Founded towards the end of 2011, Kaiserdisco’s KD Music imprint came to life after three years of increasing dancefloor dominance through the partnership of Patrick Buck and Frederic Berger. Leo Weaver explores 10 topics in this Q&A back and forth with Patrick and Frederic, shining more light on their inner workings, their labels’ missions and more.
Leo Weaver: What is your “mantra/mission” for both labels?
Kaiserdisco: We always ask ourselves the same question when we are listening to demos. I guess it would be: Would we play it and would we buy it?
LW: What are the differences between the two labels?
KD: When we started KD Music end of 2011, we wanted to present a mixture of cool tech house and groovy techno, which was that kind of sound that we played at the time. But our sound has changed a bit over the last 4 years and became a bit harder and raw. That’s why we decided to start KD RAW. So today, we are looking for cool Tech-House with a touch of Techno for our label KD Music and some raw twisted techno for KD RAW.
LW: What would you say are the difficulties or obstacles in operating an independent label in today’s electronic dance music environment?
KD: There are many obstacles. You need to know a lot of people in the business. You need to spend money for press agencies and promotion platforms that can help get you the content you need for each release, so that the distributors like Beatport, Traxsource and so on give you the feature on their websites. The difficulties is that everyone is doing the same, it’s a bit like playing the lottery in a way, as you are never sure of whether a release that you might really love is going to be successful, no matter how much time, energy or money you put into it.
LW: How to does Kaiser Music and Kaiser Raw select it’s artists to release?
KD: Usually we check all the demos that artists send to us, and when we find a good one we like, we’ll reach out to the artist and talk about which label we think it fits best for a release. Once all in order and both parties are happy, we sent out the contract and get to work. We also ask artists that we really like to send us their new stuff they are working on, so we can pick out anything that we like. It’s nice to be able to offer a platform for new artists and help them release some of their music. So, as you can see its more about selecting good music, instead of specific artists.
LW: “Pirated” music is at an all-time high. How are you, as label owners and recording artists, combating this?
KD: We have hired an agency that are trying to take down all the illegal links but at the end of the day, you can only really look to find a way of working with them, as unfortunately it’s not always that easy to put an end to it.
LW: How do you support the artists on your roster(s) to ensure success in sales, terrestrial and digital radio airplay and performance opportunities?
KD: Of course, we play the tracks in our sets when on the road, and also chart support is a must for us, as it helps spread the word on a new release. We also have a monthly radio show which is broadcast on over 60 radio stations all over the world, so that’s a good way to introduce new music to a larger market. Both labels also have a proper DJ promotion service which includes a lot of radio stations and clubs too. Feedback on these is important and useful for both label and artists. We push a lot of media platforms and socials, sometimes with the help of our PR agency.
LW: How to see the music label business model evolving, currently and into the future?
KD: The whole business is changing at the moment. When we started everything was about selling music and now it is more and more about streaming music. Especially with younger people not being interested in owning music these days, and they are more willing to pay a monthly fee to have access to stream music wherever they are online. So now and in the future, is it getting more and more important to be more visible and available via all streaming platforms, not forgetting the playlists too – they can bring huge potential to a release when featured on the right ones.
LW: Typically, how many releases do you project to put out in the marketplace annually?
KD: We do try to have one release out every month on KD Raw and then another on KD Music, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes we have a break and there maybe a month when we do not release anything, due to not having the right tracks. In our opinion it’s a better decision to have nothing out instead of something you don’t really believe in.
LW: What are you most excited about for your label(s) in 2018 and beyond?
KD: We signed a couple of really nice tracks for 2018 already and after our own EP, ‘Hybrid Animals,’ which came out in March, we just released a great three-track EP by an artist called Fractious. We also decided to release out own productions primarily on our own imprints, again to push the label a little more but to also reach out goal and to tour and organise our own label branded showcases in the future.
LW: What advice would you give to an artist/producer with aspirations of starting an independent record label, based on your experiences, successes and failures?
KD: Our advice is to not get into this for the money, because you probably won’t be earning a lot at all, especially in the beginning. Do it because you love it and have a passion for music. Keep in mind too that it will cost a lot of time, money and energy to make it work if you want to do this professionally. I think a lot of people outside of the industry think this is an easy job and they can walk right into it. But that said, if you really want to do it, do it with all your blood, sweat and tears and then you’ll be OK. And yes, there will be a lot of all 3.