Second To None Music is a record label you should know and if you don’t, then you really need to catch up with what they’ve been putting out and how they’ve been changing the bass music scene. The label was founded back in August 2010 by Leeds duo Vital Techniques and since then, has gone on to form one of the loudest, dynamic musical families there is.
With support across the board from likes of DJ EZ, My Nu Leng, DJ Q, MistaJam, Matt Jam Lamont, Flava D, Radio 1Xtra and Kiss FM, the whole team is going from strength to strength. On top of this, recent signings such as Mr V and Sticky, prove it’s a family that continues to grow and showcases just how comprehensive their sound is.
We spoke to Ant from Vital Techniques about how the label started and what they look for when signing new artists.
-So, how did Second To None Music start?
At the start of 2010 I was working at a place called Future Arts, teaching teens and young adults music production and DJ’ing. It was whilst working here that I had the idea to start a label. My brother and I had just had our first Vital Techniques release from winning a competition and it gave me the drive to want to do more. I put the idea forward to a fellow colleague who encouraged me to do it so and I just jumped in head first, without really knowing much. We put a business plan together, got a distribution deal from it and the rest is history!
-If you were able to sign any artist currently signed or unsigned, who would you want to snatch up?
Well we’ve just signed two amazing artists to the label, Sticky and Mr V, which are both great additions to the family and an amazing achievement for us considering their status within the scene already. Other than this we believe we have a very strong team and don’t really need to expand, we just want to nurture and encourage our current roster of artists to be the best and push each to do great things. If we had to pick an artist though, I think the best possible and most suited addition would be ‘My Nu Leng‘. They are on the same wave length as us and are killing it right now! We would snap them up in a second!
-Is there a story behind the name Second To None Music?
We actually got the name from a skate video we used to watch over and over that was titled 2nd To None. My brother and I used to skate and watching skate videos was the norm to go get hyped and go session! I loved the name and the video was amazing! It was for the Deca team and based around Deawon Song, who is an absolute boss on the board! Because the video stood out to me and I loved the name, when it came around to planning the label it popped in my head and it seemed very fitting! It stuck, and today, has become more than just a label and is actually a sick brand, expanding now to things like merchandise and more. We regularly get comments on the logo and name from people at events saying that regardless of the record label, they love the clothing and the brand as a whole which is amazing to hear, as we never quite planned it to be this diverse.
-What’s your best selling release to date so far?
The compilation we dropped at the start of the year, ‘The Next Chapter’, has done amazing so far and really had an impact which helped the label to stand out and hit hard in the turn of 2016. We wanted to start the new year with a bang and show the scene we mean business and this release really did that. It was standing at the top of the Juno charts for months and is still currently in the top 3!
Our release ‘Vital Techniques – Big Man Ting EP‘ has also done really well and we know that our latest release by B Squared is going to kill it! The track of the moment, “Never 2 Busy“, has seen some huge support from the likes of DJ Q, My Nu Leng, Scott Garcia and many more, whilst also racking up some heavy radio play! It’s currently No.1 on the Juno charts and we expect this will be a top seller for sure!
-If you had to describe your labels sound in 3 words what would they be?
Ooooh, that’s a tricky one! I would probably say ‘versatile, UKG, and for Mikey B… Leng!’ Haha
-Where do you see the label in 5 years time?
We want to be the pioneers in our own sound, and literally second to none. We want to be the go-to label for bass music…the name on everyone’s lips!
Releasing the best music, by the best artists and taking the sound worldwide to festivals and events, showcasing our unique style whilst breaking barriers we didn’t even know existed! We currently do label takeover events, but would also like to be running our own Second To None club events, which is something on the list and should hopefully be happening sooner rather than later!
-Can we expect to see any of your artists at festivals this Summer?
Most definitely! We’re going back to Croatia this summer for Outlook Festival with MC Pean, as well as playing at Solfest & Mint Festival. Bassline Festival is also looking very likely for ourselves as well as Mikey B and Krissi B. They are also booked for Boomtown which is a great shout! Fiyahman has some festivals lined up, and Hypho is also joining us at Solfest.
– What would you say has been the biggest challenge with keeping the label going?
We were originally releasing dubstep, but never got the family bond or the foundation that we wanted from the artists. Everyone was kind of out for themselves and using our label as a stepping stone. As we started playing more UKG and bass vibes in our DJ sets, it seemed natural that we re-brand the label and start pushing this sound more. At this point we got our partner in crime Mikey B on board, who has helped rebuild the label with us. Since then, we have been able to split the work load a lot better and achieve a lot more as a result! You have to build a label from the bottom up. This is why we always refer to ourselves as having a strong foundation. Because we believe with this new platform to build from, and an amazing team, anything is now possible. Whilst we still did well, and gained huge DJ and radio support, on a personal level I wasn’t getting back from the artists what I was thriving for. Now I am. And it is shown with the success we are now achieving.
– What draws you to signing a new artist? What characteristics do they need to have?
Quality has to come first. As a label we want to put out the best of the best, so quality control is a high priority. Ourselves and Mikey B always discuss this first over anything. We also look for artists with their own unique sound and style, in both production and their DJ sets. This means that we’re a well rounded label offering variety within the 130-140bpm bass bracket. An artist also has to believe in our vision. At Second To None we are essentially one big family, a strong team with a strong foundation, pushing each other to be the best. So we would need to have the same kind of enthusiasm from any potential new signing.
-And finally, what’s next for Second To None Music?
Well the B Squared EP is out now! We then have a release from new-comer Livsey. This is followed by a wicked 4 track EP from Sketchi titled “I Know EP“, which is then followed by our next 3 track release “Vital Techniques – Battleground EP“.
Along the way we will also be dropping everyone some hot free downloads on the Second To None Music Soundcloud, so get following!
We’ve got more label takeover events planned in Leeds, Huddersfield, Bristol and Plymouth as well as all the festivals! And we have just done our first run of merchandise, with a summer range to follow soon!
27th May – Leeds
10th June – Huddersfield
9th July – Bristol
16th July – Plymouth
Loads happening right now and we’re busier than ever! So a huge big up to everyone supporting the sound and the movement! Keep your ears to the ground and spread the word, Second To None Music is coming for them!
If you want to stay up to date with all of the mentioned future releases, or like the sound of one of the many tracks out now on Second To None Music, follow them on any of the links below.