So I failed to keep up the run of updates as promised and have yet to make a full 7 days back to back with posts here on FatKidOnFire. C’est la vie I guess, but I’m glad to say there’s a new MakeItGood x FKOF interview to drop this weekend as well as another exclusive free download. Trying to make up for slacking on the frequency of updates with quality over quantity!
There’s been an explosion of quality startup independent bassmusic labels popping up this year. 2011’s been a stellar one for supporting the original dubstep sounds and artists, as you can probably tell by the number of MakeItGood x FKOF features with new artists this year. Dubstep may have been declared ‘dead‘, but if the current state of the Juno Download chart (yes, that is InnaMind Recording‘s debut release. Sitting at number 2 just behind Ruffhouse!) is anything to go by, there’s nothing but love for young innovative labels supporting fresh talent.
The next interviewee in the MIG x FKOF series features is another of these new labels – Germany’s Digital Sanctuary Recordings run by DnB artist Rusher. The label caught my eye this week after pushing an astoundingly good EP from London’s Wheeler (who’s also on the IMR001 release). I got in touch with Rusher to get the lowdown on the label, who he’s supporting and what the future holds for Digital Sanctuary Recordings.
Who and what is Digital Sanctuary Recordings? Digital Sanctuary Recordings is a digital music label founded by me, Rusher – a DnB producer/ DJ from Germany. I started it as a dubstep label, but after a few releases I now see it more like a platform for deep electronic music; so not just strictly dubstep.
What led to you starting the label? Considering you run the label on your own, how has setting up and getting the label exposure been for you so far? Is it something you’d recommend doing? I found it really depressing to see how many labels out there are releasing crappy music. As you don’t really have to invest in releasing digital music (compared to vinyl) most labels have this “Ah, what the hell, let’s just release it” attitude.
I started the label to build a name you can trust, those who know me as a DnB artist know that I really care about quality. I want to put the same quality control in this label, so I won’t sign anything I’m not 100% sure about. I didn’t start the label to push my name in the dubstep scene or anything, I’m not even following it, I never really go to parties and I don’t know what labels in the scene are big, I just want to release great music.
Setting up the label wasn’t really hard, as I’ve been in the industry for some years now I knew who to contact and what to do, but getting the label some exposure was much harder than expected. There are so many labels out there (especially in the dubstep genre) – people I know still hit me up and say “Damn, I didn’t realize you started a label!”; even though I tried everything from making promo videos, mixes, to banner ads on very big websites. Unless you have a big name signed, it’s pretty hard to stand out for a new label.
Not sure if this is something I’d recommend. If you’re an established artist and you want to start a label in your genre to have more creative freedom, go for it – but if you want start a label because you think it will make you rich and famous, you would have much more fun burning the money you planned on investing into your label… Your label can have 20,000 fans on Facebook, and maybe (if you’re lucky) 200 of them will actually pay for your music, because clicking a ‘Like’ button is much easier than spending money.
Who’s currently on your roster? We have:
- – Matta on a collab track with Dubtek,
- – Culprate with a remix that will be released early 2012,
- – Shureshotz on a very deep track,
- – Monti from the Netherlands releasing an amazing debut,
- – Silent Strike from Romania with an EP that’s just perfect,
- – Roka from Bulgaria (already dropped two releases), with his friend Vly remixing one of his tunes,
- – Ideal Standard from Germany with a really cool single,
- – The UK’s Wheeler with an EP (which launched on the 16th),
- – Void & Worm = 4 people from the USA and Germany, great stuff!
- – I have and will release some stuff by myself.
With so many Djs embracing digital, there seems to be a gradual move away from traditional vinyl releases from labels these days. What are your thoughts on this? I had very long discussions about this topic; I think it was better for labels back when every DJ played vinyl, and not only for the labels, also for the listeners, because (like I mentioned before) the quality control is much higher when you’re supposed to invest money into the tunes you want to release. Pressing vinyl is really expensive, so you have to think twice if the tune is really good enough to be released. It was not as easy to copy the tunes if you wanted to play them at a gig – you’d have to press a dubplate of a tune you don’t own whereas nowadays you just download the MP3 somewhere and no one would know if you bough it or not. It’s pretty normal that a lot of labels lose their vinyl deals.
I’ve also talked to some artists (that don’t own a label, or have released anything before) because I wanted to sign tunes from them, and they said “No thanks, I only want to release vinyl” and I don’t know, but that’s pretty interesting to me.
I understand the wish to release vinyl, you work on tunes for hours and hours and in the end it gets reduced to a few megabytes; that thought can be really depressing.
You’ve got to face reality, unless the label can be sure that your name sells, they’d rather release digital and if it sells good then they could make even more money because they don’t have to invest so much.
Do you think you will stick to releasing dubstep, or can you see the label releasing other genres in the future? The last release had a heavy DnB remix on the flip side, and Silent Strike’s EP had some really cool IDM tunes on it. So yeah, I’m open for all kinds of good electronic music, as long as it fits a certain vibe.
What’s the future of dubstep – where do you see the genre going? What’s the dubstep scene in Germany like? I really don’t know what the future will bring, I mean we’ve now got Korn and Justin Bieber doing “dubstep” Albums… Skrillex helps that and the youngers now know that sort of sound as “dubstep”.
It seems like this genre is being raped by everyone right now. That might be another reason why I don’t want to call the label a dubstep label anymore, ’cause I don’t really want to be part of this orgy.
I think dubstep hasn’t really arrived in Germany yet. There are some parties here every few months, but it’s still very risky – no matter who you book, you can be lucky and it’s sold out or only 10 people show up.
Any new releases we can look forward to? Can you tell us a bit more about the recent Wheeler EP? Well, in January we will be releasing Void & Worm’s single with the tracks ‘Standoff‘ and ‘Warriors‘. After that we have a remix single and a remix EP. Monti will do an EP as well. As well as a few more surprises!
I discovered Wheeler on SoundCloud, got in contact with him and signed two of his tracks. I then heard new stuff by him and signed that too; in the end we had 6 tracks that I fell in love with. His EP is just perfect, it kind of reminds me of Kryptic Mind’s ‘One of Us‘ album, the vibe and the production is totally on point. And I’m planning on releasing more of his stuff!
Any events lined up that we should get excited about? I’m not really a promoter, we had one label night and I’m sure there will be a second one, but I haven’t even thought about that yet to be honest.
Any advice to upcoming Producers/ DJs trying to get signed? Be your own harshest critic and don’t send everything you do to a label unless you think it’s great. Try to figure out which of your friends really tell you what they think about your music, and which ones only say “Yeah its dope!” to everything you produce.
And if you decide to send tracks out, take the time and listen to the label’s music to see if your music fits in there. And last but not least, don’t send your music to 4000+ people at once, I’m really not listening to music when it says “shared to 4000 people and you”.
I’ve been rinsing the Wheeler release since it went up on the lable’s BandCamp account earlier this week. On a side note, Daniel recently posted an interesting piece on his relationship with Beatport and BandCamp – well worth a read.
You can stream Digital Sanctuary’s latest release in its entirety above – and the full 6 track download is only £6. For a small label pushing some really, really great artists you can’t really argue with that. I’ll be keeping a keen eye on what Rusher and the rest of the Digital Sanctuary Recordings lot do in 2012!
If you have any thoughts on Rusher from Digital Sanctuary Recordings‘ interview, or want to recommend a new artist you’ve discovered or just want a chat about something you’ve seen on FatKidOnFire, leave a comment below or get in touch via email, Twitter, Facebook or the FKOF TakesQuestions page.