Darius Syrossian, has over the years, become one of the UK’s top selectors, playing to crowds in Ibiza, Berlin, London and Barcelona and his tracks have appeared on some of house music’s biggest labels, from Defected and Hot Creations to 8Bit and Knee Deep In Sound.
Alongside his personal accomplishments, Darius also manages his own label, Moxy Musik. Launched at the end of 2018, the label had an impressive run in 2019, and will no doubt look to continue that success into the current year.
Phil Weeks, Ben Rau, Christian Burkhardt, Steve Lawler, Shaf Huse, Doc Martin and others have released with Moxy so far, and we cannot wait to see what’s to come.
Speaking to him about the label, Darius mentioned the importance of sticking to your longterm goals, keeping integrity in the music, quality over quantity and more. Get the full discussion below.
Moxy Muzik launched in 2018, tell us about the struggle of putting out your first release?
The label launched in December 2018 but there was a lot of work before that to ensure the first three releases are quality and not just another tech house label releasing the same old stuff.
Aside from the music I wanted every release to be on vinyl and each release to have its own hand drawn art too, this was always important for me if I was going to launch a label, I found Charlotte Archer who is an amazing artist, but although I had the first three releases sorted, I needed to find remixers for each release, I simply wasn’t going to just get the latest obvious artists on the label, so for me it was and will always be about getting artists that have proved themselves with their music, regardless of how popular they are or not.
For example, the first release I had remixes from the US house legend Doc Martin, also Man Power, second release Christian Burkhardt from Germany and Tommy Vicari JNR, these guys remixed my own productions and then the third release was from upcoming act Ray Mono.
Of the 8 tracks across the first three releases, getting three number ones and four other top tens is some achievement. The vinyl selling out on a couple of those releases too was great, but seeing legends like Derrick May, Laurent Garnier, even LTJ BUKEM praising the music and also DJ’s like Joseph Capriati, Mathias Tanzmann, Blond:ish, Annie Mac and loads more supporting the music is great and makes the graft worth it.
And what is your typical day to day regarding the label, do you manage it yourself or is there a team behind the scenes?
I’ve worked on labels in the past where there is a team working together, but I wanted to start my own label where I have total say on all musical output. I do all the A&R and signing new music or hunting for the right remixers, and have Graham Sahara who is label manager dealing with the distributors to make sure masters etc are delivered to the digital and streaming sites, vinyl pressing plants, and that the artwork from Charlotte Archer is sorted. There is so much work that goes into a label that not many people are aware of.
What is the hardest role managing a label that people might not know about?
Keeping quality control, you have to stick to your guns and put out music that fits the labels ethos, but when it’s your passion there is no hard part! This is what you love doing, nothing about this is a chore or seen as being difficult.
And we live in a time when there are thousands of new tracks coming out every day, what has been the key to keeping Moxy above water?
Well it’s about believing in what you are doing, and sticking to your thing, and most importantly DO NOT FOLLOW FADS! When that fad has a backlash, you will too!
You might be part of something that the press see as current and cool, but the same press will soon jump on the next fad! I’ve been involved in this scene since 1995 and seen this happen soooooooo many times!
Which magazine was it that praised that minimal sound in mid 2000’s with a front cover then had another front cover in 2010 saying minimal is dead? Hahaha kind of did us all a favour as it let the sound go back underground. The press just need things to hype up and then shoot them down to keep going. So, ignore all that and have a sound and stick to that sound, and you will slowly build followers and fans who are GENUINELY into the sound your label has. These will be fans forever. If you are making music to appeal to the masses, the majority of these people like something because they think they should and will easily jump ship onto the next fad and are not real fans and the aim isn’t to please these people. It’s about putting out music that will slowly build up a genuine following.
What record on your label are you most proud to have put out?
Maybe ‘Dance of the Shaman’ the fact that nobody could really put it in any genre category was great, and seeing Detroit pioneer Derrick May playing the vinyl on his boiler room was great. But in honesty all of the releases have been rewarding in different ways. Signing a track by an upcoming artist like Ray Mono and seeing his track ‘Esperanza’ become one of the tracks of the summer in Ibiza at Amnesia and then seeing his career take off is really rewarding.
Besides Moxy, what is your favourite label?
‘PIV’ have been doing amazing things, Chris Stussy & Prunk have been a breath of fresh air right now, putting out music with soul. ‘Little Helpers’ continues to release lots of gems regularly and Phil Weeks’ ‘Robsoul’ label has been outstanding for so many years now! ‘No Art’ is another, so much good stuff out there right now.
And who can we expect music from in the near future?
It’s a mixture of new talent and also legends in the scene, there is a collab by myself and Rich NXT, something from Dimmish, but also a track from DJ Sneak, myself and Jon Rundell are gonna start a project. Demuir from Canada, also Prunk is doing a remix, Chris Stussy is sending me demos, I have some amazing music from upcoming talent like Lucas Alexander too! Loads going on.
Lastly, where do you hope to see the label in a few year’s time?
Moxy Muzik is NOT about being a number one label or something that appeals to the masses! That is not our goal, pleasing the masses is not something I care about or strive to achieve, and not how we gage success. If you want to please the majority of people you have to put out music that appeals to the masses, which is 9 times out of ten ‘generic’, or has to have manufactured hype by the music press. I don’t care about that and for me it’s about putting out music for those that get it to enjoy. We are totally on the right lines and smashing the releases making music with depth.
Putting out music that appeals to legends in the scene is a lot harder than making and putting out music that is following the latest fads and trends. Too many in the industry and the music press especially have lost sight about what this is all about, finding acts that have image and fit a fad seems to be more important than the music. I’ve been in this involved in this industry since 1995 and have never seen it so bad for this kind of thing.
So, we are about building up followers who get our sound and like what we do, it’s about quality not quantity, and we are more than happy to leave all that dream of chasing No.1’s to the others. When you look at how Phil Weeks label ‘Robsoul’ has been so consistently good and relevant for so many years that’s the kind of thing we would be happy to achieve.
Darius Syrossian’s Soul Fire EP arrives February 28th on Moxy Muzik. Including a remix from Dimmish.