Sharing music we love, helping out underrated talent, and spreading the love are all obvious motives for bloggers, label heads, managers, and basically anyone else in the music industry that actually cares about what they do. But in this digital age, the proper way to tackle all side of music distribution and marketing has yet to be proven, yet the possibilities are endless. But if you combine the qualities of a blog, label, PR department, management agency, and radio all into one platform… the ultimate solution could very well be right in front of you; it’s called Main Course. Main Course is the collaboration of Jeremiah Neoteric and Zia Hirji, two dudes that simply know what’s up and have been doing their thing long enough to pull off such an ambitious project. But rather than me rambling on about what exactly they do best, I figured it would be best to let them do the talking.
Please take a minute to introduce yourselves and explain what each of your roles are in Main Course.
Z: Hey, I’m Zia I’m the director of PR/blog contributor and generally assist in all scheming and ways to stay scheming.
J: I’m Jeremiah, and I guess I’m the ‘director’. I yell cut and action, and lure young beauties to the casting couch. I try to find great records to sign, remixes for our artists, and talented musicians and labels to work with.
Where, when, and how did you two first meet? And have you guys worked together previously?
Z: I was really big in the underground bare knuckle boxing circuit in Vancouver, I was on the come up my record was like 23-0 and Jer was my coach. Really though, we just know each other from around Vancouver. I haven’t worked with Jer before Main Course, this is our first venture together.
J: I was teaching Quantum Physics at Harvard, and Zia was a janitor. At the end of my classes there would be a bunch of half-finished equations left on the board, and one day I walked in and Zia was finishing them! I told him from that very moment we had to work together in music promotions.
As far as being active in the music world, what have you guys been focusing on prior to joining together for Main Course? What other things are you two currently still involved in?
J: I’ve DJ’d for about the last 15 years (as Neoteric), and have been fortunate enough to travel and play all over the world, and meet and work with many of my heroes. I did some A&R for Switch at Dubsided many years ago, which opened a lot of doors, or at least, gave me peoples ears. From there, I stayed travelling, networking, and occasionally working on releases and collabos with other artists. In 2011 I moved to Europe and had the chance to start working one of my favourite groups, as their manager, and loved how that went. Since then I’ve done a good amount of work with Wax Motif, and have played all around Europe, but as I get older I want to DJ less, stay home, and try to find a way to make a long lasting career out of music. After all the artists I’ve signed, or helped sign to a label, it only made sense to finally start my own. As far as management goes, I’d love to build an empire, but have to do that slow and steady. I never want to overcommit when it comes to another artist's career, and have them feel let down. As for current projects, we just released “Wax Motif & Neoteric - Go Deep” remix EP on Southern Fried, and are compiling a mad compilation for legendary label Strictly Rhythm. After that Me & Wax have a pretty big single we’re trying to find the right home for. So much for staying home.
Z: I’ve been throwing parties in Vancouver since 2007 mostly ones in loft spots and weird basements and we just played House, those were rad. Then a year and a bit ago I started doing another party called Midnight City with my friend AJK (shouts out to YoursTruly) and those have been going really well we’ve brought Metro Area, Omar S and Cosmic Kids to name a few. I also do a radio show every tuesday night called InsideOut where I invite my favorite Vancouver DJs to come through.
So where did the name come from? Are you guys also big in the kitchen?
J: It was on some sort of short list, I think Zia brainstormed it. Once we had it down to three names, I asked Nick Catchdubs over lunch which he thought was the best. I really admire all he’s done, so when he picked Main Course it was decided. The Nick hath spoken.
Z: What Jer said. I have been known to chef some things up though.
How did the idea of Main Course come to be? Did you guys originally plan for it to be much more than simply a music blog for artists you support?
J: Well it first started with my desire to add some extra value and push to the artist management I do. Nowadays, out of sight is out of mind, so the goal was to be able to offer PR services to my management clients and help create as much awareness for them as I could. This is a whole separate job though, so I approached Zia about heading up the PR side of things, and we’re working to build out that arm of the company, and offer these services to artists and labels we’re really into. We never started out with the idea to have a blog, but it made sense for us to highlight what we loved, and sprinkle in some of the projects we were working with.
The overall goal of Main Course is pretty clear, but how do you think that combining the elements of a blog and label into one platform is important today? Would you say that offering remix management and PR along with the above is a complete package for the modern day artist?
