Since its conception back in 2012, Simon Birkumshaw’s London club brand Sense Traxx has gone from strength to strength. What began life as a night operating in the South East has now expanded into a fully-fledged label, already renowned for releasing some of the most exciting new music in house & techno.
With regards to myself I would like to say I am a music lover. I don’t want to put myself into a category of taste, as I am open to all genres & sub genres...Manilla’s stomping acid-tinted gem, ‘Janet’, kicked off the label with explosive momentum, while Julyan Dubson’s debut offering ‘Make A Thing’ shot to the number one spot on Traxsource within the blink of an eye. Recently, Madtech, Skint and Ultra graduates Kalyde & Youth teamed up to release ‘Tied’, attracting praise from all directions and winning support from the likes of Annie Mac and Monki. With a new release in the pipeline courtesy of London duo South Royston, it’s no wonder Sense Traxx has been stirring up the kind of attention it has. We caught up with boss Simon Birkumshaw aka Simon Shaw in the midst of this electric time to learn more about Sense Traxx.
Hey Simon thanks a lot for joining us today. Can you tell us a little bit about your background in music? What got you interested in electronic music and what made you kick things off with the Sense Traxx brand?
Firstly I would just like to say, thank you for thinking of us. It’s be a crazy few years and especially over the past 12months. With regards to myself I would like to say I am a music lover. I don’t want to put myself into a category of taste, as I am open to all genres & sub genres. Original I started out as a lot of people most probably have, this being with rock and live music.
Obviously as you grow older you mind becomes more open to music & you catch the bug of always looking for the next exciting thing...At a young age I was heavy influence by bands such as Pink Floyd, Gun’s N Roses, Nirvana, Blink 182 and more electronic lead groups like ‘The Prodigy, The Chemical Brothers & Daft Punk. My Dad and family all being huge fanatics about Pink Floyd, Blue and Jazz. Which I think is where my electronic spark began. Listening to things like Pink Floyd, BB King, George Benson and Ray Charles influenced myself with the soulful and emotion connection with music. Getting into artist’s which also had good groove, but still a little edgy elements.
Early 90’s House, Deep House & UK Garage, (the 4x4 stuff not 2step) are where it really started for me, obviously as you grow older you mind becomes more open to music and you catch the bug of always looking for the next exciting thing. Searching for something musical, which I feel connected with and ultimately gets those hairs standing up.
With 5 releases to the Sense Traxx name this year, it’s safe to say you’ve been keeping yourself pretty busy. What do you look for in the artists, and the tracks themselves, when searching for what to sign?
Sense Traxx launched early March and since has grown at a really positive rate. Gathering the attention of more and more fans of what we stand for. When looking for new music and artists it comes down to a lot of various things. Some records have different purposes and you need to understand your market and your fan base to which you are putting out music too.
I always believe that a good record will always shine through regardless of who or where it came from... Ultimate I always believe that a good record will always shine through regardless of who or where it came from. With the current position the music industry is in, it is becoming increasing harder to break new acts and get music heard. Trying to find something which ultimate is unique and has its own personality is important, the production quality and the overall finished piece of music needs to tell a story.
There are some many tracks, which follow a copy & paste style and just a generic pattern. I like to hear that someone has taken a bit more thought and care to creating something more than just a track which sounds like the of the 25,000 records released every week. Regards to the artist’s I think it’s knowing you going to build a relationship with this artist and ensure they know that by signing to the label we are here to represent their music and will treat every project as its own and do the very best we can do with it.
Your next release is South Royston. How did working with the London duo for Sense Traxx come about?
The South Royston are actually guys I have knew for a while now; just sending music back and forth and I was just giving some honest feedback and trying help improve their music, until one day I was sent a record, which I played in the car whilst driving back at 6am from a club and thought I would test it and instantly thought “I wanted this on “Sense Traxx” It's new and it would sound amazing in a club so got a copy to test it out and the reaction it got was amazing. That’s when I approached them and said I would love to put it out. And the rest was history as they say.
