With Soundteller Records celebrating their fourth anniversary this week we catch up with label boss Deersky in the latest episode of Ask The Label Manager.
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?
I’m the owner of Soundteller Records based in Warsaw, Poland.
2. Where does the name from your label(s) comes from? Is there a story behind how it/they came to be?
Music and surrounding sounds have always had a huge impact on me. I also feel like music has always spoken louder and expressed more than words. That’s why I decided to use the idea that had once crossed my mind.
3. Does your label(s) have a distinct sound? How would describe the labels vision and sound?
It’s a groovy combination of progressive, tech, deep house, and melodic techno. The vision is not to limit our sounds to one genre and always keep high quality.
4. This month marks a special occasion for Soundteller, you’re celebrating the 4 year anniversary of the label and you have a special release out now to coincide with that, tell us about it.
It’s a tribute to the artists who in our fourth year have made a huge effort and contributed to the label development. It’s a special compilation with our most favorite tracks. Funny thing is that when we sat down to select tracks for it, at first we ended up with like a sixty of them We found it extremely hard to choose only ten. But we did it and I hope you’ll enjoy this unique pack.
5. 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?
It’s impossible to provide an exact number but it’s around twenty to fifty a week. Yes, there is a lot of them, which makes us happy. We do our best to provide feedback to all artists contacting us. However, if somebody just sends a link or a file without any introduction, we find it very rude. Also, we find it disrespectful if people send us music far different from what we release, e.g. EDM, as it simply means they have no idea what we do.
6. How long is the wait from when you sign a project to when it will actually get released?
It depends on how fast we receive all necessary elements, such as e.g. remixes. But we prefer to have it done as soon as possible, keeping in mind that artists need time to complete their work in a good artistic flow.
7. 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.
It’s one of possible models. If you follow our releases, you see that some artists reappear. This means both us and the artists are satisfied with the results of our cooperation. Most of all, to us it’s important to respect our artists and treat them as a one big family, sticking to the quality. That’s how our distinct sound was created.
8. What is your thought process behind remixer selection on a given project and how many is too many in your opinion?
Choosing a remixer is related to the sound of the original track, our intuition, and also original artist’s preferences. As for the number, it’s like when you receive a promo as a DJ and see there are six remixes on an EP… it kinda puts me off. That’s why it depends on a project but two to three remixes are usually a maximum for Soundteller.
9. 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?
We have our merchandise and it’s available on our Facebook fanpage. At the moment we offer high quality male and female t-shirts that come in all colors and sizes. However, it’s only a small addition to what we do. Music should always be the most important thing.
10. Where would you say the majority of your fans are based? And does that correlate to where the majority of your sales come from?
I can proudly say that Soundteller is not a local label and our fans are located all around the world. We could feel it during our recent trip to Amsterdam Dance Event. We had a chance to talk to our fans and friends, receiving a very warm welcome that made us truly happy. Fan location influences sales but we don’t focus only on what we have now and we’re open to new projects and markets.
11. 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?
A majority of our releases receive support (live/radio) from established DJs. To give an example, Andrea Cassino – De Los Alpes A Los Andes has been played a number of times at different gigs by Hernan Cattaneo and Nick Warren. Additionally, a really awesome surprise was to hear Nick Muir playing Daniel Glover’s remix of the above original in John Digweed’s Transitions Show. Another example could be our hungarian friend, Robert R Hardy, whose talent put into last year’s ‘Therapy EP’ resulted in Guy J’s, Max Graham’s, or Hernan Cattaneo’s support.
From a sales perspective, there have been ones particularly successful, like e.g. Mike Griego – Asteroids (Cid Inc Remix), but similarly to DJs’ support, most of our releases give us nice financial results, for which we are grateful.
12. What artists would you love to have on the label?
Oh we’ve already accomplished many such goals and have cooperated with artists that inspired us in the past when we were only listeners. As for the close future, we would like to release both the music of today’s great names, such as Yotto, Brian Cid, Guy J or Guy Mantzur (just to mention a very few), and also less known but equally talented artists.
13. Where do you see the label in 5 years? And are you pleased with where the label is now since its inception?
I’m truly happy with where the label is right now and we’ll never quit our jobs 🙂 I believe that continuing our hard work, having good and respectful relations with artists, releasing groovy and high quality sounds, and discovering new talents will take us to a good place.
14. 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?
Apart from managing the label, we have other jobs. We are interested in many things and have achieved professional success through hard work in a couple of fields. Thus, we run different projects in the area of logistics management, e-commerce, and client service and sales. Nowadays it’s rather hard to live off non-mainstream label, just like you said. However, we run the label also for the income it generates and I hope to be able to devote my time only to music in a couple of years.
15. Do you pay advances or remix fees? And is it reasonable to do so in your situation?
I used to do in the beginning, just after I started the label. Now we usually don’t do it, the only exception being the biggest names from time to time. I feel glad to say that artists know they can trust Soundteller and when we cooperate, it simply pays off. That’s why you see many names reappear on our roster, which I’m sure is related to the sales results too 🙂
16. Who is your distributor and have you been with them for the entire existence of the label?
Since the very beginning Soundteller has cooperated with Proton.
17. Are you or have you done label nights and if so how have they contributed to the label’s growth?
It’s our plan for next year, so we can get back to this question some time later. 🙂
18. What’s your favourite thing about running a label?
The greatest thing about it is being able to influence the music scene and provide opportunities for people to grow and develop relations. It’s amazing to see how a crowd reacts to e.g. a remix that was your idea. It’s an amazing adventure, a lifelong learning process, and a chance to meet great personalities.
19. 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?
I would suggest getting to know us first. Not personally us, but the label. It means everything from knowing and supporting the releases to engaging in our social media activities. Also, I discourage anyone from sending a demo to a hundred of labels at the same time. Focus on your goal, get to know the people that inspire you, and try to make them interested in what you do.
20. What if a demo is good but needs refining? Do you have time to help the artist and give them some tips?
Yes, a good communication between the label and artists is very important. Soundteller is always open to talk and find the best possible solutions.
21. Who does the labels mastering? and do you ever have tracks mixed down by an engineer for better results?
Music needs a good mastering and it’s important to us that our tracks sound good. We usually outsource mastering to engineers and cooperate with e.g. Travis MacDonald, Andrea Cassino, Deep Fog or Cid Inc.
22. This is tough but if you had to pick your five favourite releases or tracks on the label what would they be?
Oh I can’t answer this question. To be frank, we have never released a single thing that we didn’t like. The idea is to release the music that you would personally play or dance to. All Soundteller releases are my favorite. 🙂
23. Lastly, what advice do you have for someone just starting a label?
Make up your mind, set goals, and believe in what you do. Also, be patient and stay consistent. Don’t let others let you down and surround yourself with people that support you. Last but not least, if somebody wants to do it only for financial success, they shouldn’t even start as this is a completely wrong perspective.
‘4 Years Soundteller’ is out now, you can purchase the collection: here