Hey Rich, welcome to Sweet Music! How are you?
Hey ya’ll and thanks so much! We’re opening back up here in NYC so feeling prettttty good!
What has been good and bad of the last year for you personally?
- A lot of time to write and produce new music
- Time to get out of the city for a bit and spend time with my iancé
- Reconnect with nature
- Continue my education (studied and got a Real Estate license over Covid) LOL
- The complete and utter shutdown of the best city in the world
- The closing of some of my favorite venues, restaurants, bars, and hang outs
- 0 in-person gigs. ZERO
- The loss of a family member due to Covid (RIP Uncle Serge)
And how has it impacted on the work you do in music, what has changed?
With Covid restrictions on in-person gatherings in effect for the past year and a half, literally, every artist has had to deal with gig cancellations and loss of income. I’m one of the lucky ones, as my A&R and digital media positions with King Street Sounds has continued uninterrupted throughout the pandemic. Many labels have rolled back their release schedules with artists wanting to save their best tracks for re-opening and touring, however, at King Street we’ve kept up our 3-release-a-week schedule focusing on pushing new and un-tapped talent.
Scene wise, we’ve seen the closing of some venues while others have re-assessed and re-imagined their spaces in different and unique lights to survive and survive, they shall! New York will always return, just maybe not always in the way you remember or expect. This city waits for no one…
What is it like being A&R of the iconic New York label King Street Sounds, is there a lot of pressure?
I. Love. My. Job.
Having the opportunity to work with both iconic NYC talent such as Louie Vega, Kerri Chandler, and David Morales as well as newer talent such as Sebb Junior, Dubeats, Stereosoulz, DJ Kone & Marc Palacios, and Chris Stath; while learning from KSS founder and owner Hisa Ishioka has been an extraordinary experience. Yes, there is pressure, yes there are long hours, yes there are difficulties, however, having a hand in the artistic direction of not only one of NYC’s most storied labels but also a hand in the direction of current dance music in general, is a role I take very seriously and give 150% of myself to each day. You must know your history to have any idea of where you’re going…
What does your day-to-day job entail?
I’m a bit of a unique personality in the business as I split my time equally between my duties to the label as well as my duties to my own artist brand, The Wig (I’m a classically trained percussionist and pianist since the age of 4). At King Street, Nite Grooves, and Street King, on any given day you’ll see me listening to demos, A LOT OF DEMOS, running our online media (website updates, social updates [Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.], contract preparation, one- sheet and crediting preparation, promo list and PR administration, and some artwork prep (still trying to be a Photoshop wizard).
When off the clock, I’m constantly writing and recording my own new music, working on my monthly FM radio show Weekend Escape Plan on WOMR 92.1FM Provincetown, and throwing a myriad of parties all along the East Coast!
What music are you looking for, what’s the vibe, is there one, or is it more about the artists?
Potential demo submitters to King Street, Nite Grooves, or Street King take note:
- King Street Sounds = soulful, vocal house (original lyrics even better), sorry Splice users, however, sometimes ya’ll beat down the same samples!
- Nite Grooves = deep house, Afro house, Latin House, Jazz infused, deep organic – *think* those deep cuts you love discovering on a 6-hour Bandcamp dig
- Street King = Beatport Top 100 – Tech house, Melodic Tech, chopped chunky vocal house, etc.
I also listen to everything. If you send it, I listen. Unfortunately, due to the high volume of emails I receive, I can’t respond to everyone but don’t fret! Keep hitting me with those heaters. If it’s a fit (or even close) I’ll reach out and we’ll make something work. email@example.com
How has the game changed over the years?
A better question would be, how hasn’t the game changed over the years lol. I think the answer to that would be that great music will always be great music! When I started working at KSS, the label was still getting used to releasing music digitally rather than pressing vinyl. The changes in how music is consumed (vinyl < CD < wav < streaming) is one of the single biggest (and quickest) changes in the industry. How people consume music will dictate how this industry will be molded till the end of time.
