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Saturday, January 12, 2013

Female Label Series: Pt. 2 DeepWit Recordings

In our series: Female Owned and Operated Labels, we will speak with label owners from across the globe and pick their brains a little. This is a series of blogs well overdue. We will continuously connect you with great international digital electronic dance music labels being fronted by women. It is our honor and privilege to introduce you to our second interview, Sierra Maydell of DeepWit Recordings.

DeepWit Recordings is an fresh new contribution to the electronic dance music industry. Based out of Denmark, this label started in October 2010 and is just getting started. The team members consist of:

Sierra Maydell (Label Owner/Manager)
Alvaro Hylander (Label Owner/Manager)
Seraphine (Mastering Engineer)
Cadatta (Artwork)

DeepWit Recordings caters towards resonant, noncommercial, innovative, and intelligent deep sounds. Bringing together talented producers from around the world who with their music will inspire your soul. The label was born out of passion and love of all things deep and needing. Furthermore sharing that passion with other like minded individuals. And that is just the tip of this iceberg label. In addition they are dedicated to quality and consistency in the realm of all things deep and soul tingling in electronic dance music.

Mission: Entering the depths of audio perception.

First and foremost, tell the world who you are. How did you get inspired to start a record label?

I am one half of the DeepWit Recordings label, normally the more talkative, PR and people person side. To be honest if you had asked me 5 years ago if I would be running a Deep House label in the future I would have had no idea even what that was lol. I have been familiar with electronic music from a young age having spent a lot of my youth in Germany but honestly I am a Northwest Indy kind of gal. That all quickly changed when I meet Alvaro Hylander, the other half of the label and my awesome husband. I get the chance to see him DJ'ing online and fell in love with the music he played. After relocating to Denmark from America to be with him, I found out one of his dreams was to run a label. So I pushed him a bit and we finally made it happen starting just about two years ago now.

What do you think has been you most successful part of your business so far?

Ha! Well I guess that all depends on what you consider success… The fact we are still going strong or maybe the huge amount of friends, family and underground support we have gotten. At least for me that is what makes me feel like we are successful.

When listening to promos, what catches your ear?

What we jokingly call the "DeepWit Sound". First, the music has to be well produced, which always comes down to Alvaro's ears since he is the musical one, after that it has to be Deep, it can be a little tech, a little chill, so long as the deepness is there. Alongside a certain timelessness, who wants music that has an expiration date? The last thing is if it moves us in some way, makes us want to hear it again or you catch yourself shaking your ass or getting goosebumps. Keep in mind this is something that only happens with one out of every 50-100 demo's we hear lol!

Currently how many artists do you represent on your label?

We have worked with something between 75-100 producers at this point, although we don't represent per say any one of them in particular. We try to make every artist feel like part of a very large extended family.

Where do you see your label 5 years from now?

Lining the studio walls with our vinyls! Really though I hope to see the label at a point we are releasing a couple of vinyls a year with a compilation CD thrown into the mix maybe. We are working our way their at the moment with our first CD coming out in February. Hoping we can keep our hearts and heads in the right spot, keep releasing the music we love both physically and digitally, as well as going on growing our family of true Deep House lovers across the world.

Do you have any plans for album only releases in the future?

We have actually released one already on our sub-label DeepWit Uncovered with a very talented and melodic artist from Spain, Ivan Garci. I would also like to get an Album from Alvaro and a few others on both the main and sub-label. Of course the trick these days is to get a producer to settle down enough to make a full album.

What trends have you noticed in personal taste for DJs and your consumers?

That is a tricky question as I have not been around the "scene" for very long. I do hear a lot of the different and ever changing "trends" especially in Deep House when I go browse through the Top 100 on Beatport… That is where I just have to shake my head and be thankful we are staying true to our version and ideal of Deep House and not chasing after Top 10 spots on Beatport. At this point I am just glad we can be considered a true underground Deep House label. As for consumers, there is a trend for more free stuff. It is always a battle to get your music sold when there are thousands of other releases every day, added into a lot of the free tracks out there. So I do my best to do a lot of give-aways and give people the chance to enjoy our music even when everyone is so strapped for cash.

Do you have any suggestions for any new comers to the industry?

Oh yes, tons lol. I have made a few posts on our blog about everything from piracy, becoming "famous" and even how to send demo's. My biggest two pieces of advice, don't start putting your music out there until you are really proud of it and know you have done a good job on it, you don't get second chances. Second, respect, give respect to the other artists that came before you, the labels and respect for the music. You are going to get out of music what you put into it.

What has been your most rewarding accomplishment yet?

Not dying from exhaustion lol. Running a label, running it with love and respect and constancy is labor of love. Outside of that the fact we have gotten to introduce a lot of new talents, work with a lot of artists we love and respect, alongside getting several licensing deals for our artists.

What has been you greatest breakdown?

Not feeling like we are doing enough. Doing enough to keep the piracy to a minimal, supporting our artists enough or even just having enough time to get the releases out to the public. It always feels like we could use an extra 12 hours in our day.

