Independent Australian Label Puts Electronic Music On The Map
It’s been an incredibly busy year for Australian label Vicious Recordings which is an monumental feat for an independent music brand navigating the widespread impacts of 2020. Vicious was born over 28 years ago and has firmly stood strong as the dance music industry has leveraged from a vinyl led underground movement to a prominent global, digitally distributed and streamed phenomenon.
“You simply don’t make it through the turbulent times of the music industry without your heart being in it.” Has remained the long term and dominant ethos of the label since its humble beginnings, citing passion as their unifying bond.
Electronic music and clubland has essentially provided an ongoing outlet for the imprint, which has delivered some of the most inspiring, and memorable songs over the past three decades. Vicious fast earned its position as a pivotal record label that launched many major careers. Since inception, literally hundreds of releases have appeared on the label which was actually founded in their back garden and garage within their hometown of Melbourne. Their external timeline clearly showcases some extraordinary success stories that would excite many notable majors, constantly evolving as the scene has progressed forward from its original roots and humble House led beginnings.
John Course, Label Manager & Profile Artist
Further talks with Vicious co-founders John Course and Andy Van, at the helm alongside Be Rich label manager Guy Lewis, and their vibrant label team will uncover a myriad of knowledge and unadulterated love of music. This collective ardently live and love what they do, rarely taking time out from their weekly rituals of production, licensing and promoting their discography. Touching upon the label’s extensive history you’ll quickly find a cohesive trail of huge and respected names that have all started life or rubbed shoulders with this iconic Australian family.
Referencing back, you’ll learn DJ Carl Cox teamed up with Mark James (ex Future Entertainment head honcho) and John Course to see the label’s third release “Eternal”. Their first internationally charting release with Ground Level’s “Dreams of Heaven”. Dirty South positioned himself with releases and remixes on Vicious, as did TV Rock’s Ivan Gough and James Ash (from the Rogue Traders) whose debut album was released by Vicious and is now happily back with the team releasing new music in 2020 once again, and under his own name.
The brand provided a heightened benchmark for the early scene, distributing worldwide and curating their own brand of House which openly led the way for many more local and international DJ’s and producers to build upon.
Leading Electro/Dance outfit Vandalism released a barrage of top-shelf singles with the imprint including She Got it, and Never Say Never topping charts and spearheading tours across the world, performing alongside the likes of David Guetta, Steve Aoki, Prodigy, MSTRKRFT and Boys Noize. Major act and platinum selling Potbelleez are another outfit who started their journey with the label. Whilst Madison Avenue achieved their worldwide acclaim for their “Polyester Embassy” album and hit singles “Don’t Call Me Baby” (UK pop chart number 1) and “Who The Hell Are You” with Vicious. The Australian phenomenon Peking Duk went on to deliver a massive 3 Platinum selling singles with Be Rich Records and of course, the late AVICII was first signed & developed by Vicious, and had a run of his earliest releases which included his first Beatport number 1 “My Feelings For You” released on this standout label. As a proverbial mother to a host of alternate sub-labels, they have regularly proven to be a consistent source for fresh talent and home to chart topping music across their 28 years at the forefront.
Andy Van, Director & Head of A&R
Whilst the greater world may be unaware of the calibre of this brand, those in the know will be aware of their game changing attitude and lust for fresh music. Listening back to their catalogue, you’ll be privy to the outstanding set of ears on their A&R team, constantly calling out future anthems, and generating dancefloor defining moments that last. The vicious team has continually pushed forward, sharing industry acquired knowledge and the perfect recipe of how to marry an outstanding song and sustain their artists growth. Here you see the collaborative efforts that allow everybody in the project to succeed together, hence their ascension and equal standing with their artists, nurturing rock solid relationships, with a universal label that supports their vision.
Thankfully, the urge to cut through politics and ride atop burgeoning trends, both John Course and Andy Van firmly believe that when it comes to dance music “Your only as good as your next release” and the very same passion that helped create the buoyant history Vicious is so proud of is exactly what drives the label forward, and nurturing their current stable of artists and group of labels. Melbourne’s Illstrtd and Sgt Slick, Sydney-sider Friendless, John Course’s own productions, Indonesia’s Angger Dimas on Be Rich Recs, Andy Van’s Super Disco Club project (with vocalist Cassie), Mind Electric & Jolyon Petch, all play part in the rich tapestry of releases on Vicious, are provide recent examples of what the label is consistently releasing.
On a more underground tip, a various array of new school acts are also released on Vicious Black or via partnership labels U-Genius and Valiant. The label collective upholds an energy that fully encomasses their music driven approach, placing both music and artists first. This is testament to their releases standing the test of time. “Good music doesn’t sleep, and neither does our team in the search for pivotal releases” suggests Andy Van.
