Home Interviews Feature: Deersky & Synthie [Interview]

Feature: Deersky & Synthie [Interview]

39 min read

Soundteller Records announces new imprint Provider Music, we catch up with label owners Deersky and Synthie to get the details on this new addition to the label family. Enjoy!

Hi Guys, thanks for joining us today, tell where in the world you are and what are you up to? What are your plans for the week?

S: Thank you for having us, it’s a pleasure.

D: Yes, thanks for the invitation! At the moment we’re doing a lot of…gardening work. We’re working in our summer house and preparing it for the spring and summer season.

Tell us a bit about yourself, how did you discover electronic music?

D: The very beginning would be somewhere in the late 80’s and early 90’s when I heard music from my father’s and uncle’s cassettes with sound by e.g. Koto. Then, I discovered Depeche Mode and Prodigy, and it opened the way to looking for new sounds on the radio and MTV.

S: I remember hearing Jean Michel Jarre as a child in the 80’s or 90’s, so that would be the very first time with electronic music. The first time I bought a CD with electronic music was in the end of 90’s in a legendary place in Warsaw, the old Stadium where you could buy literally everything, from food, to clothes, to Uranium. Later in high school I discovered Detroit techno and it was a game changer.

Name five tracks that were most important in your musical development and why are these pieces so significant for you.

D: Depeche Mode – Walking in my shoes; Orbital – Halcyon; Three Drives – Greece 2000; Sasha – Expander; Enigma – Sadeness. The reason is these tracks influenced me a lot when I was growing up.

S: Michael Jackson – all of his music; Nirvana – Smells Like Teen Spirit; Derrick May – Strings of Life; DJ Rolando - Jaguar; Octave One – Blackwater. It was an extremely hard thing to pick just so few of tracks that were important. They made a huge impact on me and my taste and I still love listening to them.

Tell us about growing up and living in Poland, how has it affected your musical taste? Or would say it’s not had any affect?

S: Everything has its effect and shapes us, so does the place we grow up and live in. For instance, after the communism was overthrown in 1989, Poland fell for all associated with the west, including the culture. A few years later you could watch MTV and it was full of American pop and rock artists, so it must have influenced me as a kid. Later, as a teenager, I heard techno for the first time when my then best friend’s brother listened to it in the next room. And so, the story began.

D: It had a great effect, from the music my parents and family listened to, to school parties, to the residential area I lived in, to people who introduced me to electronic music on the radio. I remember there was a radio show “DJs’ Night” and I recorded it on cassettes. My friends borrowed it from me and some of them are still missing.

What led you down the path of wanting to start a record label?

D: I had been a listener, a fan and a party goer for some time already but it all happened when I started making music with Noa Romana, my friend from Belgium. We were fresh on the professional stage and so enthusiastic about our music going to be released that we didn’t act carefully, which ended up with being mistreated by some labels and receiving neither contracts, nor royalties. We didn’t know the business then and it turns out somebody used that. This was the time when I felt a strong motivation to start my own label. What I thought was: if others did it, why shouldn’t I? Also, I had a very clear idea for it and wanted to release top quality music and to do it all in a professional way.

How did you come to decide on Soundteller as a name?

D: To be honest, I didn’t think about it for a long time. Sound speaks to me more than lyrics and I wanted to create a record label that will have its releases tell stories.

Could you list some of the artists who you consider a core part of Soundteller and the development of its sound?

D: I think this would be Andrea Cassino, Erdi Irmak, Matias Chilano, Silinder. We have cooperated with them since the very beginning of the label and they have brought a lot in. Also, their style helped shape the label sound. Interestingly, Andrea Cassino helps create the sound of the label also as a mastering engineer.

What is your thought process behind remixer selection on a given project and how many is too many in your opinion?

D: First of all, we need a track that we like. Once we decide to sign and release it, there already is the vision of whose style matches the track. I like a release to be coherent.

S: As for the number of remixes, we think that 3 is a maximum, as in this way we are able to both present a few interpretations of the track and offer listeners and DJs a choice and also the original isn’t lost.

If you had to pinpoint a few tracks which were crucial in the development of Soundteller, in terms of DJ support, establishing a certain sound or otherwise, what would they be?

D: These would be Asteroids by Mike Griego, Chinguarime by Roger Martinez, full Metamorphosis EP by Paul Kardos, De Los Alpes A Los Andes by Andrea Cassino.

Soundteller is now approaching its seven year anniversary and you’ve recently announced your starting a new label Provider Music, congrats on that! Tell us about how that came to be and how it will differ from Soundteller?