What direction do you see the electronic dance industry going?

I think, despite a few bumps in the road, it is going the right way. It is growing across the globe, everywhere from South Africa to America to Asia. Ya a lot of it maybe commercial cheese but we all have to start somewhere. The more people who get the groove, the more that people will develop over time a taste for good electronic music. Thats a win win for everyone from the promoters to the DJ's to the producers and the labels.

What part of the business do you think has the largest growth?

I would say the promoter/club side of the scene. It has gotten to the point everyone is a DJ and everyone is willing to DJ for less then the next one. In some ways I think it is contributing to a less than ideal scene out there for the true music lovers and DJ's that have spent years perfecting their craft. Great for the promoters out there in it for the money though lol.

What region of the world do you think the best music is being produced right now?

There is good music being made all around the world although there has been in explosion in places like South Africa and Asia. I have personally noticed I have a preference for a lot of the sounds coming out of America, Canada, Spain, Greece and Eastern Europe at the moment though.

As a label owner do you notice any trends in where music is made or do you think there are just a lot of copy cats?

Like I said before, the last year especially has seen a big explosion from South African producers. I am not so sure about calling people copy cats (how many producers record and tweak every single sound they use on each of their tracks?) but I notice a lot of people chasing after the popular sounds of the moment. I can always tell when a new vocal pack has been put out because all of a sudden there are the same exact vocals, completely unchanged on tons of different tracks. One of my biggest pet peeves about running a label is hearing the same damn vocal, chord, ect used over and over again in an uncreative and unoriginal manner. I am also a bit harder to please maybe then a lot of other label owners due to my husband being a producer and how picky he is about music.

What would you like to see more available in the industry in the upcoming year?

People willing to pay for quality. Quality DJ's, gigs and the music itself. Piracy is really out of control and so is quality control.

How do you think social media has helped the industry? Do you think it has hindered the industry in any way?

Haha, well, I came into the industry after the switch happened. So, for me, it has been nothing but business as usual. There is a huge disconnect though between "fans" of a label or artist and the sales. Just because you might have a huge following or lack their of on places like soundcloud/facebook, it seems to have a marginal impact on sales. Some of our best selling tracks have been from brand new people on the scene while some of our worst selling tracks come from big names. So I wouldn't say it is a hinderance, instead I just don't think most of us, artists and labels have perfected the art of using social media in the most effect way.

What suggestions do you have for the up and coming DJs, Artists and producers?

Do it for the love, not to get rich and famous. Stay away from people promising you the moon and stars. Take constructive critisim well and ENJOY yourself.

Do you notice any trends in music from Europe and the US?

Other then the mass amount of cheesy commercial "electronic"? The blending more and more of styles, sometimes comes out great, most of the time you just end up with more cheese or music that is just way too hard for my personal tastes lol. As I said before there also seems to be a lack of quality control, which I think over time evens itself out, which a lot of it comes from America and Europe where the scenes just keep getting bigger. Commercialism invades everything that creeps into mainstream.

What advancements do you see for women in music? (particularly electronic dance music)

I see a lot more women taking charge for starts. Becoming more active in helping and running labels, especially in the PR and promotion side of things. I also see a lot more women DJ'ing, producing and singing on tracks (and getting credit for it!) and doing it dam well. I still think there are a lot of problems we face as women in this particular side of the music Industry, a lot of glass ceilings to smash. A lot of women are still way too critical of other females in the industry, at a time when we need to be banding together and demanding the same sort of respect and freedom that the men have. Just look at the difference in photos when you google "Male DJ's" to "Female DJ's", there is still a lot of sexism and a lot of double standards out there.

Who is your favorite artist and why?

Well that is always a super easy question for me since I married him :) Alvaro Hylander by far is my favorite producer and DJ. It was his music after all that grabbed my attention and has helped keep it ever since. In the beginning before I knew anything about the music, it was just the way I liked the way it made me feel, the way he DJ's and his track selection always make me want to dance. In his productions it is his kicks and bass that are always so deep I feel it in the core of who I am. Living with him, watching how much time he spends on making each track, touching and fitting the pieces together with such care and holding himself to such high standards, just makes me love his music and who he is even more.

You can always send us demo's via our dropbox on soundcloud or through our website there is page that takes you through what we expect and want from an artist then will give you the email to send demo's to. We are very picky though and hold all of our artists to a high standard, we won't hesitate to let you know if something is off in your track or if you need to head back to the studio for  a few more months before you send us something again ;)

Stay in contact with DeepWit at these fine links:

As you can see, the electronic dance music scene has grown up quite a bit. Even though I agree with Sierra, it does seems the most popular trendy stuff is being consumed by the newbies that are just not educated about the music and where it is started. Many years ago myself, I was told in order to explain the future of electronic dance music I must understand the past. As you move forward in your personal adventures in all genres of electronic dance music, make sure you know where the music was inspired from and why? This empowers you to contribute to a culture that has well over 35 years under its' belt and probably at least another 50 years to go. In addition, quality over quantity is best in my book.