Interview: Soul Button

Holding down the fort with Steyoyoke, Steyoyoke Black and Inner Symphony, Berlin based DJ and producer Soul Button has delivered the sounds of Clawz SG, Township Rebellion and Darko Milsevic via his three imprints.

We had a chat with him about the reasoning behind having three labels, what they have coming up on the release calendar and how he manages personal projects such as his forthcoming album and constantly busy touring schedule.

Hi Soul Button, how are things? Enjoying the good weather in Berlin at the moment?

Hi, I actually just got back after a long tour which lasted for 3 months with no weekends off. I haven’t been in Berlin so much lately but now I can relax for a couple of weeks and I’m really looking forward to finally enjoying the good weather.

You currently head up three labels, Steyoyoke, Steyoyoke Black and Inner Symphony. Why three and not just one?

People think Steyoyoke is the main one and the other two are sub-labels, but it’s not like that at all. They all have something in common which is the melodic imprint, but they are different in terms of genre.

Steyoyoke is groovy and more dance floor, Steyoyoke Black is darker techno, Inner Symphony is more delicate, airy and emotional. One of the other reason why we decided to have more labels is that we have so much music and one label was not enough to give space and opportunity to new talents.

Steyoyoke has seen music from JOBE, Hernan Cattaneo, Arude and others so far, tell us who else we might see on there in the coming months?

Honestly, my labels are focused on the quality of music that I don’t even read the name of the artists. I listen to the music and if it’s WOW to my ears, I will release it.

We’ve just released two Italian newcomers called EarthLife. They made a great EP and it’s very hot right now on Beatport. Next, we have a French duo called Losless who sent me an amazing and very distinctive EP.

Besides those two, Modeplex, Strinner and Darko Milosevic are the ones I am focusing on. You will always see new names on my labels. I love to discover fresh and talented artists.

And how about Inner Symphony? Any noteworthy releases on the schedule?

Yes, we are working on our yearly album, Quintessence. At the moment, I am launching a couple of new artists. I really like Tal Fussman from Israel, and the Ukrainian Alex Rusin. Plus, I just signed a new guy, Fresen, who produced an incredible EP. All coming soon in the next months.

Is there anyone else involved in the day-to-day, A&R, etc.?

Yes, the guy who listen to the demos is Sylvain (Clawz SG). He’s one of my best friends and I completely trust his taste. He makes the first selection and then passes them off to me. After that, if I am completely in love, I forward to our label manager and we release in a couple of months max.

If I kind of like a track but I am not so sure, then I forward to some ‘listener’ friends. When I say ‘listener’ friends, I mean people who have good ears but don’t produce music. Producers and DJs are not good judges. I trust the normal listeners more because they feel emotions, producers pay attention to the technical details.

We read that you’re working on an album project as Soul Button, anything else to share regarding that?

Ohh yes, I am working on an album but I have to admit that I am struggling to find the time to focus on it between my travel schedule and all the other projects I am working on. But yes, it is coming, and I am excited and proud of it so far. It’s also taking time because I am working with singers and of course it’s not easy.

I think it will be ready for the summer but probably won’t be released until around October 2019. I am having fun producing it though and the reason is because it is not dance floor oriented, it expresses exactly who I am, without thinking of producing a bomb for Beatport.

And are there any gigs or festivals that you’re looking forward to this summer?

I will be back in US in July for four gigs and one of these is AIM Festival in Montreal. Then I have a festival in Beirut again and (almost confirmed) a festival in Turkey. Really looking forward to these, but now I need to focus on my album.

Let’s close things out with your favourite label besides your own?

Oh, tough question. If you had asked me a couple of years ago, I would have made a long list of labels, but now many of them, which I loved are releasing terrible music (in my opinion). So, the selection is very limited to be very honest.

There are no labels that I love every single release, like it was years ago. There are some ‘OK’ labels that sometimes release very good music. Instead of telling you my favourite labels, I will tell you 3 labels which I respect a lot. First is Keinemusik, I love them because they have their own style and they don’t care what others are doing. Then I would mention Innervisions and Last Night On Earth.

Thank you so much for inviting me, I really enjoyed answering your questions.