What’s behind the name of your label? How did this name come about (by accident, a word game)? Or does the name express or reflect the philosophy of the label?
behind the label name stands only my dj name - daniel .
when i started the label I was deeply involved into reggae/dub music. in the reggae context the label is only one part of a group/person/artist that hits a special musical brand and could set up a larger envirement: soundsystem, studio, cutting studio and in the end label - like jammys, upsetter, digital b etc.pp. behind these names you can find the named artist king jammy, lee perry etc.pp who support their own sound and sound aesthetics. I liked this idea as I was sure this idea is a pre-idea/early link to nowadays techno/electronic music and understanding. there is a big link! meteo means weather - and is a nice word. I also like names that can not be googled so easily (bus is my other project, try to google that J ) the philosophy is touched by this - 21st century digi dub (in the beginnings) and soul music for today.
When was the label founded? And who started the label?
the label was founded by myself in 2000 as a subdisivion of select cuts/echo beach,a hamburg dub label. nic beverungen liked my idea of new electronical dub and wanted to support it. he offered me a basic platform but did not had enough power to do it himself - so I started the sublabel. In these days I was mainly playing in a dub band called submission and released as meteo 001 a electronica remix of recording files of this band with people like tikiman, thomas fehlmann, sun electric, rootsman...
What was the intention behind starting a label? Did it start as a "witty" response like, "Let's try out to run a label," or was there kind of a business idea right from the start?
business is a bad word for all of us - but involved everyday. lets try to do a label which is a business - this is the simple idea. whatever - you can not devide this. I wanted a platform for a modern statement of dub... and even if we never breakeven - its still kinda business - maybe not a good one in terms of business men.
Do you also run sub-labels? Why and when did you add them to your label roster?
no - meteo was always a sublabel: first echo beach than select cuts now shitkatapult. I always looked for partners - it´s a lot of work with less or mostly no income. And I like to share work, needed help and like to help myself - network is very important.
How would you describe the style/sound of your label (sublabel)? What are the musical boundaries? Which musical "drawer" do you like to fit most of your label's music?
It started as neo neo/digi dub label and grew more and more into something like a soulful electronic label... I started calling the music: soul city dub. so it ranges from classical electronic dub to very abstract music, hip hop beats and also invovles house style dance vinyls. pretty open - more downbeat than techno. soulful deep music which is link to the idea ”city”.
Which kind of media do you use for your releases (MP3, CD, Vinyl...)? Are there any plans in the near future to add new media formats? Which media formats are definitely uninteresting to you?
cds always were heart of the label - the label is and was always more album than 12” orientated. I tried to push the 12” more (i only buy vinyl) - but the shops and distributors and also djs/buyers do not like to check out each record from a label which releases a larger scale of music... which is a big pity and bad feedback by our techno situations, especially here in berlin. I hope this will get better some day. with being involved now into the shitkatapult
label catalogue meteosound is now available as mp3, too. this whole mp3 shops are a bit annoying - too many of them with long contracts - and low sales, but this will change in the future, massive.also for the artists and releases I have to join. still I am a product guy...
so I like press reviews printed with a picture of the cover... I do not like clothes adds and so my view is pretty old fashioned.
Do you own/run a shop or web-shop? How important is owning a store for you?
that is super important and great - every way to get in direct contact with people who wanna buy the music is great - not only financialwise, especially for the mind of all involved. www.shopkatapult.com is a great feature of the shit label - meteosound will soon be available there. I also love the traditional record shop - we share our adress with freizeitglauben record shop. I always like to sit there and have a coffee and listen and whatch...
In which countries do you distribute your records? Do you work with a Distribution? Or do you manage the distribution by yourselves?
mdm (our distributor) is doing the distribution for me, which means they have a big set up for world wide distribution which is done by partner distributors like force exposure, jvc and so on. I am involved in the communication and I like my distributors. some of them email every day, some never. for a special genre label like meteosound it´s not possible to survive without worldwide distribution.japan, usa, uk are significant sells for every meteo release.
How do you become interested in new artists?
some are friends, some become friends, some I listen to somewhere and try to contact them, some friends give me demos of people there met and I also recieve a lot of demos. the label sound is pretty unique: if you do this sound - you know my label.
What do you think about the range of artists a label should sign? Less is more? Or does a big range of artists help to get more attention?
depends. best is if you have a base of artists who are deeply into your music - and are not releasing on 20 different labels under the same name. I see my label sometimes like a dj set - it changes a lot, it´s a journey - soIi also may loose contact to some artists as they are developing into a different direction. this is not necessary bad.
Do you have a demo policy?Who listens to the demos and decides to take new artists onboard?
I do that myself.
What about the number of releases in one year. How many releases do you usually have in one year? And how much ahead do you plan your releases?
meteosound could always release more - as I recieve a lot of good music. But the market
is too small to release everything. Sometimes I think also my platform is too small for the
artists or opposite. I do about 6 releases a year. 2 albums, 4 12” - about.... and release
an unique compilation about every 2-3 years - with a colection of mostly exclusive tracks/mixes to present our way of looking into this sound in time.
