Beatport Hype: [IDEA]
At 16 years old, Elliot Adamson saw Boddika and Joy O play at his first proper rave while growing up in Houghton-le-Spring, a small town in North East England. A year later, he was holding down a monthly DJ residency at a Digital in Newcastle, sneaking in before the door staff arrived so he could play into the night. Now, at 24 years old, Adamson has become one of the UK’s most exciting young purveyors of house, whose arsenal of tech slammers and club rovers stroke the length of the dancefloor with pure charisma.
Since 2017, his music has appeared on labels like Man Power’s Me Me Me, Eats Everything’s Edible, DJ Haus’ Unknown To The Unknown and his fantastic personal imprint, [IDEA]. It’s a label that has allowed Adamson to enhance his status from well-regarded DJ-producer to the ferocious dance music machine that we see before us today. In 2019 alone, he released three full-length albums via [IDEA], all of which are teeming with tracks that receive consistent support from artists like Annie Mac, Groove Armada, Honey Soundsystem, and Patrick Topping, who he works alongside as A&R for Topping’s Trick imprint.
With plans to expand [IDEA] beyond self-releases in 2020, we spoke to Adamson about the label’s purpose, scope, and moving forward.
Why did you start the label?
I started [IDEA] back in September as a way of operating outside of larger label’s conventional time schedules. At that point, I’d had some success in bringing acts to other labels and getting them signed, so it seemed like a no brainer to sign them to my own platform eventually. I’d heard loads of stories from artists about making music years before waiting for the release, and this was a way of circumventing that while having more considerable creative control over the release package and how things are promoted for the records. I put out three albums on there last year as a bit of a whim, and the first single got picked up by Annie Mac as her “hottest record in the world” off the back of the upload to SoundCloud, which I think is something that could only happen in this era.
What’s the ethos behind the imprint?
Good music, good sonics, and good artwork. We’re very much a product of the Internet.
How do you usually find and sign new music or artists?
I love the growing SoundCloud scene and like to keep an eye on artists who are making noise independently, without labels. Then I try to have good relationships with up-and-coming acts, and A&R for Patrick Topping’s Trick imprint. In the past, I’ve only put out my own or collaborative music, but I’ve just signed the first release to the label from an outside act, and that will be out at the end of March. It’s a bit of a sentimental record for me as it’s sat on my hard drive since 2015 and has been one of my favorite records since — putting it out as the first new artist to [IDEA] was a bit of a no-brainer.
What’s the biggest challenge of running your imprint?
Mainly just working out what works and what doesn’t. In this day and age, there isn’t one sure-fire way to guarantee a record makes an impact, and I feel more of the traditional methods are becoming obsolete. It pays to think out of the box and take risks.
What do you like most about your job?
There’s no better feeling than seeing a record you’ve put out getting spins on Radio 1. Our last release, Proper Fuel — a collaborative effort with my friend Moscrop — went out in November, and Annie Mac is still playing it! A video of us in the studio went viral on Twitter, so I put it in the schedule to get it out as fast as possible, and it’s still in the top thirty of the house Hype chart over two months later, which couldn’t have happened without the flexibility that the label brings.
Finally, what are your plans for the future of the imprint?
I feel like the label has established a bit of an identity now, so it’s time to start releasing other acts. I have my next solo EP on there in February, a load of love songs for Valentine’s, and then the Red Tears EP out at the end of March — we’re doing our first vinyl run on that one too, which is super exciting. We had our first label party in Gibraltar last summer, and we’re looking at doing more during this year. I’m so excited about the music we’re putting out and can’t wait to see where it takes us over 2020!
Jump in with [IDEA]’s Label of the Month chart on Beatport here.