Sgt Slick, longterm Vicious Artist & ARIA Award winner
Constantly finding new music is exactly what drives our labels, with our consistent theme over our years of service being to harbour new talent from both Australia wide, and also the rest of the world. This allows us to make an impact on the global dance music map and integral to our success. Vicious is a family first and foremost, and everyone involved presents a wealth of experience and ability to develop and partner with our artists that consistently build long standing careers. It goes without saying that their unique position also shows they know exactly how to deliver releases and promos to the right hands.
Vicious marketing and product manager Damien Platt has helped navigate the label through COVID and the shutting down of clubs, he states “dance music fans are still consuming music, they’ve just changed the medium in which they consume. Since COVID hit our streaming catalogue has increased by 200% with a large amount of streams coming from the users own playlists and library. People are taking the club into their home. This has further been accelerated by DJ’s streaming their own sets into peoples living rooms. You could argue that DJ’s in 2020 have never been more connected and in-touch with their audiences.”
Damien Platt, Product & Marketing Manager (Vicious & associated labels)
From today’s superstar DJ’s, Radio Programmers, international Talent Spotters and Tastemakers, to streaming Playlist Creators and most importantly, the consumer. This is the full cycle taken care of by a relatively tight, but skilled team who curate the music right through to marketing application.
Our analysis was that Vicious discovers, develops and releases quality electronic music that crosses genres and borders. With a talent focused, business savvy mindset behind the label they have become one of the unsung heroes of the House scene, firmly positioned between the uber commercial charts through to underground floor shakers of tomorrow. Below you can check out a sample of their latest offerings, all destined to motivate clubbers worldwide during these abstract, testing times. We may not be able to attend our favourite club, so let Vicious bring the music directly to you. Sit back, plug in, stream, download anything from the previews below and we challenge you not to dance.
Vicious Classics You Should Know:
Madison Avenue – Don’t call Me Baby (38million+ Spotify Plays)
AVICII – My Feelings For You (43million+ Spotify Plays)
Hot New Releases Out Now:
SGT Slick – The Night The Lights Went Out (JARC Remix)
Released : 13th November 2020
Mysterious duo JARC have had a busy 2020 by all accounts. They have spearheaded the scene with two notable vinyl only releases through their own JARC Music label (with another already scheduled) For fans of seriously funky Disco sounds it’s worth tracking down the their latest material. Once their interpretation of TNTLWO lands, we’re pretty sure you’ll be instantly converted to their well seasoned sound…. “Music that moves, with grooves that matter!”
Here we see an outstanding rework of an already monumental hit once they got their dirty little Disco mitts on Sgt Slick’s latest single “The Night The Lights Went Out”. They have delivered a funky, slinky, grooving Disco take that hooks from the second it’s dropped. Like an ultimate 70’s fuelled seductress, here we have a modern edge that teases with an extended intro, chopped up vocals and fully tweaked bassline that pops. This version steps down the overall tempo into a much slower pulsating mood, taking in the full spectrum of funk before dropping into a gigantic anthem, fuelled by its uplifting soul filled vocal hook, and sweeping strings sample taken from the original. This one has European clubs and a prominent trademark that authentic Housers will understand, pure unadulterated energy that pulses in all the right areas.
Try it out and get your JARC on!
SGT Slick & John Course – Love Is
Released : Beatport Exclusive 20/11/2020
Here we have a certified hitmaking collaboration between two of Australia’s most well known DJ and production heroes, Sgt Slick and John Course. Providing the perfect roundup to sign off 2020, the team deliver an energetic club cut that instantly evokes emotion and upholds the telltale trademark of an instant anthem. Simply described as “This is BIG!!!” consistently in the advance promo, we’re certain to see this one rise to the top at a rapid rate.
“Love Is” showcases a culmination of chart topping releases for both artists this year, following on from Slicks “Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie” and recent “The Night The Lights Went Out” dropping sublime Disco tinged moments. Whilst John Course’s “Just a Little” rework of the Liberty X tune heralded a fresh house vibe to an existing R&B classic. To finalise the year, the guys felt the pairing would deliver an uplifting club monster that would reverberate globally. Here we certainly have that, with a monumental synth riff and repetitious vocal chant “Love Is What You Want, Love Is What You Need”. This timely, positive lyrical message couldn’t be more on point after the tumultuous 2020 we’ve all experienced. We foresee this as an addictive club cut to see out the end of the year and to welcome the next, with our sights firmly set back on the dancefloor in 2021.
Stay tuned for more top music from Australia’s #1 Dance Music label.
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