Listeners: 9.729, Plays: 36.822, Listening Time: 8.230 h
Tru Thoughts was formed in 1999 by Robert Luis as an attempt to get some of the music he was playing at his club nights, Shake Yer Wig!, Vibez Express and the later phonic:hoop across to a wider audience. The first release was a 12” by Rob`s friends and fellow hip hop lovers Steady and was followed by our first When Shapes Join Together compilation (now pretty difficult to get hold of) in October 1999. The album featured tracks from Robert Luis` various incarnations alongside Quiet... Read more
Tru Thoughts was formed in 1999 by Robert Luis as an attempt to get some of the music he was playing at his club nights, Shake Yer Wig!, Vibez Express and the later phonic:hoop across to a wider audience. The first release was a 12” by Rob`s friends and fellow hip hop lovers Steady and was followed by our first When Shapes Join Together compilation (now pretty difficult to get hold of) in October 1999. The album featured tracks from Robert Luis` various incarnations alongside Quiet Storm, Steady, Cairro, Chris Clark and Bonobo. The interest in the first release of Bonobo`s Terrapin track on this album lead to the release of his debut Tru Thoughts 12” featuring Terrapin, Dismantling Frank and Mr Scruff`s remix of Terrapin. During this period phonic:hoop, Tru Thoughts weekly Brighton club night, became increasingly well known with myself, Paul Jonas, running it alongside Rob. I got involved in the label around this time as we signed to manage Bonobo and release three albums on Tru Thoughts.
Bonobo`s Animal Magic album was released as our debut artist album in July 2000 and quickly gained a great amount of interest in both the artist and the label, fitting in perfectly (and unplanned) with the increasing media and record-buyers interest in a new downtempo scene (most of the labels involved in this `scene` didn`t plan it either). Offers from a variety of compilation labels came in fairly soon after the album`s release (Warner, Universal, Ministry Of Sound, Compost, The Big Chill) and to date tracks from Animal Magic have featured in almost 100 compilations around the world. During this period we released 12”s by Deeds Plus Thoughts (Rob`s recording name and featuring our much missed friend Robert Cairns), Jon Kennedy, Bonobo and Quantic and the next album release was Quantic`s “The 5th Exotic” in June 2001. Quantic, aka Will Holland, came to our office via another label mate Natural-Self at the tender age of 20 and his `Life In The Rain`12” (again a hard to find release nowadays) was a massively popular release when we launched it in January 2001.
The album and releases around this time reflected the diversity of our tastes at Tru Thoughts. The tagline on our phonic:hoop flyers still says jazzbreakshiphopsoulfunkbeatsounds and it was during this period where we released most of the elements of that line. Jon Kennedy`s album “We`re Just Waiting For You Now” came out in July 2001 and showed the personality that can be attached to this style of music, with its great drums and sounds, and Jon Kennedy`s cheeky presence throughout. In January 2002 we released the next in our `When Shapes Join Together` series. WSJT2 (as it inevitably gets called when you type it several thousand times a day!) included tracks from the first two years of the label, with some new signings, the now unavailable 12”s, 7”s and remixes.
During this period our phonic:hoop night moved from weekly Thursdays to every Saturday and we continued to bring quality acts to the club (Gilles Peterson, London Elektricity, Skitz & Rodney P, Mark B) alongside the residencies of Robert Luis, Bonobo and Quantic. We also began to get involved with gigs across the UK and beyond, with debuts at The Big Chill, a Tru Thoughts Arena at the Essential Festival in Hackney, London, and pretty much anywhere where we could sticker people with pictures of Bonobo apes and the Tru Thoughts name. Bonobo gained the interest of Ninja Tune at this point and we relinquished our three album deal to allow the little monkey to move on to his other favourite label, we also licensed Animal Magic to Ninja Tune for non-UK sales to assist in their development of him.
In June 2002 we released the follow-up to “The 5th Exotic” with Quantic`s second album “Apricot Morning” featuring vocals from Alice Russell, EQ and Bristol`s Aspects. Bonobo`s “One Offs, Remixes and B Sides” was next, released in August 2002 to bridge the gap between “Animal Magic” and his work in progress `Dial M For Monkey` for Ninja Tune. Then the last in the When Shapes Join Together trilogy (we can call it a trilogy now) was released in October 2002. Into 2003 and the Quantic Soul Orchestra debut album was released in April 2003.
There was a great deal of interest in the acts featured on our When Shapes Join Together albums (1 to 3). From When Shapes Join Together 1, Chris Clark went on to sign to Warp Records and Bonobo to Ninja Tune (via the releases for us), from When Shapes 2, Jon Kennedy went to Grand Central, Diversion Tactics to our Zebra Traffic label and Chroma developed his position at LTJ Bukem`s Good Lookin label and finally from When Shapes 3, Treva Whateva followed Bonobo to Ninja Tune and The Capoeira Twins signed to the Timo Maas funded Hope Recordings. We have often been asked whether it bothers us that these artists have signed to other labels, but it certainly doesn`t, we are pleased to have released their music and the interest in them often leads to further interest in Tru Thoughts. Our involvement with many of these artists still continues from us helping out with support for their new labels or, as with Bonobo housing his only regular club residency at phonic:hoop.
