With Madloch’s ‘Fiction’ single out this week on Sound Avenue we asked him to take part in a new interview series we’ll be doing with label managers, hope you enjoy the first edition.
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?
It’s an honour for me to do the first edition, thanks 🙂 I’m running 4 labels at the moment: Sound Avenue, Crossfade Sounds, 3rd Avenue & Forward Music
2. Where does the name from your label(s) comes from? Is there a story behind how it/they came to be?
Sound Avenue was found after brainstorming a while. The combination of the two words radiates something powerful in my opinion. Because I wanted to go a different direction with the second label I came out with the word “Crossfade”. By starting a third label, it was the easiest to choose a name for oblivious reasons. The compilation label Forward Music bundles the music from the three labels together. Forward thinking music… 🙂
3. Does your label(s) have a distinct sound? How would describe the labels vision and sound?
When I started Sound Avenue in 2011 there were already so many labels focusing on the typical progressive house sound. From the beginning I already had in mind all the releases needed to have something extra. Looking back at the entire catalogue I think most of the releases always have a powerful melodic sound, flirting with other genres such as techno & deep house.
Crossfade Sounds became an outlet for deeper more atmospheric studio creations. From experimental electronica to jazzy deep house or techno. Everything is possible on this label.
3rd Avenue focus is on the more traditional progressive house sounds. It brings together both established artist and new talents. Many guys even had their first ever release on 3rd Avenue.
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?
Hard to give you a number, I think an average between 40 & 50 every week via email, Facebook, Soundcloud.
5. How long is the wait from when you sign a project to when it will actually get released?
I think the record is +- 3 weeks from receiving the demo to release day on Beatport. This happened because a release was not yet ready so the artist was very lucky to get his music so quickly released. Unfortunately for many guys this is an exception. When there are remixes involved it’s mostly waiting a few months. Sometimes it can even take almost a year because remixers cancel their remix after waiting many 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.
Most originals on Sound Avenue came from myself (what a surprise! 🙂 ), Yunta, Beat Syndrome, Daraspa, Michael A,.. On Crossfade Sounds there are not really key artists because nothing is planned & I just want to release music which fits on the label. CS is probably the most spontaneous label out there where everything is possible while 3”d Avenue is more structured because of weekly or bi-weekly releases. Some of key-names on 3AV are guys such as Namatjira (he released his first album on CD with 3rd Avenue!), Monojoke, Eze Ramirez, Michael A, Marcelo Paladini, Dmitry Molosh,..
7. What is your thought process behind remixer selection on a given project and how many is too many in your opinion?
On Sound Avenue nowadays I try to have 2 completely different remixes. One has to be deeper than the other, one could be more attractive for the peak time sets. I try to avoid having more than 2 or 3 remixes. It doesn’t make sense to have 5, 6 or more remixes like some labels do. From the sales perspective people only will buy their favorite version of a track, and mostly everyone has the same favorite so 1 remix always will get less sales & even less attention via promopools. I wonder what some labels try to achieve having so many remixes in one release.
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?
Yes! There’s a small webshop on www.soundavenue.be where you can buy some Cds & T-shirts at some very moderate prices 😉 It’s always nice to give the fans something extra in this digital world.
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?
Most fans (on Social media) are located in Argentina. Most sales are coming from the United States followed by the UK and surprisingly on a 3rd place Germany!
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?
Because of a change in distribution I don’t have an overview from the sales between 2011 – 2013 but looking at the current numbers including some re-releases on compilation it must be Eelke Kleijn’s Remix of Mitrinique – Saturday back in 2012. Most popular original is “Take Over” from Kastis Torrau & Arnas D released in the summer of 2014.
Best radio/dj-gig support was for another track of Mitrinique “Green Mountains” with the Petar Dundov remix. Support in the radioshow of John Digweed, Laurent Garnier, Karotte, Hernan Cattaneo and so many other big artists…
11. What artists would you love to have on the label?
Some guys on the wish list are Guy Mantzur, Third Son, Ruede Hagelstein, Luca Bacchetti, Ripperton, Khen,..
12. Where do you see the label in 5 years? And are you pleased with where the label is now since its inception?
Less releases than nowadays but focusing more on only the best quality out there. I’ll never stop the labels, it’s just too much fun but it takes a lot of energy to have something released every week with having 4 labels. Very pleased to see the labels earned a positive reputation in our underground scene. Also nice to see so many new talents started their career at the Sound Avenue label group!
