Inner Thoughts From Outer South
A deep-dive label focus with head honcho, Adam Tiran.
Bridging the gap between genres and regions with soul at its core, Outer South has hit the ground running since its inception just one year ago. Releases from Raytheboffin, Ronehi, Tena Tenpo and more bring Alté, Afrobeats and Amapiano to a global audience, though it's Tim Lyre’s ‘Worry <‘ that has arguably become the label’s calling card, with high profile support from BBC 1Xtra, Rinse FM, Apple Music, as well as 3m + streams and counting.
On the eve of the deluxe edition release of the album — including remixes from Oscar Mbo, Suté Iwar, Hobie, Skulla, and Noods’ very own Midnight Manoeuvres pushing the label's sound into exciting new territories — we caught up with head honcho, Adam Tiran, to discuss staying inspired, the next big sound, and future plans.
Catch Adam’s exclusive Outer South guest mix for Midnight Manoeuvres on Noods this Sunday 4 Sept from 11pm.
Welcome, Adam. How’s life on your side of the world at the moment?A
Thank you Jack! Life’s been quite exciting lately. I’ve not long been back in Johannesburg after some time back home in London this summer. We’re heading into spring over here now so things are warming up nicely. We’ve just finished off our first year in action at the label and I’d like to think we’ve hit the ground running with a few projects and a handful of singles coming out. So yeah it’s been very busy, 2022 will be gone before we know it.
What is keeping you inspired right now?A
We’ve got seven very talented artists signed under us now and receiving demos from them always gives me such a boost. In this business cultivating inspiration is definitely something you have to actively do though, you need to give yourself the headspace to be fully inspired - so I’m constantly working on ways to do that and keep my mind fresh. I find that changing my environment as often as life allows works the charm. My partner Ninka always keeps me grounded too.
Outer South is lining up a string of new releases, including the deluxe edition of Tim Lyre’s 'Worry <'. You must be thrilled with the glowing reception to the label so far?A
I won’t lie, it’s been a bit mindblowing. I’d been conceptualising the idea of Outer South for a few years before we actually dropped anything. So often when I would try to present the vision to people around me, and it was certainly quite esoteric in those early days, they wouldn’t always understand what I was trying to do - but obviously would still give me the encouragement I needed. So when we finally got around to releasing the first single last July, which was ‘Real’ by Tim Lyre, I was excited but extremely nervous. We’d spent three years building Tim’s album, so it was really just a matter of overcoming internal fears about putting an album like this out as an independent label. But then you know we got this crazy response with support from BBC 1Xtra, Rinse FM, Apple Music, and it was honestly very humbling and so encouraging.
A year down the line and I’ve always got butterflies before every release, but I think the work and the music is speaking for itself now. Also, as much as the media support is always nice, I’ve realised that the most important thing is what people are saying about it and some of the comments I’ve read from people that this was you know a ‘timeless album’, meant absolutely everything to me. So that’s been a big inspiration behind us doing this deluxe.
Talk to us about your guest mix for Noods, what was the idea behind thatA
So the mix is actually made up completely of releases we’ve put out in the last year, or which are soon to drop. From Tim’s album to most of the releases that have come since, as a label we’ve ended up becoming very engrained in the West African afro-fusion sound - which I am a huge fan of. It’s a sound that’s taken inspiration from so many places - R&B and rap, afrobeats and dancehall, house and garage - and the scene is very vibrant right now. So there’s plenty from Suté Iwar, Hermez, Ronehi, Tena Tenpo and Raytheboffin. I also come from a primarily dance music background so I’m always looking at ways to bridge the gaps between those two sonics. Ronehi’s ‘Galactic’ for example is a crazy afrobeats-amapiano fusion that wouldn’t sound out of place in clubs in Lagos, Berlin or Johannesburg. You’ll also hear a few of the new remixes from *Worry < (Deluxe) - where we’ve really tried to experiment with taking Tim’s music to uncharted territory - included. So as much as I think it’s necessarily quite diverse, I hope it gives an accurate portrayal of where things are at currently. I also wanted to treat it like a growth exercise, a reminder to ourselves of what we’ve achieved this year.
From Alté to Amapiano, global music trends have emanated from South Africa, Nigeria and beyond. What sounds and which artists should we be looking out for next?A
I’m a big amapiano stan. Anyone close to me will know I’ve been irritatingly and forcefully banging on about it for the last few years haha. Going back to London now and seeing the sound flourishing and the artists travelling all over the world brings a smile to my face. It’s just such an amazing sound, completely unlike anything else out there. On the afrofusion side, I’m very excited about Suté Iwar’s album called ULTRALIGHT which we’ve been working on throughout 2022 and is now sounding incredible. Keep your eyes peeled for that early next year.
What’s in store for the rest of the year, both professionally and personally?A
We’ve got a heavy release schedule for the rest of the year, with a great album from Hermez and a new EP from Tim Lyre, plus a bunch of singles - so no sleeping! Personally, I’m focused on making it down to south America at the end of the year for a breather with the missus. She deserves it for putting up with me this year!
Finally, what’s your typical midnight manoeuvre?A
These days, it’s insomnia! Haha, that and obviously the occasional boogie in the club.