- Niamh Ingram
Label Spotlight: EYA Records
With his label’s intention to be as open as possible to new sounds - and EYA quite literally being the abbreviation for ‘Expand Your Awareness’ - Jos, the sole power behind EYA and sister label Lonewolf, is rapidly making waves throughout the scene.
“From ambient and downtempo to acid, minimal, breaks, electro, techno, UKG and house, the most important thing is that the music resonates with my frequencies, having soul and emotions”, Jos explains. This is inevitably channeled through the releases on both EYA and Lonewolf.
It was originally in Rome where Jos’ love for music exploded. “I began to go to raves and experience clubbing when I was a teenager! I remember going almost every weekend to Goa Club, Rashomon, big raves at Forte Prenestino and Village Globale, and beautifully curated festivals like Dissonanze”.
Those days, he goes on to say, were the ones in which he deeply connected with the culture.
Fast forward to 2009, and moving to London allowed for Jos’ discovery of Warehouse parties. This resulted in his purchase of turntables and the beginning of some serious record-digging.
“Between 2013 and 2018, I had a collective with three mates called House of Sound. We began throwing intimate parties in East London basements and venues inviting artists such as DMX Krew, Yone-Ko, Sohrab, Riccardo, DJ Tree, Omar and Yuki Masda”.
Post House of Sound brought the emergence of EYA records (and sister Lonewolf). “If I have to sum up the values, they’d be: having an open mind, being inclusive, and being bold and brave in pushing future sounds, ideas and upcoming artists”, Jos tells us. “This project started with my idea to give a solid and meaningful contribution to music and the scene that I am deeply connected to, but with time it became much more than that. It’s a platform where more established as well as new artists can connect, collaborate and experiment”.
And that idea swiftly evolved into reality. The first release, EYA 001, went down a storm: “It was a VA including tracks from longtime friends and amazing artists such as Manuk, Riccardo, Stu Crosbie and two of my productions”. Initially wanting to do a small run of 100 hand-stamped copies, Jos was too scared that it wouldn’t sell.
“But then guess what?”, he went on, “We had to press 300 more!”
“The release was mastered and cut by DMX Krew in the Curved Pressing Studio in Hackney, and distributed by me.” Jos explains. “Those were very exciting times; all of the promotion for the release was done mostly via social media, word of mouth, and handed to every record shop. The same happened for the next two releases.”
EYA’s rise quite clearly illustrates the power of the people, and how effective even the simplest of marketing strategies can be. Quite clearly, Jos’ hard work and dedication paid off, both from the success of the initial releases and through being approached by Juno Records who have been responsible for distributing Jos’ labels since.
That changes this year, however: “I can give you some exclusive scoop”, he tells us, “as I’m very pleased to announce that from September my exclusive distributor will be One Eye Witness, from Amsterdam”. There’s no stopping anytime soon, that’s for sure.
A huge characteristic that shines from Jos throughout this chat is the immense pride that he holds for his label and releases. When asked for a favourite, his response is humbling. “I can’t choose one in particular. Every release and collaboration with artists was special in its own way. Together we’ve explored different shades of electronic music and proposed it to an audience which was always successful. The label grew from strength to strength thanks to the hard work and creativity of all the artists, graphic designers, illustrators, and everyone involved in this project. I am very privileged and grateful to be able to curate such a platform, as every day I have the chance to interact with incredibly talented and inspiring people”.
With running two labels - EYA and Lonewolf - comes a busy schedule, however. It’s no easy job: “The main challenge in the beginning was finding the time. I always worked hard here in London, and although it is a very hectic and demanding city, it’s the place I love and gave me everything when considering my career and music. In the beginning, I was always scared that I didn't have enough time to dedicate to it. It took a while - lots of effort and hard times to find the right balance - but I’m very happy with where I am now. My humble piece of advice to everyone who wants to follow their dreams is to never give up, be disciplined, and most of all don’t let anyone or anything take you down!”
The upcoming plans of both EYA and Lonewolf are seemingly bright, with the aforementioned new distributor being only the beginnings of Jos’ future vision.
“We have four releases in the pipeline just now, ready to be out in the next few months. We’ve got artists such as D.A.B, DMX Krew, N-Gynn, and a triple vinyl with incredible artists such as Innershades, Matthew Dexter, Dom, Zolaa and ES-Q”.
He tells us that there’s more releases out in winter: but he can’t quite announce those ones yet. The current ones available for presale can be sourced on the EYA/Lonewolf Soundcloud, something absolutely worth a dig through.
With the second half of the year (hopefully) looking brighter and freer, Jos has also landed a residency for the Alien Communications parties. “There are some mind-blowing events with crazy lineups planned for months to come at our home in London, The Cause. For some of them, I will curate a special EYA room, too”.
You can find EYA/Lonewolf’s Soundcloud here and follow their Instagram here.