For something a little different today, we are taking a deep-dive label showcase approach, as we look closer at the fantastic musical work currently taking place over at 4NC¥. Originally set up by the all-around musical mastermind that is Pavan Mukhi aka PAV4N, founding member of UK Hip Hop heavyweights Foreign Beggars, the label has been undergoing a fantastic period of growth and expansion.
Across their incredibly broad spectrum of genre catalogue and artist roster, it’s safe to say that innovation and forward thinking production are seemingly something the label holds very central to their approach.
As mentioned above, the interesting thing about the 4NC¥ catalogue as a whole is it’s incredible range of musical versatility. It’s kinda crazy, with a spectrum spanning from the smooth, almost liquified D&B stylings of D-Code & Psylence, through to the more classic dubstep sounds of the legendary Sukh Knight and then super experimental, futuristic R&B flavours of Killswsh, without missing a trick on what’s happening in between. The roster itself is also magnificently international, with a pool of artists stretching from the UK, France, Germany & The Netherlands, across the globe to India and Australia.
We sat down for a quick Q/A session with PAV4N to discuss his roles in setting up the label and the ethos behind it, which you can read below:
KXVU: So to kick us off discussing the label, it’s a common question but one we have to ask, how did the name and it’s unique spelling come together?
PAV4N: Easy, it all started with me looking for a name for my new solo venture. I wanted to use my own name but Pavan is a relatively common Indian name so isn’t searchable. After much deliberation I settled on PAV4N with a ‘4N’. The 4N is phonetically Foreign so throws back to Foreign Beggars. 4NC¥ pronounced “Foreign Currency” was an evolution of that. With a heavy focus on bringing the world closer through music and international collaboration and the fact that so many artists aren’t getting a proper look-in due to their geographic positioning & immigration laws, their music is essentially their currency to take them and their art worldwide.
KXVU: Since setting up the project whilst already being involved in so many different areas, what bits of knowledge did you find instantly transferable to the new venture?
PAV4N: Oh man, having run 3 very different types of labels from Dented Records, Par Excellence and Brapp Records over the last 20 years I’ve seen what’s worked and what hasn’t. Brapp was a music tech company with a label attached, so I learnt a lot about being a start up and applying that level of preparation and graft has enabled us to get this off the ground rather quickly. Being an artist myself and having released on many labels makes a massive difference to how we service our artists, supporters & the industry, that trifecta is really important in building the trust in your brand and long lasting relationships. Finally having had releases on super small independents through to the electronic behemoths like, Never Say Die, Mau5trap, Monstercat, Ministry of Sound, Owsla, Ram, and having watched their evolution over the last 25 years you get to see what works and what doesn’t. The main operational inspiration has come from Never Say Die as they are close friends and we released with them right at the start. Seeing them turn into such a force and working closely with them is what really made me believe I can do it and put the team together correctly.
KXVU: The range of artists involved is so vast, how do you choose who to work with specifically?
PAV4N: This comes down to taste really, and also started with the artists I had in my immediate environment who I was helping in the first place. Through Foreign Beggars I’m closely linked to Hip hop, Dubstep, Grime, D&B, UK Bass, 160 & halftime worlds and have been cultivating those relationships for the last 20 years. With the house & tech stuff, again it comes down to people I know directly and dots that I’ve connected. Another intention for the label is to build a platform for the incredible South Asian artists I’ve encountered on my journey. The electronic scene has really come into its own in the last 10 years but the more headsy stuff which is more than world class right now hasn’t really been getting international recognition so creating an exchange with the artists I know from the aforementioned scenes and getting them out to the world is a big driving force.
KXVU: So let’s talk about this new drop from Starving Yet Full & August Jakobsen, how did they first come to your attention?
PAV4N: Aaah man, essentially one of my closest friends Pera deeped me on Azari & iii’s Hungry for the Power when it first came out and I was hooked. Not long after, I met Cedric (SYF) at Glastonbury on a random, we kicked it a bit but reconnected when I lost my passport in transit and got stuck in Toronto for a month. We got close there and stayed in touch. Soon after he came to London and lost his passport and was stuck with us.
I’d met August through close friends who were living in a warehouse in Clerkenwell around the corner from Fabric, It was around the time we were raving heavily at Fuse, and almost religiously ended up at Fabric for the Wet Yourself parties so we’d become close instantly. Being heavily on our music I’d connected with August and already been scheming in the late hours about meeting up in the day and doing some music so when Cedric was in town I connected them and they spent about a month kicking it and working on the album, it was a new lease on life for Cedric as he’d also not so recently parted was with the Azari guys… Life happened, but since the pandemic we decided to revisit the project, revamp and bring it back to life…
KXVU: When you explore the full spectrum of the catalogue, this is definitely on the housier side of things, how important is that versatility to the label ethos?
PAV4N: 100%. It’s a little bit harder as we aren’t consistently feeding any particular scene but that’s due to change in the near future with all the stuff we have coming. Essentially, we want to be a place where artists can fully be themselves. We’re not concerned with jumping on bandwagons or trends, music should transcend situational hype and that’s the real ethos.
KXVU: Can we expect more from these two in the future?
PAV4N: Oh HELLZ YES, this is just the start of a beautiful journey
KXVU: What’s the next big thing on the horizon?
PAV4N: Ahh mate, everything we do holds a special place however, the next step for us is to take the 4NC¥ show on the road and GET THESE PARTIES POPPING!!!
So from here we are able to dive into two very exciting premiere presentations, which have kindly been sent over by the 4NC¥ team for us to bring you the exclusive uploads of on the 3000 Blog SoundCloud page.
The first of these two premieres comes to us from Starving Yet Full & August Jakobsen, who team up for a fantastic new single by the name of ‘Left Us Behind’. We often find ourselves discussing the importance of dance music production’s versatility and need to stand out in such a crowded marketplace, which is definitely something this link up achieves with infinite majesty. From a catchy lead vocal line to the quirky bass slides and almost trance-like sound-scaping behind the lead compositional elements, this one is a hands up, eyes closed piece of rave-ready dynamite, which a tonne of potential for live performance alongside that. Check out the premiere below:
The second offering on the table comes to us from the fantastic sounds of Yung.Raj, who delivers an absolute firecracker from his BASSW8 EP project, this one taking the title ‘Incursion Dub’. As a genre, the dubstep sound is in a fantastic place, with a combination of spritely new talents and decorated veterans joining forces to lead the way, however this sizzling creation stands in a lane of it’s own, as twisted layers of distorted synthesizer processing and horrorcore soundscaping above a gnarly, swamped out rolling bass line give us those OG steppers chills. It’s a fiery creation and plays a very important role in the EP along the two other scorchers ‘Hedrush’ and the title track ‘BASSW8’. You can check out our premiere for this one below: