BokBok on 15 Years of Night Slugs
We chat with BokBok, founder of seminal and influential UK label Night Slugs
Over the last 15 years BokBok's energetic and dynamic sound, which draws influences from various genres including house, techno, and UK garage, has been sought after around the UK. Championing their label's anniversary with a special release and global tour, BokBok reveals what's next for Night Slugs, while delving into the label's Classix Remixed compilation.
Can you tell us more about the inspiration behind the Classix Remixed compilation album and how it celebrates Night Slugs' 15th anniversary?
For me this release was all about showcasing the label's culture and legacy, merging our heritage with what's happening now in our extended community. I wanted to work with a wide range of artists, from icons and established peers through to younger artists. It was a chance to connect some dots and I'm honoured to have made some dream remixes come true as part of this project.
How would you describe the Night Slugs sound and how does the remix compilation update and showcase that in 2023?
Club-oriented, percussive, often melodic, with an industrial edge. Vitally, Night Slugs records are built for sound systems. You're going to not only hear them but feel them.
Could you share some highlights from the global tour that Night Slugs is currently embarking on?
Girl Unit and I just got back from closing one of the days at Sydney's Vivid festival – this was really an experience. We played in a huge, pitch-black warehouse; it was absolutely rammed with a crazy atmosphere. My favourite shows of the tour so far though have to be London at Venue MOT and Manchester at White Hotel. Both were sweaty and relentless, the audiences at both just really trusted us and went with us 100%.
How has Night Slugs evolved over the past 15 years, and what are your goals and visions for the label's future?
The label has been through so many phases but the search for unique rhythms has remained a common theme through the years, and I feel this is the area we're really focussing in on now. NS has been known for transgressing genres, and it's because as DJs we're always trying to fit different rhythms into each other and find interplay there. At its best I think NS can hit on a purity and truth of dance music, and I want to continue to chase that.
Can you reveal any details about the upcoming parties in Melbourne, Sydney, Bristol, Amsterdam, and other locations? What makes these events unique? How do you adapt to playing in different cities globally?
So we've just got back from the Australia dates, next up is Bristol with Ikonika b2b myself. We're still working on the Amsterdam lineup but I can reveal it will be a part of this year's Amsterdam Dance Event. More dates in various regions to be announced soon.
Could you tell us more about Duetto? How does it tie in with the Classix Remixed release, and previous releases over the years?
I recently got really focussed on my Rinse FM shows and kind of found a niche, somewhere adjacent to house music and informed by UK funky, and its modern iterations. I got in my house bag again basically. And so that inspiration led naturally onto making this EP. Classix Remixed is all about our heritage and updating the classics, but I'm also doing loads of releases this year which are future-facing, about where the artists are at right now, our contemporary sound, and Duetto for me is a part of that.
The Night Slugs label has been at the forefront of club music for 15 years. How do you maintain a cutting-edge and innovative approach to music production and curation?
I'm searching for a simplicity and truth that is honest and timeless.
Collaboration and community seem to be integral to Night Slugs' ethos. How do you nurture relationships with artists, both within the label and beyond, to create a supportive and creative environment?
I try to encourage and uplift artists. I learned when to step back, and when to give constructive feedback, and how specific that should get. I do my best. Not all relationships have survived the last decade and a half.
Favourite artists, labels, external to your own?
I love the sound of Karen Nyame KG & Hagan. DJ Polo & NKC. Scratcha DVA. Love the House of ALTR label and Morph ATL – that's family.
A few favourite club tracks on repeat right now?