The Mancunion

Britain's biggest student newspaper

Interview: Oli Furness

Patrick Hinton talks with Oli Furness about Music Is Love’s residency at Sankeys, new sister label M.I.L and his own plans for 2014


Manchester based label Music Is Love have begun a monthly residency at Sankeys this year. We spoke to label boss, Oli Furness.

“So we are running our label party at Sankeys this year after doing a lot of independent nights last year and having great parties. We will be bringing artists that have influenced us in the past and artists that still continue to change the landscape of the music we listen and party to. I think the thing I’m  looking forward to the most, is creating a special place for people to come and party and then ultimately having a proper party every month, what’s not to look forward to!”

Furness has been involved in the Manchester dance music scene for some time, and has watched it evolve over time. “I think this is a great time for Manchester musically and clubbing wise, the city is filled to the absolute brim with budding producers, promoters and DJs. It was always the lack of amazing venues that hindered it but it seems like that is coming full circle as well. I’m not sure you can compare things to how they were – different times mean different elements shine more than others. Back in the day a warehouse party was 2 day party that would be in a warehouse that was going to be torn down like the legendary Tribal Sessions warehouse in Ancoats. Nowadays it’s there for years, so I think that its lost its sparkle a little bit, but then on the other had the business side of things now creates huge events on the regular which is a fantastic thing. I suppose it’s how you want to look at it.”

Sankeys has been a big part of the Manchester scene over many of the years Furness has been active. “I was pleased to see Sankeys reopen, when I was growing up in the days of Tribal Sessions & Red Light it had a fantastic vibe and energy – these seem to have been rekindled in the building. It also opens up another fantastic club to populate our city with cracking line ups. I think the more solid venues we have in Manchester the better to be honest, as this – in a round about way – helps the city progress.

With house music originating in America, an American influence is evident throughout Furness’s work. But has Manchester had much influence on him? “Manchester of course as my home town has influenced me hugely in my musical taste and heritage; we are so lucky to have such a rich history of music in this city. From Greg Wilson breaking electro funk to the Hacienda to Sankeys to the WHP – and that’s only talking about the clubs. I wouldn’t say living in Manchester has influenced my career, apart from the connections I’ve made partying with people, and that’s an unconscious decision to crack on with people not to be their friend for career gain. I don’t think it matters too much where you’re based these days, if you have a solid work ethic and believe in what you love and do, the rest is in the stars.”

Music Is Love have just launched a sister label named simply M.I.L. “This is going to take a look at the tracks we love that have a greater sonic interest from house to techno to disco and anywhere in between. This is also going to be a vinyl only imprint. We have our first EP from a young but very talented producer called Colman Buckley and the first EP is dynamite. It spans deep melodic house to a mahogany brown type track and back again.  We have a couple of people we are looking at for the 2nd EP and we are also looking at recruiting more established artists for the label so it’s a very exciting project that ties in perfectly with booking a broad range of DJs for our events.”

Will this new label be the main focus now, or are there more plans for Music Is Love this year? “The two labels will run side by side, this definitely isn’t about closing one door to open another, we still have plenty of tricks up our sleeve yet. We have just had our 7th release out called MIL007 – MIKKI FUNK ‘HOUSE OF THE RISING FUNK’ which showcases brilliantly Mikki’s talents as a producer. After that we have an EP from me with a Dutch duo called ” U Know the Drill” remixing. That EP is called “Four for the Floor” and is exactly that – 4 tracks that are made to burn clubs up, I’ve been playing them for a while now and they do not disappoint. After that we’ve got a very secret special collab EP with a really heavy UK artist & a very special company to highlight the talent that’s going on in the UK at the minute.” Music Is Love have released track from an impressive roster of artists, but who would be Furness’s number one choice to release on his label? “Derrick Carter would probably be at the top of the list.”

The label aside, what are Furness’s personal plans for 2014? “I’ve got a buck load of stuff coming out, I think there’s something like 7-8 vinyl releases waiting to drop, and also some remixes. I just finished one on Morris Audio to follow up my EP that came out at the start of Feb. Apart from that think I’ll be playing Glasto again, obviously the main focus is the events at Sankeys. But there’s a lot in the pipeline that’s for sure, just a matter of placing them in the right order!”

Music Is Love will run their Sankeys residency on the second Friday of every month. Starting tonight with Point G, Chez Damier and more. Details here.

Details of their March event featuring Moodymann, Levon Vincent and more are available here.
We also have two tickets to give away for this event. To enter: e-mail your full name to with the subject line as ‘Music Is Love competition’.