D: We receive a lot of great demos with music different that the one we release on Soundteller. Also, we don’t want to overschedule. Thus the idea to separate it all into two separate labels with Soundteller being progressive and deep house and Provider offering more melodic techno and tech house.

S: To be honest, I have always been more into what Provider will now offer. I have enjoyed working for Soundteller but have had this dream to do something similar with music that has this super special place in my heart.

Provider Music is a unique name for a label, what significance does it hold and why did you choose that?

S: We had a few attempts to choosing the name and there have been a few other options. But this word combines a few important qualities. It has a corresponding meaning as we want to provide a great music. It includes PRO letters, so can be associated with professionalism. Also, it is short and easily pronounced. On top of that, we find it easy to remember.

Why does now feel like the right time to expand the Soundteller family with a new imprint like Provider Music?

D: Why now? All I can say is: why not? It didn’t happen by accident but was a well-thought decision that had its roots in our passion, our love for genres different from progressive, our experience with running Soundteller. Time flies, so the sooner we do something, the sooner we will be happy with the results of our work.

Soundteller operates on a weekly release schedule which is quite intensive, will Provider Music follow a similar path?

S: No, Provider will release music less frequently. For now our target is to have max two releases monthly on Provider and two on Soundteller. But… Time will show. We’ve learnt you must be flexible and react to what happens around rather than always stick to the plan.

So the first release has just come out and it's from an artist who will be new to most by the name of Haus on Fire, tell us a bit about who that is and why this particular artist and track felt right to start the label's journey.

D: Haus On Fire is a talented duo from the UK that is soon going to get very popular. At the moment they are preparing next releases in cooperation with David Morales and Hot Since 82. When we heard their music, we know it was the thing we wanted for Provider. It matches our style and vision for the new imprint and has such a vibe that the decision to trust it was easy. I can share with you a little secret that we are currently working on our second EP with Haus On Fire.

There is also a remix from storied German producer Robert Babicz to complete a very impression package. Was Robert someone you had in mind for this track from the beginning? and why was he the ideal choice to re-interpret the track?

D: Robert Babicz has been one of our favorite artists for ages. We talked to him about making a remix for us some time ago and promised that we will get back to this conversation one day. Such a day finally came and we are truly happy with what he produced. This masterpiece completes the EP in a great style. :)

In terms of DJs and artists who would say are the biggest sources of inspiration for Soundteller?

D: We think the ones who inspire us are also the ones who happen to regularly show their support for Soundteller, i.e. Hernan Cattaneo, Nick Warren, Guy J.

And now for Provider Music?

S: There are so many artists we find inspiring in terms of Provider, like Stephan Bodzin, Robert Babicz, Laurent Garnier, Tale Of Us, Pig & Dan, Booka Shade, Maceo Plex or Yotto.

What advice would have for an artist hoping to sign their music to either Soundteller or Provider Music? Both in terms of presentation and stylistically, what are you looking for from a new artist on each label?

D: First of all, we advise them to check out Soundteller catalogue on Beatport and make sure their music fits. Also, it is important to introduce yourself, write who you are, what you have done so far and what is your motivation to get it signed to the label.

S: As for Provider Music, we expect high quality music, just like with Soundteller, but more into melodic and ethereal techno to tech-house direction.

We would guess you probably receive a lot of demos, how many would say you receive in any given week and what percentage would you actually consider releasable and do you reply to every submission?

D: Usually it is around 60-70 per week, which means we’ve got a lot of work  We make effort to reply to everyone but generally, we find only around 10% of the demos releasable. I think we are picky.

When you get to a point with a track or set of tracks where you're close to committing to signing them what pushes the decision one way or the other? And do you disagree on things sometimes? :)

S: When we receive a track we like, we always take into account the relationship with the artist because we like the idea of creating the so-called label family, so that the artists and label can benefit in long run. Also, we need to know if artist’s attitude and motivation go along with ours, which include respecting our internal policies, e.g. not sharing demos with multiple labels at a time. As for disagreeing, even if our tastes sometimes differ, we have a similar judgement for adequateness and quality. Or like Oscar Wilde, we are satisfied with the best.

Do you have a special spot to listen to demos? Outside of the studio I mean, a place where your mind resets a bit and you have fresh ears in a way.

D: I like listening to demos in the studio most. We do it together and usually need to check a track only once to know if it’s for us or not.

Is big DJ play a factor in signing something? From someone like Hernan Cattaneo let's say.

