Over the last several years the UK based IMAGENES label has established itself as a premier soul and dance imprint, down in no small measure to the commitment, effort and sheer love of dance music of the label’s prime movers, JUAN LAYA and JORGE MONTIEL. (pictured)

We dropped by with the Venezuelan duo  to find out a little more about the label and what motivates them to make music. They began by telling us that “Imagenes” means “Images”, so they  thought about the name of the label as a kind of  “sonic Image” or creating pictorial images through music.

The label was founded back in 2007  as a vehicle for the pair’s band, LOS CHARLY’S ORCHESTRA which, they add, was  set up to “combine vintage sounding and traditional styles of production with modern styles, crafting an ideal and organic balance between both.”. To that end the band has delivered across dance genres… Disco, to Nu 80’s Boogie, Jazz crossover, Motown inspired Soul, Latin-Electronica fusion and beyond!

The label’s first record was by Los Charly’s Orchestra in 2007,  one side ‘Disconsolidation’ and the other ‘Jazz Funk and Broken Beat’.The boys say  that “this was done as a way of projecting the two main musical scenes that were inspiring us at the moment in London – the Nu Disco revival which was just starting to brew mostly on the east side and the Broken Beat sounds of the West London scene. This EP was also our first collaboration ever with the mighty Xantone Blacq, who after 16 projects still reminds an amazing friend of us and a top collaborator.”

In 2009 they released a  two-step boogie track called ‘Some Of The Things’ (in collab with their  first singer: Timmy Ogunro) and sent an inquiry to Dave Lee to see if he wanted to remix it. He came back with an energized edit of it, so they put that and  3 other tracks from LCO on a vinyl EP titled ‘Disco-Funk EP’  and that release  flew off the shelf and gave Imagenes its first big  push.

Shortly after that, the first LCO album ‘Chicano Disco Funk’  was released and Juan and Jorge see it as a sort of landmark. They see it as    – “the first  proper that Nuyorican Disco / Salsoul inspired sound combined with new production techniques”. The album, by the way, is now much in demand… hugely collectable!

In 2011 the label enjoyed more success with ‘The Groove & It’s Synonyms EP’ featuring the  popular ‘Feeling High’ which topped many charts back in the day and also got picked by Dimitri From Paris for his ‘House Of Disco’ compilation on Defected.  This EP also came to the attention of the famed Jose Padilla in Ibiza and he included tracks from it on a couple of his Café Del Mar compilations and he also brought the twosome out to Ibiza to play alongside him at Blue Marlin. This EP came out on 12″ vinyl and it now goes for big bucks on Discogs … that’s if  you can find a copy.

Other  big tunes from Imagenes include ‘My Barrio’ and ‘Al Ritmo Del Latin Fun’ which were  big favourites on the Craig Charles Funk & Soul show on BBC 6Music, and crossed over as far as China, leading to Los Charly’s Orchestra traveling there a few times for some live gigs!.

When we asked Jorge and Juan for real label highlights, they replied: “There is really so much love put into every release that we’ve made that is difficult to pick out one highlight, but we’re  really proud of the Jazz fusion stuff we’ve done with the amazing Andre Espeut. The 7″ of  ‘This Ain’t How It Ends’ and ‘Cut Loose’ are two of our  favourites.

The future? Jorge says, “We have many promising new projects and releases in the pipeline, including our current release ‘The Journey’ by Andre Espeut reworked by Juan Laya and myself, and coming up ‘And The Beat Goes On And On’.

Learn more @