The latest drop on our own Label Mates series finds our aural senses attentively focused on one of Canada’s most promising house and electronic imprints.
Vancouver-based artist Siavash has released productions from the likes of Einmusik, Rodriguez Jr., Haddad Von Engst, and others on his You Plus One label since launching back in 2017.
Speaking to the label founder, we got to ask him about the early days of You Plus One, what we might expect to see from them in the near future, how he decides which tracks to release, and which other labels he rates most. Get the full discussion below.
You first launched You Plus One back in 2017, what made you want to set up your own record label?
We actually launched You Plus One in 2011 as a Vancouver based events company to fill the vacant hole for strictly underground music club nights during a time when many venues in our city had shut down. I waited until 2017 to launch the record label.
The company had built a lot of success locally and my idea was to enter it into the global scene and continue to give opportunities to North American artists in a bigger way. Also I was excited by the idea of releasing my own sound without having to tailor it to another label’s style.
And what are some of the biggest challenges you faced when preparing the first release?
My focus has always been more on DJing in its purity, being limitless with my music production vision, and throwing the wildest back-alley, secretive parties that infused that super creative Berlin-style atmosphere with the legit underground need-to-know-basis vibe that we had in the 90s.
Even with all my experience and connections in the industry, I didn’t know much about the ins and outs of the label game at first. I’d say everything had a learning curve. If I had to pick one thing to really stress to new label owners, it would be the importance of finding the right people to help you bring your vision to completion.
You’ve since released music from Rodriguez Jr, Einmusik, and ORDA, what do you look for in an artist when considering them for a release?
In the beginning it was a huge challenge for me figuring out exactly what would qualify as ‘release worthy’ for the label, as I personally jam out to so many different styles. But that was actually the saving grace for my issue. I simply decided that I would ONLY release music that I would happily play within my own eclectic sets. I think my filtering process for what is playable within my performances is very strict and refined.
Therefore, if it’s good enough to represent my stage sound that I’ve calibrated over 20 years then it’s more than worthy to release on my label. Also the artist’s attitude and all around energy is very important to me because I will be investing in the person long term as well.
And who might we expect to see on the label in the near future?
Outside of my upcoming Fade To White EP that has techno legends Pig&Dan remixing, we can look forward to another remix by Super Flu later this year. We also take pride in introducing future electronic stars to the world. Aside from premiering chart toppers Haddadi Von Engst, Yarni, and Neo Leon, we have some brilliant new artists from right here in Canada that I am most looking forward to releasing this year.
Do you manage the label alone, or is there a team behind the scenes?
I am sickly controlling and try to do all aspects of the label, including small details such as my own handwriting / design work, photography, and promotional material. In this type of artistic industry it helps to have many talents but you always need more help.
Despite our company taking a hit due to the pandemic putting a stop to all events around the world, I am blessed enough to still have a reduced size team on board for our work on the label. The label keeps us united, inspired, and motivated.
The most important person around to help is my OCD workaholic right-hand, the Mayor of You Plus One, Ryse, who has helped in every single step. She is a priceless gem that even the most demanding companies would kill to have on their team.
What’s one of the most difficult things in running a label that most people may not be aware of?
Consistency. Ya sure, you can figure out a way to release stuff and get some decent tunes out there but what sets labels apart are the ones with a ruthlessly consistent release schedule. Not just any release schedule, a release schedule filled with consistent, uncompromising, quality music.
Besides your own, what’s your favourite record label?
After DJing for many years and playing countless 10+ hour sets, can you imagine how many labels I have loved over the past decade? Nonetheless, I will mention some notable, current favourites that stand out in my promo inbox.
There are so many great labels out there but I really looked forward to playing unreleased Diynamic, Stil Vor Talent, Watergate, Einmusika, Radikon, Mobilee, Do Not Sit – All quality labels run with love and helping to push our culture forward. I can’t mention them all, but I really admire ALL the labels that are still pushing through and releasing during the pandemic, because it’s a really difficult time.
And what advice would you give to anyone thinking of launching their own imprint?
BEWARE! Cause I’m coming for you! Kidding lol. Just do it all for love, don’t expect anything but a lifelong journey of giving back and leaving a small mark on the wonderful history of our precious electronic music culture. Long live underground.
Siavash’ Fade To White EP is out now on You Plus One.