What made you create this label? Why? What is the idea and inspiration behind it?
MNL was created in 2012 as a Manual Music subsidiary to facilitate more space in the release schedule for stand alone singles. Back then (and still now) we were doing regular album projects on the Manual Music label. And with each album come singles, remix EP’s etc which make the release schedule fill up quite quickly.
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?
I honestly don’t remember how long I had the idea in my head since this is 11 years ago. The biggest challenge back then was to make people realize that even though related to Manual Music, MNL is a stand alone record label and not just a “b-choice” kinda label for songs that didn’t make it to “the main label” (which sometimes people still think, frustratingly enough haha).
What is the inspiration behind the logo and artwork?
The logo was simple: we just took the letters M, N and L from the Manual logo. I think the artwork layout is super recognizable Early beginnings aside, we’ve pretty much worked with the same layout for many many years. It was created by Fabian Pötter who released on the label under a couple different aliases and we’re still super happy with it!
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?
When you listen back to the earlier releases it was clear it was (as mentioned above) really a label for stand alone singles which were super strong, but we had no space for on Manual Music at the time due to various reasons (album projects, resident artists etc.).
Eventually, like a label should, MNL shaped it’s own strong identity firmly cemented in the roots of “traditional” progressive house. We say traditional progressive house because the term has been a bit “tained” over the years. It’s not the EDM kinda sound, nor the very synth heavy (trancey) melodic sound which are all using the same genre specification for some reason. The sound of MNL is classic/traditional progressive house which DJ’s like Hernan Cattaneo and Nick Warren play, to give a good example.
In terms of demos, how do you accept, review and reject from all the thousands you receive?
We use the Labelradar platform to be able to listen to everything that is send to us.
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 the ‘Seasons’ V/A four times a year (on in each season of the year), presenting a nice selection of music by artists we already work with paired up with label newcomers. Next to that an annual “birthday” album and maybe one or two other compilations, just to give some of our previous releases another bit of spotlight.
Which one has been a highlight release and why?
We’ll leave this up to the fans and followers of the label to decide. For us it’s all about the full body of work rather than singling out one particular release.
What do you expect from new talent when you sign them? What makes you reject them from releasing on your label?
At the end it’s all about having the right sound for the label in combination with strong production skills. Of course any kinda profile / following online will help, but if your music is strong enough we’ll sign it even if you are completely anonymous in the social media environment.
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?
This is quite a difficult question, firstly because we are mainly focused on doing our own thing and not looking around us too much what others are doing. And secondly there are so so so many labels all around the world and here (in Holland) alone as well, it’s too easy to forget to mention certain labels.
For us pushing local producers isn’t specifically on our agenda. Good music is good music and we live in an online world now anyway, so no matter from where in the world you are from, you are welcome to release on the label.
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.
We always feel promotion should be a shared effort between record label and artist, it should not be a one way thing. Since MNL is part of the Manual Music record company which has a very strong online following and fanbase, we feel the algoritms will do their job and bring music in front of our fans as well as in front of new emerging markets.