“This one’s for the connoisseurs” – Rotation boss on label’s new release

Rotation label boss Adam Wheale chats to Exposed ahead of his label’s latest release, A Journey Through Time II by Okee. 

Tell us a little bit about your label, Rotation.
Hello! It’s hard to believe Rotation has been running for 10 years this year, it’s literally flown by… As a DJ I have always supported up and coming producers and worked at putting new artists on the map, which was really the whole concept of what the label was about. It was tough to promote a label from scratch, especially with unknown artists, but I believed in the music I was releasing and I had a clear vision of what I wanted to achieve in the long run; it was never going to be just another digital record label. Back in the early days it felt like the more work I put in, the more recognition the label got, and believe me when I say that I put the hours in. Eventually the hard work paid off and Rotation soon picked up wide audiences and captured support from some of the biggest DJs in the scene.

If you look at the back catalogue over the past ten years, I think it says a lot about the label. Rotation Deep has always been about music of all genres – mainly based around soulful, deep atmospheric vibes not influenced by mainstream or media. In terms of output and sound, I suppose you could say the label doesn’t really have any boundaries, I’ve always tried to be different, but the vision has always remained the same, and quality over quantity has always been the policy. As a small independent record label, I am proud of the music that I have put out, and where it is at today, I’d like to think the label would continue for the next decade! Who knows….

Okee’s A Journey Through Time II is about to drop, what can you tell us about it?
Well…. Okee had been sending me music for a while, but after hearing ‘Inaru,’ I knew it was the right time to do an LP. I wanted the project to reflect the previous ‘Journey Through Time’ EP with an updated feel, but still capturing that classic Okee sound. I gave him the criteria of what I wanted to try and create, and he definitely delivered it. We also decided to update ‘Planet Blue’ from the previous EP and added an ‘M31’ remix from LM1, which was an older track, but I felt like this was a good home for it.

There’s a mixed selection of tracks on there; some for the dance floor and some for the health spa! It’s definitely one for a long journey on the road, with a little something for everyone, I hope… It took around a year to complete, with a lot of blood, sweat and tears, especially from the mastering engineer. Overall it’s been a lot of fun and we are both very pleased with the finished product. This is not your usual LP in the top 10 drum ‘n’ bass charts, that’s for sure. This is more for the connoisseurs, but generally anyone who appreciates good music will be able to relate to the musical journey this LP takes you on…

It’s one hell of an LP – do you have a favourite track from it?
Wow thanks…It’s difficult to pick one to be honest, but I’d have to say ‘Inaru’. This track is just pure vibes from the start. With classic Rotation sounds, it takes me back to when music was life. On a big rig if you stand by the speakers this one will have your trousers blowing in no time!

The album has been described as contemporary jungle, what else is happening in that scene at the moment?
Well this album is a mixture of drum ‘n’ bass and jungle. There are so many producers and smaller labels in the modern jungle scene that it’s hard to quantify its scope in an answer. It’s a huge movement, but very underground…Generally for people who love straight amen science and basslines or the atmospheric sounds of the 90s. It’s a scene for the true fans that are more familiar with the golden era. It’s for the people who represent the roots of drum ‘n’bass and jungle, and who oppose the ‘mainstream sound’.

Tell us about Jason Brown, who the album is dedicated to…
Jay was my inspiration into the deeper side of drum ‘n’ bass from when I was in high school, where I used to listen to him on pirate radio station Kool FM Midlands with his ‘Atmospheric Funk Show’ back in the 90s where he showcased the intelligent side of drum ‘n’ bass. I was too young to get into the clubs and this was before the internet days, so it was the good old way of experiencing new music, and at that time he was one of the very few DJs from Birmingham supporting that part of the scene.

Jay loved the first ‘Journey Through Time’ EP and he was a big fan of Okee. I remember when Jay told me that he had been asked to play at Okee’s wedding in Serbia, I asked him if he was going, he replied, “Of course… I’m looking forward to it,” and he joked about playing a long journey set. He helped out with the label in the early days, taught me a lot, and fully supported my work. I feel I owe a lot to him, as I don’t think the label would exist without his influence. Jay sadly passed away in 2013, leaving behind his legacy. Okee and I had been talking about doing something as a tribute for a long time, but we both agreed this would be the LP dedicated in his memory.

Any future releases or plans for Rotation that you wanna shout about?
Release wise we have a few projects in the pipeline. Our next release from Venture is definitely one to watch out for — the LP comes fully loaded with ambient/down tempo vibes, and there is definitely a lot of hype around that one. Also, our first vinyl release is due this year from Method One and Stunna. A vinyl release is something I wanted to achieve when I started the label, so I guess you could say this one is going to be kind of special. There is no official release date yet for the latter, but it will be exclusive to our Bandcamp page, so keep a look out for that. It’s going to be a busy 2019 for sure!

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