In Conversation With…Vibe Killers
First time I heard about you guys was with your release ‘Love You’ on Sola Records which had its debut on Data Transmission about a year ago.
Since then your profile has grown exponentially through gigs on the UK circuit and releases on Knee Deep In Sound, Kaluki, Elrow Music, Material Series, Lost Records and more. Additionally, the output from your own label Killer Vibe Records has gone from strength to strength featuring great up and coming artists. Tell us a bit about yourselves?
We’re brothers from Burnley and have been involved in music ever since our mother bought us belt-drive turntables around 20 years ago. We went through different genres and what have ya and used to make music and DJ out under another alias. We started making this new sound and were like maybe it’s a good time to change our name so we started Vibe Killers. Like everyone else, we put music out there and no-one was listening to it so we thought what can we do. So we created and released on our own label Killer Vibe Records, hammered the PR, Jamie Jones and wAFF started playing it and it all snowballed from there really.
You’re releasing on Hottrax now. I’m guessing that’s how the relationship started then?
Everyone asks how do you get hold of Jamie, what about this and what about that. I just googled ‘how do you get hold of Jamie Jones’ and the gate opened. That was it. That’s all there was to it haha. He started saying this is a good tune, that’s a good tune, then we started submitting demos to him. We sent a track to him called ‘Violator’ where we sampled Kendrick Lamar’s vocal. He really liked that one but we needed a B side which took us a while to nail. Eventually, we got the email saying we would like to sign these 2 to Hottrax. That was a big moment for us. Every artist who makes music wants to get to that point.
For house music, if you’re into that kind of funk and groove Hot Creations is the goal really. Once you’ve released on that you’ve landed.
I mean even just having a video of Jamie playing your tunes out can be enough. And we’ve got loads of em. A friend of ours from Manchester sent a video over to us of Jamie playing Love You last year and everyone was just absolutely going off. People screaming along in DC10 when you’re getting up to go to work in the morning – can’t be arsed with work but at least that was going on like half an hour ago haha.
You said your mum bought your first decks when you were younger. Was she quite into the music as well?
Not at all. I think we just saw someone with some decks and thought yeah we’d like to have a go. So she bought us some belt-drive turntables and we just took it from there really.
What’s it like going on tour, producing and DJing with your brother the whole time?
It’s funny. He’s my best friend really. We’ve grown up together. Even just coming down to London tonight we were having a laugh the whole way through. It’s good fun. I couldn’t think of anyone better. At the same time, I’d hate to do it on my own as well. Travelling, being here in this hotel on my own, I think I’d be quite fed up. You need someone to share it with I think.
I completely agree. Watched a documentary on DJ Sounds where they interviewed Seth Troxler, B.Traits, Ben Pearce and others and listened to a WeTransfer podcast discussion between Giles Peterson and Cassy talking about this topic recently.
We’ve had our struggles. We’ve both got our own businesses and kids. We’ve both got wives. But it’s good fun and I’m not complaining, especially when you check into a hotel with rooms like this ya know haha.
Guessing your family keeps you grounded. Talk a bit about your personal life.
Well I’ve got a boy called Blake. He’s nearly 4 now. His favourite music is Tupac which he reminds me of every time we’re in the car. He’s started controlling Spotify while I’m driving now which is funny haha. I’ve taught him how to turn the turntables on, mess with the filters, hopefully he’ll be a DJ when he’s older. He loves it. Mickey has a boy called Oakley who’s a bit younger, but who knows – that could be the next Vibe Killers right there haha.
So coming back to the music when is Violator getting released on Hottrax?
24th November pal.
Hottrax is a grittier sound in comparison to Hot Creations.
Yeah, it’s more of their underground stuff. Recently Mark Jenkyns released Sirens with Mizbee on the vocals. We’ve played that at all of our recent gigs and there are other amazing artists on there like Tiger Stripes, Alvaro AM. It’s a great label so we’re really excited to be involved with it.
I was at Ritual last month and Darius Syrossian played A.D.D. by David Berrie. Quite a minimal groover in comparison to the rest on the label but still goes off.
That’s the thing, Hot Creations is more housey at times, and I love it and got loads of that music. Hottrax is a bit more underground in my opinion.
Similar to Toolroom and Toolroom Trax. I wonder who did it first. Talking about labels are there any that have piqued your interest this month?
There’s some good’uns which people may not think are as big as they actually are. Twisted Fusion always put good music out. We’ve played a lot of parties for them. They’ve just asked us to do a remix actually. There’s our new label launching in January called Star Cycling Club which is literally just our own original music every 6 weeks or so. We’ll release it, push the PR, then onto the next release. We’ve got 3 EPs ready to go for that so watch out for those in the new year. The reason we’re doing it is so we have full control. There’s no waiting around for someone to finish a remix, you don’t have to wait for permission for a certain date and so on. Artwork and branding is also really important to us, so it allows us to have full control of that too.
And we’ve got experience. We set up Killer Vibe Records, Resonance Records with Max Chapman, Celesta Recordings which is absolutely boomin at the minute with Joey Daniels in the chart. Inner City Records which is house/garage stuff which we set up a few years ago.
Really like the artwork and clothes you’re releasing alongside your own labels. Reminds me of that traditional sailor style.
Cheers. The designs are done by a guy called Carl Regan in Manchester who we’ve always used. I wanted to have it on my skin so it had to look good.
What is your music background out of interest? I’ve seen from your Insta that you’re really into hip-hop. Was that your first love? What stuff would you vibe to with your brother back in the day?
The classics. Dr Dre, Mobb Deep, Nas. As long as it’s got that nice old school sound to it. Similar drum machines, we sample similar stuff, to be honest it’s all we listen to outside of house music when we’re driving or training in the gym.
What’s your favourite hip hop record?
A Tribe Called Quest – The Love
Saw their supposed last ever gig at Bestival. So good. Sampling is such an important part of hip hop. How do you go about finding the samples you use in your own tracks?
Well I’ve spent most of my life searching for samples. We just pulled one from a PS4 game ‘The Evil Within’. I don’t know if you’ve played it but there’s a nurse in it saying ‘Where are you going?’. We got that vocal in one of our upcoming releases. A good vocal can come into your life at any time. I got one off my son’s cartoon the other month, it’s pretty sick too, it says ‘I’m the DJ now remember!’.
How was your Summer?
We played at Eden in Ibiza. That was amazing as I remember going to the club when we were younger and thinking ‘one day’. So to actually be in the DJ box was incredible. But the best of the Summer was Gibraltar for Cliche. The boys really looked after us and we played at this villa party. Proper gig that!
Tell us about some of your Ibiza memories?
Well I proposed to my wife there. Been there loads of times partying, exploring, still being up from the club and watching the sun come up. I remember going to the Amnesia parties at Cream when trance was massive, seeing Paul van Dyk n that, then later on for Cocoon.
Any final words?
Thanks for coming to check us out, and lets go party at Century Club!