Decoded Radio presents Bootleg Social Records with Tobie Allen

To bootleg is to trade in the illicit, to venture into the underworld and to partake of prohibited pleasures as you dance your ass off in the face of the powers to be. So taking their cue from the sexy speakeasies of yesteryear a motley crew of misfits from the southlands formed the Bootleg Social.

Launched in 2009 by Tobie Allen and assisted by Decoded Magazines head honcho Damion Pell a couple years later BSR has grown in to a record label that signifies the underground. Starting out as a label that predominantly released tech house BSR has grown into its signature techno sound. BSR has even delved in to the relaxed sounds of Poolside house beats.

Bootleg Social Records has garnered major DJ support from industry heavy weights as TIESTO, Markus Schultz, Mark Knight, Richie Hawtin, Eric Morillo, Roger Sanchez, Sister Bliss, Paco Osuna, Riva Starr, Pete Tong, Umek, Joesph Capriati and Marco Carola amongst others.

BSR tracks have been supported around numerous radio shows around the world including Radio 1 UK, been featured in Mixmag ,featured in the world ‘s recognised DMC Buzz Chart along with Dance Chart No.1’s

With tracks released over the years from the likes of Wehbba, Umek, Ant Brooks, Bart Skills, Alex Franchini, DJ Jock, Paul Strive, Alex Blanco, So Called Scumbag, Tim Cullen the label continues to grow and the future looks promising for this small bunch of social misfits.

Bootleg 1

Welcome Tobie and thanks for joining us on Decoded Radio. A lot has happened since your move from London to Dubai. Firstly let’s start with your recent award for best local record label at the Hype Awards. When did you first receive news of the nomination?

Thank you guys appreciate you asking us to shed some light on our small world of carnage here in the sandpit. To win the award was really humbling and I only knew that we had won when they called out our name at the awards event. There’s a lot of back end stuff that goes on, that the end user doesn’t necessary see or understand so it’s really nice to be recognised for all those late working nights.

How competitive was the nomination category in terms of other labels and did you expect the label to win

I definitely didn’t expect to win and the other labels in the region are doing a great thing. I don’t see them as competition but allies as we all have the same goal of promoting the regions talent. There are more and more labels popping up which is fantastic for the region. Along with some amazing producers and talent I think there’s going to be a resurgence of tracks released from the Middle East.

Could you tell us about the award ceremony? Where was it held, who attended, how messy was the celebrations?

The event was really fantastic, so credit to the Motivate Group and all at Hype for getting involved in such a project. It’s a great event to socialise with all your peers and friends from the industry and just let your hair down and celebrate why we do what we do. The event was held at the infamous Nassimi Beach at the Atlantis hotel. There were some celebrations and thank you to all those who celebrated with us.

Hype 2

Having only been living in the UAE a short period of time, how quickly did Bootleg Social become recognised and what do you think were some of the determine factors for the labels exposure?

That’s quite a hard question as could be quite self-indulgent. I was truly humbled that after this short time that Bootleg Social was recognised. I think there were two factors; one is passion for what we do and secondly the Ma’ana Album series, which promotes solely regional electronica, dance producers.

Back in the UK Bootleg Social was very well known around London with label nights from MoS to Gigalum? What were some of your most memorable label nights?

Ha this could be a hard one as I’ll have to dig deep to try and remember. There were so many cracking nights, one that really stands out is when we hosting a room at Alexander Palace at the Winter Music Festival by Lock N Load (Eric Prydz gig). We had Mark Fancuilli, John Dahlback and The Japanese Popstars and 600 Bootleggers. It was a cracking vibe and to top it off I got to close on the main floor. Just epic! Along with that the birthday parties in Ministry of Sound then hosting events with Lock N Load at Brixton Academy for the likes Toolroom, Carl Cox and Armin Van Buuren. Not forgetting playing twice at the infamous Cream at Amnesia, Bora Bora and the Bootleg Social gigs at the legendary Space in Ibiza are truly memorable.

Since the label started in 2009 what have been the most challenging aspects to get to where it is today? Is there anything where you think “If I didn’t do that” things wouldn’t be as they are today?

