Commemorating their eleventh year, music and events label Run Tingz have celebrated their birthday in style, the only way a drum and bass label would. A haul of new signings, a heap of new music, as well as loads of digital content and various other projects not too far on the horizon. We caught up with founder and Run Tingz Cru member Alex Parker to hear about all they have got in store for us.
So firstly, congratulations are in order! How does it feel to be marking 11 years of Run Tingz!
Thank you! Yes, it is quite mad really because Run Tingz grew in different stages. We had a really quick start when it kicked off. I was already a promoter for ten years, and Edd and I were quite known from the illegal rave scene under different DJ names, so the label was already quite connected with festivals and artists. Within two years we were running events across the country and had the Run Tingz Sessions brand. This expanded to many countries across Europe and the Americas. From that, we hit the ground running and had a heavy five years with releases and major bookings.
In 2017 we built the studio and were working on the label side of things, and for a couple of years, we were charting well. But we started getting frustrated with where the music was, we were almost pigeon-holed into this sort of dub-wise stuff. But over time this has changed as the scene has changed. Now the music is more at a boiling point, and all the sub-genres like jump up, rollers and jungle have merged together. And that comes back to us – we wanted the Run Tingz brand to move with the modern music, by updating the roster and revamping our profile. Zack – one of the directors and a graphic design wizard – suggested we do a full rebrand. We were coming up to 11 years of the brand, so was a good time to switch things up!
Run Tingz Label
And so to mark 11 years you made a massive haul of signings?
Exactly, we were always going to do something for ten years, but obviously, everything got put on hold because of the pandemic. Then the eleventh year came around and we used that opportunity. We were already signing some fresh blood, but then Ben Killey from Hot Cakes linked me with Jam Thieves and Nick The Lot, and Kleu as well (although I have actually known Kleu for years). I initially only wanted five acts, but then it just started going up. It was only about two weeks before we made the announcement that I just thought ‘let’s go for 11!’.
So signing-wise we have got Jam Thieves, Nick The Lot, Kleu, R3DX, Rise, Oram, Toby Ross, and Kommz. On top of that there is Isaac Maya, Kutz and Jinx who were already on the label but have now signed additional deals. All these signings are ranging from six-track deals to full exclusivity, and essentially means we have got a relentless release schedule ahead of ourselves!
Looking ahead we have got the Run Tingz Reloaded EP, which alongside most of the Run Tingz Cru is also featuring the likes of Crossy, Gold Dubs, Salaryman and Veak on top of the full roster. There are also big vocals from Top Cat, Tenor Fly and Da Fuchaman. Two weeks later we have the Jam Thieves EP dropping, followed another two weeks later by Kommz debut EP. After this there is the Revolution album, which is basically all our signings plus some other acts across 20 tracks. Then we have got the Slayers project which is Run Tingz Cru and Kommz, featuring vocalists Fearless and Funsta plus special guests. So in just over two months we’ve got five huge drops coming.
Carrying on we have got EPs from Rise and Jinx, releases from Toby Ross and Oram, and then The Lost Files, which is a bunch of tracks that are actually being re-released after getting pulled off by our distributor! So stay tuned for all of that.
Sounds great, we can’t wait to hear it when it comes out! But it’s not just new music that you’re bringing out, is it?
No, we are also focusing heavily on merchandise as well. We’ve tested custom USBs and so will be doing another version of these, even going back to CDs, and then clothing. When it comes to clothing we are not interested in doing standard cheap T-shirts. I used to run a clothing company and do rave gear that was manufactured in Asia, so I’ve got experience with producing merch. Our crew mostly bowl around in designer pyjamas, Laurie could probably kit out JD sports with his wardrobe! So doing a drop with oversized cheap Fruit The Loom T-shirts wouldn’t cut it for Run Tingz – we wouldn’t wear it so wouldn’t expect our fans too. We are looking at essentially collaborating and customising with brands that you wouldn’t expect. Most of the merch is going to be exclusive stuff and we will only be doing limited runs of the drops.
And on top of clothing, we are also going to be doing vinyl releases for the bigger projects at Run Tingz. After all this time people are still into them – I think they like the collectors items and a physical copy definitely leaves a lasting impression on fans. We are planning to do specialised artwork for these projects as well. I actually used to run graffiti battles back in the day, so we are going to commission graffiti and limited art pieces to go with this merch. We are doing these campaigns properly, so alongside the main releases, there will be a vinyl copy, artwork, a lead track which will have a music video and a full mix. The Run Tingz Reloaded mix is actually being pressed on CDs as we speak! It’s very exciting, and when you have all these different components I just think people enjoy it more.
And then after the music and the merch, there’s a lot of digital content coming from the Run Tingz camp?
Yeah, so something that is getting released very soon is the Pioneers Podcast. I have been working with our videographer Theo, and our sound engineer Ollie, on a five-part series featuring some of the leading guys in the scene.
We’ve got Harry Shotta, Fearless, Fabio, IC3 and Charlotte Devaney to kick off. But this is no ordinary podcast – it has been madly edited, shot in 4K, and we cut to footage of the topics that are discussed – almost like a ‘This Is Your Life’ but drum and bass edition! For example, the first episode coming out is with Harry Shotta, and he chats about ‘Animal’ and ‘The Harry Shotta Show’ at Westfest, basically going down memory lane. It’s really in-depth, each episode is about 40 minutes to an hour. So far we’ve filmed five episodes, and then we’ve got another five lined up with big artists. They are going to be dropping on the Run Tingz YouTube channel and various podcast platforms toward the end of July, a new episode each week.
Drum And Basically
Then we’ve got ‘Drum and Basically’, which is a five-part sketch show. We’ve gone into different areas and have come up with some comedy based stuff. We had a tea party with Nicky Blackmarket, one episode takes place in a kebab house, there’s something we like to call ‘Beat the Balaclava’, overall it’s just a real laugh. And then not to give too much away, but we have access to a load of access to tanks and army vehicles. So we are in the process of doing something with a load of those with some big artists. There is some pretty crazy stuff coming!
Run Tingz Live Streams
Of course, as a lot of people are aware of, streaming is now a big part of Run Tingz. We are aiming to be live streaming at more events, basically bringing a crowd to a live-streaming and adding that live element to a digital format. We tested one with Souped-Up at the Volks in Cardiff pre-Covid and were lined up with a lot of the big festivals. Personally, I am quite a visual person, so I prefer watching an artist rather than just listening – I don’t really listen to the radio, but I love watching a livestream. This is why we try to take our streams up a gear, it’s why we set one in a prison and a free-running warehouse. Basically what we want to do is to make live streams into more of an event, and are taking this idea forward as live events get back up and running.
Bigger Projects & Bigger Collaborations
So overall, it is safe to say Run Tingz have got a lot in store for us! And then looking more long term, what can we expect to see?
Overall we just want to keep pushing out credible material, across all our content. Bigger projects and bigger collaborations, maintaining a tight roster with new people as well as respecting our long-term acts. We would love to bring in some more vocalists, maybe even from some other genres. Then alongside this we are going to crossover with more media, pushing out mini-documentaries, more publishing and fan-based media. But whatever comes out of the Run Tingz camp, it’s always going to be staying true to drum and bass. This is what we have done over the last 11 years, and we are very excited to keep this going for the next 11 years.
Visit the RunTingzTV website to stay on top of everything that they are up to
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