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CO LAB 39
STRAIGHT OUT THE LAB...
THE LOW-DOWN FROM BENNY
Heist – “Shows his versatility with five completely different Visionary – “Long time friends of the label deliver a
flavas! ‘Ambush’, ‘Things You Left’, ‘Imparla’, ‘Captain Nemo’ melodic ragga-tinged roller called ‘Creation Version’. Pure
and ‘Can’t Take Away’ all hit the spot in their own way.” Vibez indeed!”
Lomax – “Nick has delivered a stunningly deep Co-Lab debut Noah D – “Another newcomer to the camp with a big debut.
in ‘Metal Flange’. After releasing some of his early Malfoy ‘Good Sound’ is a half-tempo, brooding ragga number which
tunes to say we were happy to have this tune is a massive has had great support.”
understatement.”
Taxman, Benny Page, Majistrate and Jaydan - “These
Pleasure – “This man’s work ethic and enthusiasm has really guys all came on board with some amazing new remixes so
hit the right note with us. ‘Killing Curse’ and ‘New York City’ massive thanks to all of them.”
showcase the next level in his music to full effect.”
MC Funsta – “After doing some vocal work for Ruffstuff and
Connecta – “Hopefully the first of many releases with us. His Majistrate for ‘Purge Dem’ on Calypso last year, he seemed
simple but effective style is what we love and ‘Roll That Chick’ the ideal choice to host the mix CD. He can do all kinds of
and ‘The Beat’ definitely show how less can be more.” styles which we felt represented the album perfectly.”
Established in 2002, Co-Lab Recordings is the brainchild of respectively) sold out with the distributor. So whatever is in the
Heist (Jim Muir) and Benny Dunn. Having been a DJ for the shops is it! I’m really pleased about that ‘cause with the market
last 14 years, Benny was passed a CD of Heist’s work one as drenched with tunes as it is, it’s like a sweet shop to the
night and immediately loved a couple of tunes. The seeds people buying all of the tunes.”
were sown and after keeping in regular contact they decided
to set-up a label together, initially to facilitate the release of This success seems only fair for two people who clearly work
Heist’s productions, and the following year the ball was rolling so hard to push at their individual and collective trades. Benny
with ‘Company 7’ / ‘Salsa Jive’. conducts his leg of the interview from his car outside work
during a lunch break. Heist peels himself away from a self-
Pretty run-of-the-mill stuff you might think but with Heist tutorial in his studio to do his. The last time we spoke, Heist
based in Colchester and Benny nearly 180 miles away in admitted to all but living in his studio and little seems to have
Birmingham, it’s not a straight forward way to run a business changed. “”People don’t understand why I’m never happy with
‘together’. “We’ve only met about 12 times in the last five my tracks.” he confesses like a true addict. “I suppose it’s the
years,” laughs Benny, “but we’re business partners in every perfectionist thing. People thought this album was going to
sense of the meaning. We talk on the phone every other day be all my material. I’m not ready for that at the moment. I just
and we’re on AIM every day. It’s a weird relationship in some want to see how this various artist album goes. Benny and I are
ways but a fun one. We’re interested in what each other does, learning so much from putting this together.”
I’ve got a family and he has a partner, but we don’t go into
that too much. This is business and perhaps not living in each To add flavour to the album the eight separate twelve-inch
other’s pockets really helps. For some reason it works.” releases will be spread across Co-Lab and its sister labels
Calypso Muzak and Pure Vibez (three on Co-Lab, three on
Whilst Heist takes on a lot of DJ work around the world, his Calypso and two on Pure Vibez). They will all be released
main focus is on production. Of the 12 releases on Co-Lab between now and June but in the meantime a CD containing
to date, ten have been completely produced by Jim in either all the new tracks will be released. Heist and Benny have
his Heist or Strider guises with one of the remaining two still already mixed this live, as they wanted to avoid the Ableton
featuring his work on the flip. Benny on the other hand is a feel. It will be in the shops in April. A couple of weeks after
DJ through and through and holds no aspirations to turn his each release hits the shops on vinyl, the two tracks will also
hand in the studio. “I’ve never really got the production bug,” he be available for download and after the last release, the
admits. “I could easily have gone in the studio, with all of the whole package will be released as an MP3 package also
people I have around me, and tried to make beats but I don’t containing some special VIPs.
really agree with that sort of thing. I concentrate on the labels
and my DJ work. I really like working closely with the artists so I “It gets to the point where it’s really hard to schedule all the
deal with the A&R and giving feedback on clips received.” releases in,” explains Benny. “So we thought we would do
something different. The three labels all release very different
The last time I touched base with Heist (albeit it about his types of music and really that’s what you’re looking for in
work under the Strider moniker) he was just about to jack an ideal album isn’t it? A really good mix of stuff rather than
in his day job and plough all of his energy into making tunes putting the pressure on one artist when we have all of these
and running the label with Benny. Faced with all that spare resources and people who are really good at what they’re doing
WORDS | Stu Cronin time and no one to crack the whip, most of us would go to in their own sound, within the scene. We thought it was a great
the wall. “I’d tried to put everything into the music before and idea to get everybody involved.”
it hadn’t worked,” Heist reminisces. “I don’t know why that
was but I wasn’t happy with myself so I started working in a The whole project is being backed up with a UK tour that
pub to get out a bit more. It did me the world of good ‘cause I kicked off in Birmingham’s Custard Factory where Benny
realised how much I wanted to get back in and try again. I left is resident. “The tour is looking pretty good,” Heist tells us.
the pub and never looked back. You do have to have that self- “I don’t know how many dates we have but we’ve got them
willingness to make yourself work and earn a living though. dotted all around the country which is nice ‘cause we haven’t
You can’t just get up and play on the X-Box all day.” really been pushing the album coming out. People have
gotten in touch with us or just heard about it and said that
With the label going from strength to strength in recent years, they would like to do a night in conjunction with the album.
things have obviously progressed but I still pry on whether It’s really cool to see people are interested in it and want to
this is a move he regrets at all. “Definitely not”, Heist responds. see what we’re going to bring to this.”
“When we spoke last time, the label wasn’t doing that well. It’s
really all changed. Co-Lab releases one through eight were For more info and release dates go to
very shy releases and not many people got them I think. All of www.colabrecordings.co.uk
that suddenly changed when we got to nine, which was the TC
release (a remix of Aries’ ‘Herbsmoke’ that featured on Co-Lab
5). That’s when things started to get more notice. I’ve just found
out that ‘Go To Work’ and ‘Don’t Understand’ (Co-Lab 10 and 12
K38-39_CoLab.indd 39 19/3/08 14:00:38
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