Hype Label of the Month: LoveJuice
Hype Label of the Month: LoveJuiceJuly 23, 2021
George Mensah and Sammy Porter hand over an exclusive mix and give us the lowdown on their beloved LoveJuice label and party series.
Launching in 2007 by George Mensah and Sammy Porter, LoveJuice has established itself as one of the UK’s most cherished parties, bringing like-minded individuals together in the hottest of spaces.
Ten years after throwing their first party, George and Sammy agreed that there weren’t enough labels releasing the music they loved, so they decided to create their own to showcase the LoveJuice sound.
Featuring artists like Joshwa, Martin Ikin, Saffron Stone, Camden Cox, Low Steppa, Space Jump Salute, and more, LoveJuice has quickly worked its way up to becoming one of Britain’s most revered house labels. While one would expect that COVID may have slowed things down for the party and imprint, LoveJuice has gone from strength to strength with big releases like their debut This Is LoveJuice compilation. It also saw the launch of their sister label, INLOVE Records — concentrating on the underground and deeper side of house music.
We caught up with George and Sammy to learn more about what makes a LoveJuice track, their recent parties, and how they plan to grow their further burgeoning house music empire. In addition to this, Sammy and George handed over an exclusive mix filled with the tracks one would expect to hear emanating from the speakers at their epic LoveJuice events. Check out the interview below and listen to the mix in the player above.
Photo: George Mensah
How did the two of you first link up to create your LoveJuice event series 14 years ago? How did the party eventually morph into a record label?
We were both doing events in different places around London & Essex for years, sometimes even as competition! But started working together about 2007 or 2008 when George came up with the name “LoveJuice” and wanted to run a weekly Sunday night party. I thought he was joking when I first heard the name but look how wrong I was!
When deciding on what to release via LoveJuice, what are some of the key elements you look for in a track/release/artist before signing them?
We always want to release music that represents what we play at LoveJuice events, festival shows and club gigs, so the first test is usually would one of us play it at a LoveJuice gig. A lot of the music is based around hooky vocals and musical elements that make it work for both house purists but also those dipping their feet into the dance music world.
In terms of what we look for in artists, unfortunately, there’s no magic formula here. Some relatively big artists have sent us music but sometimes it just isn’t quite right for the label and sometimes brand new artists have sent us music and it’s a perfect fit.
What drove the decision to create your InLove Records sister label, and how does it differ from what you would typically find on LoveJuice?
We started the INLOVE imprint to allow us to explore a deeper, groovier side of house music, that we both know and love, but also didn’t want the pressure of trying to make every release a radio hit. We want it to showcase lesser-known artists, and be much more dance floor lead rather than worrying what streaming platforms or radio stations might think of it. Just quality, deep, minimal tech vibes with no expectations of anything other than groovy, sophisticated club music.
Tell us about your label’s first compilation, This Is Lovejuice Vol. 1.
Throughout the last year, it’s been a very testing time to release dance music, especially club-focused releases that we really felt needed clubs to be open for them to have the desired impact. The compilation gave us a chance to revisit and let people rediscover some of the music we signed in a period when those tracks weren’t able to get the full-scale club treatment that we feel they deserved.
It also shows how far we have come over the past four years. Although the event has been running for 14 years now, the record label has only been running for four of those years and we feel the compilation represents that journey really well.
Photo: Sammy Porter
Besides the compilations, what are three current and/or forthcoming LoveJuice + InLove records releases that you are most excited about?
There is a Deeper Purpose remix of the Saffron Stone record “All Over Again” that we have deliberately sat on so that it can be released when clubs and festivals are back in full swing. Plus the next release we have is a bomb. It’s by Space Jump Salute and called “Dancing For My Life,” and comes at a time when most of the world has been deprived from dancing!
What is Love Pub + Grub?
Love Pub + Grub is a concept that has allowed us to continue to operate during a time when full-scale clubs and festivals were not an option due to COVID restrictions. The UK allowed pubs to open with social distancing in place as soon as lockdown lifted, so with very little notice we knew we had to be a pub.
We found a space in Wapping, London, and along with the team from the nightclub E1 London and Love Pub + Grub was born — a fun socially distanced weekly event that allowed our audience and more to enjoy quality house music in a safe, controlled (and allowed) manner.
The Love Pub + Grub project has been great at keeping young London interested in dance music at a time where there were very few spaces allowed to open that played such music while also helping a huge number of people in the hospitality industry get back to work in a safe manner.
What are you most looking forward to this summer?
Summer ‘21 is looking huge for us. We have a full-scale festival planned for Bank Holiday on Sunday the 29th of August and are dead excited to see a world post-social distancing, where nightlife and hospitality are allowed to return to an even better new normal.
Tell us about the mix you put together for us.
The mix is a melting pot of what you can expect to hear at a LoveJuice event. Quite a few of our signings are featured, plus some productions from myself and George.