Ryan Aitchison, aka Mella Dee, was raised on a different kind of Northern soul. Born in South Yorkshire, he discovered the world of warehouse raves, frequenting countless parties around Leeds and Doncaster. In the darkness of those industrial buildings, he was educated on everything from happy hardcore to acid house, soaking up the breadth of British rave culture before eventually turning his interest to American stalwarts like Underground Resistance. That combination of interests forms the base of his music today; British grit but with American spirit. Elements of hardcore compete with melodic house, propelled into being by driving, irresistible drums and pounding bass. Throughout the years his work has run the gamut from traditional techno to experimental house and been released on the likes of Lobster Boy and DEXT recordings, constantly shifting and pushing the sounds of British club music further with every release.
Now he’s founded his own label Warehouse Music and is focusing in on a new, beat-driven sound that keeps his genre-hopping tendencies alive but with a more consistent overall sound. “It all really clicked for me when I put the plans in place to start my own label Warehouse Music” he explains. “The whole concept for the label just made sense because a lot of my musical influences originate from warehouse parties, from both the UK and around the world. The Doncaster Warehouse was a huge influence from early on in life as the music being played there was all around me. It all feels very focused right now in terms of what I’m doing and stepping out to do my own thing.”
An Illustration of the aforementioned Doncaster Warehouse serves as the label’s logo and graces the cover of all its releases so far. It’s a visual reminder of where Mella Dee cut his teeth and a declaration of where his current music is designed to be played. “There’s been a change in terms of me taking the reins more, driving things myself on my own terms and putting myself out there exactly how I want,” he says. If his new EP Warehouse Music 002 is anything to go by, how he wants to sound is a mix of acid house icon Phuture and techno legend Robert Hood, all propulsive beats and stabs of synth, each element of the production jostling for space, unrelenting and undeniable. That said you can never be sure with Mella Dee. “My new EP is a culmination of ideas, primarily driving stuff with a toughness to it, there’s also some more uplifting sounds in there, some extra soul on this one,” he hints, throwing another element in just as we think we’ve settled in on his sound.
This article first appeared in Notion 77.
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