Local Action is the record label that stemmed from the mind of Mr Tom Lea, a huge fan of all things RnB, Garage and generally anything 4×4.
Created in 2010, Local Action’s first signing was T. Williams with the massive anthem ‘Heartbeat’ featuring Terri Walker. Since then, the label has gone from strength to strength by not only releasing some of the freshest dancefloor cuts but also some of the hottest club nights London has seen in ages. With further releases from the likes of Throwing Snow, DJ Q, Slackk and Contakt to name but a few, we caught up with label boss Tom Lea as Local Action celebrate two years later this month.
Tell us about Local Action… My day job, back when I started the label, involved working in a basement office underneath Phonica Records in Soho. They run various labels out of the store, and asked if I wanted to get involved. I said yes, but stalled for a while because there wasn’t anything I particularly wanted to release. Then I realised I’d been playing this folder of T. Williams tracks just non-stop for ages, and that was the natural choice for the first single. Phonica aren’t involved anymore though, Local Action’s been me solo since last year.
How do you describe the aesthetic and ethos of the label? Keeping people on their toes. I used to think there was some sound or aesthetic that bound the stuff I released, and maybe once there was, but Raw Missions sounds nothing like Brandy & Coke, which sounds nothing like Break Broke, you know? The ethos is just taking risks on good shit, and presenting it in a way that does the music justice – even if it does cost you more.
What are you working on at the moment? Slackk’s Raw Missions EP came out last month, then after Summer we’ve got new singles from DJ Q, Bristol’s Artifact, and the first vinyl release from Lil Jabba, who’s one of the best going right now I think. He’s affiliated with the Ghetto Teks lot from Chicago, and he’s just mind-blowing. Oh, and we’re doing Room 3 in Fabric on August 17th – that’s Q, Scratcha DVA, Throwing Snow, Slackk, Artifact and myself.
What distinguishes Local Action from other record labels? So many labels announce a release, promo the shit out it until the second it’s out, and then they forget about it and move onto the next one. I hate that. If you care about a release, let it breathe. Just because something’s out, doesn’t mean it’s over – if anything, that’s when the promo starts.
What are some of the major labels you aspire to build Local Action to the calibre of? Roc-a-fella. In the label’s early days Jay was out shooting crack from coast to coast while a harem of girls back in Brooklyn packed and delivered the vinyl for him. Or that’s what he says in Decoded, anyway.
Tell us about the mix you’ve made for us… One take, CDJs – two tracks from Slackk’s Raw Missions EP, mixed up with some grime and hip-hop. In a perfect world I’d play a set like this most times I played out, but sometimes people aren’t in the mood. Me included.
You can catch Local Action in action (ahem) at Fabric as they take over Room 3 next Friday 17th August with Scrtacha DVA, DJ @, Throwing Snow, Artifact, Slackk and Tom Lea.
Text: Zainab Jama