Dense & Pika's label is fast becoming a serious force to be reckoned with
An increasingly important presence on the UK techno scene, Kneaded Pains was set up in 2014 by Dense & Pika - the duo of Chris Spero (AKA Glimpse) and Alex Jones, who's perhaps best known as co-founder of the Hypercolour label.
Since then, the label (now 34 releases deep) has put out music from some of the fastest-rising names in the techno (and tech-house) business, including the likes of Melody's Enemy, Billy Turner and Dysart, alongside more established talents such as Ramon Tapia, Truncate, Matt Sassari and, of course, the label bosses themselves.
Despite its ever-growing profile, Kneaded Pains remains a tight-knit, family affair, with just three people running the show. Which is part of the reason they've scaled back on vinyl operations these days – "We did more wax at the beginning of the label’s inception," says Alex, "but less nowadays. It’s expensive and time consuming, we don’t play it, and I have enough grief with pressing it on Hypercolour!" – to concentrate on digital releases and streaming.
The next big event on the Kneaded Pains calendar is a showcase night at Tofler in Rotterdam this Saturday (15 December), where Dense & Pika's guest will be label regular Billy Turner, whose latest single (albeit that one was for Sous Music) was given a glowing review by iDJ's Danny Slade just the other day. So now seemed the ideal time to find out a bit more about the label, its origins and their hopes for the future...
When was Kneaded Pains set up, and why?
"The label was set up about four years ago, as an outlet for the music our peers and friends we respect were sending us to play. We were receiving so much great music, it just made sense for us to start the label and try and get some of the weaponry out in the public domain!"
How many people are employed by/involved in running the label?
"Alex, Chris and our label manager Jay."
How do you describe Kneaded Pains' music policy?
"Out and out dancefloor bombs! We release only occasionally, but really the label currently caters to less direct club music and is more experimental."
Four years in, what have been your personal highlights so far?
"We’ve had some incredible remixes from the likes of Danny Daze, Slam, Boys Noize and some superb original EPs from Billy Turner, Melody’s Enemy, VONDA7 and Dysart."
At time of writing, your latest release was Space Raiders from Eats Everything. What's your relationship with him?
"We’ve known Dan for years, and he’s worked a fair bit with us on Hypercolour back in the day. He’s superb at writing big room rave weapons and this seemed like a fantastic fit for Kneaded Pains. We’ve actually just had a full throttle remix done by Charlotte De Witte which takes it to an even darker place - if that’s possible?!"
I gather you've got a big show coming up at Toffler in Rotterdam on 15 December? Tell us about that...
"Yeah, Kneaded Pains at Toffler, with our whizz-kid Billy Turner! It’s always great playing in that club, especially so if you get to curate the whole night. We are starting to do a lot more label showcases now and into 2019, and have another big one in Belgium, too."
The show coincides with a remix package for Project Zeus, does it not?
"Yes, that’s really special! We have two amazing reworks from Klockworks and fabric man Jay Clarke. He’s one of our favourite producers of late, so it's a real pleasure to have him on the label. There’s also a great techno workout version from close friend Ste Roberts, who’s a name I’m sure you’ll be seeing more of if this is anything to go by!"
You've also got a showcase at Kitchen Street, Liverpool on 11 January. Tell us about that one - and are there any more UK label showcases (and/or Dense & Pika) gigs lined up any time soon?
"Yes, that's with another Kneaded Pains regular, Dysart. He’s making some incredible music for us at the moment, with two new EPs already set for next year, but the funny thing is that we’ve not actually heard him DJ yet!! I’m sure if his production is anything to go by, then we’re in for a treat at the show.
"We also have an event on 1 February that LWE are promoting at Village Underground, Shoreditch which is hugely exciting for us! Keep an eye out for updates."
Finally, is there anything else iDJ readers need to know about Kneaded Pains that we haven't already covered?
"Just that there's plenty more coming next year!"
Words: Russell Deeks
Kneaded Pains host a showcase at Tofler, Rotterdam this Saturday