"Our artists have the freedom to make the art they wanna make."

It's a sad state of affairs when a simple manifesto like that can lead to a whiff of cynicism, but with London-based independent label Kaya Kaya Records, it's hard not to believe them. In the short time they've been operational, Cherish Kaya and Katy Partridge have worked with the likes of GEoRGiA, Beat Culture and Rejjie Snow among others - positioning themselves as one of the most exciting labels around.

We caught up with the dynamic duo to find out more about this intriguing label, and what they have planned for the future (spoiler: world domination).

Hey guys, can you briefly tell us how you got started?

On a beach in the south of France, a magnum of blush in, and we were dreaming. Katy at the time was running an art gallery, Cherish was a scout at a major - and we had a vision to set up our own label. Cherish had previously discussed the idea with friend Richard Russell and he encouraged it.

Who does what?

Our roles are very distinct: Katy is the business brain, Cherish is the hype woman. It's good though, we don't step on each others toes - neither wants to do what the other one does.

How is it splitting your time between Kaya Kaya and JUCE? Do the worlds ever overlap?

The worlds definitely overlap - it's a positive more than a negative. A good example is GEoRGiA, a new release on Kaya Kaya who plays drums for JUCE. Being on the ground and a musician is a great way to discover new artists.

What's your ethos as a label? What do you try to do and/or achieve?

Discovering and developing new artists and assisting them along their journey. There's no rocket science to it, we just want to help get good music out there! We really believe in our artists visions - we aim to be the facilitator to their ideas.

Can you give us your 'mission statement' in one sentence?

Kaya Kaya, so good we named it twice!

Seriously though, we're not only partners in business, we're partners in crime. It's important to us to have a close working relationship, putting records out needs to be a creative and enjoyable process, and we like to bring our artists into the fold, under the warm bosom of Kaya Kaya, our children.

Are there any upcoming releases you're especially excited about?

We're really excited about Georgia and Gwilym. Both are really unique artists, and we're excited to share their music with y'all.

Kaya Kaya Records
Photo by Tom Griffiths.

Do you have a past release you are most proud of?

Yeah, Glass Animals - we helped them at the beginning of their journey. Listening to the EP, you can really hear the progression they made as a band and we're extremely proud of what they're doing now. It's well deserved.

If you could release any record ever, what would it be and why?

Oooooh, we're gonna disagree on this one, so we have to have two records:

Katy - Post by Bjork. Because it has some of my favourite songs of all time on it. In fact, thinking about it, if you ask what my favourite songs are ever, most of them are by Bjork. But, also shout-out to Fat of the Land by the Prodigy because that was my true musical awakening.

Cherish - Thriller by Michael Jackson. Because its consistently amazing. He was the definition of a star. And how has a record got that many bangers on it? Back-to-Back hits. We'd be rich. Five number-ones?! Imagine how many vinyl we could make for our artists. Fuck, we'd make them out of gold. Gold vinyl!

What other labels do you admire?

Oh man, so many - and again, different for both of us. But one we've both recently fallen for is Shamir - 'If It Wasn't True'. Kaya Kaya recommends.

What's the most rewarding thing about running a label? The most frustrating?

Seeing your artists doing well is the most rewarding for sure. There is no frustration - we're having too much fun.

What do you think the most significant advantages of being independent are in this day and age? Are there any major struggles?

Our artists have the freedom to make the art they wanna make. Thankfully these days we have the internet as a major platform. Anyone can start their own label. But of course, that also could be seen as a problem because a lot of great artists aren't getting the shine they deserve because these days the internet is so crowded.

Kaya Kaya Records
Photo by Tom Griffiths.

What's your take on the resurgence of cassettes?

Did we miss something?

Where do your allegiances lay when it comes to digital vs. physical releases?

Personally, we both collect records, we think having something physical is more special and exciting than something digital. We remember buying CDs at HMV and sitting reading the booklet inside on the train journey home. That's special. But we also want as many people to hear our artists as possible, so there's definitely something to be said about the ease of buying/listening digitally.

What's your office/workspace like? What would your dream Kaya Kaya HQ be like? Would it have ridiculous slides and things like the Pixar headquarters?

We're nomads. Right now we writing from the four walls of Cherish's bed. Thats a pretty good analogy of what our office space is like. Fuck the slides though, we'd never get any work done! Did you see the Stones Throw documentary, Our Vinyl Weights a Ton? There's a studio in their office and sometimes people sleep there, roll outta bed, make a beat, do some work. That'd be cool.

What does the rest of 2014 hold for Kaya Kaya?

We both do Kaya Kaya alongside full time jobs so our output isn't always as big as we'd like, but we've got a few things in the pipeline for this year. And in the mean time check out Georgia's EP Come In, and Gwilym Gold's new single, 'Muscle'.

Do you have plans any further than 2014 yet?


You can visit Kaya Kaya Records by heading to their official website.