I’d also like to mention that both technology and personal taste make waves in any cultural shift. The birth of the CDJ and the ‘mostly’ end of the DJ ‘all-night residency’ has taken club culture in a different direction for a different generation. But one thing will always reign supreme . . . dance music will always be based on technology, and technology will always change. Repeat after me . . . “Change Is Good.”
What is the scene like currently in New York? Are things beginning to open up again properly?
It’s aliiiiiive! New York is coming back with the ‘proof of vaccine’ rule to enter venues just getting rolled back the other day. New venues have opened in both Manhattan and Brooklyn (including a new spot at the famed Output – 74 Wythe Ave. address in Williamsburg). I believe we’ll be back in the swing of things in no time and actually come back online before Europe (from what I’m seeing right now).
Have you got any gigs lined up?
Yes! Just had a fantastic gig last weekend at the iconic Bushwick venue 3 Dollar Bill with my Renegade Masters project for the Burning Man collective Kostume Kult’s ‘Black and Light Ball.’
I’ve also always wanted to throw a boat party! I have 2 more summer cruise dates booked out of Cape Cod, Massachusetts in line with my Weekend Escape Plan radio show brand. Grab some tickets below:
Tell us about your new release for Admit One Records? Where and when did you write the music?
I’ve been connected with the Admit One guys for the past few years and can’t think of a more fun and talented group of people doing some absolutely awesome work on the left coast.
The music was written in the middle of the pandemic on Cape Cod. When spending time out of the city, there was a windchime outside of the bedroom window of where I was staying. Tuned to a pentatonic scale, I’d listen to this chime every morning and loved the simplicity and calmness of the vibe (no sirens, yelling, or Bushwick Bachata in earshot lol!). So, I recorded it. Rest of track pretty much wrote itself after the initial recording. The whole thing is about change, and not only that, accepting and embracing that change. Sometimes you just need the right Signals.
What has it been like for you producing without any live show to road test your music?
This has actually been surprisingly easy. By testing tracks on both my Weekend Escape Plan radio show along with live streams, I’ve been able to get some pretty spot-on feedback. Also, by connecting with peers and having them test tracks (I sent n808 from Admit One ‘Signals’ to road test on a live stream) I’ve also been able to nail down any changes or updates. Adapt or DIE
What inspired the record?
As I mentioned earlier, two things:
1. A wind-chime on Cape Cod
2. Change (both in my life and our culture and world)
What gear did you use to make it and does that matter to you?
Many people think that gear makes the musician, and I’m not one of them. Talent comes in many forms and having the most expensive or the greatest number of synths or drum machines doesn’t necessarily equal amazing music. Having a handle and being an expert on the tools that you do have is all that you need to churn out something truly magnificent.
On this track, the Behringer Model D takes center stage for that big, chunky synth line charging up the emotions as they unfold throughout the track. It’s all about that L. O. V. E. fam!
What are you currently working on?
I’m actually getting married in a few weeks so I’m working on a few tracks now with my fiancé Michelle for an upcoming vinyl press on my Fresh Fruit white label project!
Will dance music be different once the Coronavirus is over do you think? Will event lineups be more local, will big tours be a thing of the past?
Dance music is always moving, changing and morphing with or without the Coronavirus in effect. If anything, it may bring out even more creativity and musicality from producers as we reach for the edges of what’s musically possible and that also makes people get down!
Regarding lineups, I really do hope that communities will bound together around their local talent and help to bolster the hometown heroes that make localized scenes tick! Support local artists and bring back all night residencies that allow DJs to take a crowd on a full-night journey rather than a 60 minute ‘bomb fest.’ Big tours will come back online at some point; however, we should definitely be using the time now to look inward first and grow our own respective scenes to not only work together but to help build each other up to face a new future in dance music. I Believe!
Purchase The Wig ‘Signals via Beatport