Since the label’s formation in 2015, Kaisen has released music by the likes of Yuga, RoyTson, Mr Saccardo, and Candi Staton. We spoke to Kaisen Records founder Simone Occhiuzzi about the inspiration and ethos behind the label, and about what running the label has been like.
MN2S: What is the story behind Kaisen Records? Why did you set it up?
SO: I was 13 years old when I saw a pair of Technics 1210 and some cool people playing strange things behind them. Few months later those cool people became my friends, few years later became my colleagues, dropping great parties and having our radio show on RMV 102.5 Radio over central and southern Italy.
Many years have passed, some of us became international DJ and producers, few of us undertook marketing careers in different business industries, still having music in our blood.
Then a call arrived from Yuga, at that time known as Tradelove. “I am done with this. Let’s open our record label and do something cool,” he said. And now here we are. That’s how it all started.
What is the key thing you are trying to achieve with the label?
We divided our vision in three steps: first get the listeners, than get the fans, then get the money.
As you can imagine, with today’s fast-changing music taste and trends it is quite important to get a kind of sound that can identify you. Your label is one among hundreds – more likely thousands. So you gotta be do something cool, different, that stands out and identify your self from the crowd.
That is where we are investing all our time and resources at the moment. And thank god we named our label Kaisen (Japanese philosophy of continuous improvement) so we have got the fail fast approach and continuous improvement in everything we do that allow us to experiment and push the boundaries to get where we want to get.
What are your personal highlights from running the label so far?
It’s a tough business, but you know this, don’t you? The first thing I would say is in regards of “internet opportunity.” Everyone and every blog around music production will tell you that the internet revolutionised the music industry giving everyone the opportunity to emerge, to succeed. Well let me tell you this is a bulls__. This is a networks, connections, opportunities based industry, internet just amplified what is at the base of it, but still, you need those connections to get your stuff up on the social mouth.
I see it as a beautiful lobby, if you’re in you rock and roll, if you’re out… you gotta be in otherwise it doesn’t matter on how many platforms you have uploaded your last release or how many friends/colleagues told you how cool your stuff is.
Many producers think Record Labels are dated and old fashion nowadays as everything runs digital but they are definitely underestimating this; Of course the Record Labels position changed a lot in the last 10-20 years and roles and remits of their players have been redesigned but still the value of this part of the chain is there and clearly visible.
What have been your biggest surprises when running the label? Is anything more difficult/easier than you imagined?
I wouldn’t say I have had big surprises, but definitely, dealing with producers and artists impressed me. A lot. Their view, and the way they sometimes dream about it, is impressive and fascinating. I guess that’s what makes this industry cool and sexy. It’s a like a poker game. You can have the best cards but sometimes luck can fuc_ you up, whilst in a chess game is a pure skill matter.
There’s no place for luck, but just skills, that’s what makes chess boring and poker cool. That’s what makes music industry cool.
Which other labels have given you inspiration and why?
We have been looking at many of them, of different angles: music taste, artists, marketing, fast growing etc.. Among the big names definitely Defected, Ultra, Suara, PornoStar Records, Mother Recordings, SPRS, Pacha Recordings, Cube Recordings,they’re all doing an amazing job in delivering great value and emotions. We definitely would love to be among these ones in few years.
Who are your dream artists to get on the label?
We have just closed collaboration with Leandro da Silva (out in March 2017) and working on closing another project with Gary Caos. After the collab with Candi Staton that signed our first release of Yuga aka Tradelove with Kaisen Records we are chasing few other big names from the 80’s. Among the other producers it would be great to have Antoine Clamaran, Daddy’s Groove, Federico Scavo, Crazibiza, Claptone, Superlover, Sonny Fodera. (Not together, one every month would be great :))
What are your main goals for the label in the near future?
At the moment our production team is doing a fantastic job in the sample pack area. We are growing month by month and you can see we have great visibility over Beatport (both on dedicated genre pages and homepage) that is allowing us to get to shape the our sounds though the producers/artists that are buying our packs and then releasing tracks made by our packs.
In the near future we aim to establish a strong position over the sample pack sector whilst we keep working our our long term objective directly correlated to the music side of our business.
Last but not least we started working on a great concept a year ago we named Room Beats: a limited admission to an electronic salon that takes place in a living room… in different European capitals. We started from an astonishing house in the heart of Rome and we landed in London last month, next one will be in Ibiza during IMS 2017.
Watch the after-movie of the London edition below:
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