Darius Syrossian speaks about the 7 most important steps in launching a new label and an insight into the world of Moxy Muzik

Darius Syrossian has cemented his place as one of the dance elite after a life-long commitment to house and techno which has seen him touch every major club and festival on Earth. His workaholic attitude has lead to him hosting his own parties, running his own label and hosting a monthly radio show – all of which fall under the Do Not Sleep banner. His new venture Moxy Muzik is a vinyl and digital label with bespoke hand drawn artwork. He wants to use this label to bring quality music covering all genres, which fuses music aimed primarily at the dance floor with music that has lots of depth and soul. The label will cover plenty of sounds crossing over both house and techno genres but avoiding the generic obvious sounds that Darius feels is around too much at the moment. But what are the most important factors in setting up a new label?

Darius talks through the 7 most important steps……

#1 The MAIN thing about starting a new label and running a successful one is obviously the product itself and that is the music, but before you start a label you have to ask yourself, why are you running the label? If it’s to fit in with everything else, you will fail! There are thousands of labels out there and more than ever so many are just mimicking what is already out there, your label needs to represent you musically, and when I say represent you I mean come from the heart!

#2 If you want inspiration on how a record label is run properly I think my advice would be to go record shopping and have a good dig, I regularly visit Phonica in London to buy records and I find that so many of the labels that have the best music are the ones which are coming from artists who are putting out music they would play and it has their own distinct signature sound. Listen to music from Rich NxT and his label NXT, RIMBAUDIAN and his label MEDA FURY, NYRA and his label CANOE. These are artists who are doing it for the music, the passion shines through in the music that is released and it’s distinctive to their own sound as a DJ.

#3 Key tip on searching for good music is very simple, dig dig, and dig more! The secret to being a good DJ is having your OWN SOUND, not playing all the big anthems, if doing that you are no different to DJ Kevin who plays the Beatport Top 10 in the wine bar in town every Saturday. If you dig hard enough you will eventually have enough music that you feel has your vibe, and the key is to turn all these tracks into one set that has you signature stamped all over it! When people come to you and say, I can always tell your set when I hear one, you have smashed it! It means you have your OWN sound and that is what will help you stand out, rather than sound the same as everyone else, then, you have a pool of artists that you are REALLY FEELING from these artists that you have found you can see who is willing to work on your project, be it send originals or do remixes for you.

#4 Artwork is very important, if people can see how much effort has gone into the artwork, then they can see you mean business, for Moxy Muzik I have commissioned Charlotte Archer, a fantastically talented artist who does bespoke individual hand drawn art for each release, this is very important as I want each release to be individual and have its own art, but I always want to keep the same theme for each release as well at the same time.

#5 DISTRIBUTION, it’s all well and good having a label with the music and artwork sorted, but you need a good distributor, make sure the distributor you have is an expert in the field of music that your label is, for example, some distributors are better at distributing techno labels to shops selling techno, some are better at house, if your distributor understands you musically they will know exactly who to distribute to.

#6 PROMOTION is also very important, getting the right DJs to hear your music and play it is absolutely priceless! For example, the first release on Moxy Muzik for me sold out on vinyl and needed a repress and the digital went straight to number 1 the minimal charts after only 24 hours, this was helped by the fact that so many big DJs from Laurent Garnier to Jamie Jones to Derrick May (on his Boiler Room) played the track, as well as a whole host of others. This is priceless promotion, with so much music out there, you may have great music but if people are not coming across it then they are never going to know about it, if you have the right press company (shoutout Jukebox PR!) who can get your track sent out on promo to all the right DJs who you think will play your music from your label, you are on the right track to success.

#7 STAY TRUE! always remember why you started the label, and never think OK this new fad has arrived, I should jump ship and start releasing music that fits in with that current fad! REMEMBER IT’S JUST A FAD! Fads come and go! The BEST and longest lasting and successful labels are the ones that stayed true to their one sound through whatever new fad was coming around and the music press hyping up! The people that follow fads are sheep! You want real dedicated fans and if you stick to your guns you will slowly over time keep winning new fans and will last longer than just a generic label that comes and releases big releases aimed at the masses which come, go huge then suddenly disappear. If your music is coming from the heart that will shine through and real music heads will see this and that is why you started your label, right?

