Aaron Hastings, a local DJ and promoter of the long-running, monthly Dragon Lounge electronic events at Kava Lounge, has launched a new label. It's called ekstr? Records (pronounced "extra") and its first promo release is "Fathoms," a collaborative drum 'n' bass single by David 'nKey' Shockley and Hastings. It came out June 21.
Hastings also said he's working on an "acid jazzy trip-hop lounge tune" to be featured in a local independent film, and that the first full-length release on ekstr? will be a compilation of tracks by Southern California electronic musicians. A release date for the compilation hasn't been set, though Hastings said in an email that it'll be out this fall at the latest. He's accepting submissions through mid-July but declined to says who's on the roster so far.
"We are keeping the names on the compilation under wraps until we reach our submission deadline," he says. "Trust me when I say it will be a solid list of major players in the So Cal underground."
Hastings says the label will focus on different styles and subgenres of bass music, including drum 'n' bass, future jungle and glitch, though no other releases have been finalized. In the meantime, ekstr? will continue to release free promotional tracks on its Soundcloud page, the most recent of which is a drum 'n' bass reworking of Bauhaus' "Bela Lugosi's Dead."
And while drum 'n' bass is a style of music that became popular in the 1990s, Hastings says it's seen a resurgence since the rise of dubstep in the U.S.
"Drum 'n' bass has been gaining momentum like all the other subgenres that were almost forgotten about when dubstep hit the mainstream here in the states. It has a core following, and they stood by its side through the bro-step era," he says, referring to dubstep's mainstream offshoot.
"Just like house and techno, [drum 'n' bass] is a staple in the EDM culture."
Hastings has been DJing for nearly 20 years, first under the name ARKON and more recently as, simply, Hastings.