Known to many for her energy driven productions on the likes of Suara, Material and her own Kittball imprint, Juliet Sikora’s work and effort within the studio certainly hasn’t gone unnoticed by those within the world of house.
First up… for those who may not be familiar with the label and its history, can you tell us a little bit about how and when the label was founded, the other artists involved and also your role within the imprint?
Well, to make a long story short 😉 In 2006 Kittball was initially founded by Tube & Berger and I started working for them through the company I had previously been working for. It was a company that provided label management for several well-known labels and that included Kittball. In 2009 Tube & Berger headhunted me from that company by asking if I would like to come and join them at Kittball as an equal partner and co-owner. I didn’t take long to decide. From that time on I’ve been at the label handling label management, events, and A&R.
How would you describe the Kittball ‘sound’ to someone who’s never heard a release from the catalogue?
Our sound has matured over the years and our genre range has become quite extensive. From Deep house to Techno, our sound always has a positive vibe. We only release stuff we would play ourselves as Djs and it’s always a team decision on what gets released.
The label has released material from a range of huge artists ranging from Purple Disco Machine to Jay Lumen, Cristoph to Mat.Joe, not to mention from yourself, Tube & Berger and the rest of the Kittball family. How do you manage to balance the A&R’ing process in terms of releasing material from established acts and also rising talent?
Like every label we love big hit releases with big names behind them, but if it really was that easy, everyone would be doing it and there would be no room for newcomers. Just to have a big name on a release isn’t everything and if the music isn’t convincing you’re not gonna last long as a a label. Finding new talent is like a hunting for gold and if you are lucky enough to discover someone, it makes all that listening to hundreds and hundreds of demos worth it.
As we mentioned, there is a real ‘family’ feel to the label, does this mean owning a label is more fun seeing as many artists often describe it as a ‘labour of love’ due to the extra hours, stress etc. ?
It has to be a labour of love if you decide to found your own label. All the extra work and stress makes it even more worthwhile when your label feels like a family or gathering of friends and you recognise that you are not the only one who works hard for your dream.
In a Q&A with Beatport you revealed that your inbox is filled with hundreds and hundreds of demos every week – aside from making good quality music, what are the key things to do to make sure that your demo stands out above the rest?
First of all, please don’t send me a DOWNLOAD LINK, these emails get deleted directly. Tell me something about yourself. Send me 2-3 of your fav tracks and tell me why you think your sound suits Kittball.
The label also hosts regular showcase events throughout the year in your home city of Dortmund and also Worldwide during the likes of Sonar and Miami Music Week. In your opinion, what makes these shows extra special?
It seems to be the whole the family feeling we bring with us – especially among us as artists. We support each other and party hard with the audience. We invest a lot of passion into the events, promotion, decoration, etc. and of course we love our Kittballers on the dancefloor. Respect your fans because without them you are nothing!
Your next EP marks a return to the label alongside label regular Flo MRZDK. We’ve premiered the original of ‘The Get Down’ and Pete Sabo also provides a remix too, can you tell us how the EP came about?
I spend a lot of time in the studio with Flo, he’s a great guy and a good friend. We hang out, drink wine and we are always on the hunt for new ideas, especially stuff on the internet. I’m a big fan of great vocals, especially Diva vocals and the amazing vocal you hear on the track we found on the internet. As soon as we had the vocal, we started working on the beat and now you can listen to the result on our new release. I love the bumping dark underground beat and the combination with the prominent vocal was perfect. Our man Pete stepped up for the remix and served us a fantastic timeless remake of the track.
What has been your favourite Kittball moment so far and what are you most proud of?
There are so many favourite moments, but one of them was when Pete Tong pitched one of our tracks as the track of the week. I was sitting in a hotel room in London listening to it live and I started crying because it was so relieving to know that all the hard work had been worth it. I’m still so proud that we built this label from nothing to make it one of the best selling Deep House Labels of all time on Beatport.
Can you give us your three favourite Kittball releases to date and why?
Veerus – Paranoic
Love the energy and a 100% underrated track, what a dancefloor killer!
Tube & Berger – The Young And The Wild Ones
Evergreen, after more than 10 years it’s still a banger!
Paji – Six O’Clock
Close your eyes and start dreaming, what a gem this track still is!
Lastly, what can we expect from both yourself and the label in the coming month ahead?
I’m busy in the studio right now, finishing off a quirky remix for an upcoming release on Kittball from talented female producer duo Black Girl White Girl.
As you can guess I’m working on collab tracks with Flo MRZDK and we just finished a real club monster. A new record with my brothers Tube & Berger, plus a remix for their banger tune E SAMBA and of course a new collab is in progress with my mate Return of the Jaded. So a lot of upcoming stuff in 2018 ☺
Pre-order on Beatport now.