Ninja Tune – Spotify for artists

If we learn anything from martial-arts movies, we know that a real ninja warrior needs speed, agility and smartness. So it is only fitting that these three qualities are the key to success Ninja tune. Established 30 years ago in London as a haven for underground sound everywhere in electronic and hip-hop music, the label has nurtured and championed some of the world’s most vanguard and least classified artists.

In his early years, Ninja Tune became known for leading trip-hop, turntablist and drum ‘n’ bus works. Herbalizer, Baby koala, And Aman Tobin. Nowadays, it works the same way for electronic-music A-listers Odessa, I will, And Actress. All in all, Ninja Tune has maintained a great reputation as an independent label with a pride that is intelligent and shiny enough to stay competitive.

Always adventurous when it comes to its own roster, Ninja Tune has further proved its belief in diversity and originality through its efforts with various labels and impressions under its umbrella. In addition to these there are many labels with which they partner, e.g. Flying lotus‘Label Brainfeeder, At home Thunder cat.

Here, talk to Samantha Seasons, head of marketing at Ninja Tune, and Mary Klagen, head of North America and Global Streaming, about how the label has earned its black belt and stays in the shape of a fight.

In the beginning

While other labels often cultivate a roster of artists who can share a genre or style or otherwise be more comfortable in pigeons, Ninja Tune has always been much more like the Mavericks community with everyone running their own thing. The artist-driven sensibility of Ninja Tune is not surprising since it was introduced by Matt Black and Jonathan Moore Cool The London duo is a welcome place for their own concept vehicles and other musical instruments.

“It was allowed to believe in the artist’s point of view and to guide everything else,” Sisons said. Thirty years after the founding of Ninja Tune, Black & More is still active, not just as artists and DJs, but as software and app developers.

Sisons notes that, like any young label, Ninja Tune started with a more focused sound, although it reflects the innovative spirit among UK musicians, DJs and producers that will soon lead to overground exposure to new genres such as trip-hop, jungle, garage. By , And dirt. “We always had the intention of signing what we liked, and we like a lot of music so the variety follows quite naturally,” he said.

He added that Coldcut’s determination to fight “musical and cultural unity” gave the label a statement of purpose. “When you consider the breadth of music use nowadays,” he says, “it certainly feels like an ex and a great person.”

Coldcut, photo by Haley Louisa Brown

Coldcut, photo by Haley Louisa Brown

Cultivate their talents

Multiple GRAMMY nominees who are revered for their varied and textured downtempo words and who have been with Ninja Tune since 2001, Bonobo is a great example of an artist whose career has grown organically. Seasons says Ninja Tune has been able to act like Bonobo thanks to a model that is far less than a quick gain “as long as the long-term sustainable growth and (hopefully) the development of a fan characterized by reasonable spending decisions are deep. Broad,” he said. Emerging has been particularly thrilling to watch “because you witness true talent.” He adds, “You can’t make his career as long and successful as his.”

Part of the Ninja Tune family from their second album, In reply, Which came out Counter record Impressions are gained in a fluid, global, diffused way. You can’t hide your excitement when you see the rise of Close Odessa. “The thing we’re most proud of is being part of a ride that saw what started out as a beautiful Leftfield Instrumental Electronic project reach the heights of the industry,” he said. “Suffice it to say that we learned a lot along the way, but we have an amazing relationship with Odessa and their whole team, which was a huge part of making the hard work so enjoyable.”

The relationship with continues Bronson, ODESZA and a newly announced collaborative album between Australian DJs and producers Golden featuresBy, by feature Brave, Completely extinct dinosaurs And lau.ra Of Ultraist. First tracks “Sudden heart attack“And”VaultApril 1 has a dazzling release with a self-titled album to follow.

Bonobo, photo by Dan Medhurst

Bonobo, photo by Dan Medhurst

The future

Being a veteran independent label that has undergone all sorts of changes over the last three decades, Ninja Tune always knows the value of quick adaptability as well. Klausen believes that the labels’ experiences in recent years have helped them acquire the skills needed to launch Ninja Tune’s next success stories with the Australian-based rapper of Zambian descent. Sampa the Great One of the brightest lights.

“If the music is right and the artist is committed, the formula is pretty much the same: work the music as hard as you can, all over the world, as hard as you can. And if you hear the word ‘no’, you try to make it ‘yes’,” Klagen said. . ”He noted that helping Sampa to succeed is not only meritorious, but also fulfilled by the fact that he has worked hard to get to where he is.

In 2019, the Ninja Tune team was busy promoting Floating point, Joyda ji, Eight octa And Mary Davidson, As well as the first album in 12 years Cinematic orchestra, Another of the label’s most iconic works. Most recently, the focus has been on Thundercat’s latest, That’s what it is, Is already one of the most acclaimed releases of 2020. “It looks like it’s going to be a very important record and an important moment in his career,” Klausen said.

Indeed, the distinctive Los Angeles bassist and lyricist seems to be another representative figure when it comes to ninja tune skills to stay ahead of the curve. “We’ve had a lot of success existing at the junction of underground and mainstream without any loss of integrity, sonic or otherwise,” Klagen said.

– Jason Anderson

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