Tag Archives: labels

Interview with trancealert.com

Finland and quality trance music have now since years a very tight relationship. We try to discover why with talented producer Allende.

Allende Trance TranceAlert Interview Interviews in the shade: Allende from Finland

First of all thank you Anssi for dedicating some of your time to answer our questions.

You are certainly not new to the scene since you are now releasing music since more than 5 years, but I believe you have remained, as written on Discogs by an user, an undiscovered gem within the realms of trance and progressive trance. Why don’t you tell more about yourself to start this interview off.

You’re welcome! My first release was in 2005, but I’ve been producing well over 10 years and been very active in the demo scene before the first official release.

It’s not very easy to standout, when there are millions of talented producers around and I haven’t really been able to find as much time for producing as I’d like to.

 

We have to admit that for a blog trying to promote what we think is quality trancey music, it has become extremely frustrating to rarely be able to promote melodic trance given all the crap released daily on Beatport. Do you just care about the music you are producing or the current status of melodic trance music is a concern also for you?

Not really to be honest, at least not any more. Even though that oldschool, atmospheric, mysterious and hypnotic trance has a place in my heart, and is something I try to mix in with my own sounds, it’s certainly not sacred or anything. I don’t mind all the popish dance music being categorized under trance, but it might make it harder to find what you’re looking for.

Everyone is throwing around the words pure trance and real trance, and unless it’s really that early 90s what started it all trance, it might be a bit arrogant to think the music you like is somehow better or more real than what someone else is liking. I think there’s room for all types of music.

 

Some Finnish producers like you have however managed to stay far away from what we now define as ASOT Pop-Trance, is this just casual or you actually collaborate or draw inspirations from for example Orkidea or Miika Kuisma, just to name two producers that are certainly well known to our readers?

There’s something about us finns that makes us drawn to darker and melancholic music, whether it’s trance, metal or even more traditional rock music, it usually has a sad and minor tone to it. They say it’s the long dark and cold winter that does that, who knows.

You mentioned Orkidea as an inspiration for us and I think that’s absolutely spot on. During late 1990s and early 2000s, Orkidea hosted a very popular trance music show on finnish national radio, which in my opinion has had a massive impact on finnish trance producers and djs. The type of trance he played was mysterious, atmospheric, hypnotic, maybe a bit progressive and had a melancholic vibe to it.

 

On your website in the past you were updating a blog where you posted some interesting thoughts about the relationship between labels and artists. 5 years ahead has the situation changed or what you described in your post is among the reasons why many artists have launched their own label in the past couple of years making the market even more fragmented?

Unfortunately I haven’t been able to be as active in the scene for the past few years as I was 5 years ago, so I don’t know really know what the situation is right now. But in my understanding it’s the same or worse. I can’t remember when was the last time I got money from my music, nor is it even something I would think of when signing a track.

I think right now it’s more important that you just find a label run by friendly nice people, who will promote your releases the best they can.

In retrospect I think the tone of the blog was a tad too negative, but I was just frustrated on how stuff was working in this ‘business’. I’m hoping to continue writing the blog next year, but perhaps with more positive topics, will see.

 

Given the experience you have acquired, what advices would you give to a new producer (yeah, another one!) that would like to get his tracks released?

If just getting your track released is your #1 goal, then just send the best track you have to every possible (new and small) label you can think of, and I’m sure one of them will pick it up sooner or later.

However in few years you might realize that just being signed doesn’t matter at all, but what matters is the music, and that it represents you, and is something you can stand proud behind. To me that’s more important than deejays playing your tracks, or people praising your tracks. Unfortunately sometimes you can only choose either one.

And how to actually develop your skills to the point where you can make the exact sound you want, that’s just practice practice practice. Make as much music as you can, listen to as much music as you can, but at the same time try to avoid the urge to release every song and melody you make. When you think your song is ready, give it time, listen to it for a week or two, maybe a month, and if it still holds up after that, it’s ready.

 

Talking about economics and the music industry struggling to keep up with changes, in 2012 you have managed to get released your remixes of Stretching Time by Orkidea and The Secret by Way Out West that were already finalized since years. Was this a frustrating experience for you or when you worked on these tracks you knew this could have happened?

The ‘Way Out West – Secret’ remix was just a bootleg I did for fun and I was 99% sure it wouldn’t see a release. So it being released was a big and pleasant surprise.

