Houndstooth might come from the stellar team behind Fabric, but the artist-led label is very much its own thing. Label head Rob Butterworth was already running Fabric’s record label arm, responsible for releasing its ‘Fabric’ and ‘Fabriclive’ mix compilations, when Houndstooth launched back in 2013. Seen as an opportunity to focus solely on putting out unique, new music, the very first release from Call Super “raised a few eyebrows” according to Rob Booth, who runs the label alongside Butterworth. “Many of our fans were expecting Ricardo Villalobos, Richie Hawtin or Carl Craig,” he says.
In fact, the label has largely shied away from marquee names, instead giving up-and-comers such as Snow Ghosts, Aïsha Devi and 18+ a platform, as well as unique projects from more established artists, including Dave Clarke’s Unsubscribe and Paul Woolford’s Special Request. For the label’s fifth anniversary, it’s shown a willingness to look beyond the dancefloor with the experimental, TS Eliot-inspired compilation ‘In Death’s Dream Kingdom’, which features tracks by the likes of Hodge, Pan Daijing and Batu. And while Houndstooth’s output might often feel at home in the atmosphere of Fabric, it’s still clearly treading its own adventurous path.
‘In Death’s Dream Kingdom’ is out now on Houndstooth
Label Bosses: Rob Booth & Rob Butterworth
What were you both doing before the label started?
Booth: I owned a café in the Lake District cooking up soups, veggie chilli and the best darn breakfast north of Watford!
Butterworth: I was running the Fabric label.
How did the venture with fabric come about?
Butterworth: With compilations, you licence other people’s music; it had been a goal for some time to start our own label releasing our own music.
Booth: The Head Of Communications at Fabric, Kirsti Weir, hit me up on email to say they were looking for someone to A&R a new label Rob wanted to start. Owning the café at the time, my head was turned immediately.
Why did you want to make something separate to the fabric label?
Butterworth: Although the output of Houndstooth aligns with the ethos of the Fabric label, we also wanted to be able to move beyond the dancefloor, and we felt the label should have its own identity.
Where did the name come from?
Booth: Although Fabric has a much wider meaning than the more literal use as in for clothing, its logo was designed from the Houndstooth [textile] pattern. We liked the synergy as a name, and created the ‘H’ logo by modifying Fabric’s logo
Does the relationship between the two make it feel like a family unit?
Butterworth: Very much so, it allows both labels to support each other. Also, from an artist point of view, Call Super and Special Request have now become part of the Fabric series, and a number of Houndstooth tracks have been used by DJs in their mixes.
Selected by Rob Booth 10 key releases
Call Super 'The Present Tense’
“The inception of the label – a vital release”
“We’re totally obsessed with Akkord’s sound; their production is flawless”
Special Request ‘Soul Music’
“This release brought us a legion of new fans”
Snow Ghosts ‘And The World Was Gone’
“This track, and the remixes on the twelve inch from Roly Porter, Calibre and a glorious vocal version by Kahn, is simply one of the best I own”
“The three mixtapes 18+ self-released are three of the best mixtapes we have heard. To get the chance to sign Samia and Justin was a dream for both of us”
Aïsha Devi ‘Of Matter And Spirit’
“What an incredible LP (and such a wonderful person). Aïsha’s live shows are like nothing I’ve ever seen – so animated, full of power and emotion”
Throwing Snow ‘Embers’
“The album Ross has always dreamt of making – a sixty-minute masterpiece”
Call Super ‘Arpo Low’
“Joe really is a pleasure to work with. He not only drew the three-hundred individual covers for the seven inch, all with different artwork, but then featured two stunning tracks within!”
Special Request ‘Belief System’
“Exactly what Mixmag said last year: Paul’s ‘Magnum Opus’ moment. Flawless!”
Various ‘In Death’s Dream Kingdom'
“It was mind-blowing to work with twenty-five artists we have so much respect for on this compilation”