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Pushing Collaboration In Music And Aiding Mental Health

The return to clubbing has left us with full hearts and empty wallets, a reminder of just how seminal nightlife is to the music community. Finally hearing our favourite lockdown tracks out in the wild, whilst bumping into Instagram friends we've made in the past 18 months has been unbelievable. The atmosphere of the past few months at events is a reflection of how much we've missed clubbing, but as this newly discovered freedom presents itself, it's crucial we remember how much great work was done over lockdown. Seeing so many upcoming producers and DJ's come to the forefront during lockdown has been incredible, which is without a doubt being reflected in the array of line-ups in Leeds that celebrate upcoming artists. The increase in compilations was also received warmly, giving upcoming artists the perfect opportunity to gain some traction prior to their debut EP releases.

One label that really grabbed our attention was Collab, which is currently based in Cambridge, with an eye to relocate to Bristol very soon. The first release was therefore very homegrown, while this second release is featuring artists from all over the UK, whose music we’ve been loving recently. Each artist for their collaborator has chosen a friend they’ve found through this music or from before they started producing, which is always great to see.

They've got a really exciting future ahead with guest mixes, EPs, further compilation-style releases and even a launch party en route. While dance music has inspired the initial releases, they also hope to transcend dance music into other genres we love and can’t wait to see how far this can go!

Their recent release COLLAB002 sees the label go from strength to strength, bringing together some of our favourite producers around. The opening track 'SCUFFED' is a standout collab between Arfa and Joe Kin, a cold opener guaranteed to send you to celestial heights. Arfa first came to my attention when Disclosure reviewed his track online, the comment section blew up with much deserved praise. He also has an EP called Baby Steps, so what's not to like? Less is know about Joe Kin who collaborates with Arfa on the track, but after hearing this release and 'Riddim For My Valentine, I'm seriously excited to hear what else he has in the works.

The second release comes courtesy of the wonderful Longeez and Joe Koshin. Ladies Cru is a no-nonsense track that stays true to Collab's Bangers Only policy. It's been great to see these two go from strength to strength, with a string of standout releases and bookings. As well as heading up Me1 Records, Joe has brought out an eclectic set of releases under labels including Night Service and Trax Haven. His monthly Kosh FM show on Komrad Radio is always a go-to for new music. I first discovered Longeez after he dropped his debut EP 'Illicit Materials' on the wonderful Canapé Records. Since then, it's been months of prolific releases, standout mixes and DJ sets. He's also part of 128kbps Collective, whose live debut took place at Bump's class night at Yard and Coop in Leeds, FUCKING LIMBS!!!

Next up is self-proclaimed Bristolian/Corkian mad lad Osh, who teams up with Joe Garrat and Freya Thompson on RAKBOI. It's a perfect end of the night track, I genuinely can't stop listening to this one. I recall hearing the track from my housemate's room(Phasmid) and immediately having to know what it was. I could try to break it down for you, but it's honestly just one of them you need to listen to right away. It's got everything! Osh is up to a ton of interesting stuff, asides from production duties he has hosted some really inspiring interviews with some of the best producers around, head to his socials to check it out! Joe Garrat who features in the track has a proven track record of releasing pop ballads you can't get out of your head, Joe's had an incredible 2021, building even more momentum with the recent release of 'Toxic'.

The penultimate track on the EP is from Salutations From Mars, who collabs with Subtala on the track ESSENTRA. Salutations From Mars as always brings the goods, sending listeners into Speedy heaven. Since being featured on Belter's mag I've been following SFM consistently, whose Instagram is full of spacey numbers and cutting vocals. Get Ya Arse Up And Let's Get Ill! Check out other tracks like Xenon for a bit more of a tase of what SFM has got to offer.

Freya and Davo close off proceedings with Man Hating, sampling Emma Watson's speech about He For She, asking men to pledge to “take action against all forms of violence and discrimination faced by women and girls”, dispelling the archaic belief that feminism is an act of 'man hating', which Watson so poignantly addressed to the UN and other global leaders. Her words are blared out with a sonic backdrop from Freya and Davo that marks the end of a remarkable EP.

Please support this EP and cop it over on Bandcamp.

You can also follow the work of Calm here, or reach their helpline here: 0800 58 58 58

This interview was written by Josh Crowe, head to his Instagram to read more content or get in touch about coverage.


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