Phonica Records opened its doors in 2003 amidst a climate of closing record stores and splintering genres in electronic music. Founded by Simon Rigg, Tom Relleen and Heidi Van Den Amstel with backing from The Vinyl Factory (who run FACT Magazine and the original EMI vinyl pressing plant), Phonica’s goal was to be a destination for all kinds of dance and electronic music and to be a welcoming, knowledgeable hub, open to all. The shop opened with little fanfare but slowly built up a strong word-of-mouth reputation, initially bolstered by the trio’s relationship to their previous shop, Koobla Records, based nearby on Berwick Street. During Phonica’s early years, it carved out a niche for itself championing new genres such as electro house, minimal and micro house, mostly from German labels such as Kompakt, Perlon & Playhouse.
In 2007, Phonica’s eponymous record label launched, initially to put out records by its enthusiastic DJ and producer staff members such as Hector, Anthea and Will Saul. It also quickly became a place to introduce new artists – putting out early releases on by now well-known producers such as Peggy Gou, Paul Woolford and Midland – as well as harnessing the talents of well-respected legends like Four Tet and Roman Flugel. Fast-forward to 2023 and the label has gone from strength to strength, spawning a number of sub-labels; Phonica White, Phonica Records Special Editions, Karakul and the recently launched Phonica AM, each with its own musical flavour and direction.
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of Phonica’s launch, we asked our favourite producers and friends to give us exclusive tracks for a brand new compilation, our second following 2013’s well-received ‘Ten Years Of Phonica’.
The result is ‘20 Years Of Phonica’, featuring 18 brand new, previously unreleased tracks from both established names and up and coming artists across the genres Phonica is known for.
Daniel Avery kicks off the compilation. ‘Bell’ finds the Phantasy and Mute artist at his most contemplative and melodic; it’s streamlined stylings reminiscent of UK Artificial Intelligence 90s techno and Kompakt’s golden era. Shop regular and ever-rising star Nyra comes through with the pumping club banger ‘Broken Needs’, channelling early 90’s Hacienda sounds and hazy Ibiza memories. Up next, a collaboration from Paramida & E-Talking. Paramida is the well-respected head of the Love on the Rocks label whilst E-Talking is the pseudonym of Emmanuel Corre, one half of Nummer who have given us stunning releases over the year on their own label, AD93 and Going Good. ‘Read My Lips’ strikes the perfect balance of old-school warehouse acid and early morning Berlin dance floors.
One of our favourite producers to explode onto the scene in the last few years, Gene On Earth turns in some solid energy in the form of ‘Club Jacket’. Sounding truly contemporary and classic at the same time, the track recalls both Jeremy Sylvester and MK. Next up, the Amsterdam-based duo Dam Swindle bring the party with the epic ‘Allright (Just a Tribute)’ a no nonsense feel good slice of club magic. One of the duo’s most effective productions: DJ bag-ready, perfectly balanced house music.
With 12”s on Slow Life, Small Hours, Voyage, Oscillat Music, & In Dust We Trust nothing is stopping L.A. born, Berlin-based, DJ and producer Huerta. With his ‘Hit the Bit’ track, he gives us a bona-fide floor-filling house anthem. Next up, Dauwd’s bass-heavy monster ‘Slam’. The US born, Berlin residing DJ & producer Dauwd has been pushing his sound through various styles and genres since the early 2010s. From dub-steppy and tech-house beginnings to his most recent house and dub-techno Psssh imprint outputs he has been driving record collectors crazy for his 12’s for over a decade! Italian synth queen System Olympia delivers us ‘A Mezzanotte’, hitting the perfect note between early Italo pop, and US R’n’b.
At the forefront of jungle’s new wave, Tim Reaper joins forces with Comfort Zone on the drum & bass anthem ‘Subterranean’. One of the heaviest sonic technicians around, Reaper and his collaborator Comfort Zone offer up a quality tune, based around a familiar vocal sample.
NTS Radio presenter and Eglo artist Shy One has been attracting attention with an original sound that is a mixture of live percussion, and funk mixed with UK bass. Here, ’Uncle G’ offers exactly that, combining broken beat, heavy bass and jazz sensibilities for a breezy, refreshing offering.