Z: Actually, I’m rather proud about how all aspects feed each into each other. You can see how one arm reaches the other like a weird music business ouroboros. Having a blog ensures we keep up with what, and how others are doing what they’re doing. We’re watchin.
What do you think music distribution and artist representation is lacking in this digital age? What would you guys like to see change in the future?
J: It seems like every artist is always looking for a new label, a better opportunity, or more visibility. Hype sells, so whoever can get behind their music and reach the most people with their efforts, generally does the best. So many great artists and records are overlooked simply because there’s no easy way for people to hear about them. Right now there is so much good out there. Even more bad, but it’s getting easier to filter that out. For artist rep, organized and driven representation is sorely lacking, especially in dance music. But as money money gets thrown around, there’s more incentive for proper business minded people to become involved. For me, it was a way to continue working in an area I’m passionate/obsessive about
At the moment, is there anyone else involved with the project or contributing to the site?
J: We have a great crew of contributors from all over the world who will be submitting content. Most of them friends I met along the way who I thought had great taste and unique perspectives on music, art, and their local scenes. Our content editor Gnou is someone I’ve worked with for many years and has helped me with so many projects in the past. He also contributes to the Mishka blog, among others. There’s a couple others, but top secret for the moment now. It’ll all make sense soon though.
Tell us a little bit about the debut release of The Slow Waves. They seem like a mysterious act…
Z: TheSlowWaves’ record is a great piece of music. It’s rare in this day and age that you hear something that manages to evoke a feeling and Undertow does just that. Underbelly is perfect night driving music. As for who The Slow Waves are- we still have zero clue.
What’s next on the menu for Main Course? Any upcoming releases (or anything) to mention? What are some near future goals that you guys are aiming to achieve?
J: Our next release is from Klever, called “Weak” and the flip side is a remix by Roska! Theres much more in the works, but again we’re cautious about over committing ourselves. Each release we do is simply 2 tracks, and we offer them for free. They’re also for sale digitally in the hope that our efforts help spread the word and people still buy the music they like. But our goal is artist visibility, whatever we can do to help.
Z: My main goal is to grow the PRside until it’s a monolith and running like a well oiled machine, you know reaching the right people and building the right relationships to get the word out for projects and not just bombing out promos to everyone in my e-mail list. I also want Main Course to be known for quality work on both label and PR Side.
I’ve noticed a few other pages on Main Course that have content coming soon, such as the podcast/radio show. What’s the plan for these extra features and when can we look forward to the first installments?
J: Soon..ish. SweetSixteen I’m most excited about, and the first edition will be live June 6th, and every 2 weeks after that. MainCourseradio is a podcast of DJ mixes from friends around the world - all sorts of music, anything good, anything goes. 5 questions is a quick interview short where we ask the same 5 questions to all sorts of people, from all walks of life.
What other artists are currently joining the roster of talent?
J: Right now we’ve capped the remixteam at 8 artists and will see how that goes. Label wise, we’re open to any style of quality music, so please send demos. For PR, we have a bunch of great projects from artists and labels we’re working towards, and generally reach out to those we love, and think we can help spread the word.
What has been the biggest challenge so far getting this off the ground? And what would you guys say is the most rewarding aspect of running a business such as this?
J: The most challenging thing has been learning to rely on others for things we can’t do ourselves. The most rewarding is yet to be seen, but the idea of knowing you’ll make some kind of difference in the ‘world’ you’re apart of is great.
Z: The challenges are really endless but what’s the point of doing something if its gonna be a cake walk? I agree with Jer that we haven’t seen any major rewards yet but I know they’re coming and the rewards are gonna be big.
Any final things you’d like to add/plug/give us a heads up on?
J: Yeah! Also check out the mix series I run with my boy Matty C, The WhiteLightmixes. It’s all about night music, zoning out, introspection, spacey cosmic stuff...the anti-club! We have an amazing lineup of guest DJs, and once you open up that door, you’re hooked.
Z: Everyone who reads this should follow me on twitter @Zeeaa if you like inane babble and the occasional laugh. You guys also need to check for InsideOutRadio for when we do the live broadcasts. Lastly I want to shout out all the ladies and FrenchMontana.
Before we wrap this up, here’s a non-music related question: what would your final main course consist of?
J: So many shrimp I get i’dine poi’nin!
Z: A lobe of lava seared foie gras served in a Yankees snapback with a Goyard Napkin.