Launching a business is stressful, even in the best of times, but launching a record label on the eve of one of the worst health crisis our planet has seen in decades takes a different level of passion and commitment.
Robin Fett and Tim Kertzman’s NEED Music imprint released their first EP back in March 2020, just before the world went into complete lockdown, though they have shown no signs of slowing things down.
The pair have welcomed deep, tech, and minimal house productions from names like Jesse Jacob, Silk & Fuss, Andrew Azara, and Azteca over the past year and a half, with the most recent coming from emerging French duo II Faces.
We welcome Fett & Kertzman to our Label Mates series, where they tell us all about their experience of launching a label during a pandemic, what goals they might have for the future, and what advice they would give to anyone that is considering to launch their own record label in 2021.
You launched the label in March 2020, how anxious were you about starting a new project at the beginning of a pandemic?
The beginning of a new venture is always exciting and brings a lot of insecurities. We were very well aware that the pandemic had a lot of impact on many businesses, especially the dance music industry. But while the industry was on hold, we had more time for setting up the back office and fine tuning all the details that matter to a music label.
The plans and vision for NEED was something that we already discussed in 2019, so the pandemic created an opportunity to build the label like we envisioned. Besides that, many artists had a great output music-wise during lockdown. Which gave us a great opportunity to cherry-pick the right gems for NEED.
You’ve since released music from Jesse Jacob, Azteca, and Silk & Fuss, what do you look for in an artist when considering them for a release?
We believe that releasing music is an equal collaboration between the artist and the label. We aim to be the best platform that we can be for the artist to get their music out there. We are looking for the artists that share the same passion for music, and show that drive to be heard.
Besides that, the music has to fit the sound of the label (obviously), while staying unique. If we believe there is a future for the artist we would love to contribute to that future with NEED!
And who else can we expect to see on NEED Music in the near future?
The French duo ‘II Faces’ just released a very special EP, with Irish artist Andrew Azara on the remix. Three different tracks that stand out on their own and work really well together as an EP. From late summer until the end of the year we have the likes of Nacho Bolognani, Ky Williams and PARKER on the label. Together with some artists that we can reveal later in the year, but we’re VERY excited to work with.
We’re kicking off the 2022 year with a talent EP that will have some really great new artists. And of course one of the two label owners, Robin Fett, will do an EP next year.
We live in a time when there are thousands of new tracks being released every week, how do you make sure your music stays above the noise?
Music always evolves. With NEED, we’re trying to stay one step ahead of those trends. We must admit that it’s hard to get our music to stand out between the waves of new music that is being released, but we are confident that we got the right ear for finding the stand-out tracks.
Besides that, we focus on having our music well represented on the streaming platforms. Getting into different playlists and not focusing on just one subgenre helps to get heard.
What goals do you have for the label in the long term? Say in five years time?
Discussing our goals and listing them was one of the first things we did while starting up NEED. We made a list of goals we want to achieve and celebrate each and every one of them. Starting with 1,000 streams on Spotify and just reaching the minimal/deep tech top 100 on Beatport. These might seem like little steps but it motivates us every day to keep working towards the bigger goals.
The next goal on our list is to reach 100,000 plays with one track on Spotify and it looks like Silk & Fuss’s Arcane is going to reach this within the next month. Looking towards the near future, it would be great if we could expand NEED as a brand and not only be a record label. To mentor and make a place for new talent to be heard, and guide them towards their goals as an artist. The next logical step is to set up our own events and event hostings.
Besides your own, what’s your favourite record label?
Well, too many to count. But to name a few: Hottrax, Solid Grooves, Fuse, No Art, and Kaluki release some great records.
What advice would you give to anyone that’s thinking about launching their own label in 2021?
Start with asking yourself: what do I bring to the table that would be different (musically or business wise)? Sure, there will always be an audience for all genres of music, but is it enough to keep your company afloat? If so, start by doing your research into all the rules and contracts of releasing music.
Launching a label is something you’ll do because of a passion and love for the music, but the rules and business-side of the industry is something you’ll have to dive into. And as mentioned before, keep in mind that releasing music is something you do together with the artist.
II Faces – Deep In You EP is out now on NEED Music.