In a time where some labels are pumping out release after release conveyor belt style, Slow Roast Records is doing just the opposite. Just as the name suggests, the record label brought to us by Craze and Kill The Noise, Slow Roast is ‘slow roast-ing’ their own home cooked style. Originally started as a passion project between the two long time DJs, Slow Roast Records has slowly but surely evolved into it’s own monster. As the home to up-and-coming names like Brillz, Ape Drums, and Codes, Slow Roast hasn’t really honed in on a specific style. But what they have honed in on, their shared vision and philosophy, is worth waiting for every second. With that in mind, we sent some questions over to the ever-touring, ever-scratching, ever-evolving DJ Craze.
It’s fairly common knowledge that Craze and Kill The Noise are the masterminds of the label. Is there anyone else behind the scenes that’s been key to the overall scope of the development of the business? What ultimately made you guys want to start Slow Roast?
Slow Roast was started by me and Kill the Noise, and now we have Louie Arson managing the label. He’s been an important factor in our growth in the last couple of years. I’ll be honest and say that me and Jake (KTN) weren’t really stressing the label cause its something we were doing for fun, but it’s become a serious project for us in the last two years. We started the label and still think of the label as an outlet for music we think is cool and forward thinking.
It seems there’s a unique sonic thread to Slow Roast. Much like the logo’s clear comic inspiration, the music oozes this endearing crazy whacky funkiness to it – the horns, the pops, the squeaks, all served with phat bass. What are you looking for when you’re signing an artist? a particular track?
Yeah, Slow Roast’s motto is “No Fast Food Shit, We Slow Roast.” So when signing tracks or anything we do, we think of projects that will stand the test of time. We don’t pay attention to genres. If it’s good and pushing boundaries, we’re into it! When I listen to demos I just pay attention to my gut feeling… I think, “is this something I’ll be proud of putting out into the world?”
Now on top of that, there’s also a distinct thread Slow Roast fam and that’s turntablism. It seems like Slow Roast has really found a niche here that no other ‘electronic’ music labels are really touching. Are there plans to expand on this? How much of that is part of the Slow Roast philosophy?
Well, I come from the turntablist side of things, but in no way am I looking to make that a theme here at Slow Roast unless it’s something fresh and inspiring. I’m only interested in putting out dope shit and Scratch Nerds II is dope. We didn’t know what we wanted to do with it so I suggested putting it out for free through Slow Roast, because I was VERY proud of that project and thought it fit well with our brand of pushing things forward.
You guys are set up with distribution through Fool’s Gold Records still right? How do you see that partnership as an advantage to Slow Roast? Tell us a bit about what it’s like working with them.
We are no longer being distributed by Fools Gold. It wasn’t a bad separation, we just wanted to test things out on our own. We owe so much to Fool’s Gold for teaching us how to run a label and they still drop jewels on us. They are definitely a label we look up to and beyond that good friends. It was and still is awesome working with them. There will still be some partnerships with them in the future.
You guys have been “slow roasting” a bunch of your own up-and-coming guys like Brillz, Codes, Ape Drums, and then rocking with dudes like LOUDPVCK, Milo & Otis, and Buku. Now all of these guys are super talented and I know it’s tough playing favorites, but who’s potential growth in 2014 excites you the most?
I think I’m most excited about Ape Drums and Codes new projects. Ape Drums got my attention with his dancehall-y approach to EDM. Of course its been done by Major Lazer for years, but his production style is more dancehall than most and love the fact that he’s doing him and not trying to do what everybody else is doing. Codes’ new project is just fresh! It’s house music, but with a sexy hip-hop feel to it without going too deep. As far as people not on the label but that we’ve worked with …. I’m gonna say Milo & Otis, Tropkillaz, and LOUDPVCK are ones to look out for in the future.
What’s next for Slow Roast?
This year is looking great so far … We released Brillz’ RETWONKED and Ape Drums’ “Bashment,” and we have a lot of goodies in the pipeline. Look out for J. Rabbit‘s Peyote Soda EP, Codes’ new EP, and my EP coming up in the next couple of months. We’re also gonna start throwing more Slow Roast parties across the country so keep an eye out for that! We cooking we cooking!!!