Label Of The Month: Onyx Recordings

If you are a fan of Drum & Bass music, consider yourself lucky because this is the best time to be a DnB head but if you are a fan of Onyx Recordings, the deal is even sweeter.

There are very few who are cutting it like Onyx Recordings at the moment. With just over 5 years since its inception, Onyx has already made inked its name as one of the biggest imprints in Drum & Bass. With a strong long-term vision, quality and inclusivity at the core of their day to day operations, Onyx Recordings are everything that is brilliant about the modern Drum & Bass scene.

Part of the label’s initiatives in inclusivity and equivalency, and with the release of their ‘Balance’ EP featuring three up and coming female artists, Onyx have made their stance loud and clear. In collaboration With The House Of Hi-Fi which is an initiative that pushes the careers of female and non-binary drum & bass artists, the ‘Balance’ EP aims to address the alarming gender imbalance in drum & bass and electronic music as a whole.

Following the release of the ‘Balance’ EP, we have the privilege of having the label on board with us for four special features this month where we will dive deep into the label’s beginnings, an interview with CatiC from the EP and lots more.

BEGINNINGS

From a small university project, came the idea of starting a record label in 2017 and Chris Wickens, a graduate of the Solent University in Southampton established the label the following year intending to push the fresh and dynamic music into the Drum & Bass scene.

After two years of laying the groundwork, Onyx finally made their first release in the first half of 2020 when they brought Mofes for a 3-track EP called ‘Flicker’. The release, however, came when the pandemic had brought the world to its feet. Onyx Recordings wanted to contribute in every capacity they could which they did and some more.

The Brighton-based label organized a 3-day online drum & bass event called the ‘Stay At Home’ festival which closed its third day by bringing over 3 million viewers and raising money over £30,000 for the NHS to aid their efforts of saving as many lives as they could. Their noble work didn’t go unnoticed; the label resumed its operations after the festival and released some of the best dancefloor and soulful material consistently for the next 18 months.

Since their debut release in 2020, Onyx haven’t dropped an ounce of its blazing intensity and they have featured names like Jam Thieves, Disrupta, Skantia, AC13, Waeys, Trex, Rider Shafique and many more.

ACCOLADES

Onyx Recordings’ heroic efforts to raise money for the NHS led to their nomination as the Best Virtual Festival in DJ Mag’s Best of British Awards which was followed by a bring the runners up for the Best Newcomer Label in Drum&BassArena’s yearly awards in 2020. 

Of course 2020 was the year Onyx were just getting started but after a run of flawless releases from the some of the biggest and the most promising talents in the game, Onyx Recordings went one up to win the Best Newcomer Label’ in Drum&BassArena Awards which was held late last year. 

With quality over quantity being the motto they fiercely believe in, they haven’t pulled away from those ethos and they continue to release distinctive, powerful and forward-thinking.

THE BALANCE EP

Onyx Recordings since their inception have been all about the scene and one of the most important aspects that makes the label great is inclusiveness which sees no roots and bounds when the music is great. This thought led to the label’s collaboration in 2021 with The House Of Hi-Fi which is an initiative that aims to give impetus to the careers of female and non-binary drum & bass producers.

Female producers from across the drum & bass spectrum were invited to submit their music with the best ones mastered and released as part of an EP; and the first edition of the series is spectacular, to begin with. Three tunes from  Asha BinxCaitC, and Insight exhibit the label’s roaring sounds and their principles at the same time.

The ‘Balance’ EP begins with Asha Binx’s piercing roller that transcends the prototype Neurofunk era and the clean modern-day production techniques with its rolling bass noises and flashes of perfectly timed bongos. Dutch producer who is one of the first female drum & bass producers from her country stamps her mark with a super-charged festival-sized banger featuring the classic Dutch DnB elements that we have hear over the years.

London-based producer Insight closes the EP immaculately with a tune that is brimming with industrial drum work, gleaming synths and supreme progression.

The best part is, this is just the beginning of the four exciting features that we have lined up for the label we adore and we can’t wait to bring you what’s coming next. Until then, tune into the EP because it’s a banger!

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