Welcome to the world of Moxy Muzik…..

MOXY MUZIK (FEB 1ST LAUNCH PARTY)
6 hour set Darius Syrossian

Introducing Darius Syrossian’s new record label and monthly club residency at Joshua Brooks, Manchester. Here’s a clubland concept for you: take one of the world’s leading proponents of quality house and techno music. A record crate brimming with underground tunes created specifically to make people dance. An intimate post-midnight club setting with a kick-ass Void sound rig and low ceilings. Open up the dancefloor to a 500-strong crowd of educated techno fanatics. Maybe even wire up a strobe or two. Then flip on the power and watch the party go off in incendiary fashion. In the studio and in the DJ booth,

“This is what Darius Syrossian and his new Moxy Muzik imprint are all about. It’s what they stand for. Real music. Real raw.”

The Launch of his Monthly Residency at Joshua Brooks in Manchester party on February 1st was a resounding success. A full capacity sold out show where Darius played a 6 hour set moving through many different genre’s keeping the dance floor full & the atmosphere was electric until the very end of the night. If the opening party is anything to go by we are in for a treat every month. The 2nd Moxy Muzik record label party as part of Darius Syrossian’s 12 month residency is scheduled for Friday, March 1st, 2019, at Joshua Brooks, Manchester & continues with monthly thereafter. Buy tickets here

THE LABEL

“I’ve always wanted to launch a label,” Darius explains. “And I don’t mean a digital label manufacturing generic dance tracks aimed at the Beatport Top 10. That market doesn’t interest me at all. Instead, I’m looking to release music that will still be around in 10 years’ time. Music aimed primarily at the dancefloor. Music with soul and depth and meaning. Right now, there’s so much generic tech-house about. It’s almost as if people are making music for Instagram videos. Everything sounds the same with the same drops; there’s just no depth or originality out there. It’s one of the reasons why I decided to launch Moxy Muzik.”

The first release on Moxy Muzik is a brand new Darius Syrossian original called ‘Dance of the Shaman’, going straight in at number 1 in the DeepTech Minimal charts & many vinyl stores having to restock within 24 hours of going on sale, a chunky, yet somewhat mysterious four-to-the-floor house monster already being endorsed by the likes of Derrick May spinning the pink vinyl & Darius original mix on his recent Boiler Room set along with Lauren Garnier, Joseph Capriati, Damian Lazarus, Jamie & many more. Alongside Darius’ master cut, Man Power deliver an upbeat melodic reworking, Los Angeles-based composer Doc Martin renders the tune a deeper, trippier edge, leaving East End Dubs to supply a more minimal rendering of Syrossian’s Moxy Muzik debut.

Subsequent releases on Moxy Muzik will include tracks and reworks from artists like Phil Weeks, Dense & Pika, Tommy Vicari Jnr, Seb Zeto and Ben Rau, Enzo Siragusa – proper underground electronic music composers who have been playing to serious underground dance floors for decades. “I’ve noticed that a lot of contemporary underground music isn’t really dancefloor friendly,” Darius continues. “It’s great to listen to when you’re washing up or driving your car, but it isn’t purposely made for afterdark club environments. The music I release via Moxy Muzik is still going to be intelligent and full of feeling, but my main focus here is bringing a huge amount of fire to the dancefloor.”

After managing a record shop for 15 years, it should come as no surprise that every track released on Darius’ new Moxy Muzik imprint will be available on vinyl as well as digital formats.
“Offering a vinyl option is really important to me,” Darius nods. “I have approximately 10,000 records in my house and the amount of memories attached to each track is phenomenal. With digital you just don’t have that nostalgia. If you lose your computer, the tracks are gone. But having that piece of vinyl is forever. Not only that, I have commissioned the artist Charlotte Archer to produce bespoke hand-drawn cover art designs to companion every track. Musically and aesthetically, we’re putting a great deal of time and effort into every release and I think people are going to love it.”

