With years of experience working with labels such as Norman Cook’s Southern Friend and Darren Emerson’s Underwater behind him, it’s no wonder Matt Stuart has come up with a winner in the shape of Gung-Ho! Recordings…

Some labels really hit the ground running, and it’s fair to say that Matt Stuart’s Gung-Ho! is one of them. It’s only been going for three years, but already it’s put out some modern classics – including Gus Gus’s 2007 album Forever – and introduced some real talent to a sometimes stagnant scene. This year looks set to be the one where Gung-Ho! really makes its mark though, with a slew of artist albums in the pipeline and some exciting new signings set to break through. And it all starts with Calling All Nations, a double album that mixes up what Gung-Ho! has been up to in recent years with a load of upfront new tunes. Here’s label boss Matt, right, to tell us more…

When and why did you set up Gung-Ho! Recordings?
I set up Gung-Ho! in 2005. I’d always worked in independent records, with labels such as Southern Fried and then Underwater, which I managed for a few years. When I left Underwater I really wanted to work for label but with my own twist and output, so I started my own. It was always something I’d wanted to do – to discover acts from across the globe and release their music. Old-fashioned but true. I wanted to have a gang vibe among the artists, so they’d know they have a solid outlet for their work – I’ll stick by them and they’ll stick by me so to speak. In an industry full of backstabbing it’s nice to be surrounded by trust.

How would you describe Gung-Ho’s output?
It’s 110% electronic soul, tech, house, electronic… Well, that’s what I’d been saying until I signed an acoustic pop act called Petter And The Pix. Fundamentally, Gung-Ho! is about putting out quality music. I admire labels like XL and Mute. XL can release the White Stripes and a week later release the Prodigy. That’s the blueprint I’m following. It’s about developing 12" or singles artists into full-blown album artists.

What’s been your biggest seller?
The Gus Gus album Forever was the biggest seller so far. It just had everything. It literally was electronic soul, with beautiful vocals over some really deep techno. I’m pretty proud of releasing that one, as Gus Gus are some of the most talented people you could ever meet. Their live show was just unreal.

What’s the hardest thing about running a label?
Ha! How long have we got? Selling underground or leftfield records is extremely difficult as there is so much competition, but it’s always been that way. The label is run properly with time, money and overall integrity put into each release, so it’s demanding on head space on a personal level for me. There is a financial aspect too that can be a headache when a track has not recouped. But the hardest thing is getting people to hear the records. There are millions of underground records out there and only a handful of radio stations will play that type of music. That’s why we do videos – to make full use of MTV Dance and YouTube-esque phenomenon.

What’s been the worst moment in Gung-Ho’s history?
Probably not getting the single You Control Me by Lil Devious on the radio. It’s a truly stunning record with so much in it – we thought it would just connect if we got some key airplay, but we never did. Hey ho, such is life. I love their music so I’ll continue to release it. We were pretty gutted there though.

What are Gung-Ho’s plans for the next 12 months?
The label really is about developing album acts. So this year (shameless plugging here) I have a compilation called Calling All Nations out in May that sums up the early history of the label. Then I’m releasing albums from Zoo Brazil from Sweden, who have delivered a monster called Technik. Then there’s Japanese Popstars, who have just been confirmed for Glastonbury and Wireless – think Underworld meets Orbital but more aggressive). There’s Greg Churchill who I signed way back at Underwater. He has a body of work that is just superb. The Petter And The Pix album called Easily Tricked has gained XFM support is quite simply 33 minutes of pure beauty. It was produced by President Bongo from Gus Gus. There’s lots of singles and videos in between, and hopefully something in the pipeline that will make everyone’s jaws drop…

How do you go about tracking down new artists to sign?
A lot of it happens naturally. Word of mouth has got a lot of people approaching the label and sending demos. Sometimes it’s by accident, like when an artist gets a remix done by someone who I’ll then approach and find they’re sitting on some amazing tracks.

Any advice for any budding producers looking to sign
to Gung-Ho?
Please don’t spam. If you want your record signed check out the label. Do research and then approach. There’s nothing worse than an email sent saying: “Hi mate, think you will love this. Blah blah.” Then you realise it’s a trance tune or some drum and bass track sent to 300 people. Not good. I won’t even entertain those approaches anymore. If someone has taken his or her time to check the label out, that deserves respect and a little ear time.

Any other bits and pieces going on you want to tell us about?
I feel I’ve shamelessly plugged enough.

Calling All Nations is release on May 5 on Gung-Ho! Visit and





“I wanted to have a gang vibe among the artists. In an industry full of back-stabbing it’s nice to be surrounded by trust”