Around the world in 80 labels: Large Music – Jeff Craven

 

 

Chicago’s in the house, big time (no pun intended). Our next investigation into an imprint focuses on one of the longest serving totems of the Windy City scene, and as such it’s nothing less than a great pleasure to introduce the outfit.

There’s a 17-year history behind Large Music, a label that self-respecting house music heads should need little background information on. Just in case its prominence has gone unnoticed though a summary might name check the likes of DJ Sneak, Rasoul, Kerri Chandler, Miguel Migs, Dennis Ferrer, and Roy Davis Jnr, with Jeff Craven in charge, himself a DJ currently looking at over 30 years in the game. Suffice to say then, we’re probably not worthy, but took it upon ourselves to ask those same six questions. So for those eyeing up global domination through often deep, sometimes soulful, and always danceable beats, here’s exactly how it’s done.

Large Music – USA – Jeff Craven 

Describe your imprint’s output. 

We are known primarily as a deep house label, but with 17 years of catalogue behind us we have always been open to venture into other genres.  I like to think we release quality dance music that is drenched with soul.  That can mean a lot of things, though I think the basic template is house.

What would you say makes it different?  

I think what makes Large Music different is in fact the depth of our catalogue.  If you dig deep you can find many records that have set the standard or even defined a genre in modern dance music.  We were using the term “deep house” back in the mid 1990s to describe our unique sound and people thought it was a strange description.  As such I think it’s fair to say that the Large catalogue is almost a primer on house music history with classic moments from Kerri Chandler, Dennis Ferrer, Rasoul, DJ Sneak, Roy Davis Jr. and so many more.

What is it that makes you keep looking for new talent to expose? 

Well without sounding too cliched I think I am always looking for that “magic” factor.  Something ethereal in the production, arrangement, or even vocal that sets the producer and track apart from the pack.  It is a hard quality to define but you just know it when you hear it.  One of my chief complaints in today’s dance market is that often tracks have a shelf life of one week… or less.  I work hard to find a timeless quality to all of our releases and artists.

What’s the label’s pinnacle achievement so far? 

I think both commercially and artistically that would be the seminal tune Gabriel by Roy Davis Jr. featuring Peven Everett back in 1997.  That track was so influential to an entire UK dance movement and set the bar for the label moving forward.  I knew the moment that I heard that track something special was afoot.  There’s a funny story about the release:  we actually screwed up the mastering which caused the bassline on the Garage Version to be totally distorted… that’s the most widely played and known…. 

Anyway, we were so embarrassed and remastered it after a few weeks of commercial release.  However, our distributors rejected the new pressings and said use the old plates!  It was that distorted, wonky bass that was turning the speed garage DJs on to the record!  It is so funny how things like that work out sometimes; our mistake helped launch the record into the history books.

If people were going to hear one release from your camp, what would you prefer it to be? 

Well as the head of A&R after all this time I make a policy never to publicly state what my personal favorite Large records are (but I definitely have a list).  I think the one release that would define us is the record I already mentioned, Gabriel from Roy Davis Jr.

All being well, skip forward five years, where would you like things to be?

I see us being consistent in quality with a slew of new and upcoming talent…and pushing the boundaries of what dance music can be just as we have done all these years.

 

Recent stops 

USA – Culprit – Droog 

 

UK – Ramp /Fourth Wave / Ashes – Tom Kerridge

 


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