 1990 I listened to Hardcore/Jungle/Drum and Bass. Over the years I have devoted lots of time to Graffiti, Street Skateboarding & being Pirate DJ on Rude FM 88.2 London.
So, what made you start your own label? And what was the concept behind the name Horrific Recordings?
I bought my first Jungle 12″ in 1993, Sub nations ‘Scotties Sub’ (Scottie), that day I could only afford that record. So I literally had one 12″ for a week or so and no turntables. After twenty years of collecting Jungle/Drum and Bass/Hardcore vinyl, I decided I wanted to launch my own label as it’s something I have always wanted to do.
The concept behind the name comes from back In the mid 80s I was into Def Jam Recordings, & years later early 1990s names Like ‘Death Row Records’ stood out in terms of a nasty name. In 2002 I did a show of my paintings called ‘Horrific Paintings’ & then in 2004 Charles Saatchi exhibited my huge painting titled ‘Horrific’ at the Saatchi Gallery London. I was there with Charles Saatchi & a couple of mates when they hung it & they called me ‘Horrific James’ as the painting read on it in huge 1950’s style comic lettering the word ‘Horrific’ . A few years later in 2011 I was in Manhattan New York for a couple of months, and one night I caught the 2 train up to the Bronx and I went on my own to the 2s & 5s and painted a panel with the word ‘Horror’. So, Horror themed stuff has been constantly of interest to me & with a name like Horrific Recordings I can put out any sound that I am feeling, just like Reinforced did back in the day. I was always inspired by how Goldie drew the Reinforced ‘R’ logo and later worked on Metalheadz logo. For Horrific Recordings I drew the logo myself free hand, then had it scanned in , just as I drew it around London and the world… since Y2K 14 years and counting. It’s in blood red & fills the whole label on Horrific 001 Side A. Mind Games.
I understand Horrific Recordings is a 100% vinyl only label, no MP3’s will be released. What made you decide to take this route? And what would you say are the main challenges you face when starting up a vinyl only label?
I grew up & learned to mix on two Technics turntables ,a mixer, an amp, speakers & Vinyl, that was perfect, my instruments, like a drummers kit. Early 2003 saw Klute bring CDJ’s to Rude FM for his first guest show; we had never seen them before. We thought it was great. Rude got a set and we learned to mix on them fine. But as the years went by I missed the feel of wax, I didn’t enjoy it as much and got obsessed with collecting rare 1990s vinyl that I never managed to get hold of first time round. This was before the age of discogs, where if you missed a tune first time round, it was almost impossible to find it again.
If you gave me a perfect mp3 of a 1990s tune for me personally Its not the tune, playing it on Serato/Tracktor is pretending for me personally & syncing is like cheating in football for money, secretly throwing the game, bribing the ref, what’s next robotic snooker?! Laser beam targeting snooker cues, that do it all for you, you see where we are heading… come on!!! I find Football exciting because anything can happen, DJ’ing live on vinyl is very similar. It can be unpredictable at times which is the best feeling for me, if you pull of a top set its like winning, that winning feeling.
I have 16 or more crates of Jungle 1991-2014, so when I’m planning a set it’s all there, vinyl is my instrument. In the future if somebody doesn’t beat me to it id like to have a Horrific Recordings Drum & Bass/Jungle vinyl only DJing World Championship night, DMC style but for D&B only, with different categories e.g. 1991/92 93/94 95/97 2000-2010 2010-present.
Even when I get free CD’s I’ll still go out to get the tune on vinyl as to me it sounds better and it feels more natural to mix on. I was told people don’t want Vinyl, but a minority of serious headz always does so, Horrific Recordings is for them. In 2014 I am only playing vinyl. Setting up the label has been fun & I have really enjoyed it. I’m an obsessive character, so I wore out my adviser’s out a bit with non-stop horrific ideas in there ears. We’re pressing a limited run of 300 copies of Horrific 001, so if you miss out then you’d better head over to Discogs.
Your first release is from dramatic & dbAudio How did the signing come around?
The first time dRamatic & dbAudio caught my ear was in 2010 when I heard Life Console in Barcelona whilst on holiday. They turned out to be two guys from Nottingham. In 2011 I was DJ’ing at the Mars Recordings launch London, and I met dbAudio there, had a chat, and got his autograph on my Life Console Ingredients Vinyl. In 2012 they were my number one producers & I collected more of there tunes than another artist that year , so they were my natural first choice to approach in launching Horrific Recordings.
Is there a particular style your going for with Horrific? Or is it case of, if you like it you’ll sign it?
