London based DJ and label manager, Bok Bok is no stranger to the club night scene and has hosted some of the most engaging events through his label Night Slugs.
With the UKs club scene slowly opening itself up again. We wanted to take some time to catch up with Bok Bok to hear about his exciting new ventures, where his love for the music scene began and find out what’s next on his radar.
To top it off we have also teamed up with Bok Bok to produce an exclusive mix for Frequents to give your easy reading and Friday feeling!
Footpatrol: Bok Bok, we really appreciate your time in sitting with us for this interview. How are you?
Bok Bok: That’s cool, I’m ok thanks. I just had some mad flu. I think all the OG viruses are back now we’re outside and all mixing again and immune systems need to get back in shape. Other than that I just been working hard on my 2 labels.
FP: You have been part of the music world for 10+ years. Could you start off with giving the Footpatrol readers and followers a bit of background on how you got into Djing?
Bok Bok: Yea sure, so I first started DJing grime off white labels back in ’03-04. I started on a station called UTZ that a friend of mine ran out of some bando in Walthamstow. I had a graveyard slot after Slu Dem Crew. One thing led to another and I got to playing at squat parties and forcing grime sets on the electro and dubstep parties my friends were throwing at Redstar in Camberwell. Eventually we started Night Slugs and the rest is history.
FP: We saw you do a Boiler Room Lockdown session last year. Have you had the chance to do much else now that things are opening even more now?
Bok Bok: Not yet you know, all my gigs are resuming late August onwards. Trust me I’m ready to goooo
FP: It must really motivate you to want to further perfect your craft by running Night-Slugs Record Label. What’s it like co-running your own label?
Bok Bok: I run it solo nowadays. I also started a new label this year, called AP Life. Both labels are a huge motivation to keep discovering new music and both help to shape my DJ sets. It’s a lotttt of work but very rewarding.
FP: I read somewhere that Night Slugs started off as a club night before it became anything else?
Bok Bok: Yeah that’s true – it was at that place Redstar in Camberwell that I mentioned earlier. A lot of DJs had their start there – Oneman, Ben UFO, Pearson Sound, myself… Night Slugs started as a club night there in ’08. We did about 3 or 4 events there before moving to East Village on Great Eastern Street (RIP) because they had a huge soundsystem and we wanted to get that Plastic People effect (another club that’s closed now) of a small dark room with a huge system where the subs make your chest rattle. All these venus are ancient history at this point!
FP: Could you tell us how that became what it is now?
Bok Bok: Basically over 2 years between 2008 and 2010 we went from DIY club night to launching a record label, because more and more we noticed that our friends were making original music inspired by all the influences from our DJ sets: grime, bassline, uk funky, r&b, Club music, Detroit electro, chicago house etc etc. None of that original material was being signed anywhere else. So we felt it was the logical next step to start putting it out ourselves. It’s been a journey since then but that’s pretty much still the mission statement.
FP: How would you best describe Night-Slugs as a label to people who may not have had the opportunity to hear about it?
Bok Bok: That’s a hard question. It’s a hub for club music of a lot of different shapes. It’s been so diverse over the years. Words fail me. There’s a huge archive of Rinse FM sets over the last 12 years that people can get into to discover more and all the releases are on Spotify, Boomkat, iTunes, etc etc so I encourage people who are interested to delve further, there’s really a whole world to discover there.
FP: You are also running a new label as well, AP__LIFE. How has that been going since it launched? Has it been a pretty easy process so far?
Bok Bok: Yea it’s been great thanks for asking. It’s my new baby. I’m running it with the help of croydon DJ/producer Nammy Wams and creative director Joh000_. It’s a lot of hard work like any good creative endeavour but it’s definitely made easier by having a creative team and not trying to do everything myself, a lesson I learnt from NS. But yea it’s a big big source of inspiration for me, including this mix I made for you guys.
FP: What made you want to launch a second label?
Bok Bok: Making new material myself that didn’t feel like it fit with Night Slugs. Getting to know Nammy Wams and wanting to release his material. Also NS has been really diverse over the years and I wanted to re-focus it on specifically music for the club, whereas AP is kinda different to that, it’s much less about escapism and more about the city and world around us. I wanted to engage with all that separate of NS.
FP: And in terms of your sound specifically, would you categorise yourself into one genre or would you say you’re a bit of a mix?
Bok Bok: I’m definitely a mix. I feel like I have a split personality between wanting to DJ gritty/cruddy and euphoric. I love grime and house music, Drill and Club etc etc. It’s definitely 2 sides of the same coin. My whole thing all these years has been trying to make them go together but lately I been giving both a bit of space. Having the 2 labels helps. But both still bleed over into the other, I can’t really help it.
FP: Bok Bok, thanks again for your time. Before we let you go is there anything else that you would like to share to the Footpatrol and Frequent players readers and listeners?
Bok Bok: I’ll just say it’s a mad world so ppl please try to be kind to each other. Love.