Dutch producer, DJ and record label owner, Mike Mago may be shivering and cold back home but he is already in a summer state of mind. He released an EP from UK artist Wolves By Night at the end of November and now has taken the reigns to remix one of the tracks titled “Close To Me.”
Mike adds a cheery, house spin on the track with piano stabs and steady percussion, while keeping much of the original vocal. The song will be released tomorrow on all portals.
Diving a little deeper, we spoke to Mago about his label, what he expects from artists who send him music, how labels treat artists and more.
What are the types of tracks you are looking for your label?
Well. That feels like the million dollar question during our A&R meetings. What ARE we looking for? It kind of developed from just releasing stuff that I liked to a bit more serious overthought. I dare to say there is a BMKLTSCH sound now, but for me it’s not easily described in words. I think it is affected by the 2 sides we currently describe the ‘Dance’ or ‘House’ scene with. Underground and commercial.
I feel that although there is with no doubt really good music from both sides, most of the time the commercial stuff is too coarse and simple for me, where on the underground side I feel it’s a bit too snobby and arrogant. And it seems like there’s no in-between. As a DJ I always wanted to fill that void and I think that’s what we’re trying to do now with our releases as well. Danceable, feel good and light-hearted on one side. Elegant, musically interesting and not too obvious on the other side. Tracks that could do well on the dance floor, but could also work really well to vibe out on at home. For example, we’re not afraid to have a vocal be the big part of the track if the vocal and writing is of a certain quality. Like Wolves By Night.
What about Wolves By Night made you want to sign them?
I heard Wolves By Night on his debut release with Just Us called Flirtatious in a promo I got and was captivated by his voice. I though it had something unique and could be a great fit to one of my tracks.
So I reached out to Adam (aka Wolves By Night) and told him I loved his voice and asked if he’d be up for writing on one of my tracks. He immediately replied and was up for it. I sent him a couple of tracks and he came back with 2 great toplines on them. Later he told me he’s also a producer and was looking for a label for 2 other tracks.
When he sent the tracks I was overwhelmed by the quality, 2 really well-produced and strong songs. So, we were both happy to get the tracks out under BMKLTSCH and this is the result.
How did you approach this remix?
I really didn’t want to take anything away from the topline. Wolves By Night has a really cool voice in my opinion and I wanted to use all of it. But I also wanted to make a remix, which could be a bit more for the late night dance floors than the originals. So I didn’t add too much musical stuff, except for a rhythmic bass and of course other drums.
What are your plans for the label in 2018 and beyond?
We have made some steps recently by relocating the office, hiring more people and starting to work with new partners. We have also been signing a couple of more settled artists for the beginning of next year. I think the awareness of the label BMKLTSCH will make a big curve in the coming months. We hope to capitalize on that by organizing events next summer and/or hosting some stages at festivals. The rest of the plan is all about releasing and supporting music that we love.
What are some lessons you have learned about the industry or yourself now as a label owner that might have surprised you?
One thing that surprises me time and time again is how badly some labels treat artists. Most of that is about labels taking a big cut on the sales and promising a lot, but in the end not working the release at all. It’s really hard to swallow that an artist has worked hard on their music, gets an initial enthusiastic response from the label, gets his long awaited release and in the end the label does nothing but send out a promo mail and do the distribution.
I’ve heard A&R’s say things like: “If a track doesn’t perform well on Spotify naturally, we find it hard to give it a good push.” That’s basically saying that you just put in on the portals and wait and pray that a track does well. Jaw dropping. I find it extra surprising because of the fact that it’s already easy and going to be more and more easy for an artist to put it on the portals him/herself.
A label should be the one to grind out the success of a track. In the end, if the track doesn’t perform as well as everyone hoped, the label should at least be transparent in all the steps that it made and show which strategies have been worked to break the track. I hear too many artists who feel that a release from them didn’t get the work it deserved from a label. I think this dissatisfied feeling will cause and is causing a change in how artists are going to release their music in the future, or at least it will have an affect on what kind of companies they will partner with.
The lesson I take out of that is that BMKLTSCH does anything within their power to make a release work and to make sure the artists knows which steps we make. Transparency, accuracy and hard work are high on our priority list. Right up there next to doing what we love.