Label Mates: Carlo Lio & Nathan Barato / Rawthentic

Based out of Toronto, Canada – Carlo Lio and Nathan Barato have brought the sounds of AJ Christou, Reelow, DJ Sneak and Gene Farris to the world via their Rawthentic imprint. And they’re coming at 2019 stronger than ever.

Next up on the Rawthentic calender is a various artist EP titled Basement Beats that includes music from Chiqito, Joseph Edmund, Andre Salmon, Apollo 84, Kareem Cali and Miane.

We caught up with the two founders for the latest edition of our Label Mates series, discussing the past, present and future of Rawthentic, find out what they had to say below.

Rawthentic was launched in early 2018, tell us about the hustle of putting out your first releases?

Carlo: Correction! Rawthentic was originally launched in 2005 / 2006 and closed in 2015. In 2018, both Nathan and I relaunched the label. As for the hustle – like today where it’s such a saturated business, getting labels and artists to listen to your music is not easy. Back then launching a label gave us the outlet and freedom to release our own music, on our own time and how we wanted. It was a perfect situation for us new producers who struggled to get attention from the big dogs.

And what is your typical day to day regarding the label, do you manage it yourself or is there a team behind the curtain?

Nathan: It works really well. We work in tandem and speak daily about all ongoing issues. We have our brotha Henrizzle helping us as well as the Ginger Prince and of course AP MGMT gives us a kick in the keester when it’s needed.

What is the hardest role in managing a label that people might not know about?

Carlo: I think the fact that running a label is not a 9-5 job. There so many aspects to it, some fun and some not fun but we are constantly working on it 24/7. One other thing people may not realize is how far you need to think ahead in order to stay on track and be consistent. Even though you’re working in the present – you’re always working on the future as well.

You have put out some physical releases previously via Rawthentic Music, how have you found the transition to the digital age?

Nathan: We wish we were operating back in the 90s with record sales when people were getting rich off pressing rekids! The digital age has its pros and cons like anything else. One of the pros is it’s easier to plan and time releases. But we’ll always have a soft spot for records. We definitely want to get back to pressing certain releases when we can.

And we live in a time when there are thousands of new tracks coming out everyday, what has been the key to keeping Rawthentic above water in a sea of mediocre music?

Carlo: Well this is the key to any label that wants to stand out and have longevity in the business. We do all the A&R and we are strict as hell but for the right reasons and for the image of the label. Music these days have such a short shelf life and even good music is easy to forget about these days so we really are looking for music that will be timeless and DJs will want to play in 10 years.

That’s basically the key formula for us – to make sure Rawthentic will be here to stay and have longevity. We also are not really sticking to one genre. If the music is good it has a chance to be on the label. Simple as that.

What record on your label are you most proud to have put out?

Nathan: Personally, I’d have to say, ‘Jeffrey’s Blues‘. Aside from the fact that I DJ with Carlo and own a label together. He is still one of my best friends and it has made me so happy to see how well received this record was and has still been.

And who can we expect music from on Rawthentic in the near future?

Carlo: You can expect to see some more music from both of us – we also have signings Cuartero, Junior Sanchez, Francisco Allendez, Javi Bora, Todd Terry, Lonely, Leon, Amine Edge & Dance, US & Sergy and many more!

Lastly, where do you see the label in a few years time?

Nathan: Ideally, a multi-national publicly traded conglomerate supplying music products to the people that need it most. Our youth. No, but seriously – I don’t know… We’re just here winging it trying to do our best.