SOS Music Highlights Five Essential Female-founded Labels
SOS Music Highlights Five Essential Female-founded LabelsMarch 18, 2021
Stationed in Los Angeles, SOS Music is a forward-thinking imprint and music collective focusing on female and female-identifying talent, showcasing cutting-edge electronic music from around the globe.
Founded in 2020 by one of the city’s most loved and respected DJ duos, Maddy Maia and Tottie (AKA Sisters of Sound), the pair made a remarkable splash with the release of their debut V/A compilation, SOS Music Vol. 1. Distributed by !K7 and released in October 2020, the 14-track collection features artists including Hinako Omori, rRoxymore, Nightwave, Umfang, Masha, C Love, Violet, LCY, Minimal Violence, and more. Get locked in with some of our favorite selections from the compilation below.
Under their Sisters of Sound moniker, Maddy Maia (A&R at Ninja Tune) and Tottie (dublab) have performed at festivals like Dekmantel, ADE and Coachella, and on radio stations like The Lot (NYC), NTS, Rinse FM, Mixcloud Live, LA’s dublab and more.
Here, Maddy and Tottie have compiled a list of five of their favorite female-founded labels. These imprints have not only helped inspire SOS Music’s sonic ethos but have made considerable strides in bringing diversity and innovative leftfield tracks to the dance floor.
Explore and purchase SOS Music Vol. 1 on Beatport here.
Naive (and its sister label Naivety) are two wonderfully progressive labels founded in Lisbon by the multi-faceted and unstoppable force in Europe’s dance scene, Violet. A rebellion to current movements, both platforms were developed to “gravitate around beautiful music irrespective of sonic trends… with variegated records that feel a bit timeless.” Leaning to the left of the sonic spectrum, the music Naive releases is diverse and eclectic, and the catalogue feels genre-less, focusing on what Violet describes as “freedom of expression, not necessarily danceable, but focused on whatever truth the artist wants to express.”
It’s also the product of someone deeply committed to their local scene and community. Aside from her label empire and productions, Violet co-founded the legendary online station Rádio Quântica, and pre-pandemic was a resident at Mina – a Portuguese queer rave held in unexpected venues. You naturally get a taste of this local community through Naive’s releases; the vast majority are women and people from the queer community, but, according to Violet, this happened organically because it “mirrors my day-to-day experience and closest circles.”
SZNSZN is the perfect snapshot of the darker, more percussive end of UK dance, bass, and rave for 2021, and absolutely packed with hidden gems. Founded in 2019 by genre-bending UK DJ and producer LCY (FKA L U C Y), the label and platform pushes and encourages collaboration and innovation, featuring a melting pot of DIY UK talent like Yazzus, Lijah, Tailor Jae, Traces, MUHLA, Raheim, Kyri Michael and Zonae in its first year alone.
The roster feels like a glimpse into LCY’s sonic soul at times, reflecting the recent shift to heavier club music in her own productions (and in her name change). With a perfectly fitting visual narrative through the nostalgic typeface and bold imagery, SZNSZN says makes a statement with its output, and we couldn’t love that more.
Label: On Loop
An undeniable figure in forward-thinking dance music and a source of huge inspiration for us, On Loop always felt like the natural progression for DJ Moxie’s faultless selector abilities. So it’s no surprise that the label’s output is of such stellar quality. Originally an extension of her legendary parties and a tribute to the community she built via her long-standing residency at NTS, we get the sense that with On Loop, Alice is in it for the long run, releasing artists like Violet, System Olympia, Shanti Celeste, DJ Python, Addison Groove, and Lone over five hefty compilations.
What we particularly love about On Loop is that all of the releases have this uplifting groove and a certain feel-good energy — there’s no pretension. The compilations are diverse and melodic, ranging from upcoming artists to more internationally recognised names. But every track makes you want to dance, mirroring Moxie’s own DJ sets, which have earned her international recognition and seen her grace the decks at the world’s most iconic clubs: Panorama Bar and De School being no exception. The latest release, Moxie Presents Volume 5, is a real standout for us with some favourites including SOS artist rRoxymore and the incredible Chinese-born, Vancouver-based Yu Su.
Label: Love on the Rocks
Love On The Rocks is an exceptional Berlin-based record label run by the illustrious Panorama Bar resident, Paramida. We absolutely love the originality in Paramida’s musical style and commitment to digging, which “blends proto-house to trance, percussive gems with high-energy techno, Italian dream house, and irresistible new beat.” These genre-defying moments are very much expressed through Love on The Rocks’ catalogue, described by Paramida as “an experiment in musical exploration, embracing artists both known and unknown, music both old and new.” Drawing on niche influences from all corners of the globe, she describes the label as “an almost forensic retreading of obscure musical paths, tracing connections between artists, tracks, moments and memories, reframing them for today’s audience and the dance floors of tomorrow.”
Founded in 2014, Love on The Rocks has had close to 20 releases and counts Elles, Khidja, Massimiliano Pagliara, Warehouse Preservation Society, Alex Kassian, Ess O Ess, and Das Komplex as label alumni. Their success, according to Paramida, is “about believing in yourself, believing in your friends, even (or especially) when you don’t know what’s going to happen next. That, and having a shitload of fun while you’re doing it.”
Label: Femme Culture
Founders: Elkka + Ludo
This label and all-female DJ collective was founded in 2016 by Ludo and London-based multifaceted producer and DJ, Elkka. It serves as a brilliant platform to push LGBTQ+ sound and talent, and promotes inclusivity in all backgrounds and genders. Femme Culture has touched on important charity elements, too, including the critically acclaimed HeForShe compilation series. Now in its third year, proceeds from the comp are donated to UN Women. Standouts on 2020’s monstrous edition include DJ Python’s hypnotic “Oph Bloop,” Yazzus’ intensely hyperactive rave tribute “GOT TO HAVE UR LOVE?” and head-honcho Elkka’s aptly named squeaky synth-infused “Community.”
Though a fairly young label, the Femme Culture catalogue boasts an impressive list of contributors, like Octo Octa, Mr. Mitch, minimal violence, India Jordan, Kassian, and Poté. It’s also home to two of our favourite artists at the moment, Ariel Zetina and BadSista. The label champions femme electronic talent, without being aggressive or excluding. “It embodies who we are. It’s about everyone, not just women.”