"One of the big labels to keep the flag of UK funk and soul flying high worldwide", Craig Charles, BBC 6 Music.
One of the UK's leading funk and soul labels, Jalapeno Records, celebrates its 20th anniversary with the release of a compilation album box set, Two Decades of Funk Fire, showcasing highlights from the label's illustrious 20 year history.
The compilation will be released as a 7 inch box set, 20 track digital compilation and CD on November 27, 2020.
"I love Jalapeno Records! One of the big labels to keep the flag of UK funk and soul flying high worldwide. Lively, colourful, and engagingly irreverent are the essential ingredients going into a classic Jalapeno release. Throw into the pot their perfect taste in who they sign and the support they provide to developing their artists and that is why, year after year, they have been responsible for releasing some of the biggest forward thinking funk and soul tunes around from a whole host of outstanding artists such as Smoove & Turrell, The Allergies, Skeewiff, Flevans and many many more! Thankyou Jalapeno for doing what you do so well!", Craig Charles, Craig Charles Funk and Soul Show, BBC 6 Music
From huge album releases by the legendary nu-disco crew Kraak & Smaak to the gospel-infused blues of Izo FitzRoy, to the crisp hip-hop breaks from fun-loving showstoppers The Allergies, to the northern soul of Smoove & Turrell, since its inception in 2000, Jalapeno Records has grown into a label which defies pigeon-holing.
To date, Jalapeno has clocked up over 350 releases from 53 acts, 64 feature artists, 330 remixes, 50 albums, 34 compilations, and spawned four sub-labels. A regular live touring schedule and countless Jalapeno Sound System DJ sets at festivals (they have played every Glastonbury since 2006) have all helped cement their reputation in their 20th year as one of the most important independent labels in British music today.
2020 has been the most successful year yet for the Brighton based independent. While other labels halted release schedules due to the pandemic, Jalapeno has celebrated a No.1 album in the Official Dance Music Charts (Smoove and Turrell's Stratos Bleu) and had their most prolific period to date, with album releases from The Allergies, Izo FitzRoy, Flevans and ephemerals amongst others.
"Over the years Jalapeno has consistently attracted and released artists that made the difference in the global musical realm that is funk, soul, disco and electronic music. I think we have been very lucky to have come on board early and made this journey with them. Here's to another 20 years chock full of great music, cheers!" - Kraak and Smaak.
The label is run by Trevor McNamee. Having cut his teeth at BMG, Trevor worked the ranks through Polydor, Jive Records (as Label Manager), then back to BMG (as Marketing Manager), before joining label partners Elliot Ireland and Alex Rizzo (friends from Brighton in the 90s) at Jalapeno Records in 2001. McNamee has since become sole owner of the label while Ireland and Rizzo have gone on to concentrate on making music and production for their library label Pedigree Cuts.
Trevor McNamee says, "Reaching 20 years in any business is an achievement but in one that has changed as many times as this industry has, still being here and keeping us and our artists from having to do proper jobs feels special.
Although I had a lot of experience working at major labels, Jalapeno has offered me the chance to do what I do for the love of it, and that has never really changed. At Jalapeno we sign artists based on whether we dig them, rather than whether we think they will sell huge numbers. It's always nice when they do make money though! Seeing our artists getting serious support on national radio in the UK and around the world or getting chart success after years of building a fanbase organically makes the long haul worthwhile."
One of the McNamee's signatures at the label has been to put the label's artists first by giving them artist freedom and creative control. Label deals are a 50:50 split with artists on relatively short deals so they can leave if they want to – but very few do.
"Jalapeno Records are standing head and shoulders above other independent labels. They give us the creative freedom to express ourselves, which is why we have been with them for over ten years!" – Smoove and Turrell.
McNamee continues, "When an artist has a clear idea of what they want to do then I try to meddle as little as possible. Many of our artists prefer the first time we hear an album to be when its finished – with no tinkering. And that's fine – I wouldn't have signed them or given them that creative freedom if they hadn't proved they were due it."
One of McNamee's contributions to the label was the early digitisation of Jalapeno's substantial back catalogue and success in securing major Hollywood syncs and TV ads. Music from the label has soundtracked ads for Nike , VW, Toyota, Orange, Renault, Honda, Sky and many smaller brands. Greys Anatomy was an early and important sync success for the label but since then many TV shows worldwide have used Jalapeno music.
"What we do really seems to work for sync" continues McNamee "and as we are not generally chasing chart success, achieving in this area for our artists and writers can be the difference between making a living from music or not. For the future we want to continue providing a home for the great roster we have and continue to add to it when the right artists come along. "
After an extremely busy year of album releases in 2020 Jalapeno Records already has albums lined up for 2021 from Gizelle Smith and The Allergies - there's no slowing down!
"Jalapeno Records have been prime instigators of the UK funk and soul scene for the last 20 years and I've been proud to be a small part of the past few. Here's to many more decades. " – Izo FitzRoy.