The XL Recordings offshoot Young Turks has been a mainstay in the UK (funnily enough, they're not Turkish) music biz for almost a decade, consistently putting out seminal releases and championing the careers of contemporary icons across a spray of genres.

Young Turks was born as an imprint in 2006, masterminded by a then teenage Caius Pawson, in 2006. Pawson and a couple of friends started in the industry promoting gigs and club nights across various London hotspots - the whole endeavour snowballed until one fateful night at the abandoned TFL building got a tad out of hand. The police arrived, sirens blaring, to put a halt to the proceedings, whipping away all the profits in the process. However, as luck would have it, Richard Russell (XL Recordings owner) offered him a job, and the rest is history: "That's kind of how the record label started. So now we work from within the XL buildings and we use all their stuff and they kind of house us," muses Pawson to the Guardian.

The label doesn't discriminate against genres, with artists as diverse as Jack Peñate and Holy Fuck finding a home. Instead of a bias towards rap or metal or indie or pop, Pawson dedicates time scouting what he deems great music, ensuring acts that are innovative or just plain different get their time to shine. The real break came when The xx's eponymous premiere effort hit the shelves. Things had been gathering pace up until that moment, but as soon as 'Islands' and 'Crystallised' were leaking from every speaker, it was clear to lookers-on that Young Turks and Pawson had something really special upon them. It was a huge moment for the fledgling label, with the record eventually shifting over a million copies and winning the coveted Mercury prize - you can't really ask for much more from an indie label.

Although there's been a lot of success from Romy, Oliver and Jamie, the laurels don't rest solely on the sparse LDN threesome. There's a strong Iberian presence on the label with El Guincho and John Talabot gracing their catalogue, and NY indie-pop outfits Chairlift and Tanlines showing Stateside talent. Folk is covered too, with acts like Kid Harpoon and Broken Records demonstrating their abilities. Basically, and more concisely, this is a label that respects and encourages their entire roster, no matter the location or style or level of fame. The result of this personal hard graft is evident, with so many of Young Turks' arsenal delivering impressive results from the off.

As Pawson has reiterated time and time again, the label prefers to work with artists who know what they want to do already, giving them independence and freeing them from the traditional 'do this, do that' ethos of major labels. As the prominence of Young Turks grows, especially with the release of The xx's sophomore LP, there's no doubt that the label will have a much bigger platform from which to direct proceedings - they're respected, established and rapidly gaining fame for being intuitive and adept at selecting artists that will be very much worth your while indulging in.

Growing from something minute and Rod Stewart inspired to swaggering, influential enterprise in itself, Pawson has exceeded expectations. Running an international label at 25 is an enviable achievement, let alone one with so much influence and esteem. With Night + Day kicking off and the recent Koreless outputs, it's clear that he is only going to strengthen his presence in the music industry - he's already the A&R man for XL as well as the man behind Young Turks. Given his canny ear for genius, it's never going to be a problem with someone like him in a position of power.

Here are the five Young Turks offerings you absolutely need in your record collection/iPod:

  1. The xx - The xx: Mercury-winning debut record from the ethereal indie trio guaranteed to give you chills and make you want to wander the streets at night. An instant classic.
  2. SBTRKT - SBTRKT: Infused with a splattering of dubstep and breakbeat, the electronic wunderkind Aaron Jerome revitalised modern dance with his first full-length outing.
  3. Kwes. - No Need To Run: The stunning debut EP from experimental pop producer Kwes. is a sonic portfolio of broken samples and infectious instrumentals.
  4. El Guincho - Pop Negro: The tropical knob-twiddler and avante-garde beat merchant made waves with his sun-drenched 'Bombay', the lead cut from this record. He garnered massive accolades in his native Spain, too.
  5. Jessie Ware & Sampha - 'Valentine': Neo-pop/soul songstress Jessie Ware teamed up SBTRKT collaborator for this single, released on heart-shaped vinyl on Valentine's Day 2011. Also, it's an incredible track.


For more information about the label, and to purchase all of their beautiful releases, head over to theyoungturks.co.uk.