Beatport Hype: Warehouse Music
Compelling, propulsive, and delightfully unbridled, the sounds of Ryan Aitchison’s (AKA Mella Dee) aptly named Warehouse Music, has, in its short history, transformed into one of clubland’s most reliable imprints.
Brandished with a hand-stamped logo of South Yorkshire’s infamous Doncaster Warehouse — the space that nurtured Aitchison’s early dancefloor predilections — Aitchison’s label pays reverence to the rave spaces that shape us, while staying fully tapped into his audience’s ever-evolving appetite.
First established in 2017 as a route to releasing his own productions, Warehouse Music has regaled us with knockout EPs like Techno Disco Tools, Exactly Mate, and Techno Belters — all teeming with peaktime weapons for rowdy and wild crowds.
The label’s musical agenda is brazen and untethered, with the critical caveat that each release should get blood pumping on the dancefloor. We spoke to Ryan Aitchison about his label’s ethos, what it takes to operate the imprint successfully, and where Warehouse Music is heading in 2020.
Why did you start the label?
Basically, creative freedom and just being able to put faith in my work and be in charge of how everything works. I wanted to release a lot of music as I’ve always written a lot and I enjoy releasing it to the broader world and seeing how it’s received.
What’s the ethos behind the imprint?
Initially, it was purely to put out my music or music from projects that I’m involved in and people I have personal relationships with, and I think that will always be a key focus. Precisely what the music will sound like is still undetermined for me — I know I want people to move through it.
The Warehouse influence stems back to places like Doncaster Warehouse and other similar spaces, mainly in Yorkshire, that affected and inspired me growing up, and the sounds you’d hear pounding out from them.
How do you usually find and sign new music or artists?
It’s basically been people coming to me with music who I have a personal relationship with, rather than specific A&R searching, as in reality I’m a full-time DJ and producer. So to try and run a label in a more traditional sense is something I just don’t have time for.
What’s the biggest challenge of running your imprint?
There’s a lot of work involved behind the scenes, but my wife, Sarah, who is also my manager, is amazing and keeps the ship running smoothly. I’d say the primary thing with releasing music is the amount of moving parts there are in the process, different people who need different things, and it’s just a matter of collating everything and trying to organize it all to meet schedules, etc. That and trying to navigate the many different options in terms of how you release music these days and still have some impact, and how do you keep things moving forward, as I feel you can’t get stuck in one idea forever you need to develop and expand.
What do you like most about your job?
Making music and being in my studio. It’s like my little laboratory. Just experimenting with sounds and ideas, it’s something I do as a compulsion more than work, so I can’t even call that part a job. On the actual performance side of what I do though, I love being able to share music I love with a club full of people enjoying themselves and just enjoying the moment. It’s a special feeling.
Finally, what are your plans for the future of the imprint?
Keep on moving forward, that’s the main thing. Forward motion, never getting stuck in the past or resting on what you’ve already done, bringing fresh ideas to the world of electronic music.
Lock into Warehouse Music’s Label of the Month chart on Beatport here.