The first time I meet with Jamie Russell, label head of Hypercolour records, there is a heat wave in Germany. As we sit in the shade outside a coffee shop in Kreuzberg, Russell, who is following the live update of Brexit results, discusses the state of EU-UK relations and what it might mean for him as a U.K. citizen and business owner.

The second time we exchange emails, the vote has been decided and the U.K. is no longer part of the European Union. Many artists who live in Europe or the U.K., or who travel regularly between both for gigs, fear that this will impact their livelihoods, businesses and partnerships.

But Brexit isn’t the last blow to recently affect the U.K. dance community, and by our third and final conversation, the seminal London nightclub, Fabric, has been forced to close its doors—another casualty of the rise of Britain’s right wing, a troubling political trend mirrored in governments worldwide. All of these changes have Russell pensive and frustrated. Today’s London is a very different London than the one that welcomed Hypercolour’s first release ten years ago, and Russell is concerned about the city’s ability to retain its cultural diversity.

“Fabric closing is heart-wrenching,” Russell sadly reflects over Skype from his new home office in Berlin. “They are a global institution, not only in what they represent, but that they have been pioneering for 17 or so years.”

Reminiscing on how Hypercolour began, Russell talks about the special place that London holds in his heart, and the city’s creative importance.

“London has always been a place where people have globally looked to for pushing things forward,” Russell says, adding, “London was a place where the label was spawned, where me and Alex [Jones] were hanging out together and going out and being inspired.”

This inspiration is clearly imprinted over Hypercolour’s ten-year period of releases. Going through their extensive back catalogue, you can not only hear, but also feel the duo’s late night London experiences while catching a brief snapshot of dance music culture.

Hypercolour, effortlessly gliding between the realms of techno and house music, can attribute its longevity and popularity to the constant inspiration and education that a culturally rich environment can provide. The label’s latest release, a 3×12 inch featuring artists Roman Flügel, Falty DL, Matthew Herbert, Luke Vibert and Analog Cops, just to name a few, is a 16-track archive, a who’s who list of legendary artists that Hypercolour has worked with and been inspired by in the past and present. The compilation also provides the listener with a good idea of Hypercolour’s trajectory in the near future.

Russell explains that Hypercolour’s evolution mirrors his own tastes as music modernizes and diversifies. “When you look at the early releases, it was kind of minimal techno. Then that fizzled out and good, solid house music began to come into play,” he says, mentioning the influence of important labels like Hawtin’s M-nus and Strictly Rhythm, and venues like Fabric.

“I guess you can say to some degree, that kind of conditioned what we then went to put out later on, so yeah, [the label] is just constantly evolving, but it is not a conscious effort.”

At the heart of this evolution, at the centre of the education that will see Hypercolour around for another ten years, are institutions like Fabric, the ability to freely travel and the gift of receiving inspiration and different viewpoints in your own city.

“It concerns me for people who are interested in music or making music for them to not have a place to let loose and express themselves,” he admits sadly, concluding the interview but not the story.

“There needs to be a communication line [between nightlife industry and government]. There needs to be an understanding about how important [nightlife] is for culture.”

Celebrate 10-years with Hypercolour by purchasing this special triple-pack LP release. Available now.

 

By: Sheena Jardine-Olade

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