The most challenging aspects of running the label is getting the balance between full time work and doing it because you’re so passionate about music. I think maybe if could have got some people on board earlier we could have grown a bit bigger. However, saying that I’m happy with what I’ve been able to create but wish there was more money for the artists. I’ve learnt a lot with Bootleg Social and really using all that experience with my new Dubai based label Ma’ana Music.

Only a few years after the label launched Damion Pell came on board. How did you both end up meeting and what roles were split between you?

Myself and Damo met when I was working with Damion Gelle on the Southern Sounds Festival feat INXS on Clapham Common London. Damo had a lot of contacts from his time as head of Marketing at the Ice bar in London. We got speaking on how we could collaborate to help each other out for the festival. After a couple of beers we really hit it off. Damo is very good at marketing and PR and social media management alongside a lot of industry knowledge. I was doing the A&R and the back end administration of the label.

With all good friendships there are even better stories to tell. What is one of your most laughable memories of you both working together?

For around 4-5 years Bootleg Social took a big group of clubbers down to the Snowbombing Festival in Austria. One year Damo and I decided to drive down and make it a road trip, instead of taking a right turn into Luxembourg we turning left to Germany resulting in a few laughs and a bloody long detour.

Back to business, which have been the best-selling releases from the label so far? What would you put this down too?

The leading track at the moment is a remix by Ant Brooks of Shaun Warner‘s Rafiki. Not only does Shaun have a great following from his time down in Australia, to have Ant on the remix is a privilege for the label. Ant has recently been on Intec amongst many others and his profile is really growing as he’s a very talented producer.

Your feature mix is a fitting retrospective of the label to date. How difficult was the track selection in terms of showcasing artist’s styles and their spectrum of house and techno released over the years?

It was really difficult – you asked me for an hour I think I could have gone on and on I was having so much fun. One thing I think I noticed was that the tracks we released three to four years ago is that they would not be out of place now. I was really getting into the groove from the tracks that we have licensed and signed ourselves on the label from both tech house genres and the rolling techno sound we like.

Although the prime focus is on Bootleg Social can you tell us about Ma’ana Records you previously mentioned which is another label you recently launched in Dubai? I believe the label is to feature artists only in the Middle East?

Yes that’s correct. The Ma’ana project here is a project that’s in conjunction with Sony Music ME. It’s a label to promote and showcase dance music producers from the Middle East. It’s really growing and really proud of the last two albums we have released out of Dubai. We have just been asked to curate playlists for Apple Music here in the Middle East so the brand is growing and getting some momentum behind it.

There is also a second part to the labels mix compilation due for release ‘Sounds of Dubai // 002’ which is getting some great reviews from Gulf News and Red Bull? When and where will this be available to buy and who are some of the artists featured?

We have been really grateful for all the local press as the first compilation didn’t get as much. Having the national papers and the likes of Red Bull supporting your vision is fantastic for the artists. The second album is already out via all good digital sales platforms. It was release on March 25th – It is for sale on sites like Beatport, Trackitdown, Traxsource and for those inside the Middle East it’s available also on ITunes distributed by Sony Music ME. There are artist’s like Moe Turk, Consoul Trainin, Darko De Jan, Hollaphonic, Shaun Warner, Smokingroove, Real Gone Kid and a couple from me amongst many more.


As a vastly up and coming part of the world for clubbing night life how would you describe the scene in Dubai. Are there any similarities to the UK and Europe in how the scene works, how the clubs operate, bearing in mind the strict laws in place?

A little too money driven, a lot of sparklers and a lot of peacocking but on the other side there a lot of people that see past that and there are some fantastic events. Licenses are only given up to 3am so there’s less time to dance which is never a good thing. Most clubs are within the grounds of hotels as they are the only places where alcohol can be sold. What tends to happen though is because venues are under the remit of FnB managers at these hotel chains they have less knowledge on what it takes to put on a credible dance event. So a lot of nights don’t survive due to unrealistic financial demands of hotels.

