Knowing nothing about his sleeping patterns, Just looking at his discography, one would get the sense that producer / rapper Jel – born Jeffrey Logan — lives and breathes on beats alone; that for him, rest is but an afterthought. Ever since the 1997 formation of hip-hop duo Themselves, in which he appeared alongside Adam “Doseone” Drucker, the ever-prolific artist has been putting out multiple releases every year both under his own name and with other projects such as Subtle and 13 & God. Oh, and he co-founded LA-based indie hip-hop label Anticon. No big deal.
Knowing nothing about his sleeping patterns, Just looking at his discography, one gets the sense that producer/rapper Jel (born Jeffrey Logan) lives and breathes on beats alone — that for him, rest is but an afterthought. Ever since the 1997 formation of hip-hop duo Themselves, in which he partners with Adam “Doseone” Drucker, the prolific artist has put out multiple releases every year either under his own name, with Themselves, with other projects such as Subtle and 13 & God, or as producer for other innovative rap artists such as Serengeti. Oh, and he co-founded LA-based indie hip-hop label Anticon. No big deal.
David Humphries had only one goal in mind when he moved to Chicago from South Carolina: to start a record label. Specializing in instrumental hip hop, Fieldwerk Recordings was born in June of 2009 when Humphries (a.k.a. Crushcon7) produced his own tracks on the label. This connected him with other like-minded musicians with roots in Chicago, and now the modest label is celebrating its second anniversary.
Fieldwerk’s roster includes notable producers such as Joe Beats, Maker, Void Pedal, and Zavala, whose collaborative credits include Onry Ozzborn (Dark Time Sunshine/Grayskul), JFK (Grayskul), Qwel, and I Self Divine. Recently, the label has garnered attention in local publications such as the Chicago Reader, Centerstage Chicago, and even the Chicago Tribune, and the rest of the US is starting to catch up with what Fieldwerk has to offer. We spoke with Humphries to get the scoop on pending projects and the future of the label.
What was the impetus for launching Fieldwerk?
I’ve always been a beat-maker, and one of the things I’ve always wanted to do is start a record label. I moved [to Chicago on] January 1, 2003, and the whole time I was making beats. I worked on a project or two that never came out, and then eventually, I just to a point where I was ready to put some things out. I did a couple of songs and did a seven-inch, and that’s kind of how it started.
Several years before, I met Zavala, and we became really good friends and would go digging for records and stuff. Through Alex (Zavala), I met Void Pedal like a week later and started to build some really good relationships with those guys — good friendships. We’re all beat-makers, and we just kind of bounced ideas off of each other. At the time, Alex was working on a project with Sleep from Old Dominion, and Void Pedal was just workin’ on beats just like I was workin’ on beats, and we all just kind of came together. I was surrounded by a lot of talented guys. We’re all in it together; we’re a crew, and those guys motivate me a lot.