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  • Rob Day

Label Spotlight: SYN12

'Club tracks for club people'

Even as Leeds faces the prospect of an unspecified time period locked in the dreaded tier 3, the local creative community has shown no signs of letting that affect their output. Over the past few months, our feeds have been completely saturated with new projects, upcoming releases, and fresh ideas, and we've thoroughly enjoyed watching Leeds' creative scene refusing to succumb to the monotony of present times. Amongst these defiant platforms is Leeds label SYN12. Created initially with the intention of putting on parties, SYN12 has adapted and become a platform that provides both club-ready tracks, and, more recently, music that can be enjoyed from the home environment. We had a chat with them to find out more about how SYN12 first came to be, their decision to release on tape, and their upcoming SYN12 002 release.

For people who haven't heard of you, how would you describe SYN12?

SYN12 is a Leeds based Cassette Label/Event company focused on bringing light to the dark corners of the club landscape. We are primarily focused on providing club tracks to club people but in recent times started exploring sounds that are more fitting to home listening.

How was the label first created, and what were your initial aims in setting it up?

Although we first set out to be events focused, we always aspired to release and promote music from across the UK. The main push we had was the success of our second event w/ Volruptus and Katiusha (The party was a sweaty banger of a night). Basically we felt we could use the online platform we had created to promote new music.

We wanted to bring light to the sounds that we were hearing at the infamous Leeds Producer Forum (LPF). Tunes from the likes of Krotone, Wooda and Yilan to name just a few. We reached out and received some ridiculous demos. The EP started to take shape but it really came to fruition just before Lockdown started.

Tell us about your upcoming release.

We started working on this project almost as soon as the first tape was released. We wanted to push the sound of the label out a bit more, taking it in a less club friendly direction. I think really this was due to how we actually consumed music. We found ourselves sitting and listening to music a lot more rather than blasting it on speakers when mixing.

The release features tunes from Dubrunner, Thoden, Ren, Skenghis Khan, Vesarchie and ourselves. We feel like everyone has bought their A game and all the tracks piece together really well. The first tape was more dancefloor focused and this one is too, only this time we’ve definitely reached for them dark corners.

Lockdown has of course taken away your ability to throw parties at the moment- but how has the pandemic affected the label side of things?

We had already started the process of compiling the first tape but there was definitely an extra drive there to finish it and get it out there. Initially we wanted to throw an event after the first tape but obviously that couldn't happen so that gave us a boost to get another release out and keep the momentum going.

We’ve actually had a few jokes with our graphic designer Luke Owen about these two releases being ‘lockdown tapes’. Which is definitely not what the intention has been. We are hoping our next release after this one will be free of the lockdown curse and we can celebrate accordingly.

We’ve also been working on our free download series that will be kicking off in 2021, so some guaranteed heat on the way!

Why did you decide to go down the cassette route with your releases?

One thing we really wanted to be taken from this release is that it is meant to be listened through in the order we set (As you would if you listened on cassette) There’s something about flicking through tracks on bandcamp that can become slightly robotic. We wanted to try and separate ourselves from that. The cassette format ensures that order is kept.

The other reason was to allow for a physical piece of artwork to come alongside the music. As we worked with our good friend Luke Owen on the project we wanted to give him a blank canvas to design on and the physical aspect of the tape was something that really gassed him up. (shout outs to Luke, best designer in the game)

Did you have any events planned before Covid?

Aside from the launch event for the label, we did have a collab night in the works that was going to be in Amsterdam. That would have been our first international night but it's been rescheduled for time being. Super gutted as that would have been a special one, more to look forward to though ey’. Realistically it’s going to be a while before we feel comfortable throwing a party again, events are stress enough without a global pandemic to contend with.

Beyond your next release, what can we expect from you in the future?

We are planning to step away from the various artist format and look more at Full EP’s. We felt we were limiting the amount of expression the artist could make in just one tune. Plus when we were picking through demos it felt like we were doing a disservice by only picking one.

We have plenty of other plans for the future but we’ll keep them to ourselves for now! ;)

Also… SYN12 Face Tats

+demos always welcome <3

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