Founded in 2012, Double Cheese Records are celebrating their 10th anniversary this year with a killer compilation featuring tracks from Booker T, DJ Spen, Gil-Scott Heron and more. We spoke with label head Luyo to find out more.
How long has your label been in operation?
It’s been an exciting 10 years journey! At the time I was collaborating with Tony Humphries’ Tony Records which is the label I first released on. The digital music market was taking over the former distribution system and being what they call a digital native I’ve always been inspired by the technological developments and I was looking at taking care of the overall a&r, distribution and promotion system that lies behind the music labels.
What inspired you to set up the label in the first place?
In the high school days I was taken by a storm by the DJs coming to perform in my home town of Naples, Italy. The godfathers of House, the likes of Masters At Work, David Morales, Frankie Knuckles were regulars and I would go after the pirate recordings of the DJ sets you would find at the time in the black market. Years after I got a DJ residency in the Caribbean where I was exposed to calypso, raggae, soca, dancehall. The mix of my mediterranean roots, those NYC influences and the Caribbean rhythms are a large part of what Double Cheese Records is today. The logo was inspired by Nervous Records’!
How would you describe your musical philosophy and creative vision?
As DJs and music creators we have the opportunity to bring people together and let them be a part of a collective ritual of dance. You can feel a spiritual connection during those moments, it can definitely be sacred… so I’m always looking for meaningful music. Rhythms are a language too and can be a powerful medium by themselves. After two years where socializing has been avoided, its more important than ever to go back to what makes us humans. Having fun on a dance floor is something we need so much these days!
Tell us about the 10th anniversary release.
It’s an album with reworks of tracks from the catalogue and a few classics. We are proud to put together names like Grammy nominated Booker T, soulful maestro DJ Spen, the legend that is Gil Scott-Heron and some pivotal artists of our times like Timmy Regisford, Opolopo, Michael Franti, disco master Ashley Beedle, Nu Disco chart toppers The Dukes, and a few names of the contemporary Afro House sound that has such an important part of the label’s heritage: Darksidevinyl, Dr Feel and Jackson Brainwave.
Tell us about your first release – what was special about that one?
Our first release was also one of our most successful moment: “My King” by myself and DJ Ermi included remixes from DJ Spen and M&S and catapulted us in the soulful house Olympus. The amazing vocal performance is by my dear friend “The Queen” Wendy Lewis.
What’s been the highlight of your journey so far as a label?
I see every moment as a step forward, even the difficult ones. I’m building a brand that is supported by great artists and its very important to me that everyone feels comfortable and at home. All of this couldn’t happen if it wasn’t for the great music we get submitted everyday. Touring abroad and being recognized for the music we’ve released is certainly a highlight and very satisfying.
What advice would you give to anyone thinking of setting up their own imprint?
Be ready to devote a lot of your time and love to the project. Its not about you, its like growing a child: you can’t predict or control every aspect, just be there and help it grow.
What lies ahead for your label in 2022 and beyond?
We are about to explore the release of NFTs as special packages and the launch of sister label and event concept www.tribaal.dance. Double Cheese Record will focus more on the melodies while Tribaal will be more about rhythms and spiritual projects. Times change fast and our aim is to stay at the forefront of underground dance music.