Dig into Downtempo, Lo-Fi House, Indie Folk & More on Brooklyn's YoungbloodsDig into Downtempo, Lo-Fi House, Indie Folk & More on Brooklyn's Youngbloods


Dig into Downtempo, Lo-Fi House, Indie Folk & More on Brooklyn's Youngbloods

Digging into the catalog of Youngbloods unlocks new sampling potential. Because with a focus on celebrating leftfield downtempo music, the Brooklyn-based record label offers a wide range of sounds to explore. It's as label co-founder John Moses puts it: "Sampling is universe-building"—and Youngbloods is here to provide the otherworldly sounds for that.




June 8, 2023

Your radio shows (formerly KCRW, now Amazing Radio) tend to champion cinematic, ethereal selections. Can you recommend any Youngbloods artists on Tracklib who fit that bill?

John Moses (co-founder of Youngbloods): Our records in the Tracklib catalog are a great snapshot of the label and our attempt to chase a particular state of listening through different lenses. Boy King Islands' Pastels, Foamek's Radar Ruins, and Rêves Sonores' Cr​é​puscule are all completely different records, ranging from shoegaze-y indie rock, nostalgic lo-fi house, and ambient collaged classical music. But all have a resonant, intimate quality to them that cuts across their respective idiosyncrasies. Listening to each album feels like a one-on-one conversation, and my hope is that this feeling can be captured by anyone who decides to sample the catalog in their own work.

"We're big fans of sampling. When done in an interesting, novel way it can make music feel uniquely experiential."

—John Moses (co-founder of Youngbloods)

Boy King Islands

(Photo: Boy King Islands in his studio)

How does your and your label partner Nicholas Conklin's background in radio influence the record label, selection, and output?

Our label's output these days—in tandem with our radio selections—tends to be more placid and emphasize introspection. Nick and I first met at our college radio stations, where our programs both focused on left-field bass music fit for the club. We're older now, and never felt like we could dance anyway, so the "Youngbloods sound"—for lack of a sexier way to describe it—feels in tune with who we are in this phase of our lives.

From an A&R perspective: being on the radio with the ability to present our catalog alongside the music of like-minded artists outside of our roster has allowed us to connect with musicians across the globe who resonate with our sensibilities. It’s a beautiful thing. Broadcasting is by far my favorite way to present music these days and it’s been an essential tool for growing the Youngbloods network.

What are some of your personal favorite Youngbloods songs on Tracklib, and what makes those tracks great potential sampling material to you?

I'm always impressed with what artists can do with a sample—current technology and techniques feel so far beyond what they were when I was first finding an interest in sample-based music. From the standpoint of an appreciator, great sampling material presents a motif or reference while providing space for the sampler to make the source material their own.

Of course, records by Suplington, Hilsa, Sontag Shogun, and Rêves Sonores are all very open and have a lot of different sounds to pull from. If I had my MPC and any musical talent I'd transform Rêves Sonores' "Swan Song" into something moody, slow, and bass-heavy and throw a rapper over it. Hopefully, someone with more skill than I have can do that…

I also think Boy King Islands is a true goldmine. Tracks like "Million Dollar Piano," "Cuban Joint," and "Memory Loop" all are ripe to be flipped into a lazy-Sunday-themed beat.

"It's not about finding the rarest soul record to flip anymore: there are no rules and as a producer, you can pluck magic from any kind of source material."

—John Moses (co-founder of Youngbloods)

sontag shogun

(Photo: Sontag Shogun)

Sampling is also present in the work of your artists like Sontag Shogun. What does the art sampling mean to Youngbloods as a label, and the artists involved?

Sampling is universe-building. I think you get that sense when listening to a group like Sontag Shogun who incorporates field recordings and found sounds into their work to create context. Personally, and especially in my formative years as a music fan, sampling put me in the shoes of different artists and beatmakers. Listening to producers like Madlib, J Dilla, DJ Premier, or Flying Lotus felt multi-layered in that I was simultaneously enjoying their music while discovering the building blocks and background of what they created.

So many of Madlib and Dilla's press photos featured them surrounded by tons of vinyl. Listening to their work allowed me to step into that room with them. My hope is that references within the Youngbloods catalog—whether sample or subtle homage—can also be utilized as a tool for discovery for listeners in a similar way. We're big fans of sampling. When done in an interesting, novel way it can make music feel uniquely experiential.

Usually, genres like soul, funk, and jazz are go-to's for our users. What do you feel like they can find in the catalog of Youngbloods, in genres like ambient and downtempo music?

My hope is that our catalog provides building blocks to create something different than what sampling funk, soul, and jazz might provide. I think it's common to associate classic funk, soul, and jazz samples with hip-hop, or rap-influenced productions, although I've been pleased to see producers branch out into sampling other types of music—both obscure and mainstream.

You see artists like The Weeknd sample Beach House or Kendrick Lamar sample Florence + The Machine. I think that goes to show how creative folks are getting in their sampling and how all-encompassing sample-based music has become. It's not about finding the rarest soul record to flip anymore: there are no rules and as a producer, you can pluck magic from any kind of source material.

What's the reason for you to add the catalog of Youngbloods to Tracklib?

Having Youngbloods involved with Tracklib provides a new avenue to share our music and give back to an art form that's been deeply influential for us as label owners, broadcasters, and music fans. A lot of the records I have in my collection were first discovered through sampling. I hope that someone can discover our catalog in a similar way. This is a great step toward that.

How do you think Tracklib can change the way people sample?

Having worked on the legal side of sample clearance, Tracklib can expedite the process and put artists' worries at ease which is HUGE. Clearing samples can be a long-term pain and this service is the perfect quick remedy. What Tracklib is doing is a tremendous undertaking but I'm glad Youngbloods is along for the ride. It's so crazy it just might work!

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