Who are you?
We are the Neuroheadz, Founded in January 2022 by owner Ben Killey (Killey), alongside partners Mike Simpson (Mink) and Albi Alexander (Albi NHZ) with DJ’s Andrew Parsonage (Jx2) and Harry Agg (IDeaZ) and an honourable mention to Joe Franklin who runs our festival and events.
What’s your ethos?
Our main ethos is tumpin’ neurofunk. We love it more than any other music genre. The vibe in a neurofunk rave is like no other. Alongside this, we cultivate a family-like community of neuro-lovers supporting us and each other to the ends of the earth.
Tell us your origin story… Was it an in-depth concept or a chat in the pub?
More of a chat in the pub! There has been a big group, maybe 30 or so, of us that have been going out to neurofunk raves together for a few years now, mostly based in and around Bristol.
But Bristol was really lacking in neurofunk after covid, we usually had to travel to London or abroad to get our fix! We decided to throw an event at Loco Klub with Prolix and some other DJs we love and we would be the support bill. We did it as a passion project for our group. We didn’t care too much if anyone else came. Ben had mentally parted with the funds. The event actually did really well! So many people thanked us for putting it on, it was super heart-warming! So we had to do more.
The label began as an accident because we set the Facebook page up as a record label. We just thought “better sign some music then” and the rest, I guess, is history!
Tell us about your local scene…
We are all based in or around Bristol, we believe it’s the best city in the world for drum and bass! There is a lot of D&Bin Bristol, but not much Neurofunk. We are trying to change that! I think anyone into D&B knows what Bristol is like so we don’t need to go into detail.
Do you have a specific sound or vibe?
Neurofunk, but we all have our own sound preferences within the subgenre. Ben is into older techstep and funky rollers, JJ is into the heavier Czech sound, Albi prefers the free party and tek influences, Harry and Mike play across the spectrum. It’s a recipe for a great takeover set!
Do you have a regular artist roster- who can we see releasing with you?
Yes! We have some seriously good producers! Our regulars are TRCD, Stonx, Kaizen Flow, Avile, Transforma & Overtune. However, we have music coming from Mandidextrous, Mel, Sovryn and so many more.
We have to give a shout-out to all the artists that we have had releases with (over 50!) as the sound isn’t easy to make and these guys all have crazy production talent. We know how much time, effort and love, or anger, goes into making a tune, and we really appreciate and love all of our producers.
Tell us about your A&R process…
If we love it, we sign it. No matter who you are. Last year we brought through Overtune for his first-ever release. This year we have The Fractions, who have made some serious heaters, for their debut EP and we have more up-and-coming producers we are looking to release with.
We take a very holistic approach to A&R. Everyone gets a say in a democratic process but we also take our time. We have a rule, you must listen to every tune the whole way through 10x over 5 days. If you still love it, we sign it.
We also work with a very talented engineer, Exult, who provides feedback to artists for their mixdowns. These small amendments really help produce the best tune possible. Big up to George for all his help on the label.
What makes you different from other labels?
We are lucky to have quite a few differences that help Neuroheadz stand out from other labels. We have our own festival, video wall, sound system and BIN (both owned by Albi)! A lot of people will know us for the Notorious B.I.N, which now has over 35 million plays on various social platforms. Alongside this, we have developed our ‘Neuroheadz Live!’ Band with a drummer and 2 guitars. This band is different to your usual band because they play alongside a DJ set. The drummer will play the entire set but the guitars come in and out adding elements to the mix. This means you can still mix like a DJ in a club, double drops, no breaks and keep the energy but also have the band element for that live feel and extra impact.
We also try to do a promo differently. Our last promo video had Mike walking down Stokes Croft in a mankini! We take a light-hearted, fun, jokey vibe to neurofunk when a lot of other brands in the space focus on Robots, zombies and more aggressive styling. We have a drunken monkey as our mascot!
At the end of the day, none of this would be possible without our family-like community. We’ve only mentioned the HQ team in this interview but there are at least another 40-plus people who are a big part of the label. They pitch in to help with shows, the festival and other bits (like buying random bits of musical equipment for the band to use!). We couldn’t have achieved the things we have achieved without every single individual and their unique input to the brand.
What does it take to run a bass music label in 2024?
As you can imagine, a lot of time, dedication, love and some money, but so do most things in life worth having.
Outside of those elements, we believe a key aspect of running a label nowadays is to think differently. Our scene is quite crowded now, which is great, but there are a lot of record labels. You can’t just do the same thing as everyone else if you want to stand out, you’ve got to come up with fresh ideas and a different style. We are constantly thinking up ideas for promo, events or just something we think will be fun to have a go at. Most ideas get drafted and binned, but it’s a fun process! This is how the BIN, band and festival came to life.
What have you got coming up that we should look out for?
We’ve got an exciting year ahead! We’ve just had our Steelyard debut taking over room 2 at The Prototypes 360 AV show. Now we are looking towards our Virus recordings event in Bristol at Coroners Court this March. This show is a big step up for us and is going very well so far, we’ve got some big production plans in the works.
After that we have the main event of our year, Neuroheadz Festival, June 15th, which is set to be the biggest event we’ve put on by some stretch and hopefully the biggest neurofunk lineup the UK has seen in some time!
We’ve really stepped the game up for all elements of the festival and are looking forward to making it a huge success!
You can catch us at a few festivals in the UK and Europe this summer too, we will be in Kavos for Breakaway, have a stage takeover at Balter festival and a few more bookings but we can’t announce them just yet! It’s great to see other UK festivals expanding their lineups into neurofunk, this year Balter have programmed a whole stage of Neurofunk that we will be hosting!
With regards to the music, we have 14 releases lined up this year so far as well as the ‘Headz Up vol 2’ VA which is set for May. We are really excited about the music we have signed this year, our current artists have really stepped up their production and we have new names such as Mandidextrous, Sovryn and High-There with releases in the works.
2024 is shaping up to be the year of the headz for sure.