Thanks! I appreciate the opportunity to share! It’s been an excited and often exasperating adventure, but we’re finally set to launch, so fingers crossed! The name really came from a mixture of what it feels like to launch a record label and you can see my first name is in there, too.
The label’s first release is from Kiki, Smash TV & Cari Golden – Using The Music. Can you tell us about how the collaboration came together, and also about the message behind the lyrics?
A few years back I was in Berlin and spent some time in the studio with Kiki, so we’ve been friends for a long time. I also met Holger Zilske at Arena club after hearing some of his work and was blown away. We decided to try something and the song was originally very different, but it was never released. When I decided to do Precarious I asked them if I could release it, and they restyled it to what it is now, which I think is wicked. The lyrics are really just a swirl of using/abusing the music…morphing back and forth…sometimes not knowing which one is being said. I feel like music can be like that, and of course the music uses you, too…
Who has inspired your singing most – both within and outside of electronic music?
That’s a really interesting question, and it changes a lot, to be honest. The voices I love the most in any genre are the ones that sound true, not affected. I’m a vocal coach in Los Angeles, as well, so I spend a lot of time getting people to find their vocal “center”, so gimmicky things have a tendency of putting me off a bit. My list of favorites is so long, but a few are Roisin Murphy, K.D. Lang, Sarah Vaughan, Marilyn Horne….that’s a pretty diverse cross section of genres.
How do you feel about the importance placed upon songs in today’s Dance Music as opposed, to say, Disco or 1960’s R&B?
I do know that classic song structure is really starting to come back. More and more people I collaborate with are doing radio edits, and song lengths are getting shorter in some genres I work in, which is consistent with rise in popularity of this kind of music. I get a lot more inquiries from music supervisors, as well, which is a huge clue about what the culture is feeling about it, and I think is really promising. I feel like it’s definitely time for a larger audience to have some exposure to music that has a bit more refinement and subtlety. As far as equating it with Disco or R&B, I’m not sure if you can, at least in a blanket sense. There are elements of all types of music within dance music, but dance music is so diverse that I can’t really say it follows a particularly narrow formula.
The artwork representing the brand on social media was created by my good friend and Los Angeles based animator August Hall. The release artwork is a funny story. I’m launching this label with the idea of “lean and mean.” I’ve explored a lot of things, but in the end, I really wanted to represent Los Angeles in the artwork. The artwork for Using The Music is actually a photograph of the side of a dumpster in North Hollywood. No kidding. All of the art is publicly available in Los Angeles. I highly recommend if anyone lives here or visits, to take a day and just visit the street art. It’s amazing.
Do you feel politics and Dance Music mix? Should there be more or less of them in music?
To me, music is a platform for whatever you want to say. Go deep, keep it shallow, it’s up to the artist. I don’t shy away from any subject myself, but usually I come from a philosophical standpoint politically and not a literal one. I do know music has the power to shape culture and to change minds. We’re definitely in a “precarious” time politically, and artists are usually empathic, albeit strong minded people, so there is a responsibility to use this time to voice what we’re seeing and what effect it’s having.
How do you ideally like to record your voice? And do you have a favourite microphone you use?
I use an Audio Technica 4013. I’ve had it for years. Again, I keep it lean and mean. Honestly, I’m not a gear head at all, but if Neumann wanted to sponsor me I wouldn’t be pissed.
What do you look for when signing a track to the label? What advice would you give to someone thinking of sending you one?
I am definitely seeking new work always. I look for things that are classy and a bit off the beaten path. I’d love to hear some more jazz elements and analog elements in demos that I receive, but definitely in the techno, deep tech, deep house wheelhouse.
And finally what are your forthcoming plans for the rest of the year? After launching this label?
A vacation. Just kidding. I feel like I’ll be up to my eyeballs in conquering this learning curve, which is exciting and exhausting. So, more music, and I’ll probably start throwing events here in LA again. Not much time for a vacation…