JDNB Interview - TufStuf Records
JDNB talks with new label start up TufStuf Records. A multi genre platform with a main focus on releasing jungle, hardcore, and jungle techno. Head honcho Arkyn talks with us about the first release, future projects and what we can expect from the label.
First of all thanks for having a chat with us. Can you tell us about your inspiration behind starting TufStuf Records?
My inspiration behind TufStuf was purely to share great music with people and to give talented artists a platform to get their music out to wider audience. Music is one of the most important things in my life and if I can spread some positivity and make people happy from the music I release then that is enough for me.
How would you best describe the TufStuf sound?
TufStuf's sound is bold, confident, heavy and deep. The label is going in the direction of rough layered breakbeats, deep subs, emotive soundscapes and catchy melodies. I will be putting out all styles of Jungle, Hardcore and Jungle Techno but in essence if the music is big, bad and heavy with tons of vibes then it's going on the label.
Talk to us about the first release, there are 4 tracks that take you right back to that original 90's vibe!
The first release is a more Hardcore Jungle focused record which is the perfect fusion of the two styles and even some Jungle Techno influence on Slim Sinna's track 'Give it to Em'. I wanted to set the precedent from the get go that TufStuf is a multi genre label instead of limiting ourselves to one style of music.
The 90's vibe has always had a big impact on myself and the music I listen to as current youth culture doesn't really resonate with me at all. I have always been hugely influenced by music that was made before I was born.
TufStuf pays tribute to the original 90's sound while coming at it from a modern angle and releasing a new take on the original vibes.
We hear that you're going to be releasing on vinyl as well as digital?
Indeed will be releasing the first release on 12” black vinyl as well as digital. Which stems back to paying tribute to the original 90's way of doing things. I feel that the physicality of vinyl gives the music a greater feeling of realness to it than just having some digital files on a hard drive. Also a lot of DJ's in the Jungle & Hardcore scene still mix on strictly vinyl (myself included) so it appeals to that crowd more on if it's on wax.
But we will still be releasing on digital as music is something for everyone and I would like all people and DJ's on all types of set ups be able to enjoy the music.
Any news about future releases?
As far as artist announcements that is all top secret at present. But TufStuf 02 will be a Jungle focused record which will be packed full of vibes, from melodic amen rinsers to some seriously dark and heavy Jungle. TufStuf03 is going to focus on more of the Jungle Techno side of things than the other two records, this record will future some seriously great music.
Who do you have singed onto the TufStuf roster so far?
So far I have signed some great talent to label.
Ruff Jam who is heavily influenced by the old school and uses a lot of the original hardware and synthesisers from back in the day. You can expect some serious heat from Ruff Jam on TufStuf.
Slim Sinna who is from the South West of England and he makes some seriously heavy party stomping tunes. Slim Sinna has some very similar musical influences to myself including 1993 Darkside Hardcore and labels like Slamming Vinyl.
Akuma is this crazy Japanese producer that I came across who makes some super heavy Jungle and Hardcore tracks. He has been unheard of until now but I have some serious heat in vaults to release.
I have also signed someone very recently who has provided me with an excellent track for TufStuf 02 but that has to remain secret for now but all will be revealed in the next couple of months.
Who would be your dream producer to feature on the label, and why?
It's very hard to pin it down exactly to one specific producer as I enjoy such a wide variety of styles of music but there are 3 – 4 producers that I would love to get involved but I'm going to keep that under wraps for now as it's a work in progress.
Can you describe your vision of what the future holds for TufStuf?
The future vision for TufStuf is to be a prominent label with a global reach and spread the good vibes of UK rave as far and wide as possible. It would also be great to be able to provide a platform to younger / upcoming producers to get put on the map. I think there is a lot of very talented people making music in their bedrooms that have the potential to go and do great things in the industry. So if that is you hit me up.
Tell us more about Arkyn, where did it all begin for you?
My journey into the rave scene started around 7 to 8 years ago when I saw the one and only Godfather of House Frankie Knuckles play at Ministry of Sound. The night really open to my eyes to a whole new world and my life has never been the same since then. Rest in peace Frankie as that night he played he very unfortunately past away the following week so it was his last ever live performance.
I went on to get into the Drum and Bass scene in Northampton and was partying every weekend at that point, as there was 4 -5 venues in the town that let party crews put some seriously big sound systems in and the town had a great underground scene. It was a good time. From there my music tastes evolved into more 4x4 focused heavy rave music and free party genres.
You used to play on the midlands free party circuit, describe what that was like?
