Sheffield-born Bad Taste Records is five years old this year. Originally started by Trellion and Darkstorm as a means to release their own music, the label has become known for consistently solid releases. Their roster is a pick ‘n’ mix of hip hop and electronic outputs, from the wavy sounds of Trellion and Sniff to the genre-defying Walter Ego. You don’t just get into one Bad Taste artist. Co-founder Abdullah Al-wali explains. 

For those unfamiliar with Bad Taste, could you let us know how it all started and what the label is all about?
Bad Taste Records was set up in 2009 by Trellion and myself to release our own music as well as our friends’ music. We knew none of that shit would see the light of day unless we set up our own label, so the DIY route was the most natural one. The name comes from a reference to the classic Peter Jackson film and it’s also tongue in cheek – the music we dig and release doesn’t have commercial value, so the Average Joe would deem us as having bad taste.

Have you exceeded the expectations you had for the label when starting up five years ago?
Definitely. I never thought that we’d last this long or the label would evolve in the way it has, but I’m proud of our roster and what we’ve achieved so far without any financial backing or a proper plan. We’ve been fortunate enough to meet some very talented producers along the way – Walter Ego, Timbah, Affelaye and Tony Quattro helped us gain international fans that support us and allow us to carry on the label. We’ve almost sold out of the Trellion & Sniff North Luna vinyl we pressed last year as they’ve finally started to gain the recognition they deserve, so hopefully things will carry on rolling in the right direction and we’ll be pressing more wax in 2015.

The music you’re putting out seems to be dividable into two main categories: hip hop and electronic. Was this always the intention?
From day one I always wanted the label to be as eclectic as my own taste. I’ve never only listened to one genre of music. Variety keeps things interesting. Bad Taste definitely has a particular vibe, so if it’s a hip hop release or a garage release, there’s a certain style you can expect from us. So for me, they’re not divided. They live harmoniously together. As long as we retain a level of quality you’d expect from the label, if we put something out that isn’t the style of music you like, hopefully the next release will be.

Trellion, Sniff and Rawkid have been working together quite a lot recently. Is there anything in the works there?
Yes! Rawkid has a mixtape ready that features a load of beats by Trellion and Sniff, as well as guest verse from them. Hopefully it’ll be available by the time this goes to print. If not we’ll put it out early next year. Trust me – all three of them have some really good shit on the way in 2015.

What has been your favourite moment in the five years of Bad Taste?
It’s hard to pinpoint one favourite moment, but an obvious choice would be when we first started working with Walter Ego and teamed him up with K Dot and Coco. We had no idea how much ‘Calm Down’ would go off at the time, but it was a step up for us. It got us our first bit of radio play on Radio 1 and we met a lot of good people we still work with to this day through that track.

What can we expect in the next five years? Anything we should keep an eye out for?
Lots more music, more gigs and hopefully developing a much more immersive live show than we have done in the past. We’ll be at SXSW in Texas next year for the first time. I don’t want to reveal too much right now, but the next couple of releases on the label are from Trellion and our new signing, Itoa.

badtasterecords.co.uk
soundcloud.com/badtasterecords

George Springthorpe