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BRCast 56: Mango Alley Label Showcase

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.

What made you create this label? Why? What is the idea and inspiration behind it?

Hey guys! My name is Alex, I'm the Founder and General manager of Mango Alley, nice to meet you!

It all started back in 2008. When me and my close friends launched Silk Music (currently Monstercat Silk), I got very inspired with all the A&R and label management work. I felt a label is a great way to showcase my musical taste and my vision for progressive house & melodic techno sound. Being a creative person I always seek ways to dive deeper into the music world, and I found running a label even more exciting than producing!

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?

Before launching Mango Alley I went through all the processes of starting a label from scratch with Silk Music, so for me it was pretty easy and took around half a year from the initial idea to an official launch - most of that time was spent on compiling the first set of releases.

What is the inspiration behind the logo and artwork?

The early MA logo and cover arts were not the best examples of a mature branding lol, but it was the early years of small indie labels, so we did ok for that time. Later in 2012 I put the label on pause to reconsider everything and come back with a proper concept and a solid new Mango Alley brand.

I was born on the Black Sea coast and spent my early childhood there, so the seas and coasts are always dear to me, and a seagull is one of the brightest symbols of a seaside, thus the MA’s logo is a seagull silhouette. And we chose landscapes as our main artworks theme because I think this is what correlates with progressive house sound best.

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?

MA is focused on contemporary progressive house sound mostly, with some extension to deep and melodic techno. It’s very hard to describe what I look for in the track, except for the high quality production and a worthy idea behind it of course. It’s about my personal feeling and taste most of the time - whether a track hooks me or not. I like to think this is what helps us make our MA releases special ;}

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?

That’s a great question and some time ago i actually wrote a big post on facebook about it, i think a lot of artists may still find it useful:

In a nutshell, we try to reply to all the demo submissions, whether it’s “yes” or “no”, but there are some exceptions of course.

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 have two regular VA series on Mango Alley. First, our MA ADE Compilations which are released once a year during the Amsterdam Dance Event in October. They are designed to showcase our current sound and where the label is heading next year, so they include some of the biggest tracks of the year and exclusive tracks by our artists and new names in the roster.

Second, the Augmented series, which comes out three times a year and is designed to showcase a broader progressive/deep/tech/organic sound and give an opportunity to aspiring artists to release on MA and probably become a core part of the label (by the way EMPHI is one of our latest additions to MA core roster straight from Augmented 007). To give these releases an even bigger exposure we invite some bright and respected names to compile and mix the compilations. We already had such artists as Rauschhaus, Michael A, Golan Zocher, Tim Penner, DJ Ruby, and more mix our Augmented Compilations.

Which one has been a highlight release and why?

If you ask me, all of MA releases are highlights, each in a special way ;} But seriously we’ve got some sensational releases coming up this year, although if we take the first half of 2022, i’d say a debut EP by Ruben Karapetyan is definitely a highlight! Not only because it came out with an absolutely massive remix by Jerome Isma-Ae that has been taking over the Beatport charts for several months, but also because it put a start to our good friendship with Ruben, who is an extremely talented producer with exceptional work ethics. I’m proud to say he’s now an essential part of the Mango Alley family!

What do you expect from new talent when you sign them? What makes you reject them from releasing on your label?

It’s a very hard question, there are dozens of aspects, but in the end it all comes down to whether I like the track or not. The main thing is that an artist should have a clear understanding of what idea he wants to implement in his track, have a good “feel” for the sound design/concept and a good balance of the elements in the track.

On the other hand, among other factors like sound format, production quality, etc. an instant “reject” would be the obvious use of unprocessed stock samples/midis.

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?

I like to think Mango Alley is in the league of its own :) I think all the labels should be different in a way, so I wouldn't like to compare. As for local producers, this was never the case with MA. We try to help push TALENTED producers, so the country of their origin is the last thing we’d be looking at.

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.

I believe music always comes first and speaks for itself. When the music you showcase is outstanding, when you work hard on all the aspects of your release and pay attention to all the small details, people will recognize it and you’ll reach their hearts and souls in any corner of the world.

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