We caught up with My Favourite Freaks Label and Booking Agency Boss M.in this week and had a really great chat.
Hi Markus (aka M.in), for those who are not aware can you please give us a bit of background about yourself and what you did before you launched My Favourite Freaks?
Hello 🙂 As I’m not so young anymore I’ve already got a lot of experiences under my belt. The first success was with Kaufmann & Ferdinand and my first vinyl label “Kaufe Musik”. After touring around 3 years through Germany and playing Techno every weekend I decided to start my solo project called M.in. I had a little hit with the first remix I made for Basti Grubwhich and it was played by many big name’s like Roger Sanchez, Loco Dice and more.
The first ep was on OFF Recordings and it was the first big release for both them and myself. After my EP the label got very popular and I started to travel around the world. My first gig outside of Germany was at Space, Ibiza. A bit later, I released my “M.in – Sing And Blow At The Same Time EP” on Desolat (Loco Dice’s label) and this was definitely the beginning of a really good period for me. At this time, I also met Lars (my partner) again after some years and we decided to start a booking agency together. We had names like Robert Dietz, Ray Okpara, Johnny D, Markus Fix and Nick Curly in our agency, but everyone was unknown at the time. When we started the new agency, we used the name of my label Weplayminimal (booking). But later decided to change the name into “My Favourite Freaks Booking”. I gave Lars the contracts, asked some friends / artists I knew and he started to work. The agency was growing fast, but all because of my name and my contacts as I was touring in 20 different countries at this time and knew a lot of people. When people asked me for a remix we naturally made friends after it, then I asked them to join the agency. This was how NTFO or Ramiro Lopez came to us.
What’s the general rule to be on the label and what are the essential credentials?
This is easy as we’ve only been working with the artists on our agency roster til now, but we’re now opening up the label for everybody. The style needs to fall in the Tech House or Techno genre without too many melodies – and something I would like to play. It must inspire us. If we feel the tracks you will win directly.
What is an average day like and what jobs do you constantly have to deal with?
Lars is running the bookings and I am working in the back office. So Lars is in touch with the promoters and I do the worst work 🙂 just joking! But sometimes it’s not easy at the office. I sort out the flight, write the contracts, do the itineraries (riders) for the artists and other stuff.
Then I also run a promopool called My Favourite Freaks PR where I promote different labels but also our own labels. And for sure, I also have to find time to produce new M.in tracks, so my days are always too short. Also, Lars is working 12h per day, we both work too hard.
Where does the label name come from and is there Is there a story behind it?
We were looking for a name for a very long time as it wasn’t so easy to find the right one. But then Lars asked me if we should use the name of one of my tracks “M.in – I’m My Favourite Freak” (Playitdown – Label Of Jesse Rose) and so My Favourite Freaks was born.
Does My Favourite Freaks have a distinct sound? How would describe the labels vision and sound?
As we are focusing Tech House and Techno artists for our agency and we also decided to adopt the same music policy on our label. But as I’m very picky it’s not easy to convince myself. For the techno tracks I would say “Rob Hes Style” as he’s doing 100% the music I would like to sign on My Favourite Freaks. Some techno tracks that don’t have too many effects, melodies or crazy sounds. I like it raw and simple.
For the Tech House tracks it’s not really easy to pick new tracks as I’m trying to be up-to-date, but I don’t like the UK house style that many tech house labels doing in the moment. It’s because everybody using the same samples again and again – the same rave stab, the same vocals and the same beat loops. So if anybody sends me a demo it should be something different like Alexander Aurel did. I love his style. His new EP reminds me of my old tracks, some bongo groove, some cool vocals, a bit of fun, but totally serious and up-to-date music.
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?
I think it is important to have a few key artists, yes. You have to define the label sound and the best way is done by the artists. Our key artists are Rob Hes, Ferdinand Dreyssig, Mladen Tomic, Ramon Tapia, Danny Serrano and myself.
How did you link up with Danny Serrano?
A partner agency from Spain offered us Danny and we liked his music a lot. Now we are friends as I played often with Danny in many different cities and countries.
Where do you look for new music? Online, via demos, via people you already know?
