Jan 15, 2018
MDE Celebrate 5 Years Of Zulu Records
MDE (My Digital Enemy) are celebrating a big milestone this January, five years of their label Zulu Records. We sat down with the British duo to discuss some of their favorite all time releases on the label, their exciting plans for 2018, and some of the key figures on the label.
Happy new year guys – thanks for taking the time to chat to us. First of all, congratulations on five years of Zulu Records, a real achievement. What do you think is the secret to the label’s longevity?
Happy new year to you too! I think the label has done well because we got off to a flying start with great DJ support on our first releases. This led to decent chart positions on Beatport and a decent roster of artists wanting to release with us. It’s a snowball effect and hopefully it will keep on getting bigger!
In the last five years Zulu has had plenty of Beatport success, so what are the tracks that stand out for you guys most over that time as label owners?
There have been a lot of tracks in that time! Here are some of our favourites:
My Digital Enemy – “Reaper” (June 2012): This track marks the point when we found our feet with Zulu. We licensed the original to Toolroom Records for their Ibiza release. Matteo DiMarr did this awesome remix for our fifth release.
My Digital Enemy & Jason Chance – “Got To Be Strong” (July 2012): Continuing on with the tribal fused house beats that we had started the label on, “Got To Be Strong” hit number one on Beatport and stayed in the top 10 for two months. It was fair to say at this point Zulu had established itself as a force to be reckoned with.
Peter Gelderblom & Randy Colle – “Got To Be Good” (June 2014): We still play this track now, as does Duke Dumont. It really is testament to how good it is. Proper house vibes and a serious amount of energy.
My Digital Enemy – “Jack My Body” (February 2015): This was our first track to be played by Annie Mac on BBC Radio 1. A real turning point for us and for the label.
If you were to give some advice to somebody thinking of starting up a label in 2018, what would it be?
Find your niche and stick with it! When we started Zulu Records, the EDM explosion was just kicking off. We noticed that artists like Axwell & Steve Angello were all moving over to the main room sound. This left the house page a little bare as everyone started following the EDM trend. We stuck to our guns and released quality house music produced by ourselves as My Digital Enemy and it really paid off. We soon had artists that we looked up to sending us tracks for Zulu.
Speaking of 2018, you’ve already kicked the new year off with a compilation album [check it out on Beatport]. Can you tell us about the package?
Zulu Records Anthems is a series we have been doing since 2015. It’s a selection of the biggest Zulu Records tracks to get you ready and primed for 2018! From top talent to rising stars, there’s definitely a vast range of tracks on there to get everyone over the January blues.
You’re well known for releasing numerous compilations all year long. Do you plan to continue this in 2018 or are you going to concentrate on smaller releases?
As well as the Anthems release we tend to do three other compilations which are Zulu Miami in March to coincide with the MMW conference, Zulu Ibiza for the peak summer season and Zulu Amsterdam for the ADE conference in October. It’s a great way of highlighting our artists and certain tracks that are doing well at a particular time.
One of our aims is to make sure up and coming labels and artists can see where their tracks are being played. Why do you think it’s important for artists to know who is playing their music out? How have you found that monitoring your track support on 1001 has helped the label and its artists develop?
1001Tracklists is an important resource for us. I am constantly checking it to see where our Zulu releases are getting spun. Just the other day I noticed a play from Tiësto of our latest release “Night Time” from Gaab. It is a real timesaver for me as trawling through everyone’s playlists would take forever and it’s important having this info so we can share it on our social media pages. I also make sure our MDE Radio tracklists are up there so other artists can see we are playing their music.
Who are some artists that you think will be key figures on the label this year?
Jerome Robins is off to a flying start with his remixes of “Born Slippy” and “Strings Of Life.” I already have a follow up from him lined up for release in early March. Matt Caseli has also been very consistent with his releases over the last year and has new material out now fresh for 2018. No Requests is another name that I’m sure will be back on Zulu this year.
We’ve just announced our top tracks of the year, and CamelPhat & Elderbrook stole the show with “Cola.” Which are your most played or listened to tracks of 2017?
“Cola” is a great record and CamelPhat have been consistent all year with their releases. Other favourites are Fisher – “Ya Kidding” which worked so well at the club level, as did Dakar & DJ Glen’s remix of Sharam Jey & Kolombo’s “Non Stop.” My most listened to track on Zulu Records was definitely the awesome “Greece 2000” from Just @MI & Hollywood Jack – it brought back so many memories from the 90s and I loved the chilled deep vibes. Jerome Robins & Angel Heredia – “Let’s Go” was another favourite, such a fun party track.
Five years into your journey, what are your goals for the next five?
Release more awesome music and make the move into throwing Zulu Records parties. We are also looking into Zulu merchandise for 2018 as it’s not something we have done yet and it feels like a perfect year to start!
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