Double Interview: Tempa dubstep DJ/producer AxH + Good Life ‘Label Takeover’ curator Megan Madara


Photo by K. Rober, Electrogenic

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]his Friday evening, shift from your usual venture & explore the depths & zeniths of the often misconstrued sound of dubstep @ Good Life with Label Takeover. The night ushers in one of the don DJs of the genre, Youngsta, along with respected local producer AxH, both of London label Tempa. Area record savant DanInAllston is also along for the Friday night ride & we scored an exclusive 10-track straight vinyl mix from the man himself [see below].

I spoke with Megan Madara, the creator of the recurring event, along with AxH regarding his latest paralyzing 12-inch release Destroy, in a double-interview post for Vanyaland. Fear not, this isn’t your stereotypical neon death glare of a crowd / cake-throwing party — this stuff has proper soul & purpose. Read up & give a listen!


>>>>> Megan Madara, Label Takeover

Georgette Bibber: The concept of a recurring night revolved around a specific record label is refreshing for this city. What was the process in creating it?

Megan Madara: I came up with the concept because I wanted to start a new night that hasn’t really been explored in Boston. I was even more motivated by the idea when I researched and realized how many local and great labels are out there. After reaching out to a couple label founders, the concept continued to develop because they were all excited by a label branded event — which most of them had never done something like that before. I wanted a night that showcases great music from labels that have spent the time to curate their sound.


Your nights do focus on local producers & labels, but you also bring in the big guns, such as Youngsta this upcoming Friday. Who have you featured so far from the Bean?

I’ve been very fortunate to have worked with many great DJs and creative label founders to make each night special. The first Label Takeover featured Tuba Records with Bakir, Moldy, and Cuddlemonster. Then I worked with Dubco Music to have their first launch party in Boston with DJs Airplane Sound System, Mobsky, Bad Magician, Colin Domigan, and Flyosophy. Next was Supply Records with some of Boston’s finest house DJs, John Barera, Will Martin, and Paul Morse.

My last Label Takeover was with Nick Minieri’s new label Zakim Records and we featured six DJs that night! (JSTJR, Colin Domigan, Chas Bronz, Bass Glutton, Brent Still Life, and Cirrus). And next up, my first international label, Tempa Records!

Care to share what’s on the horizon?


I’m currently working on something for the next couple months, but nothing to announce just yet. I’m hoping to create more of a balance between showcasing more local labels, as well as bringing national or international labels to Boston. And I’m always looking for new Boston labels, so come find me if you have one or are starting one!


>>>>> Andrew “AxH” Howard

Photo by N. Minieri, Beantown Boogiedown


You started producing exceptional ragga jungle & hip hop beats until you discovered dubstep while serving in the military overseas. Tell us more about your experience, did the transition happen seamlessly?

AxH: I got my first taste of dubstep in 2006. I was heavily involved in the American ragga jungle scene at the time, but very receptive to the sound. At the time, I was in the military, yeah, and overseas on an aircraft carrier. I had a laptop out at sea, and even produced and released a couple of vinyl records from it. By the time I got back home in 2007, I was getting out of the Navy and moving back up to Boston.

I am a music collector, as well, and I had already built up a good collection of dubstep vinyl, even though I wasn’t playing dubstep then. Songs like “Midnight Request Line” needed to be owned on vinyl. I was burnt out on jungle, that scene, and the music production. It was directly related to my new “freedom,” being out of the military, and having less overall stress and tension. I create mood music, and I just wasn’t the same producer anymore. dubstep took me over. Original dubstep. The culture, the vibe… it’s a very spiritual music.

Your first album was released on TUBA, & you have a multitude of mixes, remixes & collaborations in your arsenal — you must be a busy studio bee.


I live in the studio. Every day is a studio day, and I have no intention of stopping. I’ve become an obsessive-compulsive, music-producing hermit. It’s my passion, though. It has been for 15+ years. My marriage has been going strong for almost nine years now, so I’m doing something right in that department, but everything else has been forgotten and left behind for music production. Skateboarding, guitar, soccer, etc. These were all big parts of my life. Now I’m wearing horse blinders. Gotta Make Beats!

Your most recent release on renowned label Tempa is a three-track vinyl featuring “Destroy,” “Giant Footprints,” & “Everdine,” with a digital exclusive “I Feel Safe.” Described as “deep dungeon diving dubstep” by Boomkat with tracks frequently being heard on rinse.fm, it seems like you truly are hover-boarding into 2014. What was your inspiration/process behind these tunes?

Hover boards are dope. I hope I can still ride one when they are invented. I hate the word “dungeon,” in regard to dubstep, too. A few of my Tempa/Rinse brothers and I have a good laugh over that one. “Deep diving Dubstep” is cool, though. As for the tunes, I wanted to make a good first impression. I have a very ethereal, dark, tribal tendency, and I wanted to incorporate that part of me, as well as show my diversity. I love creating space. This guy on Facebook regularly comments on my music, and without fail, calls me a wizard. I think that’s hilarious. Wizard beats for the masses. The response to the Tempa release has been very uplifting and supportive. More to come!

You are one of the residents of 6-plus year running dubstep night Bassic Boston @ Goodlife, what bookings or memories are amongst your favorites?


We’ve had some of the best artists in the world play on our decks, so it’s definitely difficult to narrow it down. I was really excited for N-Type and J:Kenzo. Getting to play with them was an honor, and them being friends already, it was nice to share a stage. Youngsta. Meeting him definitely changed my life. I didn’t even have anything to do with the Youngsta booking, actually. Damian [Silva], co-founder of BASSIC, sent an email out saying he locked down Youngsta for a date. Cool! Some other great memories: Smoking on the roof with the crew, After-hours antics in the basement, the anniversary t-shirts…

What can tricks up your sleeve can we expect from your upcoming set at Label Takeover, opening for Youngsta?

I plan on bringing nothing but new music from myself for this one! I know Yunx has all the Tempa tunes I have and then some, but I also know I have a lot I haven’t sent him yet haha. I usually play all-original sets, since I make so much music as it is. I’d like to hear some of the newer, forthcoming tunes out on a system, in case they need tweaks. I’m also looking forward to seeing Youngsta’s face when I play him the bits I haven’t sent him yet.

I already have a stacked 2014, and I’ll definitely be playing the new ones, and maybe a VIP or two from the Tempa release. We’ll see!

Jedi Round! Say whatever comes to mind!
Oh shit. Ok.

Chihuahuas: Soulmates. BFF.


Cats: Meh. Except for Jezebel.

Skull & bones: Life is too short.

Juicing: “I have nipples, Greg. Can you milk me?” Oh wait. Yeah kale in everything. Strawberries, bananas, kale. I’m on my juice kick!

Turtle Time: Then. Now. Forever. Pizza. Raphael. How was that?

LABEL TAKEOVER PRESENTS YOUNGSTA + AxH + DANINALLSTON :: Friday, February 21 @ Good Life, 28 Kingston St., Boston :: 10 p.m., 21-plus, $10 :: ticket giveaway :: event page