Axe Traxx first caught our attention via their sophomore release, a split release courtesy of Die Roh – better known to some as DJ Octopus and Sagats – and Trudge. Trudge, I’ll admit, is a total mystery to us (and to Axe Traxx label head Fede Lng it seems!), but his diffused and soulful samples – borrowed from Alecia Key’s ‘Un-thinkable’ – backed up by full bodied drums sweep you up and drop you off somewhere between melancholia and euphoria. All of which is bolstered by Die Roh, delivering two typically thumping vocal-driven numbers that will satisfy fans of their Lancia Delta EP.
Axe Traxx is the sister-label of Axe on Wax Records, an imprint that achieved quite a coup in signing up Chi-Town veteran Boo Williams along with Steve Murphy for a killer remix. Such an assortment of producers quickly indicates the sort of heavy hitting, Chicago-leaning house sound Lng was aiming for. Axe Traxx however represents a dive down into the subterranean lo-fi depths that we’re seeing garner popularity of late, occupied most noticeably by Mall Grab, who pushed this latest vinyl-focused movement forwards and actually took up remix duty on AXT001.
We spoke to Lng about his nascent label and doubled down with a mix from the man himself. Expect jacking analogue drums, tropical textures, and an appearance from a Trax Records classic.
With Axe On Wax already established, what was the motivation to start Axe Traxx?
I’ve started Axe Traxx because i like this new lo-fi sound, but didnt want to release it on the main label because its not so “classic”.
You started big brother Axe On Wax while you were studying at Point Blank. Was it part of a project you were working on or something a bit more spontaneous?
I came up with logo and name during my Music Business Course at Point Blank, but it wasn’t part of any assignments, we hardly had any!
How, if at all, has living in London had an impact on you musically and has it informed the curation of the label?
London has definitely had its role in the formation of the label. Milan was just about techno and tech House! Many parties here in London and in-stores in Record Stores really influenced me to do what I like most and having labels like Rhythm Section, Wilson and Church around gave me an extra motivation to start my own thing immediately. At first it was hard to get people to know us, now that we’ve had a few successful releases we are more established it’s easier to reach out to people and let them know we exist.
What are the key differences between the two labels?
The Sound. The design. The romance.
Can you describe Axe Traxx in three words?
Warm. Hissy. Limited.
Do you have a specific screening process when it comes to sourcing releases and listening to demos?
I try to listen to all demos I receive, specially for Axe Traxx, as releasing new artists is definitely what I aim for on the sub-label. Off course tho when someone doesn’t even say “hey” or what they like about the label in the email… it goes straight to the trash. As for the releases I don’t really schedule them too crazily. I just try and push a similar sound and think about what period is best for that ‘unreleased EP’ to come out.
Can you tell us a bit about SONDERR and Trudge?
I’ve known Kyle [one half Sonderr] for a couple years. He released a track on my old Podcast Page ‘Semper&Solum’ ages ago. And at the end of last year he sent me some Sonderr tracks he did with his mate and i loved them. Alex (trudge) is quite a mysterious guy, only thing I can tell is that he’s very young and talented!
The labels generally push quite a warm, organic sound and the productions tend to be sample-based. Would you ever consider signing something a little more leftfield or synth-focused?
Nah, I’ll stick to warm and sample based for now.
Your first release featured music from three Australians. Are you a fan of the electronic scene Down Under in places like Melbourne and Adelaide?
Yeah I really like the Australian house scene, labels like Superconscious and Untzz are always releasing quality stuff. And so many nice record stores too. Would love to go visit soon!
How did you come into contact with Boo Williams?
Jordan Fields hooked me up with Boo last year. In March 2017 he’ll come play for us, can’t reveal more info at the moment.
You’re not afraid of signing up lesser known (and sometimes virtually unknown) talents. Is that something you actively try to pursue in your running of the label?
Yeah i think everyone deserves their chance to show people what they got. Sonderr and Trudge were both pretty much unheard before and both the EPs did great and we received so much good feedback. That’s also one of the reasons why I don’t write the name of the artists on the records, so that when someone listens to it he/she won’t be influenced by the name of the artists and so they can just focus on the music.
Philip Sherburne hinted that vinyl-only labels can prevent a winder audience from being able to enjoy an artists work in a recent Pitchfork feature. Do you have any thoughts on the matter?
Yeah I guess being vinyl only your audience is kinda limited, but I’m not sure that’s bad.
The first two Axe Traxx releases have been pressed to 180g vinyl. Does the quality of the physical product rank high on your list of priorities?
Yeah, for Axe Traxx we do 180 grams, i wanted to increase the quality of the vinyl instead of putting a fancy artwork on the record. The stamp and numbers on the vinyl are something extra that I personally do before sending records out to shops.
Have any specific labels influenced the curation of the label?
Yeah sure many labels influenced me and my taste in music like 4lux, Rutilance, My Love Is Underground, Wilson and DABJ.
What’s the perfect environment to listen to an Axe Traxx release?
Small club with good soundsystem like Corsica Studios & Prince Charles
You haven’t actually released any of your own material on either label. Is there any chance of a Fede Lng release in the near future?
Yes indeed, the Axe Traxx 003 will have a track from me!
Can you tell us a bit about the mix you have recorded?
The mix is a blend of modern lo-fi with a few old classics, some axe traxx material and tracks from the likes of J. Albert, D. Futers, Riohv and myself.
And finally, what’s next on the agenda for the label?
The next AOW Release will come out next year (I know so far away!) and is from DJ Aakmael. Axe Traxx 003 is a VA with KidMark, DJ Pegasuz & FTPup, Yancity Gurl & Buwalta as Ruff & Stax and myself. Then the 004 will be from the new Italian talent Christian Lisco.