Imprints brings you weekly profiles of the most exciting independent record labels the world over, written by movers and shakers from within their own electronic music communities.
Name: I'm A House Gangster(IAHG)
Vibe: Old-school tech cuts, more raw than tartare.
Location: Toronto / Ibiza / Worldwide
Upcoming releases: Ramon Tapia's 'true definition', Harry Romero & Joeski, Darius Sysrossian, Chiqito, Tripmastaz, and more.
Artists-to-watch: DJ Sneak, Jesse Perez, Sydney Charles, Ramon Tapia, Jay London, Paolo Rocco
I'm A House Gangster is true club-jacking house music in its finest form. The label is comprised of new school knights championing an old school banner. This banner, of course, was crafted in many ways by the king of IAHG's castle and one of the true OGs left in house music today—DJ Sneak.
THUMP: What's on the agenda for this summer Sneak?
DJ Sneak: I'm looking forward to more exciting shows and feeling that vibe only summer can bring. I'm excited to be back in Europe with my family and enjoying that time away from the city.
We know all about your life in music. Is there anything that fans may not know about you?
I can't wait to get back on my grill. And I am especially looking forward to seeing my '62, I cannot wait to get that bounce back in my life.
What's on deck for IAHG?
Well, we have a full schedule with some of our best upcoming IAHG homies. Jesse Perez will be featured on the label with his trademark, raw Miami House. Ramon Tapia's banging track "True Definition" is up after that, including a remix by myself. Tapia's track goes hard and is full of ghetto and gangster. Finally. Harry Romero & Joeski's "Ghetto Bounce" is a solid track which I've been killing since I got my hands on it. That track will be out with IAHG as well. Besides these scheduled gems, IAHG has many more in place for the Fall. Darius Syrrosian, Chiqito, Tripmastaz and something from myself is in the works. We've also been working hard on a double LP of IAHG classics for vinyl release, which I'm excited about.
What does it mean to be a 'house gangster' and how does the label reflect that?
This collective of amazing people represent real house music, played and produced by some of the most talented but often overlooked DJ's/Producers in the world. At a time when everybody was shitting on deep house and house music in general, I was staying firm that house music was not dead and would not let it die. I started writing blogs and was very outspoken about the music I love. For me, it's being passionate about my style of house music, the kind with soul, with rhythms, with vocals, and with a great concept. Not just some over-saturated, over-mastered piece of shit sounding track with massive hype from a PR team trying to make you believe it's the best thing in the world. For me being a House Gangster is standing up to everything and everybody who dares to disrespect something I hold dearly in my heart. I'm a House Gangster for life, 'till the end of time.
What qualifies a track or artist to be released on this label?
The music has got to have some gangster funk to it. There are too many tracks that sound alike, so we look for that raw dirty house sound.
In your eyes, are there any other labels that reflect this approach?
Not really, people are too afraid to cross barriers and be able to freestyle a sound until the whole world gets into it. We at IAHG say fuck the trends. We like it raw and keep it raw, and are true to the street people.
The imagery and design of the merchandise follows the 'gangster' theme. Can you tell us about the concept behind the branding?
We keep it street with the blue-collar working class flavour. We're not glamorous nor are we that new "deep house" look; we're all about west coast Cali love with touches from around the world. The concept first started as a slogan for house music, as a campaign to fight back when everything was bad electro. I was done with everyone saying that house music was dead, so I decided to fight back for what I love—the house music culture that made me what I am today. I am a soldier for this music and will always represent it. This community is like a family to me and it is full of people who have the same love I have for the sound. We stand strong for what we believe in and will not let anyone push us aside. There are many OG's in this house music culture.
Finally, this dope video you guys just put out. What does this video provide us with Sneak?
Shot over a week in Ibiza, it captures my performance at Café Mambo, followed by a set at Pacha Ibiza. There are shots from Pete Tong at Ushuaia (as part of the new This is Hard Rock Hotel gig series), where I was accompanied by my fellow OG, Snoop Dogg.
The video also showcases the I'M A HOUSE GANGSTER UNANNOUNCED nights at The Underground Ibiza, which included a back-to-back set with Jonny White from Art Department and opening sets from Amine Edge & Dance. It features our Ibiza BBQs with me manning the 'Gangster Grill.' The soundtrack comes courtesy of Jesse Perez and Harry Romero, alongside some of the top releases on I'm A House Gangster to date.
The documentary also touches on my summer plans. This summer I'll be a monthly resident at the much loved Ants party as well as playing some special guest slots for the usual suspects. I'll also perform at Ceremony (Found) in London as part of the very first IAHG festival stage.