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Edmonton’s Coolest New Label Wants to Break Down Conservative Attitudes

Listen to Kudatah's 17-track compilation featuring songs by James Deen, Jock Club, Tendencies, and more.

by Michael Rancic
Aug 1 2016, 10:10pm

Artwork courtesy of Kudatah

This article was originally published on THUMP Canada.

After making names for themselves in Edmonton's small but tight-knit electronic music scene, Brandon Smith (aka Tendencies), Carter Booth, and Sven K have teamed up to form a new label, Kudatah. Their first release is Kudatah Vol. 1, a 17-track compilation featuring selections from local and international artists including James Deen, Mathis Ruffing, The Phantom's Revenge, Sorsari, and more, which we're premiering on THUMP today.

While it's hard to pick favorites, we're partial to Vancouver producer's Deen's burbling "Teletubby House Music," and Jock Club's "Dubplate Madness" is another raw house banger from the Arizona native and Ascetic House affiliate. The collection also includes music from Sven K and Smith, with the latter contributing the simply-titled, infectiously catchy future-funk jam "♥," and a collaboration with vaporwave producer Luxury Elite.

While you're listening to the entire project, read our email Q&A with co-founders Booth and Smith about the label's beginnings, how Alberta's political climate influences their music, and more.

THUMP: Could you talk a little bit about what inspired you to start a label?

Carter Booth: I wanted something concrete that would be able to exist as a platform for me and my friends, something that would band us together and set us apart. We're all wildly different musicians with different musical backgrounds, but just so happen to feel the same way about music and like music that no one around us likes. If I'm able to play out music that no one else has and that my own label is putting out, I feel it gives me an edge and allows me to shit on all the wack DJs, whose backs are breaking because they have been carrying the same records to the same bars for the past decade.

How did you go about commissioning the tracks for the compilation?
Brandon Smith: All the artists on this compilation were either homies or friends of friends I knew from labels like Keats//Collective, Dream Catalogue, Orange Milk Records, 1080p, and Antifur. When I approached them with the idea for a compilation, everyone was down.

There's a strong mix of Canadian and international talent here, what ties all of these artists together?
Smith: We're all a tight-knit group of musicians that have similar interests and know each other through SoundCloud, labels, and the internet.

The title of the label pokes fun at the anti-NDP government outrage in Alberta from earlier this year. What kind of influence does the political climate in your province have on the electronic music scene there?
Booth: Alberta is a very conservative place. I feel the only real political factor that influences anyone's sound, not as in locals making politically-charged music, but most people have conservative attitudes towards music. The conservatism of the province does not seep into the culture of the arts scene directly, but more in the attitudes of people. The majority of people here aren't open to new sounds or ideas, stemming from our conservative climate, which leads to large divides between the older and younger generations involved in the music scene. Venue owners and older promoters almost seem hostile to us and other up-and-coming DJs/producers.

If you're not playing strictly disco and cliché house or 2013 edits of A$AP Ferg, you're probably not going to get along with the older generation because they have no clue what new music is about. If you try to stick out, you're going to have a harder time than if you were following the exact footsteps of the older DJs in the city. The older heads here put in no work to discover or provide opportunities to younger producers/DJs in the city, which is evident in their consistently 30-year-old plus crowds. If we want culture to actually exist in the province, we all need to help younger kids develop unique sounds and ideas, encourage diversity, and try to actually embrace the good things that come out of here while they are actually here (i.e. Purity Ring, Born Gold, Mac DeMarco, and Tennyson).

Kudatah Vol. 1 is available now digitally or on limited edition cassette via Plastic Response Records.

Kutadah is on Facebook // Twitter // SoundCloud

Tendencies is on Facebook // Twitter // SoundCloud

Michael Rancic is on Twitter.

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