Whartone records was founded in 2009, as well as being the main hub for Sonny Wharton’s solo productions, Whartone has released music from K-Klass, X-Press 2, Jorge Montia and Marco Lys. The label has been supported by the likes of Carl Cox, Pete Tong, Sander Kleinenberg, Sebastian Ingrosso, Mark Knight, Roger Sanchez, and received plays on Radio 1, Kiss FM and Capital FM.
“My vision for the label was to showcase emerging talent in the scene, giving them a platform to develop their sound without the surrounding pressures or politics that can be associated. Whartone Records is a label that is built around great music and great artists and I feel proud to be able to help bring new faces through and help them grow” – Sonny Wharton
With accolades including DMC Magazine hailing him as “One of the finest new producers around’’ and Fatboy Slim “I’m devouring everything Sonny does right now. My producer of the year” Sonny Wharton has firmly established himself as one of the brightest prospects to emerge from the UK in recent years. Beginning his career as a DJ, Sonny first gained recognition by winning a DJ Mag mix-tape competition for Renaissance; it was this breakthrough that gave him a prominent start within Ibiza’s club scene, leading to high profile slots at Amnesia, Space, Pacha, Ministry Of Sound and a weekly residency at the infamous Manumission.
With these strong foundations in place, Sonny Wharton is gearing up for a very exciting 2016. Decoded Radio grabs some time from his very hectic recording schedule to discuss the trials and tribulations of record label management.
Welcome Sonny and thanks for joining us on Decoded Radio. It’s been a while since I first met you at The Glasshouse, Stourbridge back in 2009 I think, not long after Whartone Records was launched? It’s been busy times since then.
Thanks for having me it has been a while indeed, that’s a blast from the past I remember that night well! 2009 was the year I launched the label and it had been something Id wanted to do for a long time so it was exciting to finally start the ball rolling and bring it to life. Things certainly haven’t slowed down since then, the last few years have all been quite surreal to be honest!
Has label management lived up to what you expected it to be? What are the most rewarding aspects you take from it?
I never really knew what to expect I just knew it was something id always wanted to do and I’m really glad I took the plunge to try it now. It’s pretty much a full time job on top of what I’m already doing with my own stuff so can certainly be a challenge to juggle everything sometimes, the fact I’m doing this interview at 01:30am after a full day in studio is proof right there I guess! It’s all worth the workload though and it’s real a labour of love that I enjoy so much. Everything from designing the artwork to signing new acts and helping them grow all makes it all worthwhile for me.
And on the flip side what has been more challenging times?
Starting something from scratch with no previous experience was most challenging. There’s a lot to learn and a lot of time needed to get things set up correctly. It’s a very steep learning curve and there’s several things I wish id been more prepared for along the way but it’s all part of the journey I guess and it’s since become invaluable experience.
Whartone Records has signed music from many influential artists such as K-Klass and X-Press 2 whom which you have also collaborated with as a producer. Is there anybody who you would still wish to sign or collaborate with?
We’ve been really lucky as a label and had a wide selection of artists come through the doors from the likes of Will Clarke whose now on Dirtybird and Hot Creations to people like Leftwing & Kody (under an earlier name) and even a young new producer called Avicii back in the early days! It’s sure been fun seeing some of these guys grow and having the likes of X-Press 2 and K-Klass on board has been a dream come true for me also as these are heroes of mine so its really quite humbling to be able to collaborate with them and release their music as well. As far as new signings and collaborations there’s loads of amazing artists out there right now that would be a dream to work with – I’d really struggle to choose just a couple.
The Sound of Whartone Radio is now on its 18 episode. Can you talk us through the structure of the show and some of the artists showcased? Where can people listen, tune in, and download?
The radio show is something we’re developing a lot more this year – it’s mainly presented by Jason Young whose been with us from the start but I’ve recently hosted the latest episode which was great fun to do. We’ve had guest mixes from people like Prok & Fitch, Marco Lys, Sam Divine, My Digital Enemy, Leftwing & Kody and our current episode features Sick Elektrik in the mix with next month’s guest being LowSteppa. Best place to listen & download is our soundcloud page
The Sound of Whartone Miami 2016 is now available with some great tracks from the likes of Paul Sawyer, Benny Royal and Dom Kane. Can you tell us about the compilation and where it’s available to buy?
I feel it’s a great compilation this year and a real snapshot showcase for the label right now including several exclusives alongside a host of some of our most recent tried and tested tracks too. It’s available on all stores or via our site.
Leading nicely onto your label feature guest mix, what direction have you chosen? Was it difficult track selection wise?
I tried to put together something that represented some of my favourite tracks over the years along with some of our forthcoming releases. Its always a bit tricky when there’s such a large selection to choose from and with varied styles on both the main label and our Whartone Deep outlet it’s hard to balance but it was really fun to do and a lot of the tracks in this mix are ones I’ve been playing out in my DJ sets! I hope everyone likes it.
Paul Sawyer feat. Anja Monn ‘I’m Into You’ is due for release on 18th March? Can you tell us about this release and the remixes including Steve Mac?
This was one of those tracks that came through that I instantly loved and couldn’t wait to sign and release! Paul’s done an awesome job with this and the remixes are second to none with both Soul Divide and one of my all time favourite producers Steve Mac turning out pure gold.
Which has been the best-selling release from the label so far? What would you put this down too?
This year our biggest release so far is from Benny Royal whos spent 3 weeks at number 1 on Traxsource and still currently inside their top 10 after all this time which is amazing to see! I’ve been a big fan of his for years and to finally get to release a single from him and it do this well is something I’m really happy about! As far as older releases go the all time best selling releases so far go I’m not sure as we’ve been quite lucky to have a couple of big singles over the years. One of my personal favourites and definitely a big seller was Dirty Secretz ‘Everything’ which I think is down purely to the fact its an amazing record and one I really really believed in when I signed it! I’ll never tire of hearing that record… its just pure magic!
