Since launching her Automatik imprint back in 2019, London-based DJ, producer, and label owner Henri Bergmann has welcomed releases from some excellent producers, including Hernan Cattaneo and Armonica.
Now in 2023 she continues to develop the labels catalogue into a formidable collection of tracks, which touch on everything from house and progressive, to techno and indie dance.
We caught up with her for our latest on Label Mates, where we spoke about the very beginning of Automatik, how she approaches signing new music, and what else we might see from the label in the coming months. Read the full interview with Henri Bergmann below.
Henri, thanks for joining us. Let’s start with what inspired you to launch Automatik back in 2019, what vision did you first have for the label?
Thanks for having me. I first started Automatik as a way to release my own music without all the compromises of being on someone else’s label. It enabled me to hand pick other artists I admire to remix my tracks, choose my own visuals, release date, and artistic direction. Since then I’ve been able to develop the label and gain enough credibility to release those artists’ original works.
Since then you’ve seen notable releases from artists like Hernan Cattaneo, Armonica, and Dodi Palese. What qualities do you look for in the artists you choose to work with?
There’s nothing specific, I usually just ask producers whose tracks I like playing. Armonica and Dodi’s tracks feature in a lot of my sets and I knew that they’d have a new take on ‘Protection’ that would work for the dancefloor as the original is pretty mellow and less club friendly. I couldn’t have predicted the remixes would work as well as they did; Dodi’s basically went viral. Hernan Cattaneo played my track ‘Simulacrum’ a lot last year so while I was thinking of remixers for the ‘Higher Dimension’ anniversary package he seemed like the perfect fit and I was obviously over the moon when he said yes. Believe it or not, a lot of people say no.
The latest release on the label is Thodoris Triantafillou’s ‘Leave Them Kids Alone’ EP. How would you describe the tracks in your own words?
The title track is a bomb. It explodes every time I play it. I think it’s the perfect festival track for this summer, big bass, big synths, a progressive peak time track. ‘Moodmaker’ is a really happy, energetic cosmic nu-disco track and ‘Android’ is completely different, more complex, 2-step, an electro infused robotic odyssey with an AI vocal. They all sound futuristic and work together too.
The EP features three original tracks, how do you decide if a release should have remixes or not?
For this EP we decided not to do remixes because all three tracks are really strong. I think also it’s easier to remix vocals or a track when there are standout elements that you would include in the remix as often a track works because of all the parts combined rather than individual parts and that’s harder to remix, you may as well just make a new track. As you can probably tell I love having remixes done of my tracks as it gives them a new lease of life and the possibilities are infinite.
How do you approach the marketing and promotion of releases for the label? Are there any unique or creative strategies you employ?
I think social media marketing is really important for dance tracks like Automatik’s releases. Getting videos of big name DJs playing your tracks and having all the social media sites repost them is key. People love to see live crowds’ responses to tracks. Also build up momentum prior to the release, having someone like Dixon and Ame play your track for a few months before it comes out definitely doesn’t hurt.
Which other artists might we see release on Automatik in the coming months?
Nick Jojo is the next artist we’re releasing and then at the end of the summer there will be a VA with a lot of friends of the label.
And what are some goals you have for the label over the long term, say 5-10 years?
We’re going to host our first Automatik event in London in December and then planning to take it around the world, maybe do some merch and fashion collaborations.
What advice would you give to anyone that wants to launch their own label in 2023?
It’s a lot of work and admin, so be organized, get good artwork, a distributor you want to have a long-term relationship with, only release quality music, don’t bombard people with average promos or they’ll lose interest, and have fun with it.
What’s your favourite label?
Innervisions, Eklektisch, Madorasindahouse, Watergate, Siamese, Atlant, Isolate, obviously Afterlife is huge at the moment and they’ve raised the bar with their visuals. It’s always changing.
Thanks a lot for taking the time to answer our questions, is there anything else you want to bring attention to before we finish?
More than anything perseverance is key, don’t give up!
Thodoris Triantafillou – Leave Them Kids Alone EP is out now on Automatik.