THE RESIDENCY

“It’s about DJing in clubs again,” Darius explains. “Real dark, intimate nightclubs, as opposed to vast warehouse spaces, country estates and car parks. And it’s also about performing all night long. I feel like clubbers are being ripped off by these big warehouse-style parties where the DJs only get to play one-hour sets. As a DJ you can’t tell a story in 60 minutes; 10 tracks just aren’t enough. When you play for an hour you may as well call yourself a jukebox. That’s not what DJing is about. I’m not DJing to be seen as a DJ. When I play music that I love and I see other people feeling it with the same intensity as I feel it, I feel inspired. This is my passion. This is what I live for. I don’t know what I would do without music and at the moment I find certain elements of the scene a bit soulless.”

So, what’s the antidote to all the manufactured absurdity? “I’ve decided to take proper Chicago and house and Detroit techno music back to small clubs,” Darius smiles. “I’ll be playing six-hour sets from open to close, inside a selection of the best small venues on the planet, starting with a monthly club residency at Joshua Brooks.”

“Make no mistake about it, the Moxy Muzik launch on Feb 1st at Joshua Brooks was Nuclear.”

“I played everything from house to techno to minimal, even some acid & progressive & to disco at the end,” Darius recalls. “It wasn’t just that it was Sold Out, it was the fact that people stayed right until the end and didn’t want to leave, even after the one more tune that’s when you know it’s been a great night.”

With many of the best small nightclubs in the UK on verge of closing and only a handful top tier DJs choosing to dedicate their time to club residencies, Darius is poised to readdress the balance in favour of those foundation principles and philosophies that fuelled the genesis of the underground house and techno scene back in the mid-to-late-80s.

“I could fly around the world chasing bigger shows,” Darius admits, “playing to tourists and VIPs for tons of money, but I don’t want to kid myself. Doing that doesn’t feel right. Of course the big shows are great and I’m not stopping playing those, but I also want to make sure I don’t neglect this side of things, which i think more and more is being neglected by promoters and DJs, DJs playing in smaller intimate clubs is an important part of club culture, Right now, I feel as though the scene needs to get back to being about the music rather than people focusing on props and ice canons. Everybody has their own opinion, of course, but I want Moxy Muzik to be about music rather than theatrics. I’m well aware that the underground path I’ve chosen might be less appealing to the mass market but performing for 500 ravers who absolutely love the stuff I’m playing is always going to be more rewarding than dropping big anthems and in vogue bangers to the masses.”

Those who truly know Darius Syrossian won’t be at all surprised by his decision. After all, this is a guy who bought decks for the love of music, not to become a DJ. In his heart of hearts, he’s a rebel, a raver, a purist and as an artist he demands the same high standards of himself as he does his crew. If there’s no meaning or purpose involved, you might as well count him out. That’s the way his mind works. It’s the way he’s built. And that’s why, having seen the grassroots of the scene suffering, he felt compelled to do something about it.

“I will still be touring North and South America,” Darius concludes, “and I love being a resident for Do Not Sleep, so that project will continue as before, but Moxy Muzik is my personal baby and I can’t wait it get stuck into it. At the end of the day I’m just not interested in playing gigs for easy money. I’d rather stay at home and do something rewarding.” Cue the inception of Moxy Muzik, which promises to realign the club scene with its underground roots.

MOXY MUZIK LAUNCH – RECORDING LIVE FROM JOSHUA BROOKS ON FRIDAY FEB 1ST (FULL 6 HOUR SET)

DATES

‘Dance of the Shaman’, the first release on Darius Syrossian’s new Moxy Muzik label hit the shelves this December 2018. The 2nd Moxy Muzik record label party as part of Darius Syrossian’s 12 month residency is scheduled for Friday, March 1st, 2019, at Joshua Brooks, Manchester & continues with monthly thereafter. Buy tickets here

You can also catch Darius performing at many Moxy Muzik parties around the globe, shows coming up include Berlin Kater Blau, Budapest at Premier, London 93 feet East, & many more places, for a full list of Darius Tour dates click > http://www.constellatetalent.com/artist/darius-syrossian/

www.instagram.com/moxymuzik


About the author

Decoded Magazine Director and Operations Manager of Decoded Magazine Radio.

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