Is there a connection between the hometown of your label and the label itself? Do you think if you would move to another city your label probably would lose his identity?
berlin nowadays is trendy and a sales point (and famous city) - I think I would maybe loose something as also in berlin there is this special electroncial dub scene with burial mix/hardwax, scape and so on. I fit inside here - but It would be possible to move. I like change a lot. settings, places, influences.I work mostly (99%) with emailing and all my artists do or could also live far away. the latest releases are by w yuki from japan and by myself - so both of this I could easily move to vienna... or los angeles... I like these cities. I like to be on tour.Maybe berlin is more my home than my label base - but home is important.
Which of your releases would you name as the most successful release?
when meteo was still with efa distribution (before they got bankrupt) - I sold a lot of cds -
the rootsman - new testament or the first compilation meteosound 003 - did sell very good!
Besides the sales figures which one is your personal number one?
always the most recent!! Honestly next release is my own album and I am proud that I made it and finished it... I feel always good to play the finished vinyls in dj sets.
Nobody likes to talk about failures, anyway, how much time must pass until you would call a release a ”flop”? Any records which hadn’t any success in the beginning and after you named it a flop it became successful by accident?
money wise all my releases are flops / soulwise never... if I have an argmuent with a band (which happened) the release was a flop - something went really bad than. but i do not wanna name any here. I hope you understand.
Your feelings about the music market: Would you say things are getting harder for record labels through things like p2p, mp3….?
yes sure it´s super bad - that most people, beside the maniacs, do not wanna give any money to s.th. like music anymore - especially if there is no product around like cd or vinyl. this is shit and typically for our situation, west situation. the idea does not count, the soul does not feed. you have to have a real trendy, cool, product to ask for money. And only for short times, so long distance runners get out of sight. which is f... music more and more becomes something like a bonus for a ”real” product. we will soon look into a new format of internet/music television - which allows playing without buying - you pay to play each track. this could be good for us - but it won´t be - as I guess this will mostly be done with package deals (like premiere tv in germany) - you pay 50 bucks a month and can download movies and music from the provider. this provider makes deals with mainstream labels - and offers bruce springsteen, madonna, robbie williams and for the club people chemical brothers. the smaller the tracks/artists/ideas/varies the listener has to go and get and buy extra - in the long run that sounds pretty bad to me. but of course we live mostly from maniacs and they will live forever. we are maniacs, too - so I praise the maniacs and nerds, fans, producers, friends and talents... BIG UP!
Which kind of medias/press do you use for promotion? How do you select the media you work with? In general; how important is the press for electronic music?
What makes you really upset when you work with the press? A bad review, no response…
we do all and as we do a special thing we do not get bad reviews a lot. sending out cds and getting zero response is ugly but i can live with this. you have nowadaysa very (too?) large varity of press - so you can anyway not feed them all - meteo will always have enough people in media who like what we do -and we will always look into (too) less media response. I get mostly upset with local press who does not give the local scene a platform - they wanna write about robbie williams, too - to get all buyers, but they miss an unique knowlegde (and need) of the local scene. this is sad. all this web press can be very nice - but sometimes also it´s impossible to send out 300 promo cds in germany e.g., if you sell only 200 copies. printpress has a problem in the moment. reading all this energy drink adds and clothing pages, every mag goes life style because the add business wants it. I guess we can not change it. unfortunally. But these mags are full of maniacs, too - people who write more than 20 reviews a month .- people who are into that. good thing. the labels have a real good chance with emails, newslist, own websides, blocs - but the mass of information also can be annoying. I get like 15 newsmails a day. too much.
Music is business, like every other business. With that in mind, how important is "friendship" and "trust" to you when you work with artists,promoters or distributors? Or do you separate things?
I think this is very important and keeps us alive. I trust my partners, sure - and I prefer sometimes to make a bad experience instead of being a big detective.everyone also needs friends in music. you love your music and that is what you do most of the day - making friends there is sometimes the only possible way to have friendsand be able to see them. I sometimes can dj a set of 2 hours with only records by people I know and like - this is maybe a berlin thing - but it´s cool. and I do not mean I play them because I know or like the people.-i like the music and meet the people somehow and not surprisingly i can talk with these people very good - and get a friend or feeling close. but friendship means a lot of different things, too. You can have friends you only email, too - or see not often, you can have friends you still see from long ago - this all is important.
Although your whole day is centered around the music business, do you sometimes walk into a recordstore to buy a record?
always - I am a total junkie. in the moment there is a lack of money- but i still always buy something - latest things I bought: burial remixes, new jay dee (he is dead! horror!!!! biggest talent producer),dangerdoom, henrik schwarz, dabrye additional productions....and so on...
Interview Michael Mück/Spring 2006
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