You’re a leader in the industry and an A&R guru. How do you come across the tracks and artists that keep the Pacha Recordings label fresh?
The mantra of the label is “if its good it has a home”. I don’t like to go after the same records and artists as all other labels, our label is a breeding ground for new and undiscovered talent, I encourage unknowns to send music and I guarantee to listen to everythin. From there I can usually spot the tracks I want very quickly, the talent I want to work with and develop. That keeps us different and fresh.
How have you seen the shift in music’s availability and distribution affecting record labels these days? Do you think artists still see the need to be signed to a label as crucial for there future?
The fact is that anybody can release a digital record, but it is hard for those releases to be heard as there are so many, so artists like to be associated to a label that has a reputation for quality, it gives the music a better chance of being heard. But the “record deal” no longer exists; almost all deals on independents are non-exclusive and track-by-track or based on good relationship, for us we only work on tracks with artists if they truly want that track with us.
With technology the way it is today, do you think artists and labels are able to protect themselves from piracy or do they now accept that piracy is part of the business of music that can actually help there profile and it’s something they need to accept?
The biggest problem dance music has is the pirate download sites, the free-streaming sites where music is swapped without consideration for a labels promotion plan or investment. I don’t accept piracy at all, I do accept that Soundcloud and Spotify, others like them, are here and can be great tools as promotion – when controlled and used as part of a promotion plan.
Since moving from Subliminal Records some 7 years ago, do you feel you have achieved all you set out to achieve to date? Is Pacha Recordings today where you wanted it to be when you started?
When I got to Pacha the label didn’t really exist as “a home for music”, these days we own a vast catalogue that is used on multiple platforms and commercial projects. We also now have label deals all over the world, our sales are good and we are stable in an unstable industry – but it has only been in the last year that we have started to focus on artists and their association to Pacha recordings “as part and parcel of our team”, artists like John Jacobsen, Peter Brown, Josef Bamba and Denis Naidanow can now be seen popping up on multiple Pacha recordings tracks, remixes and compilations, usually under the legend “syx Ibiza collective”, and so now we are starting to have artist association “John Jacobsen from syx Ibiza collective on Pacha recordings”, for example – this is something i want to develop more, as is the touring side of our business, which has been growing over the past two years from 35 dates a year in 2011, to 70 dates this year 2012 and now looking to go to over 100 dates next year in 2013 – this is a key area of growth, for us “the artist team” and “the visibility of touring” for the label, the artists and the music we release – it is only in this year, 2012, that we have even invested in promotion of our music, until now it has all been word of mouth, now we are popping up on charts all over the place – to answer your question, i am happy with where we are, but we have multiple goals still to achieve.
What makes Pacha Recordings such an accomplished and successful brand?
I would be foolish not to take some of the glory for our success, but the reality is that I have taken the label from a basic idea and fashioned it in to a global player. I came to Pacha recordings with a lot of experience in focusing and working with the “label brand” , pushing the name of a record label, rather than looking to have “stars” on board to drive it falsely. For me the star of everything should always be the brand, promote and develop that first and foremost, feed it with quality music and strategic deals that enhance the value of the label name. That’s the core element, drive the label and build industry, and consumer confidence in the brand as a quality provider.
Where do you see the direction of EDM both musically and as a scene over the next 12 months?
Edm, the American market has been looking for a good tag line for years, I remember they tried “electronica” but it didn’t really carry through, however “edm” is so American, they love to abbreviate down to letters, that’s what they have done, and now it’s a scene. However, for me that scene is catering to college kids and students, who may be passionate about edm today but they are usually transient, they grow up and grow out of it. I’m not sure that by having all these “wham bam superstar extravaganzas” that they are really feeding the music to the minds of the audience, they are feeding the experience of a great event, but I’m not sure they are feeding them a lifestyle, a love and appreciation of real house. For me the edm sound seems to be all about big, big, big, (so American) and they have left out the deep, cool and emotional part of what the dance music scene is, it is that part that develops in to a lifestyle, that grows longevity. Most of these festival things, giant arena things, could as easily by motley crew or guns and roses in concert. Lots of lights, effects and pumping sounds – “wham, bam”
In your opinion what has been a stand out event, and who has been a stand out artist in 2012 and why?
For stand out event, despite the comments of above I have to give the lads from Swedish House Mafia high praise for headlining Madison Square Garden. I knew these lads when nobody gave a damn, in fact I was one of the first people to sign and release a record from Steve Angelo and Sebastian Ingrosso and even gave them a Subliminal compilation to mix when nobody else was interested apart from Erick Morillo and myself. So to see them reach that height, well it is a stand out moment and hats off to them. As for the stand out artist, two guys have had a fantastic year in Ibiza, Soloman and Maceo Plex, but I have a soft spot for Steve Lawler who just produces quality, time and time again. My personal guilty pleasure is always Green Velvet who defies all musical logic but manages to be ten moves ahead of everybody else.