LA Label Huh What and Where Will Have Your Back in a Pinch

Get acquainted with the label that brought you Ta-Ku, Kaytranada, Sweater Beats, and more.

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Feb 12 2014, 4:00am

Imprints brings you profiles of the most exciting independent record labels the world over, written by movers and shakers from within their own electronic music communities.

Name: Huh What and Where
Vibe: A bunch of pretty cool dudes making mad sexy spaced out electronic hip-hop
Founded: 2011
Claim to fame: Dropped Ta-ku's 50 Days For Dilla and then signed Kaytranada. That's a one-two step.
By the Numbers: Around 30 releases. "Less than five of them are actually good," according to label president Bahwee Suh.
Upcoming Releases: New 2014 music from Ta-ku, Kaytranada, Stwo, Sweater Beats and Pomo.
Artists-to-watch: The Celestics, Pomo, and Kaelin Ellis

What's the deal?
Productive stoners exist. Just take founder and CEO Keith Fujimoto (a former Stones Throw intern) and president Bahwee Suh—who used to smoke the ganj in their college dorm room and, after finish their term papers, started making beats together. Next thing you know, Huh What and Where is born! It started as an outlet to release their own music, but once they had the "legit label on paper" Suh started reaching out to friends on the scene and expanding the circle.

THUMP: Explain the name Huh What and Where.
Bahwee Suh
: Huh What and Where means the label is the "huh, what, and where" on everything we think is dope. I know it's stupid but we were really high when we thought of the name.

How do you stand out in the crowded LA dance music scene?
I would like to think we stand out for just not giving a fuck. We've turned down so many offers now from all sorts of people just to stay true and keep things family. I hope the people out there notice we're really all friends too. Like, the artists on the label and our staff, we're all super close and have each other's backs behind the scenes. People don't see that all the time.

How do you find new acts to invite into the family?
I really feel like everything sort of happened by either mistake or an accident. It really started coming together when Elaquent got into the mix. At the time, he was somebody we looked up to on the same level as a Samiyam or a Flylo. Me and Juj were just randomly talking about who would be dope to add to our team. I brought up Elaquent and he just laughed in my face, talking about how there was no way that would happen. Basically just to spite Juj I wrote Elaquent this five-page term paper on why he absolutely fucking had to join the squad and he was down. Later, he told me that around the time he wasn't sure if he would continue making music and that my email to him helped him keep going.

After that we just started reaching out to people we really liked and listened to—guys like Sweater Beats, Falcons, Stwo, Kaytrananda, etc. Me being a genuine fan of the music allowed for me to reach out to these guys early in their "careers" so HW&W grew from there organically. The last two to three artists we signed because Kaytranada hit me at 2AM saying, "Bruh you gotta check out this kid." I did and two days later he was signed to HW&W [laughs].

What's your favorite label that isn't your own?
Roche Musique out of Paris is straight killing it.

One more thing:
We're proud to be part of this LA scene.

Lauren Schwartzberg is whatever you want her to be - @LaurSchwar