Hotflush – Holding the Cards

From dubstep, to 4×4 and all points in between, Hotflush Recordings has released it all. Set up by Paul Rose and El Sid in 2003 they’ve gone from strength to strength on each of their eight releases, with no sign of slowing up any time soon. Quotient talks with one half of the duo, El Sid about what’s going down in the world of Hotflush.

Quotient: So 2004 turned out to a fairly massive year for Hotflush, picking up best label in the awards and Toasty getting best tune and best newcomer. You’d have to be pretty happy with that, yeah?

El Sid: 2004 was undoubtedly a positive year for Hotflush. I must confess it was a major surprise in winning the awards for best label and it definitely helps in building brand equity, a very important concept to consider in such a ficcal and fast-forgetting business. It sets us up nicely for 2005 and we aim to build on it. Thanks to all those who took time to vote, we were so chuffed you don’t know! More to come this year so keep it locked. Congratulations to Toasty Boy as well, it is that sort of talent that we look for – a man possessed with some ill musical knowledge and then some.

Q: After having a listen to the January mix that you’ve done, along with the diversity of the releases that have come out on Hotflush it’s pretty clear that you’re not trying to pigeonhole yourselves to the one sound. I mean, you’ve got MC tunes, heavy garage stormers, nu-skool breaks and the like all mashed up together. It seems to be best the way to go to get the music out there, yes?

ES: Why constrain yourself to one suffocating genre of music, when the bpm’s allow you to incorporate so many different beats and vibes? I mean, no one can tell me what I can or cannot play, so I just throw down beats that I like, simple as that! It doesn’t help that I’m into so many different sorts of dance music however. Call it 21st century dance music alchemy, with added bass! I think as a label, we carry this philosophy into our a&ring as well – it allows for the brand to be recognized in many areas, not just one, an idea we thought would be good for generating sales and bringing vastly differing tribes together when putting on raves and the like. The more the merrier we say! 

Q: There was a comment you made on your blog in December last year about how “most breakbeat is shockingly similar, and hardly inspirational…”. There’s a lot of crossover going on these days, with people like Vex’d, 30 Hz and others featuring regularly in both garage and breaks DJ’s playlists. What’s the relationship between the breaks and garage scenes like over in the UK?

ES: No comment on breaks, as a label we maintain an open music policy, where anything goes, if we’re into it. As a DJ some breakbeat compliments the dubby stuff, it sharpens up the pace and gives the mix a more “plod” element waking up the dance. There seems to be a trend manifesting itself in terms of crossover in scenes: dubstep and grime, dubstep and breaks – it’s all good, like I say, it’s all in the bpm’s.

Garage and breakbeat relations…from what I can make out – most breakbeat heads look down at the whole pretentious bling-bling element in garage and most garage heads don’t know what breakbeat is. I don’t know if it’s to do with race or class (because that’s one thing that always comes up in this debate), but my view is as I’ve stated throughout this interview, if it’s good and I like it, then it works for me. Vex’d are rowdy by the way! Bigup that whole Space Management thing right there – Bristol connection from way back when.

Q: You’ve jumped on the digital download train with Hotflush. For people like us out here in Australia, that’s pretty important, as getting a hold of tunes is often a trial and a half. It’s obviously going to have an impact on scenes away from the UK, with more access to tunes an all, but can you see other labels getting on it? Do you have anything special planned for digital only release?

ES: From a cost point of view, digital releases mean we don’t have to pay for production, which let me tell you is a God send. In terms of distribution, well, its so easy to get a digital track out there (no need for distributors and general physical carting around of goods) and even easier for the consumer to get hold of (one click on your mouse and it’s yours be it wherever you are on this planet) that on paper it looks to be the best way for a label to proceed in this modern and for want of a better word “digital” age. 

A lot of DJ’s/producers use AIM or MSN as a method of swapping/getting hold of tracks and with the advent of forums and stuff for punters to exchange views, most dance music is becoming computer-centric. Indeed, in our one year of label-existence, we’ve seen so many digital distributors and shops come up that clearly people out there feel that this is going to be the way for music consumption in the future. 

I’m not sure about other labels, but they should really embrace digital distribution if we are to build up the scene abroad, like you say.

Our current release: Eric H’s, “The Lights” has a DJ Joseph dubstep remix which is a digital-only release, you can purchase that from the websites mentioned below.

Q: What plans have you got for the label this year? Anyone new coming through?

ES: Plans this year? Keep releasing beats! We’ve got a corker of a DJ Distance E.P to drop next (late April) with two bombs entitled Empire and 1on1. We are also toying with the idea of maybe going visual with one of our releases and are currently in talks with a few video production companies. Finally we are very keen to up our international presence and with the immense support we’re getting worldwide it’s an aim of taking the label on tour and tieing up with promoters abroad (and at home for that matter!) Promoters get in touch. All in all there’s plenty to come, keep checking our website or our blog for up to date information.

Q: Any tours in the works? Australia? If anyone feels nice enough to book you?

ES: We’d love to organise a tour out to Australia no doubts about it, please read above! 

Q: Who’s your tip to blow up in 2005?

ES: Tip to blow? Whoever we release on Hotflush!

Q: What tunes are you feeling at the moment?

ES: So many beats out there…


Digital Hotflush (Buy Hotflush releases here)

Hotflush on Radio:
Rinse FM 100.3 – (streaming) Wednesday’s 11-1am GMT – Last Friday of the month 5-7pm GMT







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