BRCast 79: Manual Music 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?
Manual Music was started in 2005 when I was already running a couple of other labels. These labels were more in the techno genre but I received some very nice music which was lower in tempo, melodic and more experimental. These demo’s were to good to let go, so I decided to open up a new label and Manual Music was born.
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?
Since I was already working in the music industry for some years and had experience in starting / running labels, there wasn’t really a big challenge to start Manual Music.
What is the inspiration behind the log and artwork?
The initial artwork look on the vinyl sleeves were technical drawings of a Technics turntable. An essembly manual so to speak. We found it fitting for the name Manual Music.
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?
Manual Music has never been stuck in one particular genre. I feel genre boundaries are very limiting, creatively. If you browse thru the catalogue from all these years you’ll find anything from progressive house and melodic house (I guess this is what the label is most known for nowadays) until electronica, IDM, minimal and even some indie-pop / singer songwriter singles and albums. In terms of what I look for in a track, well.. quality! Other than that I sign everything for all my labels purely based on my gut feeling.
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?
Nowadays I work together with Labelradar which makes it very easy to go thru all the demo’s, as I receive all demo’s on one platform and all in the same format instead of getting demo’s everywhere in every way possible. Demo’s send to me outside of Labelradar are simply ignored. That may sound a bit harsh, but that’s the only way I can guarantee each demo is being listened to.
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?
I always end the year with the Manualism V/A album which is packed with new tracks and previously unreleased remixes by a combination of resident artists vs. artists that are on my radar. It’s a nice tradition and a good way to introduce new artists as well. Next to that maybe one or two compilations a year. Mainly when I am on holiday as it’s nice to keep the release schedule going and also to highlight some songs released on the label in the past.
Which one has been a highlight release and why?
It’s super hard to single out one particular release since as we speak there are 400+ releases on the label. But looking back I guess it’s pretty special that we have released Eelke Kleijn’s Untold Stories album. He was already a known name back then, but now he’s a worldwide touring artist and it makes me proud to have had the opportunity to have worked with him on this.
What do you expect from new talent when you sign them? What makes you reject them from releasing on your label?
Everything starts with good music. Anyone who makes something good can release on my label. However I do expect artists to actively promote their own music as well. To make something successful both the record label and artist should work together to maximize a release’s potential. If I feel it’s a one way thing, then I won’t work together with this artist anymore.
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?
In all honesty, we’re living in an internet world so everything is globalized. If you’re a good producer, you are a good producer- it doesn’t matter where you are from. Of course I like to work with talented artists from Holland, but I also like to work with a talented artist from the other side of the world.
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 that, as the label has been active for 18 years now, it has built up quite a big, loyal and global fanbase. The key element of Manual Music as a label- but in a bigger picture as a record company is that it has always been fully independent and doesn’t rely on anyone for support, promotion etc. If you are into the kinda music we release on the label- not matter where in the world you are located- you will find it sooner or later. That’s the fun thing about algorithms these days ☺