Discovering the Essence of Autonomy and Community: The Fascinating Journey of B.A.D. Founding a Label for Quality Music

todayJuly 26, 2023 12

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Black Artist Database (formerly Black Bandcamp) has become known as an important global platform connecting artists across Africa and the diaspora since its inception during the politically tumultuous pandemic lockdowns, thanks to a team of passionate Black music industry workers led and co-founded by Niks Delanancy and Kay Ferdinand. Starting out as a crowd-sourced database, B.A.D. is now celebrating the creative output of a variety of international Black-owned record labels, artists, producers and bands, going on to recently launch the B.A.D. label with its first release in ‘Synergy’. Featuring AFRODEUTSCHE, Amaliah, Chmba, DJ Holographic, Lyric, rRoxymore, and NIKS, the album is jam-packed with bright sounds of Black delight, deep introspection, and uncontrolled creativity, ranging from minimal techno to Afrobeats and trance. We spoke with the album’s co-curators, NIKS and Tanya Akinola, to get an update on their thoughts and sentiments since the album’s publication.

What prompted the decision to launch the label as a whole, and what do you believe has been lacking in the industry that this label can fill?

We had discussed creating a record label for quite some time. We were continually receiving a massive amount of great music from Black artists via the database, and we were having numerous conversations with industry contacts about autonomy and having a home for music on a Black-owned label. Tanya stayed with Niks in London last summer, and we agreed that now was the time to do it. There is much that can be done in this industry, and we surely cannot solve every problem, but we aspire to be a venue that exists to support Black artists and our community first and foremost. We’re also conscious that there aren’t many Black women-led labels in electronic music, and we’d like to fill that need.

From where you stand, how has the scene altered for Black artists since the founding of B.A.D.?

B.A.D. is a reflection of the time it was developed in, when there was a major reckoning for how Black people were being treated not only in the music industry, but in society at general.

Can you recall any pleasant moments that have kept you and the team going since the beginning?

I believe it’s all the positive feedback and participation with the compilation, and it’s great to see that each music speaks to someone.

What are some of the advantages of a single creative voice between the continent and the diaspora, and how has it been to pursue this goal?

I mean, our voice isn’t monolithic, but it’s good to come together in this way to elevate multiple sub-sounds and genres through this one platform, and the label feels like such an organic way to do that.

What was the curating process like for this compilation, and what do you like best about each included artist?

We began by creating a list of performers from various genres and regions who we wanted to include in our compilation. We discovered that we naturally attracted towards and related with artists that identified in ways similar to us, whether as women or members of the LGBTQIA+ community. AFRODEUTSCHE is a powerful force who we believe breaks limits and represents something new. rRoxymore has a fantastic ear for textures and rhythms, and each release leaves us speechless. Amaliah is producing something great with her Borne Fruits endeavour, and we are not only connected with her values, but also astounded by her talent as a producer so early in her career. Lyric’s music is full of soul, and we are honoured to be able to collaborate with someone who has such a strong connection to and understanding of the history of this music. This is also true for DJ Holographic, whose productions bridge the gap between many styles. Black artists have pioneered in such a complex and interesting manner… And Chmba is a very unique artist whose work in the profession as well as as a creative inspires us.

What impact does the use of patois and other languages prevalent in Black places have on the evolution and storytelling possibilities of electronic music?

We can now exhibit the heart of the soundsystem and other sub-genre cultures that have impacted and shaped the underground dance music scene for decades by using accents, sounds, and voices from our background.

What kind of music can we expect from the label, and what reissues would you like to see in the future?

We’re delighted to experiment with sounds from all around the electronic spectrum. We’re excited to release EPs and LPs, as well as collaborate with artists to produce compilations based on their genre or communities.

We’d want to see artists work together across disciplines to create mixed media releases.

We’ve also spoken with people who have worked in the industry for a long time, and we’re delighted to focus on finding a new home for rare reissues.

Written by: alexadmin

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