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Music by VICE

Activia Benz's New Compilation Deserves Its Own Made-Up Genre

Chiptuna? Normstroke? We asked label head Slugabed to suggest some.

by Max Pearl
Mar 12 2014, 7:31pm

When Activia Frenz Volume 1 landed in my inbox yesterday, the first thing I saw in the tracklisting was a cut from one "DJ DJ Booth." I had never heard or seen anything from this DJ DJ Booth, but then I kept scrolling through the liner notes and saw that the record was compiled by the enigmatic bleep-bloop technician Slugabed, and I immediately understood we were in for something silly.

In the stonefaced world of humorless Resident Advisor and Mixmag devotees it's nice to hear that there's a record label named after a probiotic yogurt product that regulates the movement of digested food through your intestinal tract. And when every refresh means another email with a "chugging tech-house burner" enclosed, I thank god for every time an .MP3 in my downloads folder leaves me grasping for genre descriptors. Activia Frenz Volume 1, which is out for free on UK label Activia Benz on Monday, March 17, outlines a spectrum of weird, post-genre bass music—the kind that accomodates severe ADHD and seems to re-invent itself before you can even refresh your Soundcloud stream.

I listened through this baby a couple times yesterday and emailed a friend referring to it as "post-Rustie neonstep vaporwave tumblrcore" (I know, I'm the worst), but that didn't feel quite right, so I asked the Activia label owner to describe it in his own words—plus a few other things. Take it away, Slugabed:

THUMP: Where'd you come up with the name Activia Frenz? Wikipedia says that "Activia is classified as a functional food."
It's a play on the label name Activia Benz, but with "Frenz," because everyone releasing on it, in one way or another, is a friend of ours. The label name itself I am less able to explain. It was a moment of madness/clarity somewhere between pint number four and pint number nine. But something to do with functionality and German engineering, no doubt.

How did you link with the folks on this compilation? Are these people you met in an endless, all-night Soundcloud spiral?
Some are Soundcloud finds, thanks to the dedication of label co-founder Jake, and others are just people we have known or been in contact with for a while. Some Internet frenz, some IRL frenz. The lines are blurry these days.

If you could make up five imaginary genre names to describe this compilation, what would you call it? Chiptuna? Normstroke? Vaporcrunk?
Um... that's the first one. Songs 4 Ur Body, Post-Interview, Murdoch Music, Technogg.

Your recent EP had some sweet artwork with a parrot on it. What is that parrot doing? Is that a laser beam shower?
No, it's having a coconut emptied on its head. It's sort of meant to be threatening, as the EP is called This Is A Warning. It doesn't look very threatening, but perhaps that is more dangerous.

Has the label been involved with DIS Magazine's #DISOWN project? I think I saw you tweeting about it.
We have done a mix for their Red Bull radio takeover that's running simultaneously with the #DISOWN thing. They are frenz of ours and support the label 'cos they're very nice and have great taste. We haven't been involved in the #DISOWN project directly though, no.

What's your favorite emoji?


What have you eaten for breakfast recently?
Yesterday I had two cups of coffee, and about an hour later a panic attack. Today I didn't have breakfast.

What's your favorite label besides Activia? (Or Ninja Tune—no cheating.)
I'm not very good at picking a top fave, but I like PC Music, Donky Pitch, Fade 2 Mind, Body High, Warp, Goon Club Allstars, Pelican Fly, and a bunch more I will probably remember after I send this email.

Connect with Slugabed on Soundcloud
Connect with Activia Benz on Soundcloud

Max Pearl also writes about art and stuff. He can prove it to you on Twitter - @maxpearl