Hard to believe it’s been a decade since AudioPorn Records came online. With the legendary Shimon at the helm, everyone in the drum and bass scene knew it was something special as the first few releases barreled their way through to center stage, setting the tone and pace for the decade-long run that has followed.
In many ways, the label has been a natural outgrowth for the man who made his mark in the burgeoning drum and bass scene with anthems like “Quest,” “Titan,” “Hush Hush,” “Body Rock,” “The Shadow Knows,” and “Crossbow.” A stalwart at Ram Records for 15 years, 2007 marked a transition period in Shimon’s career as he moved into the role of curator, mentor, and head of the AudioPorn empire.
Flash forward to the present and Shimon is proud of what he has been able to accomplish through the label. Taking the very best of familiar and fresh faces alike and creating a platform for them to express themselves across the full spectrum of the drum and bass genre has allowed the label to attract everyone from Ram Trilogy, Camo & Krooked, The Prototypes, to heavyweight new-school hitters like Benny L, Trimer, T>I, and Modified Motion. All of the aforementioned names are featured on the massive 33-track LP that Shimon has put together under the 10 Years of AudioPorn compilation album on the way.
With 13 fresh bits in the cut and a chart-topping “Yeti” release featuring himself and Benny L still roaring across the dancefloors via Bassrush Records, we thought it was the perfect time to check in with the man and reflect on the journey thus far before launching into the next ten years. As if that wasn’t enough, Shimon broke us off with an exclusive sneak peek at the project in the form of a filthy premiere from Disaszt that sure to put you in the mood for the epic nature of the full album still to come.
Check the beats below, hold tight for the interview, and lock in your pre-order here as the full LP drops on December 14.
It’s hard to believe it’s already been a decade since AudioPorn began! What a ride! You’ve got to feel some sort of way about it all. What’s the first thing that comes to mind?
I’m really proud of what we have achieved over the last ten years and I couldn’t be happier or more grateful to the people who have made the label what it is today. When I was putting together this compilation, it gave me an opportunity to reflect on all of the talented people we’ve worked with over the years. I’m always going to be grateful to every artist we’ve worked with and continue to work with and I’m also hugely thankful to anyone who has supported us in any way.
Your own relationship to drum and bass goes light years beyond that, back to the old stone ages when we used to party in warehouses and travel by horse and carriage from show to show. Seriously though, looking back to your early years on Ram and the like, did you ever have a sense it would all lead to you being a label manager and all around tastemaker one day?
Back then feels like another life! When I was younger I didn’t really think about what the future held because I was so happy to be in the studio, traveling the world with my mates and putting my music out on Ram. I didn’t think about the future. This went on for about ten years, then I began to feel like I needed to be doing more and starting a label was the next logical step for me to take. I suppose everyone has to grow up—even me—and do what is necessary in order to leave a legacy they can truly be proud of behind.
Take us back to those days before AudioPorn was born. Do you remember when the idea first came to you and is there any specific memory of how it all came together?
Just before I started AudioPorn, I’d been experimenting in the studio and making different genres of music, which made me think about where I could eventually release it. The catalyst for starting AudioPorn, though, was when I met my partner Bonney. She helped me a lot in the beginning. I can remember us sitting there with a note pad trying to think of names for the label. We had no idea about running a label in the beginning and looking back it was a pretty crazy thing for the two of us to start, but we somehow figured it all out and made it work. I have to big her up massively because AudioPorn wouldn’t be here without her
What was your original vision and philosophy of the imprint?
I know it sounds cliché but I just wanted to release quality music from talented producers.I wasn’t too fussed about it only ever being drum & bass. The music just had to be excellent and those who produced it had to have a unique sound.
Especially in drum and bass where labels, artists, trends, come and go on the regular, what do you think has been responsible for the staying power of AudioPorn?
I think a big reason why we’re still around is owing to the way we push the artists we work with. I’ve always emphasised the importance of putting their interests first and we’ve always operated with this ethos at the forefront of our minds, right from the beginning in 2007 to today.
It’s obvious that you’ve taken on a bit of a mentorship role in that process as well.
To be honest, all of the artists I work with I also count as friends, so it’s natural for me to want to see them do well. Most of the artists who have released on AudioPorn came to us very early on in their careers. Unless you are a pretty big label you don’t generally get to the opportunity to work with artists who are more established, so you work with new talent and try to help them to grow their brands to be as recognisable as possible. I never started AudioPorn so that I could be the biggest artist releasing on the label. I knew that if AudioPorn was going to have a future, I had to find new talent and try to bring them through.
I never started AudioPorn so that I could be the biggest artist releasing on the label. I knew that if AudioPorn was going to have a future, I had to find new talent and try to bring them through.
In addition to the new-school heads you’ve had some epic names roll through the imprint. Even more important though has been the diverse range of artists and vibes you’ve been curating on the imprint. Remind us of some times when you flexed the vibe a bit release-wise and if you were a bit apprehensive going full-on liquid mode after dropping some filthy stormer.
[Laughs] Yeah, we’ve had some dramatically different artists releasing all kinds of music, but I’m really proud that we managed to do that. We released Hybrid Minds’ “Lost” just after Xilent’s Choose Me EP, both of which were huge in different subgenres. I felt that if the music was that good then it wouldn’t matter if we ‘switched things up’ and I think doing so has diversified our fan base.
Now that the imprint has made it to the 10-year mark, you’re celebrating with this huge release. 33 tracks on the LP, is that right? Give us the details on how you put it together and who you hit up to knock out some fresh tunes for the release as well.
We wanted to provide a clear snapshot that summarised what the last ten years were about for us. We included some of our classics as well as some tunes we felt deserved a more attention. We have remixes of classics from Dirtyphonics, Xilent and Hybrid Minds and new stuff from Benny L, High Maintenance and myself and loads more. We’ve got tracks from artists I really rate like, T>I, Modified Motion and Leaf. We’ve also made sure to include tunes from new artists like Gino, Kleu and Nvrsoft.
In many ways the compilation lives up to that original vision you had ten years ago. If it all ended tomorrow or this was the only representation of the label that someone came across, what do you hope it communicates to the listener about the imprint and what it continues to stand for?
I would hope the compilation represents a diverse body of work and through this I hope it’s clear that we never tried to be anybody else. We just did our thing; we took a few chances and everything we did was done with love and passion.
We’re more than stoked to be premiering one of our favorites off the album from Disaszt. Introduce us to the man, the tune, and give us one last round of shout outs before we storm our way into the new year and start counting down to the 15-year milestone in the label’s history.
I’ve known Disaszt for a long time, he runs a really cool label based in Austria called Mainframe. We’ve been friends for a long time released on each other’s labels and partied together so it was great to have him on the album with his banging track, “Siren.”
As for shout-outs, I could be here forever but two people I’d really like to thank are Bonney and Trimer. I couldn’t have done this or continue to do this without you guys. Also, I want to thank any artist who has released with AudioPorn over the years. I can’t thank you enough for trusting us with your music. Finally, thanks to absolutely everyone who has bought our music or supported our artists and to all the promoters that push drum and bass. Here’s to the next ten years!