Ninja Tune is an independent record label that is based in London, England (with satellite offices in Montreal and Los Angeles), created in 1990 by the duo known as Coldcut. Coldcut were pioneers of the emerging hip-hop/electro scene in the eighties. Inspired by a visit to Japan, Matt Black and Jonathon More (Coldcut) primarily created Ninja Tune to act as a vehicle by which they could release music of a more underground nature, free from the restraints placed on artists by major labels (the same restraints that were put on them via their brief stints with Arista and Big Life).
The first releases were heralded by the music press and afficionados simultaneously. The first four volumes of 'DJ Food - Jazz Brakes', produced by Coldcut, were comprised of instrumental hip-hop cuts, subsequently giving birth to the genre called 'trip-hop', and seen as indispensable tools for DJ's.
The label achieved a level of notoriety quickly, due to its funky style and commitment to eclecticism. Key in the labels success was the constantly growing roster of very different sounding artists.
With the musical and multi-media innovation of Black and More, the studio know-how and musical expertise of all the artists, the graphic vision of Openmind, and the sound business practices of the label managers and employees, Ninja Tune has grown into a label that prides itself on producing quality music while serving its artists in a way that no major label would. Also acting as the umbrella company to Big Dada, Counter + Motion Audio Records.
In September 2010 Ninja Tune celebrates its 20th anniversary. Twenty years! That’s a long time for anything, but for an independent record label it’s aeons.
Ninja Tune is quite simply a massive collective of passionate music listeners and collectors just putting out what they think sounds good. There is no huge calculated commercial agenda outside of our need/want to put out good records...