Toby Tobias has been a long-time friend of the store, collaborating with the Phonica crew on one of their monthly DJ nights for almost a decade. A prolific produce under many pseudonyms, including Alphonse, and on the Rekids, Klasse Wrecks and Emotional Rescue labels, Toby’s ‘On My Mind’ contribution is a complex house-not-house, bassline-heavy wriggly groover that becomes more compelling at every listen. Next up, Mancunian producer Willow’s ‘Willbush’ shows why she has been a leading name in the underground house scene for over a decade now, including releases on the renowned Workshop label.
One half of the celebrated house duo Genius of Time, Swedish producer Dorisburg has been a long-term friend of the store and has given us the stunning 12” ‘House Organ for the Lonely’ on the Phonica label back in 2020, he now returns to the label with the contemplative, meandering instrumental that is ‘Midi Trail’. Berlin-based Keisuke also contributes after a release on Phonica White in 2022, his huge ‘Ride it Out’ is one of the biggest dancefloor tracks on the compilation – a simple but effective tribal groove.
Shanti Celeste offers her take on the Chilean producer Niños Indigo’s track ‘Luna’ which featured on her album ‘Vuduwave’, a 2017 release on Phonica Records Special Editions. Shanti’s mix takes the delicate organic atmospherics of the original track adding her bass-heavy rhythm and combining the intricate melodies to create a hypnotic effect. Finally, Phonica wouldn’t be anything without its staff and we are excited to include tracks from Kieran Jandu with his ‘From My Soul’ hypnotic house anthem and Phonica counter mainstay Luther Vine’s collaboration with Subb-An on the huge ‘Sunday Roll Through’.
The compilation is available across 3xCD, four limited 12” vinyl samplers, and DSPs, with digital formats including a bumper number of cherry-picked gems from Phonica’s extensive label output over the past decade.
PART 1 (EXCLUSIVES)
1. Daniel Avery – Bell
2. Paramida & E-Talking – Read My Lips
3. Nyra – Broken Needs
4. Gene on Earth – Club Jacket
5. Dam Swindle – Allright (Just A Tribute)
6. Huerta – Hit The Bit
7. Dauwd – Slam
8. System Olympia – A Mezzonotte
9. Tim Reaper & Comfort Zone – Subterranean
10. Shy One – Uncle G
11. Toby Tobias – On My Mind (Freak Mix)
12. Willow – Willbush
13. Dorisburg – Midi Trail
14. Keisuke – Ride It Out
PART 2 (BEST OF PHONICA LABELS 2013 – 2023)
1. Peggy Gou – Six O Six
2. Midland – Before We Leave (Gerd Janson Remix)
3. Felipe Gordon & Bob The Egoist – Get Your Body Movin’
4. Harrison BDP – Easy Tiger
5. Eli Escobar – FindAWay2Day
6. Kassian – Faux Polynesia
7. Will Saul – For Joanie
8. Austin Ato – Song for Mr Lewis (Edit)
9. Secretsundaze – Still Hope (Waajeed’s Detroit Hardcore Dub)
10. Ron Basejam – The Hurt Inside
11. Harry Wolfman – SMBC
12. Pional – XME
13. Subb-an & Luther Vine – Sunday Roll Through
14. Kieran Jandu – From My Soul
PART 3 (BEST OF PHONICA LABELS 2013 – 2023)
1. Roman Flugel – Black Acid
2. Yak – Zip
3. Niños Indigo – Luna (Shanti Celeste Remix)
4. Escape Artist – Energy Breakthrough (Adam Pits’ Lightspeed Mix)
5. Nuage – Pink Television
6. Justin Cudmore – Train Dance
7. Al Zanders – Song About A Dream
8. Earth Trax – Truth (Main Street mix)
9. Voodoos & Taboos – Witch House
10. Lea Lisa – Love To The End (Sunset Short Edit)
11. Art Crime – Obsession
12. Asyncronous – Shinkansen
13. Sad City – Baixa Saxophone
Stay tuned to House ConnectFM Tracks of the Week selection and Listen to Phonica’s new music first