In just over three years the UKF channels have notched up over one billion views. One thousand million basslines blasting laptop, PC and smartphone speakers across the world, there are no other channels that truly embrace the bass like UKF.
With a global party schedule and six chop-slapping compilations under their belt, it’s been an impressive three years for the young start-up brand. To the point where many unsigned artists who successfully get their music accepted by UKF will often reap all sorts of career benefits.
This summer they’ve hosted arenas at Global Gathering and SW4, and things are set to get even louder as they release UKF Bass Culture 2. 40 tracks over two CDs they cover the very best of drum & bass, dubstep and bass-ravaged electro. Whatever your bottom-end penchant, you’ll find it on this release. We thought we’d give the site founder Luke Hood a call and find out how YOU can get your tracks on the channel…
What’s the best way to get track over to you?
“You can either use our Soundcloud dropbox or send them directly to our email address which is firstname.lastname@example.org”
You must be swimming in unsigned music….
“We get at least 100 tracks a week. We do our best to get through every one. We can’t reply to everyone but we make a massive effort to give everyone a chance and get back to the best ones. It’s a massive task but we wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Does that include music from labels, too?
“No. The labels have a direct link to me through previous work. The labels are often a higher quality because the artists have already been signed but it’s great to find those unsigned gems to run on the channel. We’re constantly trying to find fresh talent; quality tunes get picked up on very quickly!”
Do you have a checklist when you’re looking at unsigned demos so you can prioritise your playlist?
“Yeah. How they approach you is a massive sign; whether they’re professional and polite about it or not. Whether the email is written in block capitals and has a download link to a dodgy website. That doesn’t find much favour! Or we often get a producer saying ‘it’s not finished yet’ or ‘the mixdown is not right yet’. We want it to be their best work! We haven’t got enough time to listen to every single track in full; we listen to it and check for the quality. If it’s not there, we move on to the next one. So if you’re not happy with your tune, or you think it could be better, we’ll hear that too. Another one is people sending a zip of 10 of their best tracks. As much we appreciate and encourage diversity we don’t have time to listen to all ten. Let’s say we listen to the first one or two tracks but the best track isn’t until track 10… We’re unlikely to hear it.”
Sterling advice there. Any more?
“Yes, be wary of samples! Bootlegs are an instant no-no; we can’t put them on the channel. They’re great for sets but no one will be able to legally use them or sign them. Bottom line; you have to be truly happy and confident with your work before you send it in. I think sometimes people will just give it a go and hope for the best. If you’re producing all the time you’ll get better and better. Why rush things? Make sure it’s your best!”
How about this… I’ve sent you a tune and it didn’t make the cut. In six months time I decide I’ve developed as an artist and I want a second chance. Are your ears still open?
“Of course! We’ll listen to you in six months or a year or two year’s time. Maybe if you sent a track a day then that would be a bit too much, but I’ve been speaking to some producers for over a year and their production is getting better and better and better. Eventually they’ll get to the stage where their stuff will be right for the channel. We try and help as many people as possible. The only thing against us is time…”
It’s against us all! So let’s say I’ve had my track accepted by UKF and you’re running my track on one of your channels. What happens next?
“You’ll more than likely be booked for our shows. Your music can appear on our compilation albums such as UKF Bass Culture 2. Our biggest tracks go out on the annual UKF Dubstep and UKF Drum & Bass albums which feature the best of the best. We generally try and get that artist support. Off the back of that they might pick up tours or a label deal or bookings that they never previously had. Some artists have really taken off after an upload. We know a lot of A&Rs from majors and indies alike watch our channel, purely to scout for talent.”
What was the first track that really blew up for you and took your viewing numbers higher than ever?
“Sub Focus Rock-It was one of the big tunes that really blew up on the channel. That was when things started getting legitimate in terms of working with labels. Technique was the very first label who actually recognised the potential in what we were doing, Simon Bassline Smith got back to me and embraced UKF as a promotional channel. Before then it was actually bootlegs but I started actively seeking permission to run these tracks and Technique were the first to reply.”
I bet you get loads of chancers sending you totally tenuous stuff too, right?
“Yeah we’ve had a few companies sending us indie and rock music! Can’t blame them for trying, I guess. We won’t be setting up UKF Rock any time soon!”