So you are a music producer and you have just realised your make amazing tracks. Your friends seem to like them. Your dad shared his first Facebook post – that with a link to your new track. Random strangers started following you on SoundCloud and calling your work ‘dope’. It is overwhelming for a bit but then you start to question yourself, what is next?
The options are pretty simple: you can continue releasing yourself and growing your following organically, two followers per track (realistically). You can start bombarding major labels in a hope they’ll pick your music out of hundreds submissions they get per week (good exercise in patience and luck). Or you can find a few good indie labels that are more likely to spend time listening to your art, sending you feedback, and even releasing your music eventually. But there is a downside too – most indies can only take you so far. And artist development is rarely a priority.
When French DJ and producer Jean-Pierre Lantieri got tired of pursuing all the available options, he decided to start his own label – Flemcy Music – to do things differently. JP Lantieri only picks artists “who give him emotions”, invests heavily in promotions, marketing, PR, and is involved in all stages of artists development and track release.
As Flemcy Music is turning one year with 14 talented artists on the roster and over 40 releases – some of which made big waves on Beatport charts – JP Lantieri shares his thoughts on how to start a new label that curates good music with passion and love akin to a winemaker picking the best grapes to make good wine.
ON BIRTH OF FLEMCY MUSIC
Flemcy Music is my label, my baby. Initially, I founded Flemcy Music to have a vector to release my own music, since I was struggling to get my music listened to by some other labels.
The outcome has gone much further than I expected. Not only did I release some of my tracks on my label, I started getting more attention from other labels too. I redefined my sound better because as I started choosing artists for my label, I only chose artists whose music I like, whose sound I like, and it helped me define my own sound too.
Flemcy opened doors for me and for the artists I work with.
ON SETTING UP NEW LABEL
What does it take to create a label? Well, it’s a lot of work, a lot a lot of time, a lot of expenditures. [laughs]
The process involves defining the motto, designing and coding a website, finding artists, distributors, PR, promo companies, setting up social media accounts, graphic designing, remixes / remixers, mastering tracks, writing promos, interviews, planning, royalties accounting, video production for each track, newsletters, events, tours, etc… That’s really a lot of things.
For each release I have around 50 steps that I have to take from the moment I decide to have an artist releasing some music on the label to the moment the music is out. That involves quite a lot of organisation!
ON ARTIST SELECTION
The artists I select are artists whose music gives me emotions. That’s very important, emotions. I have to relate to their music. It has to give me goosebumps, really.
So I’m looking for artists whose music sensibilities and style are relatively close to my own music, my own style.
I also want my artists to have a positive mentality. I don’t want people who always complain. I want people who are active, who invest in their career, who do their own promotion, a lot of other activities, like if the were they own manager.
ON MUSIC LIKE WINE
Music can be compared to food and wine. The track that I like hearing played on a good sound system gives me the same emotions that a glass of wine. It has qualities: is it earthy, is it tanny, all these things that you would feel by tasting wine or by eating a nice meal in a good restaurant.
I have to feel these little things which make the music like a dish, or like a good wine.
ON WHAT MAKES FLEMCY DIFFERENT
Flemcy Music is putting much more effort into its artists than many other small labels out there.
I don’t think that there are many small labels which invest in three promotional companies, a dedicated PR, web designers, graphic designers and video makers, mastering engineers, coaching, being active on socials… Many of them are lacking in several of these domains. I know it’s a lot of effort but I think my artists deserve it, and that’s my way to help them… give an additional push.
In addition, we’ve developed a lot of friendships through Flemcy Music, so it’s very good as we can help cross-promote each other. It’s not rare to have one of our artists reposting the work of another artist. That helps both sides to grow faster.
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ON ASIAN INFLUENCES
I’ve spent many years in Asia, really many years in Asia. There is not one Asia, there are thousands of Asias, with different sensibilities and cultures. It’s hard to sum it up in one word. In fact I started my music career under the sun of South East Asia, where people do smile more than in our hectic Western societies. I love their smile, that’s why I go there quite often. I think in fact that smile is one of the main emotions that we should find in the music.
I still remember the calmness of this flute player I stumbled upon once. I recorded him in the middle of the stunning Angkor ruins in Cambodia. Then there was an erhu player – erhu is a Chinese violin with two strings that you play on the lap – this erhu player became my teacher in fact. Yes, I play a little bit of erhu.
Somehow it also helped me put some sensibility in my own music. All these people there, I think they have found a kind of magic spot between calmness, living in the present moment, and passion while being somewhere else in their own world. It’s getting rare in Europe. I’d like to find this kind of magic here too.
ON ROLE MODELS
In the newcomers on the scene, I would say that my current favorite producers are Enrico Sangiuliano and Cristoph. But I have many ,many more like Dosem, Eelke Kleijn, Maceo Plex, Melokolektiv, Yotto, Stephan Bodzin, Skober, many more. Each of them have something special in their sound. Their sound has something familiar but also something intricate, which makes them different.
As a DJ, I would say that my role model is James Zabiela. This guy is a wizard. I don’t know what he is doing with his hands when he is playing the music. Even though I’m a DJ, I still don’t understand what he is doing! Every time he is doing something with the knobs he brings something to the music which is unique and takes it another level. Amazing.
As for the labels, there are many labels I like: Knee Deep In Sound, Drumcode, Innervisions, Unity, Suara. But there is one in particular that is more my my role model – Toolroom. Of course they have a very distinctive tech-house sound, but they are exploring new sounds, new artists, they have a lot of artists on their roster, and they have created an Academy, which means that they want to share the knowledge of their producers with the people out there and I think that’s great.
ON MUSIC 24/7
I don’t take breaks from music. I would say that there is always some music playing in my head, 24/7, all the time, like a record player.
When I finish creating a track, I usually take a few days of break to rest my mind and settle things down, but after one or two weeks, I feel uncomfortable, I feel that something is missing. Like a drug addiction, I need to go back to my the studio and to start playing with ideas. And usually, after a few hours or days, or weeks sometimes, I end up with a new track.
ON DEMOCRATISATION OF MUSIC
These days what I really enjoy in music and what really excites me is the democratisation of music. Everybody now can have a music making software on their laptop and create a track from scratch. Nowadays it’s quite easy to create a “decent” track at home.
There are more than 100,000 tracks being created and released every week! And it’s only for the dance music. It’s mind blowing, it’s crazy.
But it’s good because it means any kid now can become a star. You’ve seen on the charts top tracks made by young kids with a laptop and sometimes even a cracked software, and they become number one, top DJs. Everybody can do it. Which does not mean that it’s easier than before. It’s easier to produce music, it’s not easier to be successful. You still need to work a lot for that.
I received quite a lot of tracks every week and I listen to all of them. Some of them are generic, but I still quite often get goosebumps when I hear something amazing and it’s exciting.
ON FLEMCY MESSAGE
It might sound a bit pretentious but I would say that with passion and hard work, with dedication and drive, everything is possible. As my hero Paulo Coelho said in my favourite of his books The Alchemist: “It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.”
Follow Flemcy Music here.
Listen to Flemcy releases here.
Get in touch here.