Here at Dazed we pride ourselves on being at the forefront of cultural activity. If it’s got a pulse, we’re aware of it. And City Fly Records definitely has a pulse. The label, which has just released its debut showcase EP, was born in Leicester, a natural progression from club night and radio show – specialising in Deep House beats. Having built up a big underground following in Leicester – bringing in acts like Motor City Drum Ensemble and Joy Orbison for club nights - they’ve expanded, and now have future dates spreading right across Europe. We caught up with one of the founders, Jonna Iliffe, to find out more about City Fly.
Dazed Digital: How did you come to form the label?
Jonna Iliffe: I’ve always been into my music - listening, buying, collecting and DJ’ing. I especially like finding rare stuff and exposing music nobody else has heard and playing it in the clubs or on our radio show so it felt like the natural thing to do to set up our own label and release some real gems.
DD: Can you describe the sounds City Fly will be releasing?
Jonna Iliffe: Mainly house music based. The first release 'City Fly Visions' showcases four different flavors of what our sound is about, but has one thing in common; soul, groove and must work the dance floor.
DD: Who’s on the EP?
Jonna Iliffe: Kicking off the EP is Glaswegian James Johnston who, after rekindling his love affair with house, has released 12”s to great acclaim on labels at the forefront of the house revival, including 4Lux and Kolour Recordings’ offshoots Undertones and House Is The Cure. Next up is City Fly favourite YSE aka Ant Plate of infamous Derbyshire deep house duo Rhythm Plate. Under his YSE alias he has released a series of EPs on Lost My Dog records.
On to the B-side we have an exclusive in the form of re-releasing a secret weapon: Tone Control’s ‘Illusion’ complete with an unreleased remix from the guys themselves. And finally, Toronto-based Stuart Li aka Basic Soul Unit who has a distinguished discography – featuring on many prestigious labels including Versatile, Mule Electronic, Mathematics, Ostgut Ton, Philpot and Creme Organization.
DD: When is the first record released?
Jonna Iliffe: The vinyl was released on 31 May in all good records shops and the digital version is released on 14 June on iTunes, Beatport etc.
DD: What’s the midland’s scene like right now?
Jonna Iliffe: The scene in The Midlands is very healthy. A lot of people are putting on good innovative nights and taking the risk in putting on underground acts and DJs, which seems to be working. We’ve always stuck to our guns with City Fly in the fact that we’ve pushed the same music since day one and always promoted and booked DJs we’re passionate about without influence on what’s ‘fashionable’ at that present time.
It just so happens that deep house seems to be quite popular on the house scene at the moment and people seem to accept the more subtle groove on the dance floor rather than wanting hard, grimey, in your face music which tended to be the case previously especially in Leicester. As a result the night has gone from strength to strength especially since we’ve started our Sophbeck Sessions.
DD: Where has City Fly come from and where do you want to take it?
Jonna Iliffe: City Fly started as a club night at a small venue in Leicester called Weavers. We then got the opportunity to start the radio show on www.myhouseyourhouse.net which we’ve been doing now for around five years. The club night has expanded throughout the country and abroad now. We currently host nights in Leicester, London, Leeds and Manchester and have an event coming up at this year’s Sonar Festival and the record label has just been launched. We want to keep expanding on what we've built, putting on bigger, better parties, releasing more quality records, our own material and take City Fly international.
Also look out for our new London home, The Basing House, Shoreditch where we launch on 12th August. Check out more City Fly sounds on Soundcloud
Tone Control - Illusion (Tone Control Unreleased Mix)
Basic Soul Unit - Think It Over
James Johnston - Move Forward
YSE - Save It For LaterCreative Swing Alliance - In Love
Shade Feat Barna Soul Machine - All Alone