Named after the German word for ‘off’ (a word that also happens to rhyme with ‘house’) Will Saul started Aus Music as an offshoot of his Simple Records label. Initially releasing more leftfield productions, five years in the label began to move towards straight-up house and techno. As a result of the evolving sounds of its producers, its fan-base grew substantially as the likes of George FitzGerald, Midland, Dusky and Leon Vynehall gained greater exposure. Eventually, Will’s main focus shifted to Aus and the two labels began to compete. It’s the imprint’s willingness to be shaped by its artists that has seen it keep its sound moving forward. From early dub releases by Sideshow to more recent house bangers from Bicep, via funky excursions from Joy O, it always stays ahead of its peers. A few years ago Aus signed a deal to !K7 and has been able to grow ever more ambitious as it prepares to release four albums this year. Aus now marks 10 years of forward-thinking music – and their 100th release as well.
Label founder: Will Saul
How did the label begin?
It started as an offshoot of my label, Simple Records, and was a vehicle for albums from two of my dear friends, Fink and Lee Jones. It started much more left-of-centre and evolved into something more house and techno.
What were your initial intentions for Aus, and how have they shifted?
People like Appleblim, Ramadanman and Joy O, and all of those guys, were writing quite broken music that had influences from house and techno, but had lots of UK influences as well like garage and dubstep. Then they all started writing a lot more straight-ahead house and techno. The label evolved as a result of those producers writing a certain type of music. We always try to select a bunch of artists that we believe in and let them shape the music.
Do you feel like there’s a strong family unit on the label?
I try and have quite a lot of contact with the people we work with. I believe that building a lasting friendship is going to result in good music. A lot of the artists we’ve worked with over the years, those people are all my good friends.
Are you proud of the number of artists breaking through from your label?
I’m very proud of that. It’s the thing I get the most enjoyment out of – helping artists develop and seeing their careers take off. It’s definitely something I want to continue doing.
What’s been your proudest moment with the label?
Picking up the first finished record. In terms of driving to the pressing plant, collecting the vinyl and taking it to the distributor, that was something I will never forget. You always get a real buzz when you see the new artwork come through, but I don’t think anything will ever beat holding that first record.