D: No, this doesn’t play any role in signing a track. We’ve had many situations when an artist introduced himself exactly in this way, and they are very surprised when we refuse to release their music. But to us it’s just a matter of taste. Although we respect other DJs and artists, we trust our taste and intuition.

What is your biggest pet peeve about receiving music for the labels?

S: We can’t stand when we get a track that has nothing to do with the music we release, like EDM. It’s not about the genre itself as everybody can like what they want. It’s just that we find it extremely arrogant if artists don’t check label history and discography.

D: We also don’t like seeing a hundred other recipients for the same email. Another thing I don’t like is to receive an EP with original track and ready remixes because I like to manage the release process and have influence on remixer choice. Last but not least, some artists send a 2-minute cut as a demo and expect us to decide about the whole track after listening to just 120 seconds of it.

What are the best and worst things about running a digital record label in 2019?

S: The best thing about running a record label is definitely being able to earn money doing what you love. I know this may sound like a cliché but I think it’s something we all should keep in mind. We both have our regular jobs and do label stuff afterhours. We get very tired from time to time but when we compare these jobs, we really think working for the label pays off with a great satisfaction. Also, we get to know many interesting and truly talented people from all over the world that are dedicated to their passion. On the other hand, dealing with people can be a challenge too.

D: Yes, the worst thing is there are a lot of artists who don’t know how to make a good business relationship and develop their professional life. It’s a very broad topic and is connected with many activities, from establishing a contact with the label, to releasing music, to maintaining the relation. The best thing in my opinion is being able to connect artists in a release and through new ideas being able to develop the industry. I also like receiving demos from unknown but very talented artists. I love this feeling when their music hits me and I know I can help them by introducing them to a larger audience and boost their career.

There are a lot of factors which affect the perception of a label other than just the music these days, social media for one, how much emphasis do you put on stuff like this? and what are your thoughts on the current state of the industry?

S: However startling this may sound, I think most of us are to some extent affected by the issue of FOMO. Social media pays an important role in people’s personal and professional lives. Maybe some industries, e.g. banking and finance, are not so much affected but generally speaking, we can’t escape from it. And so, we do have label Facebook and Instagram accounts because we want to meet the needs of our listeners. However, this doesn’t change the fact that it is the quality of music that really matters to us.

D: Exactly! It is sad to see an artist with a perfect IG account that has many professional photos and be surprised with the low quality of his music.

How much of an influence does music outside of the electronic spectrum have on what you sign?

S: As a kid in the 90’s I fell in love with pop, rock, rnb and hip-hop and I’m sure it helped create my sensitivity. Today I quickly fall for music that has a good rhythm and melody, a nice use of vocals, and carries some meaning.

D: As for me, I’m sure ambient music has influence on what I sign as it’s full of harmony and I expect it also from music signed to Soundteller. I could say the same about rock due to its energy and message.

Looking back over your discography, which one of the very first tracks you released still puts a smile on your face when you listen to it now, and why?

D: There are too many such tracks to list them here. To give you an example, one would be Asteroids by Mike Griego. I remember a funny thing that after signing it to Soundteller, Mike told me Hernan Cattaneo wanted to release on Sudbeat. It must have been an honour and a great chance for Mike to receive such a feedback for Maestro. Luckily for us, Mike is a loyal person and we could trust his word. We released two editions of remixes and they both made a tremendous success. The other one could be Matias Chilano’s remix of Diego Azocar-Natural that we released in 2014 and has recently been picked by the legendary Patrice Baumel for a new Global Underground compilation #GU42. I couldn’t be more proud.

Who do you see as future stars in Progressive and Melodic House?

S: I love it when we receive a demo from somebody new and our jaws drop like it happened with Haus On Fire that will be released on Provider Music. However, I think this question cannot be fully answered and it’s actually the best thing about the industry as you get surprised by new talents all the time.

D: I’m sure these will be Hole Box, Rod V, Haus On Fire, Marcos Dermi, Nico Szabo. You should have your eye on these guys and also expect them to appear on our labels.

Will we ever see more Noa Romana & Deersky productions? :)

D: It is a very difficult question as we are in a completely different place and time now, having different dreams and priorities. I’m more dedicated to running the labels and DJing. Nevertheless, I feel sooner or later something new will show up.

What new music can we expect in 2019 from both Soundteller and The Provider, anything you can share with us?

S: I’m afraid we can’t reveal this info yet. :)

D: I can only add we are going to release music from really well-known and talented artists. Some of them are popular and some others are coming after a short break. Stay tuned!

Thanks for taking the time to chat with us guys!

'Awaken' is out now on Provider Music, you can purchase the release here: https://bit.ly/2VoVzn3

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