This week we catch up with Pro-B Tech’s Brent Lawson who is quickly developing one of the UK’s most talked about labels. Pro-B Tech is just 14 releases in to their discography but the label already boasts releases from Tilt, Sam Mollison, Kastis Tarrau & Arnas D, Stelios Vassiloudis, Fulvio Perniola and the fabulous Underground Allstars outfit. The label has some immense plans for the future and we had a chance to chat with Brent about those and a variety of other topics. A transcription of the interview is below and we hope you enjoy it.
1. Hi Brent, thanks very much for joining us here, so as most people know you are the Owner and founder of Pro-B Tech Records a UK based House label. How old are you and how long have you been DJing? Do you produce as well?
Brent: Hi there happy to be speaking with you, Ok so I am 36, have been DJing for around 20 years and still have my 1210’s in our home from back then, I am currently going through the process of learning production utilising the artists we have signed to the label as well as online course with Berklee.
2. What are your earliest memories of music, what did you listen to growing up? How did you get involved in electronic music? And where do your roots in electronic music lie?
Brent: I guess my earliest memories are listening to Jean Michelle Jarre, I would say he was and remains my idle and was the reason behind my ventures into electronic music. As I say I followed and listened to Jarre all his albums and videos, I also loved the sounds of Mike Oldfield, Enigma and similar chill out albums. As far as roots go I guess they follow the earliest sounds I listened to of Jean Michelle, this was before my move into dance music where Dave Seaman / Brothers In Rhythm found their way into my ear.
3. What were you doing previous to setting up Pro-B Tech Records? Were you involved in electronic music at all or just a fan? And what was it that made you want to set up Pro-B Tech?
Brent: Before setting up the label I spent most of my time Djing and running various nights under the brand of ALTER EGO. I wasn’t involved in electronic music as I am now I guess you could say a fan / follower. I wanted to move away from being just a fan and realised that its very difficult to just DJ now days and get recognition.
4. You’re working quite closely with the Mick Park from Tilt, how did that relationship come about and does Mick handle all the A&R or is this something you guys work together on?
Brent: I kicked off the label on my own over a year ago when I started this off I had a very good little network for Promotion, Production and general industry connections, These were through Steve Parry @ SMP3 and Paul Nolan – Paul Nolan Sound, These two guys helped my label get moving feedback reports via Steve started to grow in status, quality and quantity. After a period of time we decided to kick of our ALTER EGO night and invited TILT to play after a few discussions Mick came onboard. Mick generally deals with 95% of the label A&R his connections, knowledge are priceless.
5. There is an exciting collaboration coming up on Pro-B Tech from Tilt and Kastis Torrau & Arnas D who have been red hot of late. Talk a bit about how that came about and when can your fans expect that release?
Brent: Yeah I couldn’t believe my luck when I received the call from Mick, he told me that the new TILT release which featured Sam Mollison was also going to receive remix workings from Kastis & Arnas this was our first venture with these guys, That was where the working relationship kicked off. Thanks to Kastis & Arnas being fans of what TILT & Killarhurtz had did in the past collaboration was something that everyone wanted to do, for me as a label manager it was just another huge step forward.
6. Another hugely exciting release you’ve got in the pipeline is a new single from Dave Seaman & John OO Fleming, what can you tell us about that one?
Brent: This is massive for us / me personally I have followed Dave since the Brothers In Rhythm days and continue to do so now. When this opportunity came about we snapped it up, The track itself is a big big track its been a long time since a track has made the hairs on my stand up each and every time I listen but this does. We have a couple of major remixes thanks to the tireless work Mick put it, Expect to hear something from Dubspeaka & Hernan Cattaneo.
7. One of our all time favourite vocalists has been Sam Mollison; Sasha’s ‘Magic’ along with several other Mollison classics still gets some serious airtime in our offices. Your recent Tilt single ‘Here Is Not Now’ featured Sam and as we understand you’ve signed him for a full length LP as well, that is really exciting news what can you tell us about that?
Brent: Is this something that Sam has been working on for a while? And when can we expect to see the release? I cant tell you too much about this at this time, what I can say is we are all really excited about this it’s a big start for 2014 and is well under way, Expect what comes naturally and best from Sam plus remixes that will really stand out.
8. You’ve now had some very prominent producers on Pro-B Tech even though the label is only 10 releases in. Where do you see Pro-B Tech going from here? What artists would you like to see on the label in the future and why?
Brent: We are continually looking for the new, up and coming guys on the scene, we don’t want to pigeon hole ourselves into a specific genre and keep things fresh, we want to keep the artists we have onboard already close to the label. We would love to track down a Thermal Bear track or remix but nothing secured.
9. What advice would you give to producers hoping to get their tracks signed to Pro-B Tech? How would you suggest they approach it?
Brent: Try and be different, be fresh don’t just follow what the trends are.
10. When you sign a new original track what criteria do you think about when choosing a remixer for it? and is there a point where a release can have too many mixes?
Brent: I think we always look for something that is a real remix something that takes the original to bits, Like the Threnody remix of Paul Nolan’s Keirin, Or when you hear it Dubspeaka’s remix of Dave Seaman & John Flemings Unexpected Item In The Packing Area. As far as too many remixes go absolutely every track has its limits.
11 . How do you think electronic music has changed in the last 10 years? Is the quality of music better, worse or just different now? and how so?
Brent: Mmmm I find this a difficult one because I always reflect back and think am I just getting old now!! In seriousness though I do find a lot of the new music out and about very stale and boring, Deep House seems to be the new thing and I loved Deep house originally, however everything just seems so flat for me it doesn’t work in a club, people aren’t dancing anymore, we need to bring back the fun that used to be on the scene.
12. Brent Lawson Current Favourites (you can list more than one per category if you like)
Food: Steak & Pepper Sauce or Chicken & Beef Curry
TV Show: Family Guy or Walking Dead
Movie: Resident Evil
Video Game: The Last Of Us
Album: Jean Michelle Jarre – Chronologie
Track / Song: Oxygene Part 4
Producer / Band: Thermal Bear / Foals
Record Label: Other than my own I guess it’s a tough one – Bedrock, Selador & Last Night On Earth.
Nightclub: The ICE Factory
DJ: Dave Seaman
13. What do you like to do for fun outside of the music? and do you have a regular job? What is a typical day like for Brent Lawson?
Brent: When possible I love to hit the hills and go snowboarding, My regular / day job is a Lead Area Scheduler currently contracted to BP.
14. If the final DJ set of your career was next week what would be your last record be?
Brent: Wow that’s a tough one but I think it would be Eurhythmics – Here Comes The Rain Again – Brothers In Rhythm Remix
15. What can we expect to see for the rest of 2013 from Pro-B Tech?
Brent: Its becoming very very exciting for us, Look out for more from The Underground Allstars, Dave Seaman, Jon Da Silva and a major 2014 project with Sam Mollison.
16. Finally, what advice would you have for anyone that’s planning on starting a label out there?
Brent: Just do it, But be aware its takes time, persistence and passion.
Release Promo would like to send a huge thanks to Brent for taking the time to do this interview.
Tilt and Kastis Torrau & Arnas D ‘Kiss Magnetic’ is out now on Pro-B Tech, you can purchase the release: here