Droog on Five Years of Culprit Label: "Personality and Timeless Appeal"


It was five years ago that a then-relatively obscure DJ threesome by the name of Droog put its hometown of Los Angeles on the underground dance music map by launching what would become one of the global scene's most hotly tipped house and techno labels.

"The basic idea behind [Culprit] was to have an outlet for the creative energy that was coming from the scene in L.A.," Droog's Andrei Osyka tells Crossfade.

"Something new was in the air here that was also part of a global fresh movement -- the genesis of this sound that has become known as the new deep house -- and we wanted to give our city a voice in this fledgling movement. We didn't feel that L.A. was occupying significant enough of a place globally -- not the way it deserved to."

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Hot Natured, Shonky, Adriatique, and Miami's own Lazaro Casanova are just some of the many international stars studding Culprit's distinguished catalog. And the common denominator?

"Personality (and hopefully) timeless appeal are what we look for at all times," explains Osyka about the label's A&R picks. "The music we sign has to have strong identity -- we are not into functional stuff nor easy trends.

"And Los Angeles itself -- its culture and just the way it feels and looks -- plays a big role," he adds. "Much of the music in our catalog wasn't actually made in L.A., but all of it, just about, feels like it could have been inspired by this city that we love.

"Just being around after ten years and remaining a respected entity would be achievement enough," says Osyka about Culprit's future. "We'd like to continue to grow, in quality of artists and music we attract, rather that size and hype.

"We've also always hoped to inspire a generation of local, L.A.-based production talent to come to the fore. It's starting to happen. We'd love it if at least half of all music on the label in five years' time would come from Southern Californian artists."

Help the Droog boys celebrate five years of Culprit, West Coast-style, when they thrown down tonight at Treehouse with Leftroom Records boss Matt Tolfrey. But first, check the cut to brush up on the stellar catalog with their picks for the five essential Culprit releases.

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