I haven’t looked for demos as we have enough artists on our roster already now. Lars normally asks them all for new tracks and I listen, then we decide together if we take it or leave it.
What if a demo is good but needs refining? Do you have time to help the producer and give them some tips? Does MFF ever help with mixing and mastering?
As I do the mastering for our labels, I would help with advice, but we’ve never had to give any tips to the artists we have signed so far as they are all really good producers. But if I would sign a newcomer, I would certainly help them if needed.
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?
Please listen to our music carefully and try to do the same. Try to inspire me. Do something different that’s still up-to-date. Don’t mind if it’s Techno or Tech House or House.
How do you decide on remixes and where do you look? Does it depend on the original? What is the aim of getting remixers involved?
As we know so many good producers we ask our friends or our artists. For the next year we will change things a bit. I will request remixes from my favourite artists also. Producers that have a really good standing for years and those who produce different styles, not the trendy music you’ll find at the moment. But shhhhhh, I don’t want to tell you too much 🙂
As a producer and DJ, you also use the label for your own output, what’s been your biggest personal highlight release so far on the label?
My third album “M.in – Year Of The Ape”. I’m also really happy to have been in the Beatport labels top ten for years. It seems like my music is also working well on my own label and this is something that makes me feel proud. I am currently in the 5, 7, 9 and 10 places, but I also was at #1 a longer time. That’s why it always makes sense for me to release not just on my own label, but also on some stronger labels of friends or artists I like.
Riva Starr is a long-time music friend and so it’s no wonder why we are working on a new single of me on Snatch. We still waiting for new vocals but then I will release a classic tune from Aretha Franklyn in my personal version on Snatch. Also Green Velvet released a new ep one week ago on his Cajual label. I was working around 1,5 years to get this release done after he was charting one of my tracks and I got in touch with him.
But my focus is definitely to release in My Favourite Freaks … next single is coming in august 😉
Your artwork style is very unique, who designs the sleeves for you?
We work together with a berlin Graphic agency called 3BKE. But the new artworks has been done by myself. I am aiming to do everything by myself now if I can. 3BKE have been helping us a lot to create our graphic style, so I am very thankful that we’ve been working with them.
Have you any plans for any new albums or compilations you can tell us about?
Yes. We are still waiting for some tracks, but hopefully soon we can start our new “Concept.” compilation and the “Concept.” tour to go with it. We should be releasing in September.
I don’t have any plans for a new M.in album yet, maybe next year as I am normally release an album every 2 years. But I’m not sure if I will find the time for it and I have to decide if I really want to make another album.
Are you or have you done label nights and if so how have they contributed to the label’s growth?
Oh we did a lot. Our Compilations “We Are Together” and “Concept.” were only planned to have something to promote a label showcase / label tour. And this is also the reason why we also doing the next “Concept” compilation and tour soon. They were a big success for us and helped to get more showcases in different countries , which in turn the promotion of the shows helped to push the label too.
We also did label showcase at Off Sonar and ADE. We also got offers from Miami, but this was too far away for us as Lars and I both have kids and family.
Showcases are a cool thing as you meet our artists to have fun with them, not only doing business together. And this also changes the mood of the common work. And if the artists are happy with us they also send us better tracks hahaha. This helps us to grow up.
Where do you see the label in 5 years? And are you pleased with where the label is now since its inception?
We never expected such a success at the beginning. Sure we hoped it would sell good and help us to get more gigs for our artists, but now the label is well known and we are working on the next steps. Hopefully we will reach a bigger level with the label in the next 5 year, I am confident.
Any plans for MFF vinyl releases?
Not at the moment, but in 2018 we might make vinyls for every release.
What can we look forward to in 2017 from My Favourite Freaks?
I am working on a new Sample Pack Series for My Favourite Freaks with my old friend Alex Piccini. He will distribute our sample via his label House Of Loop. So as soon I will have a bit free time I prepare the first sample pack as I would love to do the first pack. The next will be planned shortly.
We also have some special releases coming up soon by Alexander Aurel, Ferdinand Dreyssig (including a great remix of Skober) and my next single is also coming soon.