We’re kicking off 2017’s Frission Guest Mix Series in fine bloody style with two wonderful sessions courtesy of the Bay Area’s Haju Tapes.
Since christening the label in November 2015 with oddigtl’s brilliant Solarium album, the imprint has gone from strength to strength, releasing some beautiful, super limited cassette albums from a host of innovative artists at the top of their games like kuromoji and Mark Aubert.
To find out more about the label’s past present and future we’ve tapped up label boss Ridgewell for an interview and asked him to lace us with some mixes showcasing the label’s roster and vibes.
Episode 1 ‘Meet and Greet w/ Ridgewell’ will premiere Saturday night 10-11PM on the 21st January LA time and in the UK the next day
Stay tuned for more info on the premiere of the Mark Aubert mix in early February.
Q&A with Haju label boss Ridgewell:
Basically, I wanted to release music that I enjoyed, on a physical format, so I started a label. It’s all about promoting up and coming artists and their vision. It’s been a journey, from learning how to manufacture tapes to finding artists that vibe with the label.
Who named you and why/WTF?
Haju is my aunt’s nickname. I haven’t seen her for a while, since she lives on the other side of the globe; but when I was young, we were very close. I still talk to her semi regularly, over the phone.
What is your manifesto – what are your aims?
“Fly-Fi” is our tagline. Basically it doesn’t matter if your music is hi-fi or lo-fi. We don’t care if you make Rock, Pop, Hip-Hop, Ambient, Jazz or whatever. If we vibe with it, we’ll release it.
Tell us about your City & how it shaped you?
We are based in the Bay Area, about fifteen minutes north of San Francisco. The Bay’s music scene is pretty diverse, so there is something for everyone. If you want to see garage rock bands, you can go to The Knockout in the Mission, if you want to see punk music, you can go over to Gilman in Berkeley, if you want to see what the local beatmakers are doing and trade tapes with other labels/artists, you can go to Smart Bomb in Oakland. Also, all the major acts pass through here, whenever they tour, which is pretty great. As far as how it shaped me… I guess it made me accept all different types of music. I used to be a “strictly Hip-Hop” kid, but I grew out of that phase. Nowadays I’ll bump anything from Elliott Smith, Black Moon, Sun Ra to random Appalachian music.
Some Count Basie big band record that I picked up for two or three bucks at Amoeba in San Francisco. That was over a decade ago, so I was still a Jazz newbie. Count Basie was one of the few Jazz artists I knew, so I picked it up.
What 3 tracks define the sound/intent of you label/collective best so far?
kuromoji – Ritual
oddigtl – Desert Air
PARKER JORDAN – BALAD
I don’t cook that much anymore, if that’s what you mean. I’m currently having a veggie sandwich from the local market though.
What has been the best moment for your label so far?
I was extremely excited about working with Kofie, for the kuromoji release. He’s an amazing artist and I still can’t believe that he agreed to do the artwork for that tape. One of my favorite j-cards for sure. Check him out if you haven’t, his murals are something else. The use of color, line and shape is very pleasing to look at.
Also, releasing the Mark Aubert tape. We had been talking about it for a while and I’m glad it finally happened. Check it out, when you get a chance. It’s our most recent release. Tapes are sold out, but there are free downloads available.
Who is the Diva on your label?
How many hours a week do you spend working on your label?
I’m constantly looking for new artists to release. We only put out 10 tapes last year, so it’s not TOO time consuming, to be honest. It takes a decent amount of time to dub tapes though, since we do it in real time.
Recommend 3 other labels/collectives?
In a parallel universe where anything is possible, who would contact you to do an album for your label/collective?
A follow up to BBNG and Ghostface’s Sour Soul would be amazing. BBNG has been killing it, ever since they were doing those jazzy Hip-Hop covers a few years back and Ghost is my favorite Wu member. Rap with a live band is tricky and I feel like they really pull it off.
If you could bring one band back from the grave to record for you who would it be? (It can be musicians from different bands united into one super entity?
It would be a quintet made up of Frank Zappa on guitar/vocals, Clifford Brown on trumpet, Roland Kirk on Tenor Sax, Bill Evans on Rhodes/Piano and Elvin Jones on drums. Lots of improvisation would be involved. Bill Evans seems kind of out of place with the rest, but I feel like he would balance things out a little bit.
Answer these questions using only music videos:
Where do you get your inspiration?
If you started your label in another decade what would it sound like?