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?
I’m afraid there are no labels anymore who could make a living of sales alone. Sales are still dropping every year it gets harder & harder for many smaller labels to survive. I am fortunate to make no loss anymore with the labels like I did the first years. So yes.. I still have a temporary “normal” part time day job from time to time when I am not playing & touring as a dj.
14. Do you pay advances or remix fees? And is it reasonable to do so in your situation?
In the first years I paid many guys an advance because it was ‘normal’ to do this and it was also easier to recoup several fees after a while. Nowadays it’s almost impossible to recover an advance because there’s no way you can recoup this via sales unless you maybe have a Beatport #1 hit which is impossible for most underground labels. The only exception is paying an advance for highly requested artists from time to time.
15. Who is your distributor and have you been with them for the entire existence of the label?
The first 2 years Sound Avenue & Crossfade Sounds where based with a distributor from Germany. I didn’t like their service, their interface & performance tracker. So when I started 3rd Avenue I got in touch with Jason from Proton and after a while the other labels moved as well to Proton. Best decision of my life. Artists are paid correctly every 3 months, we got a real time overview of the sales, digital contracts, the best service a label can wish for and so much more good stuff.
16. Are you or have you done label nights and if so how have they contributed to the label’s growth?
The first 2 years of the label I got monthly label nights in my hometown in a nice small venue. It was the perfect place for this. We had so many great nights there. After the venue closed we had some international label nights in cities such as Barcelona & Toronto. There will be more events in other cities for sure.
17. What’s your favourite thing about running a label?
Probably getting the WOW feeling after hearing a great demo & seeing big guys like Hernan Cattaneo, Nick Warren or John Digweed playing your stuff in their radioshows & gigs.
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?
First tip: have patience! 🙂 Because I have so many work it’s impossible to check demo’s every day. I usually go through them once a week or every 2 weeks at once. I only need a few seconds to hear if it’s well produced or not. Because the big amount of demo’s the release schedule on all labels is always scheduled many months upfront. So don’t get upset if your music doesn’t get signed to the labels. If your demo is really mind blowing you will hear from me immediately, if not, time to work harder & try again later. 😉
Another tip is don’t send the same email to all my social media accounts & all email accounts for listening to your demo. Like I told before, I check all demo’s a few times every month. Oh and please, don’t send public Soundcloud demo’s or an email with 879 labels in the CC.
19. What if a demo is good but needs refining? Do you have time to help the artist and give them some tips?
For sure, usually it has to do with some mixing tips, than my master engineer can help those guys.
20. Who does the labels mastering? and do you ever have tracks mixed down by an engineer for better results?
Already from the beginning I work with a very nice guy from Vancouver who listens to the name of Travis MacDonald. Some guys prefer to do their own mastering, but for all the other stuff Travis can do some magic for all the music on the labels. He’s one of the best, smartest & most underrated engineers out there. Always there to help my artist giving tips for a better mixdown etc.
21. This is tough but if you had to pick your five favourite releases or tracks on the label what would they be?
This is really tough, but I’ll give it a try for each label:
On Sound Avenue:
Mitrinique – Green Mountains (Petar Dundov Remix)
Madloch – Walls (One Of Them Remix)
Matias Vila – Buen Dia (Original Mix)
Future Motions – The Way You Look (Original Mix)
Madloch & Matias Vila – Haze Over Night (Roger Martinez Remix)
Terje Saether – Blinded (MUUI Paranoid Remix)
Savvas – Lost Souls (Hot TuneiK Remix)
Anothony Yarranton – The Lounge (Peter Makto & Gregory S Remix)
Float – Dubitate (Original Mix)
Giddyhead – I’m Gonna Sing Around The Altar (Original Mix)
Lautaro Varela – Downing Street (Original + MUUI + Graziano Raffa Remix)
LOM (AR) – Analogue (Original Mix)
Ubbah – In The Desert (Original Mix)
Namatjira – Sequoia (Matias Chilano Remix)
Tero Civill – Rescue Me (Antti Rasi Remix)
22. Lastly, what advice do you have for someone just starting a label?
Release music that you believe in! And for the sake of your artists & label invest in good promotion & mastering otherwise no one will notice your label. The last tip: have patience, a lot of patience because of many delays due several reasons… 🙂
‘Fiction’ is out now on Sound Avenue, you can purchase the release: here