Based in the United States, Mike Ly aka Durtysoxxx comes from a diverse musical background with strong roots in the underground scenes. In 2013, he created Funk’n Deep Records, which is now one of the fastest growing Techno and Tech House labels with over 40 tracks charting on the Beatport and Traxsource Top 100 in their first year as a label. As an artist, he’s had 13 of his tracks and remixes chart in the Top 100 on Beatport.
Techno buff and studio wizard, Mick Finucan caught up with the high flying Mr Ly to chat about the label, his vision for the future, and his plans at this years ADE.
Hi Mike, thank you for taking time out to speak with us here at Decoded. So as we come to the end of summer how has it been treating you over there?
It’s been great year for me all around. However, I’ve been extremely busy. The labels are growing, and my family is healthy and happy. I would say that life is treating me quite well.
Coming from the Bay in San Fran can you delve into how you become involved in the electronic music scene there?
I grew up in the Bay Area which had many influences from various music genres due to the area being so diverse. I’ve always been a big fan of electronic music since the early 90’s, listening to artists such as The Prodigy, The Crystal Method, Daft Punk, DJ Dan, Donald Glaude and Armand Van Helden. In my time I went to many raves and clubs in Oakland and San Francisco back when I lived in that area.
You are now residing in Arizona how does it compare to the bay and is there much going on in the underground scene there right now?
It’s quite mainstream out here in Arizona. Clubs and promoters expect you to play what is necessary for their nights. They expect you to compromise your sound, which I simply cannot do. I would love to start doing some events in my town and book the artists on my label. Hopefully we get an opportunity to work with some clubs or bars out here in the near future.
It’s been a very productive and busy two years in the studio with some big releases can you tell us has it been producer come DJ journey or vice versa over the years?
Yes, indeed. I try to put in as much time as I can in the studio, but lately I’ve just had too much on my plate. I’m really excited about my forthcoming releases. I’ve signed to some amazing labels such as IAMT, KMS, Respekt, Unity, Natura Viva, Frequenza, Groovant and many others this year. I am looking forward to some of them being released soon. Yes, it definitely has been producer come DJ journey for me.
As producer are there any particular acts or artist that you want to work with and would lay claim to been a big influence for you and your style?
Many of my biggest influences and favourite artists are already on my label such as D-Unity, Ant Brooks, Spektre, Steve Mulder, and Spartaque to name a few. There is so much talent out there; it’s sometimes hard to keep up with. I’d love to work with artists like Enrico Sangiuliano, Pig&Dan, Luigi Madonna, Mikael Jonasson, Roberto Capuano and Fur Coat. I love playing their music and would be amazing to work with some of them someday.
As mentioned you have been busy what is in store release wise for the autumn and winter?
We have many huge releases forthcoming on Funk’n Deep Records. To name a few, we have releases which include artists such as Spartaque, Spektre, Dani Sbert, D-Unity, Ovi M, George Privatti, Skober, Alberto Ruiz, Konstantin Yoodza, M. Fukuda, Steve Mulder and many others. In addition, we have some great music from up and coming artists on our Syndication releases.
Moving on to your label Funk’n Deep, it has been running now for just over 18 months now and coming up to an impressive 100 releases. What was your original vision when started the label and has it changed much since then?
Funk’n Deep Records has always based our releases on quality. When we first launched, we were releasing various genres from Deep House and NuDisco to Tech House and Techno. At the time, it was great to see so many great demos which were being submitted, but it also felt a bit broad. After about 6 months, I realized the majority of our audience were Techno fans. So I decided to move in that direction and focus on strictly Techno & Tech House.
Can you run through some of the highlights and where you began to think this label could go somewhere here?
I would say earlier this year, but I had a feeling we could really go somewhere with this label from day 1. Our label has grown quite a bit over the past year. Our releases are consistently charting on Beatport and Traxsource and we consistently receive support from and have our music played by world renowned DJ’s like Richie Hawtin, Carl Cox, Dubfire, Adam Beyer, Joseph Capriati and more.
What would you consider the more negative aspects of running a label?
I would consider myself a workaholic. It takes a lot of time away from my wife and my son. I put in many hours for my label on a daily basis. It’s tough replying to hundreds of messages every week, managing all the social media aspects for my labels and myself as an artist. Also dealing with arrogant artists sometimes is a headache, but I usually try to stay away from them.
What do you think are some of the essential lessons that you have learned in keeping the
label on point to where it is today?
You can’t drop the ball in this game. You also have to build a team of great artists and be committed to providing them with all the promotional tools required to have a successful release. I’ve created a private group on Facebook for only our artists. The group is quite active with various discussions, sharing ideas, collaborating, and it’s also a great place for myself to provide them with updates and feedbacks for their forthcoming releases. We have over 40 other label owners in the group who are releasing their music on our label. They also see the benefits of working together to co-promote and support each other. Collectively we can be a marketing powerhouse; individually it’s an uphill struggle.