That’s a very interesting insight. It’s been a pleasure catching up and great to see your continued success. To round things up could you fill us in with any forthcoming news or releases? Is there anything on the horizon to look out for?

Thank you for having me on Decoded Radio. The Ma’ana album series is doing Ma’ana Poolside in October and then we’re going regional. Bootleg Social is always looking for techno so if you’re a producer looking for a label we are always willing to listen. Please send to We have also just tied up a deal with a major over here regarding publishing and licensing within the Middle East.

Bootleg 2

Decoded Radio hosted by Ian Dillon presents Bootleg Social Records with Tobie Allen.


Ian Dillon

Decoded Hot Picks Chart Countdown

#4 Hobo – Magic Mirror (Original Mix) [Last Night On Earth]
#3 Zoo Brazil – Peak (Chaim Remix) [Saved Records]
#2 Interpol – Everything Is Wrong (Solomun Remix) {2DIY4]
#1 Wehbba – The Bridge (Huxley Remix) [Knee Deep In Sound]

Mini Mix

01. Tim Engelhardt & Andreas Lindemann – Fundamentals (Original Mix0 [Sincopat]
02. Tim Green – Only Time Remains (Original Mix) [Get Physical]
03. Thomas Roberts feat. Richard Judge – Will I Ever Learn (Fat Sushi & DJ Pierre Dub) [Fat Wax]
04. Stefano Noferini, Danniel Selfmade – Mr. President (Original Mix) [Deeperfect]
05. Pirupa – Demons (Original Mix) [Saved Records]
06. Marc DePulse – Famekiller (Original Mix) [Selador]

Tobie Allen

01. Dirty Harris, Jaceo – Bo Jangle (Jaceo Afterhours Remix)
02. Alex Grover – Uno (Original)
03. Umek – Simple But It Works Like Fcuk (Sinisa Tamamovic Remix)
04. Filipe Neves & M.Rodriguez – Anybody Can (Original Mix)
05. Ant Brooks – Inari (Original Mix)
06. Loko – Ximprezor (Hollen Remix)
07. Evil Twin – The Future (Tim Cullen Remix)
08. Rolan & Pettersson – Right Here (Mick Finucan Remix)
09. Shaun Warner – Rafiki (Ant Brooks remix)
10. Tobie Allen – UNRELEASED
11. Bart Skills – Walking At My Girl (Original Mix)

Listen Via:

02/05: LeChic.FM: 10pm-12am GMT
02/05: Mio Radio: 3pm-5pm UTC (GMT+2)
04/05: Nube Music: 4pm-6pm ART (GMT-3)
05/05: Radio Bondi FM: 1pm AEDT (GMT+11)
05/05: Tenzi FM: 8pm-10pm IST (GMT+5.5)
05/05: Radio Ettlingen: 2pm-4pm (GMT+1)
05/05: Casafonda: 4pm-6pm GMT
05/05: Krafted Radio: 10pm-12am GMT
06/05: DNA: 10pm-12am ART (GMT-3)
07/05: Innervisions Radio: 5pm-7pm GMT
07/05: Midnight Express FM: 10pm-12am CST (GMT-6)
08/05: Tempo Radio (Red Stream): 10pm-12am CST (GMT-6)
10/05: Studio Lux FM: 11pm-1am CEST (GMT+1)
12/05: Radio Bondi FM: 1pm AEDT (GMT+11)
12/05: Casafonda: 4pm-6pm GMT
12/05: Krafted Radio: 10pm-12am GMT
13/05: BeatLounge Radio: 4pm-6pm PST (GMT-8)
13/05: 6am-8pm EDT (GMT-4)
14/05: STROM:KRAFT radio (Electronic Channel): 11pm-1am CET (GMT+1)
14/05: Deep London: TBA
On rotation: Inside My House Radio

About the Author

UK based former DJ and promoter, co-owner, director, writer & creative at Decoded Magazine. Studied at the University of Wolverhampton graduating in Graphic Communication & Typography (BA Hons). In house video editor and avid MMA follower with a keen ear for dark, twisted, hypnotic, tribal progressive house and techno.