My earliest projects were attempts at making drum and bass, moving on to UK Garage shortly after and then house and deep house, the genre for which I’ve probably become best known. In the intervening years since those ramshackle early days, I’ve remixed artists such as Craig David, MJ Cole, Mousse T., Low Steppa and All Saints, collaborated with Matt Jam Lamont, Zed Bias, Michelle Weeks and Cathy Battistessa, and had my music released on iconic labels; Armada Deep, Defected, Simma Black and Large Music & more. My work as a DJ has taken me all over the UK and to more than 20 different countries, including Croatia and Ibiza for Defected, plus numerous cities in the USA (San Francisco, Detroit, Chicago, Phoenix, Philly and others.) It also helped me to meet my beautiful wife, so mega bonus points for that!
I first ventured into sound design and making samples in around 2009, initially working for a few friends and smaller companies. The industry was nowhere near as developed then as it is now, but I grew to like it more and more, especially the way it informed and complemented the process of making music. I found that it helped to have to think about the way the sounds might be used, and what kind of loops or oneshots would be inspiring for producers to listen to. You had to learn to dissect the characteristics and components of a genre; the equipment used, the limitations, the influential artists, records, and labels of the era, and the musical landscape underpinning it all – I found it really fascinating and educational. I eventually developed a relationship with Loopmasters and, through that, had the opportunity to work on projects for companies like Akai, Native Instruments, and Novation. Many of the samples I created for Loopmasters are still being used frequently in tracks I hear today.
MEET THE CREATIVE DIRECTOR: SCOTT DIAZ
I’ve been in love with dance music since I was 12 years old (cliché alert!). Ever since I borrowed my first Dreamscape cassette from a school friend in 1994, I’ve known that playing music and making music was all I wanted to do (double cliché alert!). Since then, I’ve attended music college, promoted parties and obsessively immersed myself in the history, legacy and expression of club culture. There hasn’t really been a day that’s gone by where I didn’t actively play, shop for, share, learn about, or create music. Raves, record shops, pirate radio, clubs, festivals, and the community I’ve met along the way have given me formative, carefree moments and experiences that have literally changed my DNA. I’ve met lifelong friends in record shops, promoted events at clubs I wasn’t even old enough to get into, and spent countless late nights and early mornings talking to strangers at afterparties. It’s a culture I cherish, and I still love nothing more than meeting like-minded people with shared adventures and stories.
As a young aspiring producer, I came up on sampling. The idea of being able to take this small piece of someone else’s inspiration and build upon it, moulding it into something new and manipulating it way beyond its original intention, was incredible to me. I was hooked. This was back in the olden days (1999), so there was really no other way of making the electronic music I wanted to make – you needed, at the very least, a sampler, a sequencer, some speakers, and a mixing desk. What with only being 17, we couldn’t afford expensive analogue synths, or pricier hardware units, so sampling was the next best option. It wasn’t long before me and my friends (the ones I’d met in the record shop) were putting our funds together to buy equipment, assemble a studio, make mixtapes and promote parties, getting deeper into the culture with every weekend that passed.
That New Label Smell…
I decided in the summer of 2019 that it was time for me to start something new. I’d had some ideas for a while about a purely dance-focused sample label and what an exciting project it could be, given my experience and journey – and here we are. This is the culmination of almost 12 months of work. I know that the market for samples is saturated, but I also know that quality and authenticity stand out a mile, and I believe we have that in abundance. I’ve had numerous conversations over the years with other sound designers and artists about what they perceive as a lack of standards and quality control across many sample labels and platforms. Even now there are still many providers selling non-original sounds, or even failing to do the basics such as proper naming and tagging of files and providing the correct key information. Let’s call it out for what it is – it’s unprofessional, it reflects poorly on everyone, and it makes it harder for the producer using the samples. That’s no fun at all. That’s the opposite of inspiring.
I’ll forever be thankful for all that dance music has given me. In everything that I do musically – whether that’s producing, writing, playing records in a club, or creating sounds – I’m simply trying to share a piece of that with the world. I feel thankful (especially in the current musical and economic climate) to be in a position where I can make music full-time, help other artists, and play my own small part in pushing the culture forward. What better name could there be than ‘NITELIFE’ for a label that wishes to celebrate dance music, club culture, and the art of sampling? I hope our sounds provide you with endless inspiration, and that you keep on coming back to them for years to come.
The weak become heroes. Reach for the lasers. Safe as f**k.