BRCast 54: SubTrail Records Label Showcase
Updated: Jun 6, 2022
I am pleased to welcome you to the BRC Label showcase interview, your participation is greatly appreciated. We thank you for the mix and the time you have invested in preparing for everything that BRC requested. Let's begin the interview with an introduction of the key people of the label.
Meet the Label Heads:
What made you create this label? Why? What is the idea and inspiration behind it?
At the start of the pandemic back in 2020 during lockdown a lot of video streams were happening from different locations and loads of music was being produced. The music was important at that time and it was important to entertain as well as spread it. All the Djs were at home and not working, the urge to express their music was strong and get the music released. But suddenly the social sites were not allowing us to stream the music and it then happened that we started to release tracks and mixes on Soundcloud. Slowly within 8 to 9 months the pace picked up and we decided to push our own releases and sounds through this medium because we really liked what we were doing and wanted to push it to the next step. This is how we created our own label, there was never a plan behind.
How long had the idea of a label been on your minds before its official launch? What were the challenges running up to its launch?
Well as we told you in the previous question it was very organic and we really didn't have a plan to start the label. It just happened one day to strike us that our page in Soundcloud was really blooming with tracks and releases of local Indian producers, most of whom were our friends. We really did not have a fair idea of how to start and we spoke to a couple of our friends who already owned a label. We understood the process behind it, the need for a distributor and hence we approached Proton because it is one of the best out there and our favourite Label SCI-TEC, by Dubfire also uses Proton. So we wrote them an email explaining our plan, the vision and Proton liked it and the ball was set rolling. So that’s how we got started. \
What is the inspiration behind the logo and artwork?
There is no real inspiration or idea behind it but one day we had a bunch of names and ‘Trail’ came up and we were calling our podcasts as Trailcasts and Sub is the Subs of music and we got Subtrail. The name took about a week or so, but the logo was pretty easy, took only about half an hour. We decided on the font and everything was in place in no time.
What genre of music the label hosts and what do you look for specifically in a track that gives you that sense of belonging in a track to release it on your platform?
Our label supports minimal techno, hypnotic and sci-tec, anything with psychedelic groovy or dark flavours, liquid baselines. So if you have a track as a demo that you want us to listen to and it fits the criteria, BPM doesn't matter even though we play slow BPM.
In terms of demos, how do you accept, review and reject from all the thousands you receive? What are the challenges in sifting through the boatload of demos you receive for releases and the communication you maintain with aspirants?
Yes, we do receive demos quite frequently! The first step with regards to accepting a demo is of course a piece of music that fits into our label or our sound. Secondly we review the artist via social media to check their releases and consistency because there are a lot of them stealing free downloads by other artists and sending it as demos to labels calling it their music. When it comes to rejection, we always give the artist some feedback and help them understand what is a good fit to our label and good following reasons for rejection so they understand our context and our responsibilities as label founders.
How many VA and compilations do you release in a year and what kind of tracks you choose? What kind of artists do you select for the VA? Basically what purpose does a VA serve to a label?
We do not have a plan as to how many VAs we intend to release in a year, but maybe at the rate of 1 VA per quarter. Much of the first year in operation was mostly collecting music and this year we are releasing music full fledged. There are a lot of artists sending us music from all over the globe and some artists send only a track or only two that do not comprise an EP. Also there are the bigger artists who are bound by time and are able to probably send us only one track. We want to showcase music that is good, it is a nice way to showcase artists from different geographies and influences.
Which one has been a highlight release and why?
The highlight has been the EP we released was the one of Folic State and Reclaim (Self) called Kambo. It was a defining moment for the label, we released it with four remixer and it took us almost 2 years to finish the project and release it. It was right after the first wave and it took a lot of time and effort.
What do you expect from new talent when you sign them? What makes you reject them from releasing on your label?
We expect new talent to send us at least three to five tracks when they send us a demo so that we understand the vibe that they are going for. It also helps us choose three or four tracks and release them wholly as an EP. But if we receive just one track out of the blue it does not really serve the purpose because we do not know if we are going to support you in the future, whether you are going to be consistent or not. We do not really have any rigid structure of rejection, it is just that probably the vibe is something that does not fit the criteria we are going for and maybe at that point in time it is not right for our label.
From your country, which other label is pushing the same music as you are and how do you think everyone is helping push the local producers?
Definitely Soupherb, which has been a big inspiration for us ourselves from the beginning, they push the same vibe and music in India. Apart from Soupherb and Us there is Occultech by Synister and Copycat by Breger. We all are supporting local producers and it only makes sense when you start to push your local music and friends’ music first. That is the whole point of having a label, music is very personal and local, it has to start locally.
What kind of support do you look for from artists and other parties in promoting your music worldwide? What are the challenges in promoting music to corners of the world where you may not be as popular as in your home country.
Just to be active on social media, sharing the label content on social media, making and pushing better music is what is needed. It is really not a challenge to promote music if you have created a niche in the music and in a world connected seamlessly with the internet. We know the countries and corners or pockets where this kind of music is listened to, supported and played and we target them. Our motto is not to be commercial and sell billion copies but to push quality music and make it reach those aforesaid pockets or corners.