Label Mates: Sebastian Ledher / Play Groove Recordings

Since launching his Play Groove Recordings imprint more than a decade ago in 2012, Sebastian Ledher has seen names like Dennis Cruz, Basti Grub, Gruuvelement’s, and Rone White release on the label.

The latest sound to come via Play Groove finds the founder himself collaborate with Neverdogs, as the three artists release their brand new ‘THRE3’ EP, which includes remixes from both EdIP and Brad Brunner alongside the original mix.

We caught up with the now Madrid-based Sebastian Ledher to chat about the new release, his experiences as a label owner up to now, and what goals he’s set himself for the 2023 year. Get the full discussion below.

You first launched Play Groove Recordings back in 2012, what were some of the biggest challenges you faced in the very beginning?

Initially it was learning how a record company works and everything that this brings. How to find a good quality sound, and the issue of branding I think was one of the more difficult challenges; but everything fell into place and to this day I believe that I managed to get a good result and I’m very happy about it.

And since then you have released music from names like Dennis Cruz, Basti Grub, and Rone White, what is your typical process when it comes to signing new music?

The fact that they are almost always new artists who become very strong over time is super important to me. That makes me very happy because what I do is start following the artist, and then I regularly approach them through a message and it is always based on the work they have done; I listen to their previous releases and if I like it, I’ll make a good proposal for everyone.

Your most recent release saw you collaborate with Neverdogs for your ‘THRE3’ EP, which also includes a remix from EdIP and Brad Brunner, how would you describe the tracks to anyone who hasn’t heard them yet?

It kicks off quickly with bumpy rhythms and rolling percussion along with a hooking melody of the bassline. A hard-hitting underground heater from the start, its combination of melodic swirls, enchanting flute riffs and Latin vocals add a nice mystical layer to the mix, forging an appealing vibe-builder from start to finish.

What’s one of the hardest jobs in running a label that most people might not know exists?

Really, a main goal, if not the most important one, is that the music that is released from the label is not only musically directed for a couple of people. It is knowing how to choose the music that really reaches many people and that is very important for me. Importantly, in addition to this, I believe that sustaining an image also takes a lot of time, effort, dedication and strategies that help me gain a lot of visibility. For example, now I had my seal a little quiet because I was with my work team strengthening all the shortcomings that suddenly we did not see before, and I want to tell you that I am super happy with a lot of content. As I said before, very good strategies, and above all collaboration with very good artists.

You’ve worked with a lot of successful labels in your own career as an artist, what’s one lesson you’ve learnt from working with these guys that you’ve carried over into Play Groove Recordings?

Our philosophy is always to offer you what I always wanted a record company to offer me, I consider that this is what we have achieved all these years. Everything I learned in working with the big labels I have applied with myself and the other artists, and it should be noted that for me it has been very enriching to go through other such big labels. And that’s how I want the artists who go through my label to feel, satisfied, with good results, etc.

Do you have a favourite label? Besides your own of course!

Yes of course, I really like Eastenderz, Hottrax, and Noartmusic. I think they do an incredible job, are super elegant, and the quality is what I also want to convey to other people with my label.

Have you set the label any goals for 2023?

Now, as I said before, this year we come with a lot of desire to meet our goals. We are closing some new artists and also working on our next two vinyls and showcases. This is something I wanted to do for a long time and we are already specifying some destinations such as Colombia, Peru, Chile, Italy, or Spain, where we will carry out some of our showcases.

What advice would you give to someone that wants to launch a label of their own?

First, I think I would tell them to develop their own plan. The truth is that when you have a clear idea and you can transmit it to others over time, there will always be something that helps you analyze your label and make changes that possibly were not possible before. Necessary to change, so I think that as long as that person’s focus is always themselves, they will achieve it.

Is there anything else you want to mention before we go?

The truth is that I am proud to be Latin and very happy to do what I do. I think that Latinos are going through a great moment and Colombia is on the map, because of tourism, urban music, musical culture, and its strength in important events. I feel really happy to be a part of all this, very happy of what we are achieving.

Sebastian Ledher & Neverdogs – THRE3 EP is out now on Play Groove Recordings.