I don’t exactly know what happened with the ‘Stretching Time’ remix, it was suppose to be featured in the Metaverse remix EP part 3 that for some reason never saw the light. My remix got luckily released later on, but few remixes on that same EP never did, including remixes from my fellow finns Matti Laamanen and Syna.

I think the worst thing with release dates getting delayed, is that the track may not be as fresh anymore and all the hype and anticipation has faded away.

 

 

Looking at the tracks you have released, we can see you have done a lot of remixes. Any specific reason behind that?

Not really, back in the day I just accepted all remix requests I got offered. I stopped doing that in about 2009 when I wanted to focus more on my own productions.

But of course if someone like Orkidea, who is one of my heroes, offers me a remix opportunity, there’s no way in hell I’m going to pass that one.

 

 

In the past decade lot of producers that were doing this profession full time had to reduce it to an hobby for obvious reasons. What about you? When do you find the time to produce? Are you djing and touring as well?

I was never even close doing this professionally and I don’t think even the biggest names could live with producing only. These days, all the money is in gigs and your music is just promotional material.

These days I actually don’t find any time to produce, my regular day job is taking all my day time, and when I finally get some free time I’m too tired to concentrate on music or have other things to do instead. I’m also only djing with our “Beach X” band and those gigs are very rare and don’t affect my free time.

 

Finally what are your plans for the near future? “Surprisingly”, you have not yet released an artist album.

I have tons of unfinished and potential singles on the works, some for more than 7 years already, so my #1 priority is to finish as many of those as I can.

Releasing an artist album has been a dream and a goal of mine since I started producing, and I’ve actually been writing some tracks specifically for an artist album for quite some time. However it’s something don’t wanna half-ass and release a quick digital only compilation of random tracks. As long as CDs are still even a little bit relevant I’m not going to do an artist album until I find a label that gives me the opportunity to do physical CD release.

 

And last but not least why don’t you recommend us some underground artists or releases (new or old) that you enjoy and would like to take this opportunity to give them more exposure. A list would work, but just answer as you prefer.

A fellow finn Arto Kumanto is someone who definitely needs more attention. His tracks may not be that dj friendly, but man are they beautiful and atmospheric. “Welcome the New World” and “Long Count” are my two favorites from him. And another one would be my good pal Beetseekers if you don’t already know him. He hasn’t been that active recently, but there’s plenty of gems to dive into in his discography.

For more check out my monthly radio show “98th Avenue” 98thavenue.allendemusic.net It’ll at least give you some tracks you won’t hear in any of the major radio shows.

 

Thanks a lot Anssi for your time and be assured we will keep following you.

Thank you! You guys are doing valuable work covering the more unknown talented artists and giving opportunities and attention for people who don’t want to follow the trends and jump on the latest bandwagon just to be heard.

 


 

 

For more information about Allende, check out:

www.allendemusic.net

soundcloud.com/allendemusic

www.facebook.com/allendemusic


Labels, those slimy..

[written in june 2008]

What is it with this scene that puts labels on pedestals, every artist seem to be considered as good as his/her current label is. And all this label praising seems to lead many to this crazy label collecting spree. Somehow people seem to worship labels more than the actual artists. Outside the edm scene I don’t see people putting EMI or Sony Music stickers on their computers.

In the end it’s all those artists that make the labels good, and it’s unfortunetly something that most of the artists themselves have forgetten, while sucking up to the labels to get a release. Labels need artists, and not the other way around. So what is it with all this constant bullshitting we artist have to take from them. I don’t think the big name artists have to suffer from this, but all the midrange and lowrange artists are treated like they are completely unnecessary for the label, and the label is doing them a favor by signing their tracks.

With all the crap I’ve gone through and heard from my fellow artists, made me wanna write down few things about this. And before i start bashing, I need to say that there are still good labels out there, who truly respect and treat all their artists equally well.

There are three types of artists in this scene:

Group 1.
The big established artists (usually veterans)

Group 2.
The somewhat experienced guys who’ve been around for 3-6 years, but haven’t yet broken through.

