While you may well be familiar with the diversity of the club scene in Leeds, you may not be familiar with artists that hail from or are currently based in our fair city. The most significant examples from recent years would have to be Ben UFO, Pearson Sound and Pangaea, who founded the Hessle Audio imprint while they were students at Leeds University.
Mono_cult with Pearson Sound
Photo: IGR Photo
Inspired by the dubstep sound emanating from London at the time, they founded their own label on which they put out significant releases by artists such as Cosmin TRG, Untold as well as the label founders themselves. Alongside them were artists such as Midland, also here for university, whose take on bass-leaning house music has found a home on Aus Music as well as a recent contribution to the Autonomic Africa series.
Photo: Verboten New York
Another significant alumni is the drum ‘n’ bass producer Stray, who on both his solo releases as well as his productions as part of Ivy Lab, is one of the d ‘n’ b producers looking to keep the genre relevant in the face of house and techno’s popularity eclipsing it of late.
However, this is not to say that there aren’t any Leeds locals who are making waves. One prime example is the Back To Basics resident, Tristan Da Cunha, who after many a year as a steady hand warming up crowds at the legendary night, has lent his hand to some production, most recently in a collaboration with Brawther for the immensely popular My Love Is Underground label.
Tristan Da Cunha
Photo: Lanty Zhang
Another Loiner who’s recently put out a spate of great releases is Youandewan, aka Ewan Smith, whose brand of introspective, warm house has seen releases on Hype Ltd, Simple and Secretsundaze. Add this to many DK bookings across the UK and the prospects are looking very good for this young Yorkshire based beatmaker. Although he may bot be based in Leeds any more, Eliphino also continues to receive acclaim for his garage influenced, vocal driven productions. His More Than Me EP from a while back still stands out as a top release and his more recent productions don’t disappoint either.
Photo: Ian Ramsey
In discussing electronic music from Leeds, you can’t leave out Submotion Orchestra, whose blend of jazz and electronic music along with their enchanting live performances, have earned them plaudits from many corners. While their seond album may have had mixed reviews, they’re a band doing something interesting and it’s highly advisable to catch one of their live gigs.
Photo: Elastic Artists
They’re headed up by dubstep producer Ruckspin, who, along with running Ranking Records, has also most recently put out a couple of records under his Author collaboration with Jack Sparrow, as well as a quality 12″ on Mala’s Deep Medi label this year. This link between dubstep and Leeds is a longstanding one, with the Exodus DMZ night put on by Subdub at the West Indian Centre (now Vox Warehouse) being the first residency Mala and his DMZ cohorts held outside of London.
Built on a firm foundation of house music, the city has continued to be a breeding ground for a diverse selection of musicians, aided by the constant new blood of students moving up here.