Yes as I mentioned earlier with a name like Horrific Recordings anything goes, if I love the track I’ll be signing it. I am really pleased with the variety of the two tracks on Horrific 001, side A. ‘Mind Games’ reminds me of 1996/97 Source Direct of which I collected during the mid 90s & Side AA.’Seance’ has that Speed Sound to it (LTJ Bukem & Fabios mid 90’s weekly D&B night) I’m coining the term ‘Speed Sound’ for ‘Seance’ & tunes in this vain for 2014 .
You were involved in Londons Rude FM in early 2000. Tell us more about your time with the legendary Rude?
It was amazing, I was weekly full time 2000-2006 on the original Rude FM established 1992!!! As Dee Jay Jess (Jess is part of my surname & my skateboarding nickname) I got massively involved in DJ’ing on there as much as possible & they pushed me to mix & DJ to a much more professional standard. I met some of my best D&B allies on there over the years like Lady Flava in 2000, Clive Ingredients in 2002 on his first show when he drove up from Ipswich. I was one of the original three ‘Rush Hour Crew’ members as named by Fugee summer 2002.
Even after leaving full-Time to concentrate on my art & live in Sweden 2007-2009, I have always managed at least one guest show a year, so I have represented in one way or another 2000-2014 so far. I actually feel like I’m still fully part of rudefm.com , its like a life long best friend, it never dies, as soon as your together its like you was never apart.
In late 2011 I did ‘Rush Hour Tuesdays’ on rudefm.com for six months weekly & I hooked up with Chemical Ally of Rooted Recordings & we made some tracks under the moniker ‘The Piano Dentists’. I also started doing occasional guest shows with Saturday afternoon 4-6pm regular Nick E P, we both specialise in Vinyl so we clicked instantly as ‘Vinyl Brothers’ when we met on the Rude’s infamous Rush Hour New Years Eve 2011 into 2012. We did a couple of Vinyl only nights called PHILOSOPHY; Flava & Spectrum got involved on the second one which made it even better. One of The best things about Rude was and is the people I met over the years whilst grafting, learning the trade, and vibing out on there. It was a really good D&B apprenticeship. I recommend it to up & coming DJs, but like any form of studying it’s not easy. Fugee is like a Professor who challenges you, and keeps you on yours toe’s. Mistakes are always critiqued, perfect shows are praised, there are no cutting corners as a DJ on Rude.
You’ve been involved in the scene way back since the early hardcore days (early 1990). You must have seen quite a change in the 20+ years you’ve been around. Are there any particular stand out moments or highlights you’ve seen over the years?
One of the highlights was living through the culture as it happened & invented itself 1991=Hardcore, 1992 Hardcore Junglism, 1993= Jungle, 1994= Drum and Bass, then it settled as a genre, the foundation was laid, for me its like what it must have been living through the invention of football in say way way back in the day, imagine (this is fictional) 1872 = wooden framed goal posts 1873 = Chalk pitch outline 1874= referee 1875= Stadium lol . Football’s not so new but I’ve loved it my whole life, Jungles not new but I’ve love it my whole life, amen breaks aren’t new but its my favorite break, the World Cups not new but I go crazy for it every time like Junglistic Hardcore.
One of the stand out moments was going to my first rave Dreamscape II in early 1992. I was only 17 and thought I might not even get in. Later in 1993 seeing LTJ Bukem at Milwaukees & DJ Ratty there close up in a small venue. I was fascinated by how they performed and the unmistakable sounds they brought & slick presentation throughout. Seeing Goldie do his Rufige Kru – Terminator PA live on Stage at Bangin- Tunes night ‘Nastiness’ The Edge, Coventry Easter 1993 made a huge impact of hyper energy that never left me.
What plans do you have for Horrific recordings in the future?
Who you feeling at the moment artist wise?
DJ Response on Ingredients UK is smashing it. Eveson is bang on form with his production, last year he was rocking it cosmos style (I am loving those amens). Both are playing at Fabric on Friday March 28th 2014 so go check them out. Since year 2000 I have always represented tracks by Digital, Spirit, Total Science, Klute, Calibre, Marcus Intalex & ST Files, DJ Lee & D Kay, always feeling those sounds on wax, with whatever’s new of that quality.
Any final words?
Always play the music you love. I want to say a big thanks to in-reach.co.uk for featuring us. Massive respect to all those who pre-ordered Horrific 001 vinyl, and those of you who go on to buy a copy. Extra large Big ups to Clive Ingredients, Chemical Ally: Rooted Recordings, dRamatic & dbAudio, Ego Scene, & Coalition Inc. Respect to my vinyl brother Nick EP. Big big shout out to original Junglist Simon ‘Concept’ Dodson in Milton Keynes. To my lovely Lady Katy, I love you. Maximum boost to all Jungle/Drum and Bass/Hardcore lovers worldwide, the vibe never dies. I hope you enjoy my all vinyl guest mix below! Horrific James