Kickstarter-funded vinyl release from electronic duo

Peckham-based duo Presence and Persona established their label Tokyo Wax last year, a Kickstarter campaign gave them the funds to produce, press and distribute their new 12” vinyl EP, TW001, which was released earlier this week. Now available to buy online.

Tokyo Wax in its primordial years was a promotional company that hosted house nights with the likes of Hyetal and Applebottom. Now they’ve switched lanes and are undertaking the whole process themselves from vision to realisation. It’s organic bedroom production at its best, all in the image of the underground dance music scene. All proceeds from the EP are being donated to Addison’s Disease Self Help Group UK.

We spoke to one-half of Tokyo Wax label co-head Presence aka Scott Dillon, “The artists at the moment are just myself and Presence. It’s our first release on the label but as we progress we’re going to be working with other artists, we’ve got a fe people whop have shown interest”.

Battlecry by Presence is the first track up, it’s a cacophony of disjointed percussive elements over an ethereal throbbing synth. Half-way through the episodic sound transforms into something kaleidoscopic, up-beat and punchy. Geria, the second song on the A-side and the second from Presence, is brighter than Battlecry, it’s uplifting and filled with rhythm, popping drums and echoey vocals – he still keeps the style his trademark minimal, but with quirks. The B-side takes things in a different direction, XXXII, “which is more floor-based big baselines and lots of percussive elements”. Berlin-based NGLY expertly remixes Battlecry as the closing track on TW001.

“We didn’t want the EP to be one solid sound, we wanted to show what different things we were about.  Presence has a track [Geria], which is a lot darker and more experimental, you wouldn’t necessarily hear it on a night out but it’s got a powerful rhythmical base. The remix by NGLY, is a bit more club-worthy but keeps hold of the left-field techno sound, it’s got a really cool breakdown half-way through”.

Tokyo Wax are the new kids on the block and what they lack in experience they make up with raw talent and a progressive sound. Dillon admits influence from chart-dominating acts like Bondax, Disclosure and Gorgon City, but has since found solace in underground music, “I’ve changed a lot since I began because you open doors and start delving into different sub-genres. I’m still finding out what I want to do, from the commercial stuff I was making at the start but now people like Ben Klock, Marcel Dettman, Theo Parish and Ron Trent have had a big effect on me, they’re all about quality control which I like – they don’t put any shit out”.

Dillon seems to have a level-headed understanding of the value in commercial music. But, he talks about underground music with a jovial glint in his eye, “underground has always been there and will always be there. In 1989 house got pushed into the mainstream, and then in ’93 or ’94, perhaps a year later, it gets pushed back underground again. Drum and bass became commercial, dubstep became commercial in a really big way, and then got forced back underground. That’s just the way it seems to go.”

“In a few years techno could replace house and force its way back into the sweaty 500 capacity clubs and out of the 30,000 capacity stadiums. There’s a lot of integrity still there, dance music can be a purist genre to be involved in, lots of people are ready to speak out about things they don’t agree with – there’s elements of punk in that sense”.

We challenged Persona to summarise what Tokyo Wax is all about, he dropped us this exclusive mix.

Lost in the Crowd – Billy Byrd
Text022 – KH
Sweetness You Bring – Trinidadian Deep
What Will Tomorrow Bring – Femi Kuti
Jazz Piece – DJ Aakmael
Jaz – Marcel Fengler
Pairs – Daphni
XXXII – Persona
Depth Over Distance – Con Force
Basium – Ed Davenport
HFS – Tuff City Kids
Rave – Head High
Do It Yourself – WK7
ReRe – Mike Dehnert
Geria – Presence

You can catch up with Presence and Persona at their monthly Tokyo Wax hosted night at Hysteria in Dalston, “it’s a little, dark, dingy basement that gets sweaty, no frills just dance, that’s what we go for. We went for a small venue on purpose, it’s 120 people at a squeeze, it gives it a more intimate feeling”. They have a no-strict music policy, so if it’s got a beat that can make you dance and it’s got a good vibe then you could well hear it here. “We have DJs that often play opening slots where they’re told to play certain music, that’s not what we’re about. You play what you play, you’re here because we like your music.

“We’ve got house, funk, soul, disco, techno, afrobeat. We’re all about showcasing good music and just making you dance”.

Join Tokyo Wax at the EP launch hosted at Hysteria, Dalston, on the 22nd of November.

Follow Tokyo Wax on Twitter and Facebook

Pictures: Tokyo Wax

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