You’ve received some great support from the likes of Annie Mac, Santé and Doorly. How does it feel to have such renowned tastemakers back the music you’re involved with at the moment?
Well what can I say, I am overwhelmed at the support we have and continue receive from DJ’s all around the world. When we got the news that Annie Mac was going to include one of the tracks in her Friday night show on Radio1. I had to pinch myself. For a party going 3 years starting at the bottom and then launching a label in March and within 5 release getting you music you believe support by Annie is something I am very proud of and it gives myself and not forgetting my team a of people sounding me to keep the gears turning and push Sense Traxx as a brand forward even more.
However in our town of Southend in Essex, we stand strong continue to wave the flag high & proud for quality underground House & Techno...You’re set to take over Talk Nightclub for your annual ‘Ibiza Reunion’ Sense Traxx party with Kalyde making an appearance. What makes a good party?
We have seen a huge change in nightlife, as is a lot of the UK with clubs shutting down and nightlife taking a heavy hit. However in our town of Southend in Essex, we stand strong continue to wave the flag high and proud for quality underground House & Techno and will fight to keep spreading the music we lover with others.
It’s difficult to compete with sometimes the big competition and brands but we are still growing and our parties are getting bigger and getting more attention, even when other areas are taking a hit. Talk are a amazing team to work with, they support us and what to see us grow as do we want to ensure the club does go like the many others in the area. This next party on the 22nd October is a label party to celebrate the success of the label since the launch and to have a catch up with all our friends and some of the team who have been in Ibiza for the summer. With the recent release form Kalyde & Rich Wakley on the label we invited them down to join our residents and family for some fun.
Having played Space Ibiza, Pacha London, Ministry Of Sound as well as loads of gigs in the South East, can you tell us your most memorable moments in the club over the last few years? Any records that make regular appearances in your sets?
Over the years as a DJ I have been very fortunate to play at some of the biggest clubs in the world and some extremely memorable parties. I remember playing once about 4years ago a warming up for ‘The Martinez Brothers’ just before they really blew up and took off. That was one of the biggest gigs of my life and playing to a full club of 1500 was pretty epic. Since then though I have plays some really amazing gigs. I play at Great Suffolk St Warehouse to about 2000 people and that was epic electric crowd and just a ultimate buzz.
But if I am honest it is some of the small parties like Sense have done. The ones with just 2/300 people all just, getting down to some good music and vibing off each other. They are the special ones. When you’re seeing everyone smiling and enjoy you music selection and ultimately making them leave on a high.
You’ve made appearances as a remix artist on your label’s releases. What future plans do you have for your own productions?
I have been really held back trying to release my own music on the label as this is not a bad about me raising my own artist profile. I want to put out good music for people to listen to and play.
I am working on some originals & trying to get together something I feel is strong enough which can stand on the label...I am working on some originals and trying to get together something I feel is strong enough which can stand on the label. It’s about quality and ultimately I want to know my own music will be strong enough to sit up against some of the other great records we have on the label. But I am looking to releasing a EP in 2017 so keep a eye out for that.
Thanks Simon. Finally, what can we expect from Sense Traxx in the future?
I hope you can expect to see a lot. We are consistently growing and building our brand organically. Every day we are getting more followers and supporters. We host our radio show which is hosted by my good friend and resident Finch Hare and we have some good artist we want to push and grow with the label such as Tom Jay & Julyan Dubson.
We are looking to start moving around with our parties, with the plans of some more parties in London & Ibiza. More great music and also working alongside some bigger artist’s, which are approaching us and saying “they would like to be on the label”. We are surrounded by positive energy right now and we are extremely grateful and thankful for what we have. We just want to keep growing and who knows in the next year we might be the next big thing at this rate.
Sense Traxx Ibiza Reunion w/ Rich Wakley & Kalyde
22nd October at Talk Nightclub