House music has a long-standing history of bringing different cultures together. In fact the genre itself was built upon suppressed peoples coming together. DJs created a freeing environment for people to forget about their troubles and feel connected. By playing underground records they created a new culture for themselves to enjoy as a community of artists.
Birmingham brand Undergrowth base their ethos on one of connectivity. In a similar nature, they pride themselves on delivering an underground experience to followers. Rather than bringing in heavy-hitting headliners, they allow their carefully chosen residents from the West Midlands and up-and-coming underground artists to entertain crowds at their parties. Household names such as Fleur Shore (founder) and Ryan Nicholls have made a significant impact on the local dance community by playing high quality records that are mainly produced by themselves or other producers from Birmingham. This allows party-goers to feel more connected to the music as they know that they are supporting some of the best local talent and are experiencing artists who they know will be big in the future.
Helping artists achieve their ambitions has been a recurring theme in the Undergrowth brand. They have launched their label – Undergrowth Records – created behind the scenes this year with the view to release music properly after the effects of the pandemic have diminished. This will allow underground artists to have a chance to get their music heard on a more broad scale when we return to some form of normality. Undergrowth have also brought through breakthrough artists as headliners in the past, being the first brand to book the now widely known DJ and producer – Rossi – outside of London, along with European names such as Djoko and Toman who now are household names. The mix series has enabled local Birmingham residents such as Jordan Masters to play records we might not be able to hear live at the moment. DJs have been given the opportunity to show off their own sound which currently is a rarity.
In tandem with the music, co-owner Callum Hughes has his Creative Minds podcast where he discusses significant issues with industry leaders. The guest who particularly made an impact on me is Brandon Block, who touches upon important issues such as developing as a DJ and mental health. Callum’s podcasts are extremely relatable and give listeners advice in life and in music.
Obviously Undergrowth cannot operate under normal assumptions at present, however, they have been plenty busy in delivering their sound. Varied content creation is their prime way of presenting their ethos to people until they can bring crowds together again, in a club, and fully connect people through music.