TFword Label Showcase: Rubricate Records

Following the label’s mammoth various artists album release, we had a chat with the head honcho of Rubricate Records about the compilation, future plans, and lots more.

When we say drum & bass is a global phenomenon, Rubricate Records is what we mean. Founded by Dopplershift in 2017, the label has been the biggest outlet of drum & bass coming from Africa.

Based in the Eastern Cape area of South Africa and led by the man who is known for his skull-shattering drum & bass, Rubricate Records has been sending serious bass vibrations from the tip of the African continent to the world. Free of style boundaries, the label also supports other forms of bass music and stays true to its ethos of being the center of creativity and innovation.

After a solid 2022, Rubricate Records began the new year with a colossal compilation album called ‘Radiation Radio, Vol.2,’ marking its second various artists album. As we have come to expect from Rubricate Records, the album features talents from across the spectrum of drum & bass. Following its release, we had a chat with Dopplershift about his label, its approach, and plans for the future; here is what he had to say:

TFword: How did the inception of Rubricate Records come about?
Dopplershift: Rubricate started out as an out & out drum & bass label about 6 years ago by a friend named Kyle Engelsman. I was living in a small town and always wanted the opportunity to run a label, so I started to work with Kyle, and after some time he offered the label to me outright. So I’ve been running it for the past 5 years.

TF: Rubricate Records explores many styles and brings a wide array of genres into its music. Was it always the plan to make the label’s catalog expansive?
Dopplershift: We like to think of ourselves as a “Bass Label”. So any genre of music that fits the bill I guess. We mainly do drum & bass, dubstep, halftime, bass house, etc. Growing up in South Africa, we are shown a wide variety of electronic genres, so we have a connection with many of them. Although we’re primarily drum & bass.

TF: You recently released a thumping 25-track album that features some fantastic talent. How was the experience of working with all the artists on the compilation?
Dopplershift: When I did the first ‘Radiation Radio’ release 2 years ago, I kinda knew what I was about to embark on. I really enjoy the concept of bringing the newer producers into the scene with the more experienced musicians. Since I’ve just simply reached out to various people in the scene, you slowly start to build a friend base and people that you tend to take along with you on your journey. I’m always looking to help others out. I’m def a label guy before an artist.

TF: The best part of ‘Radiation Radio, Vol.2’ is its wide and global representation. What do you think?
Dopplershift: Yes, again. That’s my entire aim. Some tracks from the VA gained support from the likes of London Electricity, IYRE & UKF. The internet is such a wonderful thing. As artists from different countries share their music, they in turn share the other artists’ music, and so on. South African DNB is really small in the label/production scene.

So, we’re trying to build a workforce that can exist for the new producers as we’re pretty much the only label here at the moment. Besides, some exciting new labels will start to take shape and release on the reg soon.

TF: You mentioned the album is ‘10 on the Richter scale’ and it truly is; every tune slaps! What are your thoughts on how the album took shape?
Dopplershift: I basically reached out to all my connections and asked if they would be willing to be a part of an African label, and quite a few artists reached out. It started out as an 18-track project but grew rapidly to 25. Some of my fav artists are on this project. Again, I’m glad that it reaches every part of the globe.

TF: We love your quality-over-quantity approach. How do you go about lining up your releases?
Dopplershift: We do get a few demos now and then, especially after the UKF success. Artists tend to like labels that they know can secure decent premier support as well as the general advertising it gives the artist. For now, we are following the one-release-a-month concept, which I think is great. We are coming out with a new-ish concept we started a while back. The concept entails a 4-5 track EP with various artists from different cultures/ countries/races/genders etc.

TF: South African drum & bass is reaching great heights with every passing year. What are your thoughts on the scene in the country?
Dopplershift: Yeah the scene is really strong. I mean there are a few handbags thrown here and there but I think that relays the passion the individuals have in the scene. It’s dope seeing the newer generation dropping big productions as well as good DJ skills. There is a serious talent of DJs in SA but the scene demands growth. I mean, no one’s fav band is a cover band, right?

TF: What are Rubricate Records’ plans for 2023?
Dopplershift: Our calendar is pretty much booked up this year, which is great news for the future. We will be releasing a balance of newcomers with some dons in the scene. This has always been our approach. We have also seen some great support in terms of gig bookings with some very well established artists, which is always a plus.

Listen to ‘Radiation Radio, Vol.2’:

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