Truancy Volume 88: DJ Haus

Since his days in Hot City,  DJ Haus has continued to establish himself as a name who has his sights set firmly and only on the dancefloor – through both his productions and his Unknown to the Unknown imprint. Originally a YouTube channel (which, testament to his crazy work ethic, still uploads on a regular basis), its expansion into a record label happened organically after some encouraging feedback from Jackmaster. Although the label cannot be tied to a particular sound, it’s achieved a remarkable singularity thanks to Haus’ keen curatorial vision – the divergent arenas of Palace’s squelchy 2-step, DJ Stingray’s blistering electro and Slackk’s sino-grime all sound like quintessential UTTU cuts.

He hasn’t slowed down on the collaborative front, either. He produces with DJ Q under Trumpet & Badman, and teamed up with Matrixxman, Riton, Detboi and Drop The Lime for tracks on last year’s Thug Houz Anthems Vol. 1. Amidst his increasingly hectic schedule, DJ Haus took the time to provide us with our 88th Truancy Volume – an hour-long white-knuckle ride through the wilder echelons of bassline and garage.

First up, you put out a single last month – tell us about it. “It’s the second in the Thug Houz Anthems series, just thick, stupid tracks that have one purpose: pump in the club.”

There is obviously a lot of shared musical perspective between you and DJ Q, but what are some of your differences? What do you bring to Trumpet & Badman that DJ Q can’t, and vice versa? “I think my tastes are more scattered. Like, right now I’m really focused on collecting UKG, Jersey House and 90s house from New York and Chicago, whereas Q comes from a more UKG background. It’s fun trying to push it and make some really fucked up club tracks with him.”

You’ve said in a lot of interviews that starting a label always seemed like the next logical step from being a record collector. With an unlimited budget and the potential to work with anybody you liked, what would be your next step? “Well I’m fortunate that I’m in a position to be putting out music from a lot of people I really admire. Next year I have 12s coming from some of my favourite artists, but I would love to do a Satin Storm retrospective – just CDs of all the original DATs. And his Satin House stuff which was great too! I was in touch with Travis years ago but unfortunately that was only through MySpace – since that has died I no longer have a valid email for him. He lives in Buckinghamshire now and rides horses, so I’m not sure how fussed he is about things like this anyway…”

How easily did UTTU transition from a YouTube channel to a fully-fledged record label? “That was pretty much due to the Rubadub guys. I had been sending Jack tunes to play out anyway and when I sent him the Marcus Mixx and Stingray stuff (which I was only putting on YouTube, Boomkat and Bandcamp at the time), he was like “let’s do a 12″. It’s pretty much grown from there!”

In XLR8R’s Labels We Love feature on UTTU, you said something interesting: “I’m not looking at this in a traditional ‘label’ format, it’s not like I’m trying to sell MP3s. I’m really excited by digital music. Everyone is saying, ‘It’s the end of the music industry’, but it’s just a different way of absorbing sound.” Do you feel like other labels are missing out by not utilising YouTube to the extent that you do? Do you feel like there’s a correlation between that and format purism? “Well I guess I’m not doing this in a business sense. You know a lot of labels don’t make money (even the ones that are pretty well-known), so I’m just having a good time and doing whatever I want as I’ve got nothing to lose, really. I guess everyone has their own agenda when starting a label.”

UTTU has been pretty prolific. Do you have any particular favourite releases – perhaps one that you thought was unfairly slept on? “I thought the Cestrian EP was AMAZING. Two of my all time favourite DJs play it: Errorsmith and Teki Latex. That’s all I expect to get from a release so that makes me happy. Spooky – “Baby” is a massive tune. It always gets like three rewinds, but it had little traction on radio so you can never tell…”

Stream: Spooky – Baby (Unknown To The Unknown)

UTTU has an unmistakeable aesthetic. You’re not solely responsible for the artwork – people like Pete Hellicar and Kwistax, as well as fellow Truant Soraya, also contribute. How do you maintain a consistent visual brand and what are UTTU’s reference points when it comes to design? “I’m pretty specific when it comes to the design. You know I’ll get a track and think, ‘this would be so cool if it was released *this* way and looks like *this*’, so I’ll have a vision of how that release should come out. I try to get as close to that with whatever resources I have access to at the time.”

You launched Hot Haus Recs this year, a sister label of sorts to UTTU. What was the impetus behind starting a second label and what’s your process for discerning whether something’s gonna come out on UTTU or HHR? “I’m fortunate enough now where people are kinda into what I’m trying to do, so with that comes more opportunities. I don’t want Hot Haus to be different to UTTU. There’s nothing that really sets the two apart, it just means I can release two records a month in 2014 – BOOMMMM!!!!”

You sent us your Truancy Volume without a tracklist; can you give our readers a couple of hints as to what’s in there? “Yeah I’m gonna up a timeline when I get home. A lot of it is speed garage and new music from Eomac, Checan, Willie Burns and more that’s forthcoming on the label. Plus music from Moleskin and other stuff I can’t remember right now.” Is this the sort of set you’ve been playing in clubs recently? “Yeah man, I play full-on peak time club music – nothing more, nothing less.”

We’ve just made it through an onslaught of end-of-year lists. What are three tracks that would make your 2013 top ten? “OHM – “Tribal Tone“, Jess & Crabbe – “The Big Booya” and Bicep – “Satisfy“.

What’s in store for you and the label this year? “Well I have two vinyl dropping a month in 2014, plus one digi release a month, so things are gonna go next level. There’s also gonna be more shirt design.”

Thanks for talking to us! What’s your drink of choice and when was the last time you danced? “I’m dancing right now! Drink of choice is a cold Amstel…

Truancy Volume 88: DJ Haus by TRUANTS


EoOo – Battery Baby (forthcoming UTTU)
D’Marc Du Cantu – Size & Shape
Ron Bakker – Hellicopter
Supreme Mind – It’s Over
Mateo & Matos – MAW Basics
MK – Took My Love
Legowelt – Aquarian Sunset
DJ NG – Tell Me
Hitek – Round & round – So Solid Remix
2 Deep – U Dun Kno
Dave Riley – Wicked high
DFL – So Confused
DTI – At Night
Checan – Brick (forthcoming UTTU)
Todd Edwards – Odessey
DJ Haus – Addicted 2 Houz
DJ One Eye – Gangsta
POL Style, Vin Sol & Matrixxman – Angry Frogs
RSK – Can;t Stop The Groove
Moleskin – Clemency
SE62 – True Force
DJ Haus – Touch Yo Boody
Bicep – Satisfy

Sophie Kindreich