sub:Merged was launched on Sunday October 19th 2014 during Amsterdam Dance Event by Darren Brennan and Mohamed Medhat aka Medhat & Dekkstrum, with what was described as the best Techno line up of the whole festival, along with a solid ADE sampler featuring 12 original tracks from some of the most talented artists around.
Everything they do is about sharing their passion with like minded people all over the world to achieve great things for Techno. They believe that they will create a better scene where we are all equal, how things used to be. They believe that they will make a difference by releasing quality music and bringing together the godfathers, the head liners of today and the stars of tomorrow, in a very unique set up where the crowds, artists and promoters can all be one.
Mo and Darren, welcome to Decoded Radio. Great to have you guys drop in and join our label feature series. How are you both?
Thanks Daz we are great and happy to be here today.
Firstly, can you tell us a bit about your career backgrounds? How you first met and how your partnership developed?
Mo: I have been DJing since 1993. In 98 I started promoting my own events back in Dubai & Egypt. A few years later I made my first track. Over the years I was lucky enough to be able to manage all 3 things at the same time, meet some amazing people and visit some incredible places. Darren also did his own thing DJing and promoting for more than 25 years. Last year we met online while I was a guest on an online radio show. A few days later we met for coffee and had a very long chat about techno and the scene. We just got along pretty well and knew right away that we share the same background and passion for the music. We then started working on sub:Merged, DJing together and we made a track called Resonate which was released on the sub:Merged ADE sampler. Last month we launched our collaboration project Medhat & Dekkstrum and decided that it will be our main focus along with sub:Merged.
It’s been almost a year since you launched the label at last year’s ADE with an event which was boasted as one of the finer techno line ups of the festival. How much planning and preparation was involved in making it the success it was?
It took us about 10 months of planning. Because there was a lot of artists on the line up and the competition is always extremely high during ADE. So we had to work hard to make sure that every move was the right move. From choosing the venue to booking the right artists and everything in between. I believe that the key element to the success of the event was the passion and dedication from the whole team involved.
Was deciding to launch a new label at one of the world’s biggest dance music conferences a big decision for you to make?
These days the market is saturated with labels and events. So If you are launching a new brand and want to get noticed you have to raise the quality bar and start big. You have to start with an impact, and that’s exactly what we did. We believe in what we have to offer so much that we didn’t really think twice about taking a big risk like that in another country at probably the most event crowded conference in the world.
So, sub:Merged is a label and events brand? How are both of your roles and responsibilities shared?
We both work as a team and share all the responsibilities. At the moment we share everything between us. But we are expanding the company and the brand soon. When that happens we will have a large team covering the operations, while me and Darren will focus on the overall management and planning.
Which do you find being the most challenging?
The events side of things is the most challenging part because of the amount of work and time involved in the process. Choosing dates & locations, booking artists, marketing & promotion, quality control and everything else. It takes a lot of time and effort to make every event special and maintain our standards.
What are the goals and visions you set out to achieve with sub:Merged? Is there a certain voice or statement you aim to relay?
We will keep building the brand until we reach where we want to be. We don’t follow what others do, we do what we believe is right. We want to ultimately create a much better global scene for artists, labels, promoters, clubbers, venues and everyone involved at the same time. That way, everyone will take a part in keeping it right for everybody and everyone will get rewarded for what they do properly. A real healthy scene as things used to be back in the day.
When it comes to signed new material to sub:Merged there is a fine mix of newer talent amongst the likes of Skober, Steve Mulder, Roel Salemink, NHB & Many Reasons and Mr. Bizz. How would you describe the ethos of the label and style of techno music it purveys?
At sub:Merged we believe that talent is the most important thing. Our goal from the start was to have a group of talented people working together to push themselves to reach the best of their abilities and career goals. A group of friends who support each other to achieve great things. And when a new talent comes along with high quality music and the right attitude they just join the family.
John Digweed recently said in an interview with Decoded “A great track is a great track whoever made it”. For a new label starting out is there a pressure to sign established artists to maximize reach and raise the labels profile, or can a great track from a lesser known artist have just the same impact?
