In this Label Spotlight, we wanted to highlight self-taught musician, recording engineer, record store owner of LA-based The Artform Studio, and founder of record label Linear Labs: Adrian Younge. He’s been busy with some exiting upcoming projects including a new Souls of Mischief album, There Is Only Now, due at the end of the summer, and a new Ghostface Killah record.
At what point did you realize that you wanted to be so involved with music?
I realized that I wanted to become seriously involved with music around ’96. At this point, I began sampling music and realized that my mind was going further than the limitations presented in sampling. I decided to pick up instruments in hopes that one day I’d be able to not only make music, but release this music via an artisan label of my own.
I have to ask, are you more biased to recording analog or digital?
I am a strictly analog recording engineer. For the type of music I create, the analog format is just better served. I seek to create a modern sound that is based on the nostalgic breaks revitalized during the golden era of Hip Hop. I have nothing against digital recording, but tape-based soundscapes are just more pleasing to my ear.
Where do you draw a lot of your creative influences from when creating a new album or working with other musicians?
I own a record shop in Los Angeles called “The Artform Studio,” and most of my inspiration is fueled by this record collection. My co-owner, Patrick Washington, is also a record enthusiast and we share rare records daily. Ironically, it’s the old music that inspires my new music. In short, my artistic palette is satisfied by studying unique and old records.
As a producer and small record store business owner, at what point did you decide to move into the label side of the music business with Linear Labs?
I’ve always dreamed of owning a record label, but timing is everything. I wanted to take my time to learn the retail aspects of selling music before starting a label that is primarily focused on digital and physical record sales. After running a record store for three years, I felt the time coming near; this feeling was secured upon learning of label veteran, Andrew Lojero’s, desire to commence this venture together. Lojero is my partner in Linear Labs and is a kindred spirit, very passionate about the curation of captivating music. We feel that the time has come to change the modern landscape of the record business as it applies to modern soul music and we plan to do this with an artisan approach.
We are extremely excited about some of the upcoming releases like Souls of Mischief due out later this summer and a few other amazing albums in the works. How do you manage your time between studio and the label?
Lojero essentially runs the label logistics and I focus on the curation of the music. He creates a daily agenda for us to review as it pertains to music business as well as music production. I couldn’t do this without him and we are hoping to start a musical empire together.
What was the most compelling project that you’ve worked on up to this point in your career?
The Souls of Mischief project is definitely my most compelling to date. It forced me to become a better all around musician and producer, especially because they are four of the greatest lyricists ever assembled. Also, this project serendipitously introduced me to Ali Shaheed Mohammed of A Tribe Called Quest. He is a person that has become a dear friend and musical partner on the creation of this Souls of Mischief project, along with our own project (between Ali and myself) slated to be released on Linear Labs. This entire project changed my life and I hope it touches people in a novel way.