Two Brightonians are trying to change the Brighton music scene
Brighton bred Jay McDougall, also known by his DJ name, KXVU (pronounced Kovu) and producer, Josh Gunston, set up Southpoint Records last year, and since then have racked up over 100,000 individual plays and 6,000 downloads on their Soundcloud page.
Josh Gunston said, “The whole focus of Southpoint is related to the UK bass movement, so that incorporates grime, UK garage, 2-step and bassline, it all fits together. I tend to focus more on bassline and UK garage whereas Jay focuses more on Grime.
The Brighton Journal sat down with the two founders of Southpoint to chat about their beginnings in music, why they set up the label and what they’re trying to do for the grime and bass scene.
What made you want to start up a record label?
McDougall: We felt as though there could be a union between the two genres in Brighton, and we wanted to get away from VIP clubland hysteria. Some of these clubs and promotion companies say, ‘don’t go and listen to alternative stuff, come and listen to the same stuff as everyone else’. It seemed as though these places were taking over Brighton, and that’s when ‘Gun’ proposed the idea of the label.
I’m not sure if we have had a direct impact on it, we may have done, but since we’ve been around we have noticed more and more underground bass nights come back.
When I was younger these nights were everywhere, so we decided we wanted to try and bring that energy back as we felt everything got a bit stale.
I’m sure people would like to know you a little better, so can we start with where you two first discovered music?
Gunston: Music has always been a part of me, but it was when I started a sound engineering course that I started to really enjoy education. I went to Bristol University to study Audio and Music technology – I was surprised at how wavy Bristol was as a city for music. It was only when I was there, that I realised how big the music scene was, and I thought to myself, ‘this was Brighton back in the day’. I met some DJ’s who were studying there and got involved in this whole DJ scene.
I’ve always liked grime and garage from a young age, but it wasn’t until this point in my life that I was quite serious and realised I wanted to take it further. A friend of mine found this huge night in Bristol called, Apex, and it was a massive success and I figured, ‘this could work in Brighton’.
When I came back from Bristol, I felt as though nothing in that scene was going on and there was nothing I was looking forward to. So I spoke with Jay and we originally had event management ideas, and the label just kind of formed from this event management/magazine/publishing idea.
McDougall: I’ve been doing music since I was about 13. I started off spitting grime and progressed into making beats. My alias used to be Mr.Sleepz back in the day making dubstep stuff – It got to the point where I was having releases off labels. I was DJ’ing out at 15 in Brighton which I’m quite proud to say. I’m 22 now.
From 15-19 I was headlining events for dubstep, but the fun started to go for me in that scene, I wasn’t being paid very well and the hours were hard, I would finish a set at 3 and start work at 7.
Therefore, I decided to take a year out. I did a little rapping for Don’t Flop to keep me busy, and I was running Soapbox on the side which is a project to promote young upcoming musical talents.
Me and ‘Gun’ recently said to each other, “wow, you know this isn’t a hobby anymore, things are starting to happen”. It’s mad to be honest, we’ve had the right sort of people e-mailing us, wanting to get involved and play our stuff. It’s people you thought would never contact you. It’s just really gratifying to be in this position now, where you talk to talented people on a level playing field and have this mutual respect.
For the readers out there who aren’t as familiar with these genre’s, can you give a little information on what makes grime and bass unique?
McDougall: Grime is basically unorthodox 140 bpm (beats per minute) music. It’s very base driven and it started around the early 2000’s. It’s the energy that hooks most people and it’s what hooked me.
Gunston: DJ’s would slow down drum and bass tracks to 140 bpm and they would rap over that. That’s how it first came around.
This UK bass underground is a mixture of house, bassline, grime, UK-garage and they all kind of come together as one.
Do you think genres like this are popular here in Brighton? If so, why do you think that is?
Gunston: This scene is the dark side of the music industry and it isn’t really represented in the UK, so that’s what we represent. It’s not something you would hear on the radio, but it’s pushing towards the point where you would hear it on the radio. We have heard it on the radio, just not the major stations. We want to get these tracks on the major stations eventually, without tarnishing or watering it down.
McDougall: I think this scene is getting bigger here. At the moment I think it’s still in the novelty stage because it disappeared for so long, but now it’s coming back.
Gunston: It’s even affecting dress codes. That whole urban fashion has come back, people are wearing Adidas vintage jackets as well as Nike and Reebok trainers. These things were laughed at a few years ago. If you went to Shoosh in an Adidas jacket three years ago, you wouldn’t have gotten in. Now they want you to come in, it’s almost a brand.
If some of the readers want to get into that scene, where would you advise them to go?
McDougall: The best place is the radio station. At the moment, Rinse, Radar Radio and Mode FM are the big three to go for. Since the radio scene has gotten healthy again, so has the music. Grime is about six MC’s in a dark room with two DJ’s spinning tracks back to back, not knowing what’s going to happen next.
There was a time where there was only one or two grime shows on Rinse FM a week, which started as a garage and grime station. Now there is about four or five a week. So radio is the place to be for this scene.
Finally, where do you see the label in five years time?
McDougall: In five years I want it to be seen as a recognised brand within the genres. I want to be one of the names that people go, ‘you listen to that? Do you listen to these people?’
Gunston: In five years time I want the label to be making money and giving us a living! It’s hard to make money from the music industry, but I want to be able to earn a living so we can apply ourselves to the label 100%. I want the label to be seen as one of the best and most important in the scene in five years time.
End of interview.
KXVU plays sets on Trickstar FM every Thursday 4-6 and states that he tries to play as much Southpoint material as possible. Gunston said that “it’s always a mad show!”.
For more information on Southpoint, check out their Facebook where you will find links to their soundcloud for Southpoint material.