5 years of Forest Biz
A label that outlines so many styles, and so many artists, Forest Biz has been consistent with putting out solid top-quality releases over the last 5 years. We sat down to have a chat with head honcho BadJah to gain some insights into his past favourites, and plans for the future.
From Grime influenced Dubstep heaters, rapid-paced Drum & Bass bangers, to dungeon crawling Halftime - It's near impossible to appreciate forward-thinking bass music and Forest Biz not come to mind. Alongside hosting his own YouTube channel, label manager BadJah presents us with some truly incredible artists on his outlet.
Sup man! 5 years in the game. I think we actually became friends around the same time, crazy how time flies. How are you going to be celebrating? Can we expect to see a Forest Biz cake?
Hello hello! 5 years indeed! Yeah I think it was around the back end of 2014 / beginning of 2015 we became friends... I know right? I've got a lot of things lined up in celebration, so it's going to be all year round. Special releases and special events mainly! As for cake, well if anyone wants to bake us one we'd be most grateful!
It's been great to see how the label has grown. We've seen some incredible releases, and the attention to detail you guys put into the branding is impressively unique. What's the most important thing for you when releasing new music?
Why thank you! It's mad because I feel like we're just getting started properly. The most important thing for me would be creative freedom, that's what I always try to make sure the artists who release on the label feel and experience. I think in this era of electronic music there's obviously a lot of genre-based limitations set by labels and I guess I've always wanted Forest Biz to be the opposite of that. Of course we have our own limits but when it comes to genres and styles we like to see artists push their own boundaries and reflect their passion for different flavours.
Absolutely, that very diversity is what makes your label special. Would it be mean to make you pick some favourites from the past 5 years?
I will say that I love every single release we've done so far, not even as a biased opinion because it's my label but even as a lover of electronic music - I would be listening to all of our music had it been released (or not) elsewhere. I do have personal favourites of course, as does everyone I assume. It's dead hard to pick though, errm, okay. If we were to go in order from the beginning of the timeline: Purfakt's first track we signed "The Temple", Poztman's "Waveform EP" still gets rinsed, Eyeseeu's "Disturbance EP" and Lazarus Moment's "Bird Flies Home EP" are on regular rotation.
Forest Odyssey, Vol. 3 was probably my favourite out of those compilations. Poztman's "Lo-ki" is one of my favourite half-time tracks ever. Samurai Breaks' EP was an honour to sign, as was OaT's, Nesium's and BitLoud's in that same year. Last year I wouldn't stop rinsing Jai Tee's 2-track single, the Katch EP and the Avum EP, and of course the Nocturna #1 album spawned some of my favourite tracks we've ever released from the likes of Nvctve, Nesium, STREETS, Formatz, Shamanic Technology & Dusko. EvoluShawn's debut EP is another. A LOT of favourites as you can see, and there's more to be added to that list this year.
Tell us about Nocturna and MT. Hortus, what's the significance of these two concepts?
I've always been enamoured by the concept of creating a, sort of, world. So when the Forest Odyssey compilations began, this is exactly what I was trying to do through those albums - guiding the listener and taking them on a journey to the many corners of our world. The journey can be tracked via the artworks to these albums: Volume 1 has you landing and looking around, seeing the big forest in the distance. Volume 2 you've travelled a bit more and arrived at the entrance of the forest, and Volume 3 sees you entering the forest and approach a fork in the road with 3 entrances. This is where Nocturna and Mount Hortus appeared, Nocturna is a place where the darker, heavier and more uncanny styles thrive, whilst Mount Hortus is a place where the the lighter, more vibrant and emotive styles are found.
Very dope, personally a big fan of the darker stuff, although it's good to see that you're embracing a bilateral concept for the label. What does 2020 hold for Forest Biz?
A lot more good surprises I hope, as I mentioned we have some special birthday releases, plus we hosted an online party on our Discord server on the 1st February - with sets from myself, Poztman, BitLoud and special guests Rapture 4D, Noclu and Rohaan. Really excited to see how that goes as we're planning a few of those throughout the year. Apart from that, a multitude of exciting debuts.
Any artists you're feeling right now?
Same issue with the favourite releases thing right here, there's always too many, but the list condensed would include: BitLoud, EvoluShawn, Nesium, Scheme, Protial, Overmono, Lucas The Flow, Vellum, Wolfdog, MOREOFUS, Nvctve, Urbandawn, Djrum, Lorn, enesai, Screamarts, Noclu, WYN, Rohaan, Ternion Sound, Daze Prism, only one, ALEPH, Reso, Seppa, Ekcle, Sorrow, Missin, Circadian Riff, Zimbu, Samba and A.Fruit.
So many crazy names. For anyone looking to start their own collective/label in 2020, do you have any tips that you wish you'd known when starting out?
Absolutely - methods of promotion and funding! If you want to be serious in this industry, you have to put in a lot before you begin to get something back. I say funding because it helps a lot with campaigning releases, getting things like artwork and professional sounding masters, and other things that you never thought you'd need. In 5 years I've learnt a lot, but there's a lot more to be learnt. Ask me in 10 years and I'll feel more qualified!
Anything you'd like to add?
I would like to give special thanks to those who have stuck with me and supported my vision from the beginning and also during the development of this imprint. Even though this is something I decided to do on my own, I had help - so I'd like to thank you (Danny/Aagentah), Leighton (Two Seven) because for some time he was co-running the label with me, Simon (Purfakt), Ian (Epithet), Noah (Shattering Palms), Adam (BitLoud) and most of all, my girlfriend Cait who has constantly pushed me especially in times where I've mostly doubted myself. Big ups to all of you ❤️