musings…over *cool* random ish

Translation Press

DCDNB FIVE FOR FRIDAY 25 December 2009

DCDNB Five For Friday Q&A/interview #03: Translation Recordings

For this holiday edition of DCDNB’s Five For Friday feature, we catch up with Rogue State, label founder and owner of Translation Recordings, a DC-based drum’n’bass label that has been in operation since 2004, and carving a niche for itself in the rapidly changing independent music market.

For more information on the label, check out the following sites:


DCDNB: Catch us up on Translation Recordings. Where & how did the label start, what’s lined up for 2010?
Translation Recordings: Translation Recordings is going on its sixth birthday and anticipating big things in 2010. Started in 2004 by DJs Rogue State (then DJ Ramen) and Will Griffin, Translation was our way of staying involved and contributing back to the scene with a unique and diverse sound covering all ranges of drum ‘n bass from old school to the funky liquid sound to heavyweight bangers to atmospheric rollers and the new minimal sound. Will’s work with ESL Music took his focus to the grooving lounge scene and in 2008, Steph MsDisdain came on board and manages the label alongside Rogue State. We’re also pretty fortunate to have a resident spot on, a worldwide net-broadcasted drum ‘n bass channel. Dubbed Translation Sound, we get to test out some of our favorite beats every week (Mondays, 7-8PM EST, midnite-1AM GMT)

2009 was a big year for Translation. We kept to tradition and kept it all over the place with jazzy melodic tunes from Slider & Expose and Perpetuum, to 12”s from ASC reppin’ the atmospheric vibe and most especially from Resound and Sabre with DSP and the remix of “Secrets,” probably our hardest hitting banger on the catalogue. We’ve gotten love from DJs like Bailey and Grooverider on BBC’s 1 Xtra among others, and we’re only getting started. 2010 is slated to be a pretty fun year for the Translation crew. We’re awaiting plates on our next 12”, a prologue of a three-part LP showcasing our sound with Grimm, Nusense and Resound and paving the way for tracks from producers including DubPhizix, Mindmapper, Stranjah and Theory, whose tracks are forthcoming on the Without Borders LP.

DCDNB: How has the changing music market affected Translation?
TR: The changing market has done more good than harm to Translation. Because there are so many labels these days, it’s pretty important to lay out releases consistently and in a timely fashion to avoid getting lost in the clutter. That’s one of the reasons we put out releases on both vinyl and digital platforms. We like the versatility of releasing tracks digitally or on vinyl and with the spiking popularity of Serato these days, it’s a great way for folks to get their tunes dropped on a dance floor quickly and via digital release. At the same time, we stick to antiquity and show love on 12” wax to the songs that capture the heavy edge and weight behind Translation. In combination, our releases on both platforms showcase our evolution and variety in sound.

As for digi-only, we see 320s as an awesome way for producers to get their name out there. With the volatility of the vinyl market and just the basic facts of the intense processes behind pressing wax, we really opt for folks to jump on the digital platform specifically because it gets their name out there and fast. Digital releases go viral and quickly show producers love and at the same time allow for a certain freedom to evolve in their sound. Vinyl on the otherhand, is statuesque and timeless and we save the edge for the plates. Each tune we release has a certain niche and as much as the artists that write them, we are so excited to play them out regardless of the platform!

DCDNB: Does Translation Recordings have any artists that are exclusive or being repped & groomed by the label?
TR: In all things Translation, instead of reppin’ certain artists, we rep a unique sound and we focus a lot of our time on building relationships with artists who are exploring a diverse set of beats. To say that we rep or groom any one specific artist wouldn’t be fair to the principle we set of pushing the envelope for an evolution of a diverse array of sound. We have a core group of artists that we work with and who have helped us grow, and for that, we’re thankful to have them on the label (especially Resound) but to us, it’s about the music. Besides, at the end of the day, we’re not on that level of success to officially “groom” someone, and we’re not sure if we want to be. We’re in it for the fun.

DCDNB: Will the label keep its vinyl releases “vinyl only”, or will they eventually get a digital release as well? Are there plans to compile the vinyl & digital releases and push them on CD compilations?
TR: We’re currently doing digital-only releases and all of our vinyl releases come out digitally as soon as it hits the stores as well. We’re going to stray away from compiling past releases on CD format; the music scene moves so fast and we want to move with it. The Without Borders LP featuring two 12”s back to back a CD compilation is the closest we’ve gotten, and arguably the most ambitious.

05. Highlights of 2009? Of the past decade?
TR: This year, getting Sabre on board with a guest remix of “Secrets” by Resound (an earlier digital release off of the Four Rooms EP) really got us on a groove and put us on another level. All the producers and DJs who have supported us, this year especially, we are totally thankful to you, and to all of the producers on our label, your releases have helped us shape this unique groove we’ve got going. Expect nothing but fun in the next year to come!

Thanks again to Rogue State for participating, and a shout to MsDisdain, also of Translation Recordings, for following up with the press pack! As for next week, I am not sure who we will feature, or we might take next week off since I will be up in New England for most of the week.



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