There’s been an undeniable audible shift in modern urban music. Swapping sampling for software and synths, it diversified into something more futuristic, more inclusive of different genres; morphing into an arguably more universal sound. Propelled by a legion of bedroom beatmakers, any kid with a cracked copy of Fruity Loops could produce simple beats creating a scene that was diverse, progressive and unique. Indeed from Flying Lotus to fifteen year olds, anyone could suddenly have a hand at creating electronic music. At the pinnacle of this inherently modern movement sits Huh What and Where, somewhat of a home for the left field beatmakers.
A hot bed of new young talent, Los Angeles’ Huh What & Where was established by two college roommates, Bahwee and Killa in a University dorm in 2011. With head honcho Killa founding the label after some time as an intern for famed Hip Hop record company, Stones Throw Records. Killa, also known as Huh What & Where’s founder and CEO Keith Fujimato, explains the name reflects the collective’s position in the Los Angeles’ cultural zeitgeist, “Huh What and Where means the label is the “huh, what and where” on everything we think is dope.” It’s an accurate depiction to say the least with the label’s artists having developed an in demand new sound, with the likes of Disclosure and Chet Faker having recently collaborated with its artists. Indeed, theirs is a diverse and eclectic roster of young and exciting artists. Think the RnB remixes of Montreal’s Kaytranada, the reconstructed Hip Hop beats of Elaquent, Sweater Beats’ enigmatic, trap tinged sounds and the beautiful swirling songs of Astronautica. All artists on the cusp of international stardom, all artists innovating the electronic music we listen to.
But don’t think that such great heights have lead to the label losing it’s roots and closeness. As it’s Soundcloud page proudly states, Huh What and Where was, “Created by artists for artists.” And it shows. The label operates as a quasi-collective of similar minded yet uniquely different artists, collaborating, cooperating and clashing contrasting sounds to create an ethos that’s part Do It Yourself and partly a groundbreaking cultural movement. The days are still relatively young for this exciting and forward thinking record label, but their output has been nothing short of impressive, having dropped over thirty releases since it’s birth.
A low-key but forward thinking record label, Huh What & Where is emblematic of a new style of creating and selling music. The label is represents a close knitted community of friends and artists carving their own niche out within a scene. Now their sights have expanded beyond the local L.A scene to truly international heights.
Words: Charlie Jaco