For the latest episode of Ask The Label Manager we catch up with Alex Panagoulopoulos to learn about his unique vision behind Just Movement.
1. Thanks for joining us and giving us some insight into your life and daily label manager duties. So let’s start with the obvious, what label or labels do you manage and where are you based?
Label: Just Movement based in Breda, Netherlands
2. Where does the name from your label(s) comes from? Is there a story behind how it/they came to be?
I started with event and promotion agency called Just Music Events in 2010 and at the same time I was assisting Movement Recordings (Tash/Stage van H, my brother) In Greece. From there I had a deep wish to start a label and we agreed upon starting this affiliate label of Movement in Holland with a reference to both already established names: Just Movement
3. Does your label(s) have a distinct sound? How would describe the labels vision and sound?
Smooth progressive with deepness and electronica sounds. I always select releases with the utmost precision for the distinctive sound that Just Movement is known for….including the selected remixers. I would type it as smooth, warm, melodic with a flow.
4. We would guess you probably receive a lot of demos, how many would say you receive in any given week and what percentage would you actually consider releasable and do you reply to every submission?
On average its about 4 a week and only very few are selected. Those who target me in a proper way always receive feedback. Mass mails with demo I don’t reply on, those are impersonal and a waist of time I would say. Some demo’s I prefer to launch on our Winter or Summer VA.
5. How long is the wait from when you sign a project to when it will actually get released?
Haha, that’s one of the biggest challenges. A lot depends on the artists concerned but I manage to have that period on about 3/4 months.
6. Who would you say are your core label artists? And do you think it’s important for a label to build a roster around a few key artists and develop a distinct sound in the process.
The core label artists are Stage van H, Rogier, Tash and Stergios, followed by another 10 producers I regularly sign to the label like Ewan Rill, Michael A, Matias Chilano, Luciano Scheffer, Nicolas Petracca amongst others….
With this I can confirm its really important to create a distinctive sound as a label, but having said that you must be able to surprise your audience and keep working on your identity. Therefore I always seek for the new progressive sound, and try to be part of the new future sound.
7. What is your thought process behind remixer selection on a given project and how many is too many in your opinion?
That’s the process I love the most……Before I send out the packs, a period of listening and getting the feel on an Original is the most important thing for me. From there I am able to select the artists that in my opinion can give the perfect twist on a track. And most of the time they agree and the result is there.
8. Do you sell merchandise and if so what do you sell, where is it available? and do you think it’s important to have merchandise?
No, not yet. Its being developed this year and will be available at this years’ ADE. As label identity and branding are important for growth I think it’s a valuable asset yes.
9. Where would you say the majority of your fans are based? And does that correlate to where the majority of your sales come from?
The majority of followers are based in the US, South America and Russia and yes it correlates to our sales. It’s a privilege to communicate and connect all over the planet!!
10. What has been the most successful track or release on the label? Both from a sales perspective but also support or live / radio play form established DJs?
For starters it has been our first release of Marcelo Vasami (Billy Mandy in 2014) that put us on the map immediately. Lots of credit to Marcelo and Tassos Tash for making that possible for Just! Since then it has been the works of Rogier and Stage van H that caught most of the attention. Best recent sales came from Adnan Jakubovic and Navid Mehr.
11. What artists would you love to have on the label?
Guy J, Hernan Cattaneo, Quivver, Brian Cid to name a few…
12. Where do you see the label in 5 years? And are you pleased with where the label is now since its inception?
My goal is to grow to a certain level of maturity with my concept Just! It’s a combination of the label Just Movement, event agency JustMusicEvents, A&R activities, merchandise and webshop. Truly happy with the growth and support so far!
13. Living off the earning of a small digital imprint is unlikely, how do you supplement your income? Do you have a job outside of electronic music?
Yes, earnings only come after hard work and persistent determination to reach your goals. My regular job is sales manager in Business Intelligence and Cloud. In my working week Its all about data and new technology. Very interesting I must say!
14. Do you pay advances or remix fees? And is it reasonable to do so in your situation?
Yes, occasionally. But it’s an exception on the policy that I don’t because its not healthy for the P&L of the label. But in the future I expect to be able to afford that more and more…
15. Who is your distributor and have you been with them for the entire existence of the label?
Just Movement is at Proton and has been since the start.
16. Are you or have you done label nights and if so how have they contributed to the label’s growth?
Our label nights at The Recycle Club in Amsterdam definitely have been a part of our current growth. Also our presence with a showcase together with Movement Recordings at Amsterdam Dance Event ’16 has been a boost for that growth. Providing a stage for the producers is key for Just! and its goals. Besides that it’s a fun thing to do and makes our digital world of the label turn into a world of more personal friendships and great experiences.
17. What’s your favourite thing about running a label?
Being able to create new music and build friendships all over the world!
18. What advice would you give to anyone trying to get a release on the label? How do you suggest they approach the demo submission process?
The demo must be of the quality (production wise) that Just stands for, but at the same time they must be open for feedback and possible changes on the track. Approach preferably with a personal touch and please offer the demo exclusively.
19. What if a demo is good but needs refining? Do you have time to help the artist and give them some tips?
Being open for changes means I do give feedback with tips. Its part of creating the distinctive sound of Just Movement
20. Who does the labels mastering? and do you ever have tracks mixed down by an engineer for better results?
I am very happy with the works of Rogier Schouten. For a long period we have been working closely together and discussed about quality and music lots of times. Occasionally I have worked with an engineer but must admit that it does not always deliver the perfect result.
21. This is tough but if you had to pick your five favourite releases or tracks on the label what would they be?
A cruel question indeed! Releases preferred would be Billy Mandy, Luna, Aura, Believe, I,ve Lost My Dragon.
22. Lastly, what advice do you have for someone just starting a label?
Have passion, ambition, patience and stick to your principles!
You can check out the full Just Movement catalog: here