Label Spotlight #035 - Big Love
For this week’s label spotlight we take a closer look at Seamus Haji’s ‘Big Love’ imprint. British DJ, producer, and radio host Seamus Haji has always been known to have many strings to his bow and has subsequently firmly remained a staple of the UK dance scene for years, having remixed Booty Luv, Calvin Harris, Rihanna, DJ Pierre, Mariah Carey and Craig David to name but a few. Having enjoyed stints at giants including Slip ‘N’ Slide, KISS, Defected, Toolroom and Ministry of Sound, it comes as no surprise that some great ears are attached to Haji. His Big Love imprint continues to grow steadily, celebrating its 15th year this year. Home to EDX, Funkagenda, Filthy Rich, ATFC and Haji’s own productions, the label’s output is a mixed bag of goodies and we chat to Seamus about what he’s got in store for 2017 and beyond…
Give us a little bit of background on you, the label, and what your influences were and still are.
I started DJ’ing aged 16 in the mid 80’s mixing & scratching soul, funk, disco, and hip-hop with sound systems when the likes of Soul II Soul, Norman Jay’s Good Times and Massive Attack (formerly The Wild Bunch) were ruling clubland… It was before house music had hit the UK. I also worked in record shops for around 10 years, wrote for most of the top dance mags and started to get into production by the early to mid 90’s. Then I landed the role as A&R Label manager at Slip N Slide shortly followed by being headhunted by Defected Records to do A&R and promotions in 1999. By 2002 I left to concentrate on DJ’ing & producing. Defected released my single “God’s Child” under my Big Bang Theory moniker, it did really well in the clubs and even hit the top 50 of the UK pop charts. I quickly got in the studio to work on a couple more tracks. One was a remix of a vocal house track I’d released in 1994 called “Race Of Survival”. It had been a massive tune for Tony Humphries & Paul “Trouble” Anderson who’d both broken it originally on acetate around 1993. I did the remix under my Mekkah moniker and added a disco house vibe to it. The other track was a production with studio partner Paul Emanuel called “Beat Goes On” under our 11th Dimension moniker which was tougher, almost tribal house. I pressed up 500 white labels of both just to see how people would react and also went under 2 new monikers so nobody would know it was me to get a natural, honest reaction. Both titles flew out of the shops so after re-pressing and selling a couple of thousand of each the decision was made to start 2 labels. One for house and one for more soulful stuff. Big Love was a term I used a lot, especially when signing greeting cards etc so my wife suggested using it for a label name and so Big Love and Soul Love were both born. I guess after doing A&R for Slip N Slide and Defected my influences ranged from the soulful vocal side right through to kind of stuff that Soulfuric were doing as well the tougher stuff by Subliminal.
What have been your favorite releases from the label over the years?
“Last Night A DJ Saved My Life”! I was a big fan of the original in the early 80’s.Other favourites would be my “Race Of Survival” on sub label Soul Love “Get This! Ya Underwear”
Haji & Emanuel “Take Me Away”,
Dave Spoon’s “Sunrise”,
Those Guys “I Walk Alone”
and Dajae “Brighter Days” are some that spring to mind.
Tell us a bit about what’s coming up for the label
As Big Love is 15 years old this year we have a #biglovebig15 campaign running. Some of the bigger releases will be having a makeover. So far we’ve released my “God’s Chid” (Siege/ Hott Like Detroit remixes) and more currently Get This! “Ya Underwear” (Vanilla Ace and Sonny Wharton remixes). Also to come are re-works of Dave Spoon “Sunrise” (Doorly/Lee Jeffrey mixes), Paul Harris & Cevin Fisher “Deliver Me” (Illyus & Barrientos/Tuff London mixes), Haji & Emanuel “The Pressure” (ATFC / Michele Chiavarini mixes) on Soul Love and more with remixes from Robosonic, Hauswerks, Angelo Ferreri, David Penn, Tough Love to name a few. There are also new tracks such as “Way Back” under my Allusion moniker for my slightly deeper house stuff and I recently teamed up with my good old friend ATFC for “Confess” which got some amazing reactions so we have the follow “Right Track” to come soon. I also recently set up another offshoot called Re-Loved for boogie & disco inspired EPs and to come is EP6 from myself and EP1 from Chewy Rubs.
What has been your best moment working at the label or best project to work on to date
My cover version of “Last Night A DJ Saved My Life” as that was our biggest track to date crossing into the UK pop charts. Also working on The Pressure with Beverly Knight who’s just amazing, Haji & Emanuel “If” with house vocal legend Robert Owens and Scape “Be My Friend” which I gave a lot of creative A&R input from having Ultra Nate writing the song, Diane Charlemagne singing and then co-producing the record until it was finally signed onto Ministry Of Sound which was our first major signing after only running for a few years. I also recently revived my Big Bang Theory moniker for boogie & disco inspired tracks..going back to my roots and I’ve been really pleased with the response during my sets and from other DJs. One of my faves has been “Saw Your Face” which hit #1 Traxsource Nu Disco chart.
If you could have signed any record in the world for the label, what would it have been and why?
Good question! I actually turned down Bodyrox “Yeah Yeah”. This was before D.Ramirez had remixed it and his remix used none of the original track. I‘d already signed a track by Pearn (Jon Pearn one half of Full Intention) & Bridges called “Ruff Beats” and it was their follow up. That was obviously a very BIG record but in fairness only because of the D.Ramirez Remix and that was a moment of luck. True story!
What do you look for when signing a record for Big Love? Any tips for budding producers looking to get signed to the label?
Something that I like and that fits the label. In the past, the label obviously dabbled in more electronic stuff but nowadays I’m focussing on house and some tech-house. Any budding producer should study a label’s output and if their sound fits the label then go for it and reach out! firstname.lastname@example.org