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Gigging from Berlin by way of London and Bristol, DJ/producer Jesse Rose runs the label Made to Play. It's a demonstratively named outlet for artists such as Riva Starr, Oliver $, Zombie Disco Squad, and Idiotproof — artists who are very serious about not being too serious. "I think comedy would have to be the theme [that runs throughout the Made to Play roster]. All the artists like to have fun with their work," Rose says by email. "They take the production side very serious, but they'll add cheeky samples or do something you wouldn't expect. I suppose that's also called innovation."
Of course, being cheeky and innovative is nothing new to Rose. He's been managing labels, producing, and performing for more than a decade. But he more widely cemented his name this millennium alongside producers including Dave "Switch" Taylor, Trevor Loveys, and Hervé by self-assigning himself to a genre they jokingly coined "fidget house."
Both the name and the sound quickly found favor among those looking for more funk with their 4/4 beat. Fidget unleashed a jackin', wonky progression of pitch-bent bass lines and cut-up vocals. Across the pond, artists such as those on San Francisco's Dirtybird records were equally dedicated to putting a campy and cool attitude between bass bombs. Trading gigs with similarly percolating contemporaries such as Claude VonStroke, Rose found himself even more ingrained within a quirky network of deep tech-house tricksters.
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In the past few years, Rose has used his residencies at clubs such as Berlin's Panoramabar and London's Fabric to field-test material for both himself and his label. He signed artists such as Round Table Knights after "seeing their demo go off to 20,000 people at a festival in Europe," for example. He also spent time jamming in the studio, trading off on the gear with artists such as Henrik Schwarz, Jazzanova, and Hot Chip. Eventually he set out to craft his own full-length — What Do You Do If You Don't? — which came out on Switch's Dubsided label in early 2009 and featured some surprisingly radio-friendly R&B moments.
The sound overall is influenced by late-'80s bass-thrust hip-house (such as the Jungle Brothers) and early-'90s post-Detroit techno effervescence, all updated and fattened through Logic Pro's sidechains. Currently touring together, members of the Made to Play cadre kick out boundary-twisting, low-end-driven house choons sure to set crowds off whether they're from the Balkans or South Beach.