Label Focus: Ad Hoc Records

Label Focus: A monthly series exploring Melodic Distraction’s favourite labels from around the globe. This month, and a bit closer to home, we take a look at the upcoming launch of Ad Hoc Records. Based in Manchester, Ad Hoc celebrates the rich electronic musical culture that the city is so famous for, all while capturing a truly global sound.

“Manchester has always been a very community-focused city when it comes to having a tight-knit music scene. With producers, DJs and artists all focused on making great, forward-thinking art, I thought it was time that this community had an electronic music label to represent it.” Speaking about his brand-new label, Ad Hoc Records, owner David Burch shares just why he feels that now is the time for a new Manchester-based, globally-conscious, record label.

With a four-track compilation marking Ad Hoc Records’ debut release; cuts from Cervo, Yadava, Chambers and RGB all encompass a worldly-sound with samples coming from the likes of Fela Kuti. With a mission statement of eclecticism underpinning this release, David’s experiences as a party-goer in Manchester’s thriving club scene, as well as his time spent living abroad in Ghana, have both informed his commitment to showcasing a broad spectrum of what future releases on his label will entail: “Whereas some music scenes can be seen as a bit cliquey, from going out (maybe a bit too much) I have been fortunate enough to meet some really great characters in Manchester.” Rubbing shoulders with the likes of the Banana Hill and So Flute crews, David has forged musically-inclined friendships with the likes of Cervo and Yadava: “It’s humbling to have producers and DJs I regard so highly release on the label and watching them succeed as artists – Yadava from So Flute will be playing at Soundwave in Croatia this summer, and Cervo is currently on an Asia tour!”

While Manchester’s current scene is often a source of inspiration for David, the history behind the city has also played an influential part in his decision to start his own record label: “Before Manchester, I’d only ever lived in London so as I was choosing somewhere to study, Manchester stood out to me because of its musical heritage. The way in which iconic labels like Tony Wilson’s Factory Records managed to perfectly capture the sounds of a culture at a specific moment in time just stands as a testament to how proud Mancunians can be of their musical history.” Similarly, David reflects on how his time spent in Accra, Ghana’s capital city, enabled him to find the inspiration to undertake such a project: “I went out to Ghana to work for a charity who offered consultancy support for small and medium business. I guess what I gained from the experience was appreciating a lot about the character traits about Ghanaians. Firstly, they conduct themselves with a very strong work ethic, they are also incredibly resilient people who have a great entrepreneurial spirit. From the business men I dealt with on a daily basis to the fruit sellers who line the streets of the city, their character traits inspired me to work as hard as I could and build the label that I wanted to.”

Offering listeners a completely universal sound, Ad Hoc’s debut release nods to a label who’s foundations will be built on a purposeful sense of globalism. Having lived and worked out in Ghana, David’s DJ residency at a small bar in Accra transformed the way he understood and interacted with different forms of music: “I would play a mixture of western music and what was popular over there. I love the fact that music that can be appreciated regardless of language, ethnicity, socio-economic background…it reinforced my belief that I wanted to start a label which didn’t just release distinctly ‘UK-’ or ‘US-’ style electronic music, but music which has an international outlook.”

Drawing inspiration from other UK-based independent labels like Bradley Zero’s prevalent, Rhythm Section, David tells us of how the synergy between Zero’s famous parties, his label and other ventures such as DJing and radio appearances have become a benchmark for his own endeavours with Ad Hoc: “Even though I also grew up in South London I’ve developed a real connection with Manchester and it’s electronic music scene through the years I’ve lived here. Like Bradley, I want to build a record label and regular club night centered around a specific area and its creative community, but not letting that narrow the scope of the music released on it. There was no hesitation on basing the label anywhere other than this city.”

With support from the likes of Manchester-based house artists, Hidden Spheres and Contours, both of whom have released on Rhythm Section, Ad Hoc’s debut release seems to be gaining some real traction even before its official 29th May release date: “With it being a new label I kind of wanted people to get a flavour of what to expect from future Ad Hoc releases. I find that quite a few labels these days find a formula of what works and they stick to it. I want this label to release quite a big blend of styles and be fully representative of a community and its sound. This approach is maybe a bit more of a risk but I’m hoping that people are willing to suck it and see!”

Talking on future releases and projects with the Ad Hoc Group, David talks with excitement about Two Tail, a DJ and producer who is signed to the Ad Hoc bookings agency and has gone on to form his own international collective, ‘Outsourced’: “His collective has members from all over the world; France, America, Mexico – all these different people who are making interesting music that he’s brought together to release tunes together. Taurtollo is another guy that will be releasing on the label soon. With his productions he uses a mixture of live instrumentation and a ridiculous collection of samples – anything from Miles Davis’ trumpet,  Indian Hymns or Lady Gaga. It sounds like it shouldn’t work, but it sounds fantastic!”

Not just a record label, Ad Hoc has a roster of artists, their own parties and frequent radio appearances on the likes of Manchester’s Reform Radio. Amid a busy schedule, we are told to expect more releases from the label throughout the year, more appearances on the airwaves and a number of parties across the city.

Ad Hoc 001 can be purchased online via What People Say.