Label Interview: Occultists

Facebook
Soundscloud
Instagram
Youtube

How did you come to do what you do? When did the first idea of creating the label came out?

Well I started going to raves in the late 90s and I started buying my first records and DJing in 2000. From there it kind of kept growing and evolving. I think around 2008 I finally started to have a passion that I wanted to start my own label. From there it went through many different ideas and concepts until I finally launched the label in 2016. In the end the concept for me was something that was certainly true to myself and I’m very happy with the way it turned out and all the artists who have been involved so far.

Some statistics, since the label was created , how many releases, how many vinyls and how many packages/parcels have you made/send?

In October the 8th release will come out that will be an EP from myself, James Demon. So far we have only done digital releases but that will soon change. I have some vinyl releases planned including a remix release of our very first release.

From which country do most of your buyers come from?

So far we are most popular in the USA but also Europe is probably our most second popular spot. I think the reason for USA being number one is we had a very successful remix from an artist from USA named Öona Dahl.

What is the release of which you are most proud of?

I’m actually the most proud of our last release Book of Shadows: Various Spells Vol. 2. This is our yearly compilation release that features new artists on the label and also some who have already done releases with us. The reason I pick that one is because I feel it has shown the evolution of the label and it also introduced some of my new artists who are making very interesting music that’s not typically what you would hear in the scene.

Can you describe to us what a typical day at the office means to you?

Well I am not only doing music at the moment. So a typical day in the office means juggling many tasks! I have to do work for my other clients and then also find time to work on the label business and my own creativity. So it means longer hours than someone who just works a normal job. I basically never stop working but I also am not complaining about that. I enjoy being busy.

Who’s in your Team? Are you a Music Producer or DJ?

In the beginning I was doing everything alone and I still handle most of the tasks. From A&R, social media, and making most of the decisions. This year I invited some of my friends to help with artist bookings and some social media stuff. I also have an amazing illustrator who draws all the artwork for our releases and of course our mastering guy is based here in Berlin. I am a DJ and producer as well and I also throw parties under the Occultists umbrella. We did 3 parties last year but this year has been a bit slow getting things going but I’m hoping to have another event soon and more regularly

Which distribution channels do you use?

I have a digital distributor that pushes our music to all the major outlets. You can find the music from the label just about everywhere you can buy or stream music.

Did you use Youtube and how strong/weak the impact?

Yes I use Youtube and we have a channel for the label. There you can find all the tracks for streams, music videos, and some live videos from Occultists events. We get some traffic there. Most of it is from our first release that has been the most popular release to date.

Have you ever helped yourself with buying clicks & plays on soundcloud?

No I really don’t believe in buying clicks, plays or fans. I’m a big fan of organic growth.

Where do you find hungry and ambitious artists?

I find most of the artists from Soundcloud or through friends. A friend suggested the first artist on the label to me and it was this artist that helped me to solidify the concept of the label and from there it all just grew and developed naturally.

What impact does streaming with spotify have on the economic situation of an indie label?

This is a tough question because everywhere you hear that streaming is the future but it’s a bit different when we are in the world of house and techno music. Most people are listening to this music in the clubs. However some of the music on my label is listening music so in that case I think streaming is important. The revenue we get from streaming is a joke so to answer your question I guess streaming does effect us in a bad way economically but I never started the label thinking I’d get rich I did it for the passion I have for the music and artists on it. Who knows maybe one day DJs will be mixing music through streaming sites but I surely hope that will not be true!

When you look for new music to sign what are some key elements and factors you are looking for, aside from it being a great track obviously?

The main thing is that they must fit the vibe I strive for musically on my label. Funnily enough when I sign artists they already fit the concept in all ways from the music to who they actually are. It all just fits together without trying too hard because it’s natural and organic.

How would you describe the style and vision of your Label?

The concept is to fuse my love for occult knowledge with my passion for electronic music. For some people this kind of makes them scratch their head. So I guess the best way to describe it is that I want to merge elements of gothic music and techno together but in a stylish way. Like combining the best of both worlds and also providing a techno soundscape for mystics and modern witches but also for everyone. I want to sign artists who are outside of the box and making music that break down the walls of the house and techno boxes that we are sometimes stuck in. This is why the musical range of the label is very diverse. Often we have something for everyone from experimental, ambient, techno, minimal, acid and even dark wave.

What are some sites or apps that you use to listen/ find new tracks?

I’m using pretty much just Soundcloud and I discover a lot of new music from my artists. Often they are sending me new artists who they think fit the bill and often I just find it from their streams. All of the artists are very diverse and through this way I get exposed to a lot of great new music and music that is pushing the boundaries of what we would normally expect from electronic music.

For producers out there sending in their demos via emails, what are some tips you would give them on professionally sending in their track to you?

For me it’s very simple please be polite and at least know what my label is about before sending me a demo. People are often blindly sending me music. I get a lot of rock demos, this really makes me a bit angry because they want to send me demos and have no idea what we are even about. So far I’m yet to get a demo that fits and I’ve had to discover most of my artists on my own. If you really want to get your music out there then spend the time to find the labels you think your sound can fit and it’s a slap in the face of the label when you don’t do that.