We totally agree with John, a great track is a great track and when we receive a good track and we like it, we sign it. But to be a real part of the team on the long run we always look at how much the person is willing to learn, improve and work with the rest of the team. All our artists are friends and they support each other one way or another. We believe that a great track from a less known artist will still do as well, you just need to promote it a bit more to get noticed. That’s how many great artists have made it recently.
What are some of the challenges and rewards in being a relatively new techno label in a saturated market?
Thankfully we didn’t have to face many of the challenges other new labels face because of our quality control and structure. We are not just a record label, or an events brand, we are everything in one. The label and events are just the start, we will grow to almost cover all aspects of the genre. Every part of the brand supports the rest.
Over the past 12 months what parties have you guys been throwing and are there any future events in the pipeline to tell us about?
In the past 12 months we launched at ADE as mentioned earlier, and we also had a sold out event in Lisbon in association with our friends at Naked Lunch Records. We are currently taking a short break from events to finance and expand the business. In 2016 we will launch the events in 6 countries at the same time as a base and expand every year, as well as various events world wide.
As a DJ and production duo you have a few EPs due for release including one on Many Reasons’ Amazing Records. What are the vibes for each of them and when are they due for release?
All the EPs have different vibes to suit the different labels but they all share our own style, we like things deep but still maintain the techno energy we all love. Rumor EP will be out on Amazing Records in October, along with an original track on Distortus Music’s ADE sampler. Distortus is the sister label of Funk’n Deep. In the next couple of months we also have EPs out on Joe Mesmar’s Minds Of Sin, Chicago’s Format Recordings and sub:Merged along with various remixes on other labels.
Could you give us a quick run through in your approach to your label feature mix? Were the tracks an easy choice?
This was the first time we have recorded a full mix using just tracks from the label and we really enjoyed it. We think its a good showcase of both the label’s and our sound. It also showcase’s the amount of talent our artists have. We are proud of and love everyone in the sub:Merged family. We hope everyone enjoys the mix!
Lastly, what can we expect from sub:Merged for the rest of the year and what are the plans for 2016?
For the rest of the year, you can expect some more great releases. In 2016, every EP on the label will be available on vinyl and compilations will be available on CD too. We will also launch amazing club nights and festivals and much more.
Thank you and all the best guys!
Decoded Radio hosted by Ian Dillon with guests Medhat & Dekkstrum (sub:Merged label showcase)
01. Terje Saether feat Malin Pettersen – Too late (original Mix) [Sound Avenue]
02. Boy Kiss Girl – Lean On Me (Juliet Sikora & P.A.C.O. Remix) [Kittball]
03. DPen – One Fine Day (Silinder Remix) [Pro-B-Tech Records]
04. Stas Drive – Carnival 69 (Donatello Remix) [Spaghetti Monster]
05. Some Little Things – Everything Has A Solution (Original Mix) [Slideways Music]
06. Arjuna Schiks – Mirage (Sonic Future Remix) [Crossfrontier Audio]
07. Guy Mantzur & Sahar Z – Small Heart Attack (Guy J Mix) [Lost & Found]
08. Maceo Plex – Mirror Me Feat. C.A.R (Dark Dub) [Kompakt]
Medhat & Dekkstrum:
01. Mr. Bizz – Black Lagoon (Original Mix)
02. Steve Mulder & Roel Salemink – Draft Pick (Original Mix)
03. Skober – Good Time (Original Mix)
04. Bageera – Richa Cora (Original Mix)
05. The Reactivitz – Ellium (Original Mix)
06. Bas Albers – Old Dagger (Original Mix)
07. Lowkey & Kardinal – Mandragora (Original Mix)
08. Anti-Slam & W.E.A.P.O.N. – Re-Traction (Original Mix)
09. Redhead – Zeto (Original Mix)
10. Sons Of Robots – Hologram (Original Mix)
11. Balthazar & JackRock – 100 (Original Mix)
12. NHB & Many Reasons – Mitosis (Original Mix)
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