“Crews & Collectives” is a new series on EDM.com that investigates and highlights the immeasurable number of labels, groups, and entities present within today’s vast electronic music scene. Each week we will pick one collective and research many of its achievements, distinguishing traits, and supporting artists so that you can learn as much as possible about the scene and culture within today’s EDM scene.
Now, for the average electronic music listener, there are probably only a handful of names that arise when people mention the term “electronic music label” or “electronic music collective.” For many, the first name that comes to mind is Los Angeles-based powerhouse OWSLA Records.
Founded in fall of 2011 by Grammy-winning producer Sonny Moore aka Skrillex, this label is home to a plethora of DJs and producers from all over the world, each with their own take on a broad variety of genres. From dubstep to electro house to downtempo, many artists such as Porter Robinson, Kill the Noise, and Alvin Risk have all played a vital part in growing OWSLA’s image and sound, inevitably placing them into the “mega-label” position that they occupy today.
In the fall of 2012, OWSLA Records saw its first official releases with Porter Robinson’s Spitfire EP and Zedd’s single “Shave It,” both of which ruled the iTunes and Beatport charts for weeks after first hitting the shelves. The high level of success these releases received immediately gave Skrillex support to announce OWSLA’s debut North American Tour later that fall. This tour lasted 2 months and spanned across 14 states and provinces in the U.S. and Canada, featuring performances from artists including The M Machine, Kill the Noise, Birdy Nam Nam, Alex Metric, Alvin Risk, and Jack Beats.
With such heavy momentum gained from their recently-completed tour and a slew of new releases to back with, Skrillex announced in late November of 2012 that OWSLA would be opening their subscription program Nest IV to the public. Nest IV is a branch of OWSLA Records that collaborates with other mega-labels such as Mad Decent and Fool’s Gold to provide subscribers with even more exclusive releases and material. From DJ stems to rare and early releases, Nest IV has put out over 20 EPs and singles by artists unique to the OWSLA roster, and today it has become the biggest outlet for OWSLA’s broadening and varied sound for listeners and artists alike. Recent members of this elite list include rising acts Henry Fong, Wuki, and The Widdler.
Today, with over two-and-a-half years of experience and influence on the EDM scene, OWSLA has officially released over 100 singles, EPs, LPs and mixtapes from over 55 different artists around the world, and they are continuing to expand their reach and prowess every month with new material. Currently standing as the largest-followed electronic music label on SoundCloud, both OWSLA Records and the Nest IV have served as a platform for many artists to make their worldwide debut, and only a quick read-through of their current artist roster will give you some insight as to how prominent they have all become through this prestigious label. These artists currently include -
Looking forward in 2014, OWSLA Records already has a promising schedule of releases coming up, including new EPs from Alex Metric, KOAN Sound, and a handful of other producers. From their multiple residencies in North America and Europe to their distinguished roster on their Nest IV branch, Skrillex and his illustrious OWSLA Records are more than just a label, collective, or blog - they are a movement. Thanks to their huge fanbase and continued support, OWSLA will undoubtedly keep making headlines in our EDM culture for a very long time.
Cover photo credit: Prophex