You also co-own several other sister labels if you will. Can you delve more into these and how they span across genres?
Sure, at the moment we currently have 4 sub labels. Bump Records, who is owned by my buddy Dhyan Droik was the first sub label to launch and is focused on the more groovy minimal techno sound. Hach Records is owned by Matt Barberi, another good friend of mine and this label is focused strictly on Underground House music. The third sub label is Distortus Music owned by Jamie Fullick and Bas Albers. Distortus Music has been taking off quite rapidly with many releases charting in the Hard Techno genre. Last but not least is After Records owned by Thom Svast from Las Vegas. After Records will be ramping up very quickly as well. After Records is focused on peak hour Techno music. We’ve already signed some great artists and we are currently aiming to have our first release sometime in late October.
The label is coming to Europe for ADE for 2 showcases with a full on line up for both nights. Can you tell us more about this and how it came about?
I give the credit to my European Label Manager and good friend, Jamie Fullick. He was the one who started organizing the event, acquired a great venue, and has been working directly with ADE to ensure that we would be an official ADE party. The support from the labels and artists has been amazing to get these events up to this level. It definitely shows with the amount of much respect we have for each other within the group.
FnD has put together a rocking ADE VA compilation recently featured on Beatport and which is also out on limited vinyl. Can you talk about this and is vinyl an option you would like to return to?
Our ADE Sampler this year is a special one for myself and the label. I wanted to put together a massive release, which included our top artists to represent our sound as a label. This release also celebrates our upcoming 2 years as a label and we plan to use the vinyl release as a promotional tool for our first label showcase at ADE. We will be giving away some records at the event to DJs and fans of our label. We won’t be releasing vinyl on a consistent basis and will only be used for our bigger events and releases.
Outside of this will what else have you planned for ADE?
The most important thing for me on this trip is the opportunity to finally meet some of the artists on my label. I chat with many of them on a daily basis, but it will be great to actually hang out together at a coffee shop or something. I’m also there to learn more about the industry, network, and attend some great parties!
For our readers stateside can we expect any label showcases and or Durtysoxxx events forthcoming around North America in the near future?
We currently have some really big plans in the process. I can’t disclose too much information at the moment…so stay tuned! I would say there is a great chance of things happening sooner than later.
We are always intrigued to hear the top five tracks that are doing it for you right now.
1. D-Unity – Tell You Something (Original Mix)[Funk’n Deep Records]
2. Spartaque – Black Swan (Spektre Remix)[Funk’n Deep Records]
3. Pig&Dan, Mark Reeve – Profound (Original Mix)[Elevate]
4. Agent Orange – No FAQ’s (Original Mix)[Bitten]
5. Boris – Can You Hear Me (Enrico Sangiuliano Remix)[Alleanza]
Outside of the madness of been a DJ, Producer and label owner what you do to relax and get away from the industry to unwind?
During my time off, I really enjoy spending time with my wife and my 2 year old son. It’s amazing watching him grow so fast and I cherish every moment I get to spend with him. Family is the most important thing in my life and they always come first for me.
Mike, its been an absolute pleasure speaking with you today. From all of us here at Decoded Magazine we wish you continued success in the future. Before you go can you tell us about some of your upcoming gigs?
I currently have 4 gigs lined up for next month. The first couple are in my hometown of Phoenix. On October 2nd, I’ll be playing at Urbane Manner in Scottsdale with one my favorite DJ/Producers D-Unity, along with some talented local artists Rolando Hodar and Laffit Rivas. Then the following week on the 11th, I’ll be playing at the Sidebar in Downtown Phoenix. On October 15th, I’ll be at our label showcase in Amsterdam for ADE. I get to play b2b with Jamie Fullick. I can’t wait for this event! It’s going to be so much fun to finally meet some of the artists signed on labels. The 4th gig I have will be on Halloween back in the United States. I was booked by BorderTech Music to play in Texas with another one of my favorite producers Spektre, so I’m super excited for that party as well.
01// Konstantin Yoodza & Dhyan Droik – Morphine
02// D-Unity – Our House
03// Durtysoxxx, Runhag – Listen
04// Spartaque – Black Swan (Spektre Remix)
05// Luca Gaeta – Desolation
06// Alberto Ruiz & Caden – Sustain (M. Fukuda Remix)
07// Durtysoxxx – Time is Up
08// A++ & Lolla Tek – 9nemy (Ovi M, Ferrum Remix)
09// Durtysoxxx & Ovi M – Pink Panteez (Anti-Slam & W.E.A.P.O.N. Remix)
10// M. Fukuda – OMG
11// Pig&Dan & Mark Reeve – Profound