Let it not be said that this column has its finger anywhere but on the pulse. Small But Hard records is a new indie label, split between Berlin and London. It's the collective efforts of Shigeru Ishihara (DJ Scotch Egg, Devilman), Daisuke Imamura (DJ Die Soon), and Simon Fowler (Cataract Press).

Currently on the soon-to-expand roster is the jarring dubtronic ensemble Devilman (read our review of their debut here – http://thefourohfive.com/review/article/devilman-devilman); DJ Scotch Bonnet (one of Shigeru's other monikers); techno-dragged-through-the-mud outfit C_C; and finally, one-time-Jungle Brother and rightful forefather of Death Grips, Sensational.

SBH's current releases are a tape from Scotch Bonnet and Sensational, the aforementioned s/t from Devilman, and their inaugural mixtape (now sadly sold out).

After two incredibly well received showcases at Supersonic Festival and Berlin's infamous Berghain megaclub, the guys are keeping future events under wraps. In terms of future releases, there's going to be another mixtape in January, a Walter Gross EP, a C_C 7” and a Devilman EP – but that's as much as they're saying for now.

I spoke to Simon briefly (he's a busy bloke) about the label's inception, its modus operandi, and free collaboration.

What's your relationship with Shige and Daisuke?

I met Shige at Supersonic festival in 2010, seeing Devilman in the Old Library. We became friends over the course of the festival, and soon after we began discussing me producing the artwork for Devilman. I met Dysu last year when Drum Eyes played London. Now we work together closely on the overall vision and direction of the label.

Who approached who with regards to starting the label?

Dysu asked me about it after Shige, Kathy (Alberici, operations manager) and he discussed the idea of starting a tape/7" label. This then quickly grew to include graphic artist/photographer Bryce Davesne (http://www.electiic.com/) with whom I am now art directing with on all aspects of the label identity.

What connections are there, if any, with yourselves and the artists you put out (Apart from Shige being/being in/working with some of them)?

The connection is in our shared enthusiasm and passion for what we do as individuals.

As a label, do you intend to be pretty insular with regards to who you put out, or would you take demos from anyone?

Due to the size and nature of how we are running things right now we don't have time for demos, we are dealing with a stable list of releases leading up to next summer. However, I wouldn't want to rule out listening to demos as such but we are going to be pretty selective as to what we chose to be part of the roster.

There's a pretty defining sound to the label at the moment, would you ever branch off into releasing other genres?

We are definitely into branching out in any direction with regard to the 'sound' of the label, we don't want to be lumped into any one genre; this reflects the diversity of interest we all have in music and art. I think this is strongly evident in our recent showcase performances at Supersonic and Elevate festival.

Do you intend for the label to stay as one thing that you guys are working on out of many, or could you see it getting to a size where it could become a full-time commitment? Is this something you'd ever want?

I have no idea at this stage. I spend my time working as a freelance illustrator; that's what I have been doing for six years and intend on continuing with this work and taking it to a higher level. If possible, this would in turn allow me to invest more in the label and expand to the point of it becoming a fully-functioning company.

Is there anything in particular that inspires the label?

Feedback, distortion, a shared sense of humour. Bad jokes. Cooking. I'm personally inspired by all the people I'm working with in SBH and the new faces coming into the fold.

What formats are you releasing on?


It seems there's a lot of movement between what you put out and the people in it – almost like music bed-hopping. Would you consider Small But Hard a collective?

In some ways, there is a strong family vibe going on; we all share responsibility. It's also natural for the artists on the roster and involved in the label to collaborate freely, as this is part of the nature of how the label came together and is being run day to day.

Artists currently on Small But Hard's roster:

Devilman – 'Bakan Q'

DJ Scotch Bonnet – 'BOODOO BOOBEE'


Sensational Ft DJ Scotch Bonnet – 'Livewire'