The interest in the acts did make us reconsider the format and ideas behind the When Shapes Join Together series. The release of our April 2003 album Mono, through a collaboration with MTV on their Mono extreme sports programmes, was a good opportunity to introduce our new concept and to stop the When Shapes Join Together series and start a new simply-named `Shapes` series. The Mono album features two CDs (in this case mixed) featuring downtempo, chilled beats on the horizontal CD and more uptempo breaks on the vertical CD. The reactions were superb with people having a favourite CD or listening to one CD when they are going out and one when they got in. The Shapes albums also came in limited edition double vinyl featuring the club orientated tracks on the CD albums (except for the mixed CD-only Mono). Shapes definitely follows the previous When Shapes Join Together albums by introducing new artists, with us signing individual tracks and artists from across the world compiled from the demos and interest we have received since the start of the label. The Shapes One album (release September 2003) features 11 new artists, plus artists who released Eps with us: Mawglee, Mangataot and Galaxian alongside Flevans, Unitone, TM Juke (formerly Al Stylus), Quantic (in a collaboration with our friend Mr Scruff), Natural-Self (mixed by Tru Thoughts` Nostalgia 77) and Hint (who was a Ninja Tune/Hombre artist who did a track especially for us with a nod to Rob Luis` original Wig! club night, and is now a Tru Thoughts artist). We hope that the artists on these albums will continue to have the success of those featured on our previous albums.
Throughout the life of Tru Thoughts we have released a huge amount of 12”s and 7”s (see the discography for full tracklistings) and we have also developed 3 separate, but intrinsically linked labels. Tru Thoughts 7Sevens was the first and was undoubtedly launched with the Quantic Soul Orchestra`s 7 inch Super 8 in May 2001 (now extremely hard to get hold of - Mr Quantic is still searching for copies himself!). Although there had been a previous seven inch released (Bonobo`s beautiful Silver/Sleepy Seven) and a 7 inch with an earlier catalogue number (Unitone`s All Or Nothing/Calypsoul actually didn`t come out till June 2002) the QSO 7 inch really highlighted the idea behind the Tru Thoughts 7Sevens. The QSO project was meant to be a little one-off release but the huge impact of the track with breakbeat, hip hop, funk and jazz DJ`s lead Will and Tru Thoughts to develop QSO into an album act.
The next label we started was Unfold, a compilation label, that featured three releases; Mr Scruff`s reggae and dub influenced Heavyweight Rib Ticklers, Robert Luis` phonic:hoop compilation (representing the range of styles played at the club) and Vocalise, Rob Luis` selection of soulful tunes from a variety of tempos. These three albums showed the music we like to hear and to play at the clubs and have been certainly been in the record boxes of many of the Tru Thoughts artists since their release in 2002. The second and third albums have now been deleted as we concentrate on Tru Thoughts and Zebra Traffic, but are worth hunting down. The Mr Scruff comp is a must-own!
The third and final label was Zebra Traffic. Set up in early 2002, as a dedicated hip hop label, the aim from the outset was always to expose some of the quality hip hop music that is currently being made in this country. As much as we try not to categorize the music, it was felt that a specific hip hop label would be more beneficial for a variety of business reasons (a concession we had to make in order to help develop artists). The label has released music by Life, Phi-Life Cypher (including a track with Taskforce), Cappo, Diversion Tactics, Freight Corporation, Simpson, Digitek, Headcase Ladz and Dirty Diggers. Check out the Zebra Traffic site for current news on www.zebratraffic.co.uk. With one eye on the music and the other on the future, we are all looking forward to what is proving to be an exciting time, both for the label and the scene as a whole. UK-UK!
For information on our current Tru Thoughts roster please refer to the current releases, and for further information on any specific artist then please go to the artist pages where they should all be included.
Our attitude to our labels, music and artists is to create a range of outlets for the music to be heard, and to get the music to as many people as want to hear it. From our Unfold and Dugout radio shows on www.totallyradio.com and on Brighton`s Juice 107.2, our phonic:hoop and Etch club nights, our management of artists and our publishing company, our web forum, and our little Etch Magazine (that we print and send to members every two months) we attempt to push the music wherever possible and communicate as best we can with those around the world listening. We really appreciate any feedback from people who have liked or disliked our music, both in our forum and direct to us (the details are below).
The serious bit! Please remember if you are downloading our music from other sites rather than buying it you increase the likelihood of our artists and labels having to stop releasing music. Without people buying our records we won`t be able to release them, and this may lead to you only being able to download and listen to manufactured pop music!!!! So if you download the music, like it and can afford to buy it, then please do . We really do appreciate that people help us release music that we love. We hope you can understand our position – alongside all the other independent labels who work hard to try and release quality music.
Thanks for your interest in our labels and we hope to see you at the clubs, gigs, record shops and festivals, Paul Jonas and Robert LuisShow less