Ninja Tune founders Matt Black and Jonathan More (aka DJ duo Coldcut) and label manager Peter Quicke will receive the Innovator Award in association with Promostream, at the AIM Independent Music Awards on 8th September 2015.
The Innovator Award celebrates the achievements of an artist, label or business person pushing the boundaries of independent music. With over twenty years work to their name, the award highlights the resounding and inspired success of a trio responsible for one of the most renowned, forward thinking independent labels anywhere in the world.
Founded by Matt Black and Jonathan More, better known as Coldcut, and run for 23 of its 25 years by label manager Peter Quicke, Ninja Tune has firmly established itself as one of the most credible independent labels in the UK.
Rewind to 1986 and the rare groove bubbling from the bedrooms of part-time DJ duo Coldcut, aka ex-art teacher Jonathan More and computer programmer Matt Black. They became “the first Brit artists to really get hip-hop’s class-cutup aesthetic,” they introduced rap to ravers, creating a heady blend of hip-hop production aesthetics and proto-acid house grooves, and became a precursor for scenes as diverse as electronica, breakbeat and ambient. Their early 12”s – “Say Kids, What Time is It?” and “Beats and Pieces” – moved minds as well as feet, and changed the face of emergent dance music. Their remix of Eric B and Rakim’s “Paid in Full” took their radical sound mainstream, and caught the attention of the industry at large. They soon took the pop world by storm, introducing Yazz and Lisa Stansfield to the world, and producing both artists’ most memorable hits. They ‘somehow found room at the table for Queen Latifah, Mark E. Smith and Jello Biafra’ (SPIN) More recently, they’ve made interactive, cut n’ paste installations for an exhibition of work by one of their own precursors, William S Burroughs.
Amidst this whirlwind, the pair found themselves on tour in Japan with Fatboy Slim. Inspired by the cultural significance of the Ninja, they launched Ninja Tune. A self-titled ‘technicoloured escape pod’ it was a means to escape the creative control of major labels. With a mission statement set in the form of forward thinking hip hop, jazz, funk, soul, breaks and beyond, the pair invited Peter Quicke to come on board as label manager, and the rest, as they say is history.
A visionary label, consistently heralded and “reliably excellent”, it keeps a widespread focus on signing a diverse range of uncompromising artists encouraging interactive technology, embracing the audio-visual world, creating their own publishing company Just Isn’t Music, and finding innovative uses of software. Other record labels under the umbrella include Big Dada, Counter Records and Werkdiscs (Actress’ label), and also managing Brainfeeder (Flying Lotus’ label).
Ninja Tune and its associated labels have gone on to sign a diverse range of uncompromising artists. Amon Tobin, Actress, Thundercat, Bonobo, The Bug, The Cinematic Orchestra,The Invisible, Kelis, Machinedrum, Toddla T, Diplo, Kate Tempest, Roots Manuva, Run The Jewels, Wiley, and Young Fathers.
It truly is at the helm of independent music, a label that prides itself on producing quality music, while serving its artists in a way that no major label would.
Speaking of the award and the work of AIM, Matt Black commented, “Being part of AIM allows us to keep that independence whilst at the same time having the strength of a community.”
“It’s a real honour to get this award,” continued Jon More. “AIM is so crucial in fighting the indie labels corner – making that collective voice heard where it counts. We started Ninja Tune with a firm belief of being 100% independent. That belief has not changed after all these years.”
“AIM is really important to indies like us. Its brilliant for Coldcut and Ninja Tune to be recognised by AIM.” concluded Peter Quicke.