It’s no secret that New York City, over the last couple of years, has provided the rest of the planet with some of the finest and most interesting underground music available. It has of course been one of the key influential cities from the beginning, yet recently there’s been an incredibly healthy surge of producers, djs and labels emerging into the open that have reinvented styles, broken down genre-defining barriers and have genuinely put the city back on the map when you consider the political suppression the underground scene there has suffered over the last couple of decades.
12 x 12, or Sean Phillips as he’s more formally known, is one of the recent contributors to this movement. As a relatively new kid on the block, Sean is beginning to cement his place among some serious talent through the launch of his new label ‘Voodoo Down Records’ alongside friends and co-founders Alex Hamedy and Christopher Ernst aka Penalune. Their first release contained debut tracks by Phillips and Hamedy, two from Penalune (one under the L'estasi Dell'oro guise), plus an A-side by STL no less. This has been adequately followed up with a brilliant four-tracker from none other than October, which includes a characteristically hypnotizing remix from fellow New Yorker Joey Anderson, as well as a Voodoo Down Remix. Not a bad bit of A&R for only your second release, which is now available as a 12” through Halcyon in the US, Rubadub in the UK, and Syncrophone in the rest of Europe.
12 x 12 hasn’t been short of djing opportunities either. Aside from the frequented parties in NYC, he has just returned from gigs at Loftus Hall in Berlin and a Boiler Room set in London with label partner L'estasi Dell'oro where they warmed up for L.I.E.S stalwarts Delroy Edwards, Svenghalisghost and head honcho Steve Summers. There’s no sign of letting up now the momentum has begun for 12 x 12 either; with a forthcoming release and remix on newly established Brooklyn labels LAG and Princely respectively, plus managing the new signing for a third release on his own label due out in the next few months, the summer looks to be a busy one for Sean and his Voodoo Down crew.
The mix for Snare, surprisingly enough, doesn’t contain any of his own releases or tracks. Instead he’s taken the opportunity to put something together using records from a variety of styles and producers that influence his own sound and label direction perhaps. ‘It’s more dreamy stuff for the late nights or early mornings and worn out eardrums’ is how Sean describes this mix for us, which certainly rings true for the opening half at least. The considered downbeat direction changes, discordant melodies and more abstract selections in the first half an hour are followed by a weightier and more four to the floor housier affair by the latter stages of the mix, creating a perfect balance and flow to the set as a whole. The track list should also appeal to a few heads with the likes of STL, Margaret Dygas, Three Chairs and DJ Sprinkles all featuring. 12 x 12 has definitely taken the opportunity to provide a sterling effort showcasing his quality as a selector. It’s evident there will be more to come from this camp, both in terms of performances and production; and we can’t wait to hear the results.