Group 3.
The new (and usually young) artists

1. Money.
With what I’ve heard the group 1 hasn’t got much worries, labels feel like they are essential for their success, so they’ll make sure the artists get everything they want. I just recently heard that one big trance duo charges 2000 euros for a remix. To give that amount some perspective, I would say an average trance record makes about 50-200 euros profit, and average artist gets payed in those figures and below. But then again, a big name remix will always sell a lot more than a remix from somewhat unknown artist, regardless of the quality. And not only are you paying for the remix, you are also paying for the promotional value. Having big popular artists in your roster will definitely increase your label status.

But the actual numbers aren’t really the issue. Everyone knows there isn’t much money involved in this business to begin with. The problem is that most of the time you don’t even get the couple of bucks you’ve earned. Maybe I’ve been unlucky but with my experience about 50% of the labels won’t even send you statements. And even if you get them and send an invoice, that doesn’t mean you’ll get payed. So what can you do, sue someone from another country because of 100 euros?

Then there’s group 3, the new young artists. Artists who only care about getting signed, and just wait labels to completely screw them over. Which they don’t even realize cause they don’t even know that they should be getting statements, or that they can suggest changes to the contract. Maybe they don’t even care, and are just happy to be signed. At that point, getting signed seems like the most important thing and you actually think it means something to be signed, which it ofcourse doesn’t, these days anyone can get signed. Only thing that really matters is how good songs you can write, regardless are they signed or not, or what label they are signed to.So why would labels pay group 2 for songs and remixes, when there is always the young new stars to do it free. Which ofcourse forces the group 2 artists do it for free aswell, otherwise they wouldn’t get their songs out there at all.

One thing that lot of sneaky labels do is that when they ask you for a remix, they never mention a  fee or a contract at all. They just quickly pass you the remix pack and hope you don’t mention money in any point. After you have completed and sent the remix you wait for the remix contract, which never comes, and you soon realize you just did the remix for free. Or just before you sent the remix, you ask for a remix contract and they’ll say “we thought you were doing this for free?”, at which point you can either trash your track or just give it to them for free.
I’ve done some remixes for free, cause I wanted to, but if you want to get atleast your share in royalties, remember to mention that or get a contract, before you start working on the remix.

2. Statements.
What pisses me off even more than getting the actual money, is not getting the statements at all. You would atleast want to know how much your track sold even if you don’t get the profit yourself. Also one thing that has happened to me few times is getting payed without statements. The label manager just says that your track made this much and never shows you the actual statements, so you never know if it really made that amount, or did it make more.
A friend of mine had his track on 5 compilations, one of them being the famous trancemaster compilation, and his label manager just said that the track made like 100 euros here you go. He never saw any statements. I’m not saying he would nessaserly deserved more, but getting into compilations is usually the only real way to make profit with your songs. So not seeing the statements though you are in 5 compilations is crazy.

3. Communication
We all know most label A&Rs and bosses are really busy, they’ve got many artists to deal with, plus a possible day job and a life. So naturally they can’t always respond to you right away. Usually it takes couple of weeks to get a response, but a lot of times they don’t respond you at all. Especially after you have sent the masters.
I’m sure many of you have experienced the same thing, when are signing your latest track the label is responding to every question you have almost right away, but the moment you sent them the masters, you’ll never hear from them again.

You might wanna know the release date, when will the promotion start, which deejays have played it and such. And I really believe this is something that the label should tell the artist even with him/her having to ask that. Luckily there are couple of labels who send you all this information and even forward deejay comments back to you, but hardly any of the biggers labels do this.
it can’t be that hard to email “hey, we started the promotion today, so far *these deejays* has supported your track. the release date is..” takes like a minute and a half. And not to mention how hard is it to get an answer when you are asking for the statements for instance.

4. Getting your own track / remixes
This is actually very common with labels. I know some labels that do send you even all the physical material, sometimes even couple of copies, but most of the labels don’t even send you the mastered mp3 of your own release or the remix someone else did for you. I’ve heard so many stories where people have had to buy their own track or download it from warez sites, just to hear how the mastered version sounds, since the label didn’t send you anything no matter how many times you asked for it.

So overally like I mentioned in my previous blogs aswell, it’s not that imporant how big your label is, but what is imporant is that you can trust them and they don’t screw you over. I really hope more artists would realize what they deserve and how they should be treated, and not give in to labels’ ridiculous demands. Just because one label or a distribution chain says their standard is 17% royalties, doesn’t mean it’s right and that you should accept it. As long as there are artists who accept these joke contracts and are afraid to demand what is rightfully theirs, things ain’t gonna change for better.