As the venues in Northampton started getting shut down to various licensing issues and the police starting to crack down on the wild club nights that were happening. We more and more started to look for new venues including warehouses, fields, abandoned factory's and underpasses to throw parties in.
Playing at free parties is great especially out in the countryside as sun slowly starts to rise across the party and there is nothing better than the sound of Piano Hardcore in the morning. There is a feeling of lawless fun that a club night just cannot compare to.
How long have you been producing?
In reality I'm fairly new to the whole music production thing. I have been doing it for 2 years but really it's been the last 18 months I have focused heavily on making a go of it and really developing my skills and style. But I come from a music background and having DJ'ed for a few years before so I had a good understanding of how the music was structured to begin with.
Talk to us about your track “Dark Night”
Dark Night is a 1993 Darkside Hardcore style track. I really like the raw brutality of Darkside, with dark synths, tearing breaks and spooky vocals, plus the dark vibes of my track mix the vibes up on the record nicely as Akuma's and Ruff Jam's tunes are more on the melodic side of things.
You have releases on Cutters Choice & Good2Go DMR, how did you get involved with those labels?
Cutters Choice is a Future Old School Hardcore label that Dub-Liner and myself put out a four track colab EP on last year. The label takes inspiration from the more well-known styles and vibe of Hardcore but with our own twist on it. I got involved with Cutters just from speaking to Dub-Liner about him playing at an event of mine that got put on hold due to Covid and it just started from there and we made some tracks together. There is a second record incoming as well so watch out for that one.
Good2Go DMR is a great label run by a guy called Lee Croucher from Essex. Lee and I got talking on the Hardcore Vinylist Facebook page and I sent him some tunes which he was digging. My track Pentonville Hardcore is on Good2Go 02 which is up for pre-order on the 2nd April so check that out. Lee has a great vibe on the label and puts out some stunning tracks. Definitely a label to keep a look out for and I am very happy to be a part of.
Who are your biggest musical influences?
My musical influences mainly stem from parents record collection. I couldn't of asked for a better introduction to music really. From Jazz, Soul, Dub, Blues and Folk. Artists like John Martyn, Steeley Dan, BB King, Darryl Hall and John Oats, Prince Jammy and King Tubby.
In terms of my main inspiration in the Jungle/Hardcore scene it really has to be Coco Bryce. His stripped back and creative style is excellent. It was when I really got into his stuff and all the other tunes on Myor that I knew that Jungle was the sound for me and the direction I needed to go in. So Yoel, big up to you for that mate.
If you could spend an hour in the studio with any producer, who would it be and why?
It would definitely have to be the one and only LTJ Bukem for me. That guy has written so many timeless classics that I have been really into since I was around 15 years old. His use of atmospherics and musical elements is exquisite.
What does your studio/DJ setup consist of?
I like to keep things fairly simple, my production set up comprises of my laptop, monitors and a midi controller. I uses at lot of different VST Synths in my productions through and typically favour designing my sounds myself over using samples.
My DJ set up again is very simple, with two Reloop RP 7000 mk2 turntables and a two channel Ecler Nuo 2.0 mixer. I used to mix on CDJ's but I sold them and went down the vinyl route and I haven't looked back since.
Without giving too much away, what can we expect from any future projects?
As much as I would love to say what other exciting projects are coming up I have to keep it a secret for now. But I have some tracks which are coming out on a super exciting label which has the promise to be huge. So I will leave it at that. But the future is looking very bright indeed.
With the summer looking good for the return of raves, tell us, where are heading out to first?
The one stand out line up for me has to be Noise Test Festival in Croatia which has serious line up of Jungle talent. But my plan is to get as active as possible and really make the most of the summer and hopefully play a few sets myself as well.
Aside from music, what else do you make time for?
Aside from music I work in Recruitment so that takes up a great deal of my time. But if not at work or making music. I'm either with friends or family or exploring London and record shopping on the weekends. And hoping that very soon I will be out raving again.
What would you say you like the most about the www.jungledrumandbass.co.uk website?
I think JDNB is an excellent platform that gives artists some great exposure which is very important in the music industry.
Thanks for your time. Lastly any thanks or shout outs
Many thanks for taking the time to talk to me about TufStuf Records and my other Arkyn projects.
I would like to shout to Lee at Good2Go, Dub-Liner at Cutters Choice & Jungle Cat Records, Shane the Cutter at Finyl Tweek for the excellent job he did of mastering TufStuf 01 and to Maarten Bloemen for great work he has done on the artwork and graphics for TufStuf you can check his work out here.
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Interview By Dj Onit