‘Universal Grooves’ album, interview

The excellent ‘Universal Grooves‘ album drops today on Translation, so caught up with label boss Brian Kawamura.

DB: Brian, tell me about the ethos of your label?

BK: Translation Recordings is an electronic music label based in DC showcasing the diverse sounds of the 170 BPM spectrum. Translation operates without borders and in partnership with a cohort of fresh and veteran talent from across the globe. We’re in our eighth year of releases with nine vinyls, 14 digital and two CD album releases under our belt.

DB: So what lead up to the release of the ‘Universal Grooves’ compilation?

BK: All in all the ‘Universal Grooves’ LP continues our goal of bridging audiences with a diverse set of unique tracks that are deep and which work for the headphones while being powerful and entrancing enough to move you on the floor. We’ve also gone right in with stunning visual art and included a transparent blue 12. When we had them delivered we were blown away, they look great!

All in all we feel that the LP shines with the spotlight on the multi-genre talent behind Translation.

DB: So you mention DC, what nights near you are essential re D&B?

BK: DC is blessed to be a hub for great music of all types. There’s a great lineup of local DJs playing all spectrums of D&B and bringing in an impeccable lineup of headliners. Recently, Translation partnered with SubDistrick, one of the local monthly D&B nights which is held in the infamous bunker of 9:30 Club’s Backbar and features local talent. Rogue State also rinsed out ‘Local Elements’, an up and coming night at U Street Music Hall.

DB: Back to the comp and the fact it shows a broad range of artists and sounds have you noticed in new shifts in the scene? Something so diverse is going to expose new expression.

BK: We think that the cross-selection of the album’s tracks depicts the scene in a healthy light.

Also we’ve recently noticed that over time our artists have come back with remixes of older tracks using beats we hadn’t even thought of. The spotlight that electronic music has been given in the mainstream has been fortuitous in that light. More people are examining the history of this music.

DB: These days some people may choose to ‘cherry pick’ tunes rather than just sitting back and digesting an album as a whole, how do you feel your compilation sits right now?

BK: Our compilation carries on the goal we set out with, which is to tell a story. The progression of the album as a whole is the goal, and it’s a journey, from start to finish. You feel as if you’ve really been somewhere by the end.


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