Building a Brand: Shiba San's Basement Leak

Feb 13, 2023

Angus Thomas Paterson

3 min read

When Shiba San first launched his Basement Leak imprint, he wasn’t exactly having trouble getting his records signed to the biggest labels in house music. In 2015 he was hot off the release of his definitive hit “OKAY,” which spent months at the top of the Beatport house charts and had featured in the record crates of everyone from Pete Tong to Claude VonStroke. Clearly, it wasn’t a one-off success either, as he followed it up with releases on DirtybirdSuara, and Relief Records.

“In the beginning, it was just to release my own track ‘Burn Like Fire’,” he told Daily Beat, confirming the initial launch of Basement Leak in 2015 was a lowkey avenue for occasionally self-releasing music. However, it wasn’t long before demos started from aspiring producers began rolling in.

“I thought, okay, maybe I can sometimes do releases… but I wasn’t focused on that. I was focused on my own career and tracks, so I didn’t really work on it.”

A year later, he launched the label’s Various Leaks series, a four-track EP featuring one of his tracks alongside several handpicked selections from up-and-coming producers. When the sophomore installment of Various Leaks arrived a year later, Shiba San knew he needed some hired help.

“I decided to work on it more, so I hired a Label Manager and more people around me. Now I receive a lot of demos from people, usually unknown and I like that because I want to help people sign their music anywhere. In the beginning, it was just for my own music, but once I got demos I figured why not?”

Basement Leak has gradually ramped up its release schedule over the years, regularly dropping singles and EPs throughout the pandemic, plus two installments of Various Leaks in 2022 alone. However, this didn’t stop Shiba San from regularly dropping bangers with everyone from Defected to Toolroom.

“I like to have my tracks approved by other DJs,” he says. “I don’t want to just be by myself, only releasing on my [own] label, and playing on my stage, I’m not really for that. Maybe in a few years, but in the moment I need to sign on different labels because I love that. Like when I did the track with Green Velvet and signed on Relief, for me it was amazing.”

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