South London-based scene aficionado (Jake) Hollick has been busy establishing a name for himself over the last few years, around one of the capital’s most exciting creative hubs – Rye Lane in Peckham. He’s one of a handful of behind-the-scenes, curator-type figures that have grown to prominence amid a surge of small, independent labels with distinct, playful aesthetics.
The Watford native was once a resident at Nottingham’s Stealth club during his teenage years, and has recently taken on a logistical role at Corsica Studios. He has a seat at the tables of Church, Yam Records, Coastal Haze and No Bad Days, and has influenced the direction and output of each imprint respectively. He’s scouted talent from lands afar (including the tropics of Indonesia), coined intriguing phrases like “Floaty Yet Punchy” (see above tee), and regularly spins tracks at prominent London dance-spots. On top of all this, he’s known for hosting shows on Radar Radio, Worldwide FM and Red Light Radio, alongside label buddies and guests like Seb Wildblood, Gabriel Szatan, Project Pablo, Hidden Spheres and Munir.
Ahead of a bunch of exciting new projects and adventures, we caught up with him to discuss everything from pies, to sneaking into saunas, and eating sand on the beaches of Denmark.
How do you like to unwind after a hard day’s work? You mentioned nipping off for a “swim & sauna” when we first got in touch, what’s the attraction there?
Well, I recently joined the local free swim & gym initiative but the sauna isn’t included in the deal so you have to sneak in. I don’t go enough but when I do I generally stick to the slow (chillers) lane to work on my breathing technique which helps out with my asthma. It’s a good laugh.
What’s your first musical memory?
Hmmm…it’s gotta be something like singing along to the elephant song from Jungle Book…that or my older sister singing in front of her George Michael poster.
What’re your most important musical influences and sources of inspiration? How did your musical identity evolve to get to the point you’re at now?
Oh boy so many influences…my close friends shape my musical identity daily with the great music they’re making or sharing with me. I’ve also lived on Rye Lane in the heart of Peckham for the past five years and a lot of the community around here are either DJs, artists or curators of some sort. Basically, people with passion doing cool shit inspires the hell out of me! In terms of how my music taste evolved…I guess i’ve always looked for the fun moments in music. My avenue into dance music as a teen was through artists like Daft Punk, Fatboy Slim and a lot of 90s house. I then did a lot of ‘absorbing’ in my late teens into my early twenties when I used to live up in Nottingham and was a resident at Stealth.
Like many in the industry today, you’ve got your fingers in a lot of pies. Do you think that it’s possible to gain recognition in the scene these days without having such a diverse profile?
I think you can yeah if you’re very musically talented. For people like myself, where i’m not so musically gifted you just have to work harder and have good ideas. I got into the scene originally as I just wanted to DJ as much as possible, which I still do, but I’m also really into that curator or behind the scenes role of making shit happen.
Are there any other flavours of pie that you want to slide your fingers into in future?
That sounds so sinister…but YES! I look up and aspire to people like Max D, who doesn’t just run Future Times and throw it down as part of Beautiful Swimmers, but also programs drums, designs the artwork and probably shreds in a metal band or something. It’s that whole thing of letting people join the dots and be like “oh so he does that with them, runs that with her”. I’m slowly working on being a producer myself, currently working on a fun edits project and I have some ideas but it’s just getting past that wall of technical know how. All in good time.
What makes each label you’re associated with unique?
Okay, let’s get into this…No Bad Days, which I run with Gabriel Szatan, is very aesthetically driven. It’s a lot of bold colours, almost child like. I like to think the music reflects that aesthetic too, all being quite fun and euphoric in some way. I like to describe that sound as floaty yet punchy. Tom who works on our design is also a super talented human and takes it all to another level.
Coastal Haze, which I run with my best pal Seb Wildblood is unique for precisely that reason. Working with your pals can be hard but for me and Seb it comes pretty naturally and I hope that reflects on the output. With Coastal Haze we also release on cassette form, vinyl, digitally, put on the parties and also run a mix series so it’s pretty much a constant stream of something to share. Shout out Charlotte too who holds down the hazey aesthetic.
YAM Records feels like more of a crew with Tom & Theo at the helm. You have Beans from Chaos In The CBD, Mali from Rhythm Section and myself which makes for the core crew and then a bunch of other pals that have helped out along the way. With the move from the store in Peckham to more of an office in Bermondsey, the vibe’s a little different now but that sense of a bunch of Peckham locals putting out records still remains.
As for Church, it’s got to be one of the labels for sure now that people associate most with when they think of ‘that sound’ from South London. It’s also the first label I was part of: signing artists, being part of a crew etc so will always be pretty unique to myself.
One of your labels is called “No Bad Days”. If this mantra holds true, then what was the best day of your life?
Well now…I don’t remember it too vividly but when I was about two or three years old my Mum took me and my sister to Bournemouth beach and I was so damn excited that I ran into the sea fully clothed. After Mum yelled at me to get out, excitement still running through my veins, I then started eating some sand. Mum then had to undress me and with no spare clothes I had to bathe in the nude, eventually falling asleep on Mum’s back. I’d say that’s surely gotta be in my top five of best days ever.
What’s your role at Corsica Studios? How long have you been involved there?
I’m one of the in-house programmers / promoters for the club. It’s all quite a tight nit family over there, from the door staff to the bar staff through to Adrian who oversees everything. I’m one of the new kids on the block having been there a couple years now. Things are done a bit differently at Corsica, they don’t just look at how many people come to your party or how much people are spending on the bar. That stuff obviously matters yes but they really buy into you as an individual, take you in and trust in your taste. It’s really great and I bloody love it there.
Aside from Corsica, what are a few of your favourite London venues? And why?
Brilliant Corners is really nice and has a bit of a unique atmosphere in there plus..mmm sushi(!) I’ve had a couple of really fun parties down in The Waiting Room, think we all have a soft spot for those 100 cap basements though don’t we? I’d also love to do more parties in Rye Wax.
Could you name a few of your favourite releases of the year so far?
I picked up that Leif 10″ recently, really clever dance music with a real UK vibe to it. Wolf Müller & Niklas Wandt’s LP on Growing Bin is as you’d expect, super lush! Angophora’s ‘Scenes’ is another LP I had to pick up which came out on Ken Oath, love that label. The Pilotwings latest offering for Brothers From Different Mothers is really nicely done. Roza Terenzi on Kalahari Oyster Cult is killer, looking forward to seeing what she does this year. I could go on…
What can we look forward to hearing from your outlets in the near future?
Some REALLY exciting artists are releasing on Coastal Haze this year. I don’t know how much I can share but we’re super stoked to be doing so…one of those artists is called OMMA and she’s from Moscow, Russia. Her sound kind of reminds me of Björk. I hope she doesn’t mind me saying that, eek! Over on No Bad Days, amongst other bits, i’m working on a compilation which will be called Floaty Yet Punchy Vol.1…okay i’ve already shared too much.
Lastly, what’s your summer schedule looking like? Anything that your particularly excited about?
I’m super excited to up our No Bad Days dance party game and start hosting some throw downs at Corsica Studios. The first one is on July 20 and the headliners are two of my favourite DJs / producers in the game, going b2b for the first time. There’s also an artist bubbling up under the radar on the bill that I think will excite some heads. I’ve been working on a mix for some time now too for a series that is held pretty highly so i’m quite nervous / excited about that dropping. I’m also hoping to visit some places I haven’t been yet, maybe Denmark…I hear the sand is tasty!