Looking to the future of Whartone Records where are you aiming to be in the next 5 years?
I really want to continue to grow new artists on the label as that was always my original intention. Obviously it needs to keep building as a brand and business to give these guys a strong platform to release on and I’ve some great idea for this over the coming months alongside developing our events, a new management side to the company and expanding the sub label Whartone Deep.
You recently did a tour of Japan. What were some of your highlights and how would you describe their house music scene?
Japan was amazing and it was a pleasure to play over there. I was lucky enough to live in Osaka for the majority of my time in between shows and really experience the culture there which genuinely blew my away with how nice it was. A big highlight for me was actually getting to go snowboarding in the mountains for a day overlooking the most spectacular views of Biko Valley Lake. It wasn’t something I ever thought id get to do so was a bit of a dream come true. As for the music scene its seems to be thriving there right now and every city I played in was full of great people all really into the vibe. I cant wait to go back!
And I’m sure your new track ‘All night long’ was well received?
It’s genuinely is one of biggest tunes in my sets right now and I’ve really enjoyed road testing that a lot. I wrote it specifically for Steve’s X Records label so was very excited when they signed it straight away and now it’s been finally released and gaining great support so far.
Thanks for dropping by Sonny and all the best with your continued success.
Thanks for having me, have a great day.
Decoded Radio hosted by Ian Dillon presents Whartone Records label feature with Sonny Wharton
Decoded Magazine Hot Picks Chart Countdown
#4. Lehar – Number one hero Hero (Pardeike Remix) [2DIY4]
#3. Valentino – Flying (Cid Inc Remix) [Yoshitoshi]
#2. Arnhouser & Who Else – Apology (Original Mix) [Knee deep in sound]
#1. Maribou State – Rituals (Sasha Remix) [Last Night On Earth]
30 mins Mini Mix
01 Luka Sambe – Rozaball (Andre Sobota Remix) – [Mesmeric]
02 Stereo Underground – Empty Spaces (Original Mix) [Sudbeat]
03 Lundgren – Reductions (Original Mix) [SOSO]
04 Sam Pauli & Reiver – Somnium (Original Mix) [Chapter 24]
05 Adwer – Multiverse (David Granha Remix) [238W]
01. Seff, Oliver Knight & Hugo Jones – Ruff Riot (Mindmaze Dub) [Whartone]
02. James Kininmonth – That Was Dope [Whartone]
03. X-Press 2 & Sonny Wharton – Watching Octavia (Marco Lys Remix) [Whartone]
04. Juanmy.R – Tarantule [Whartone]
05. Mahony & Bog – No Smoking Orchestra (Mihai Pooviciu Remix | Sonny Wharton Edit) [Whartone]
06. Dany Cohiba – Every Directions [Whartone Deep]
07. Sergio Fernandez – System Overload (Sonny Wharton Edit) [Whartone]
08. Nathan C – The Game (Fran Lk & Kentosty Remix) [Whartone]
09. Mike Ivy & Nimo Iero – They Don’t Know [Whartone]
10. August Five – No Good [Whartone]
11. Benny Royal – I Like Diz [Whartone]
12. Paul Sawyer ft Anja Monn – Im Into You (Soul Divide Remix) [Whartone]
13. Dirty Secretz ft. Rebe – Trippin’ (Sonny Wharton Remix) [Whartone]
14. Dom Kane – Signal Rejected [Whartone Deep]
16/03: Nube Music: 4pm-6pm ART (GMT-3) www.nube-music.com
17/03: Casafonda: 10pm-12am GMT www.casafondaradio.com
17/03: Radio Bondi FM: 1pm AEDT (GMT+11) www.bondifm.com.au
17/03: Tenzi FM: 8pm-10pm IST (GMT+5.5) www.tenzi.fm
17/03: Radio Ettlingen: 2pm-4pm (GMT+1) www.radioettlingen.de
17/03: Krafted Radio: 10pm-12am GMT www.kraftedmusic.com/krafted-online-radio-station/
18/03: DNA: 10pm-12am ART (GMT-3) www.dnaradiofm.com
19/03: Midnight Express FM: 10pm-12am CST (GMT-6) www.midnightexpressfm.com
19/03: Innervisions Radio: 5pm-7pm GMT www.innervisionsradio.co.uk
20/03: Tempo Radio (Red Stream): 10pm-12am CST (GMT-6) www.tempo-radio.com
21/03: Mio Radio: 3pm-5pm UTC (GMT+2) www.mioradio.net
21/03: LeChic.FM: 10pm-12am GMT www.lechic.fm
22/03: Studio Lux FM: 11pm-1am CEST (GMT+1) www.studioluxfm.com
22/03: Global Mixx Radio: 10pm-12am EDT (GMT-4) www.globalmixxradio.com
24/03: Casafonda: 10pm-12am GMT www.casafondaradio.com
24/03: Radio Bondi FM: 1pm AEDT (GMT+11) www.bondifm.com.au
24/03: Krafted Radio: 10pm-12am GMT www.kraftedmusic.com/krafted-online-radio-station/
25/03: BeatLounge Radio: 4pm-6pm PST (GMT-8) www.beatloungeradio.com
25/03: Danceradio.ca: 6am-8pm EDT (GMT-4) www.danceradio.ca
26/03: Stromkraft: 11pm-1am CET (GMT+1) www.stromkraftradio.fm
26/03: Deep London: TBA www.deeplondon.org
27/03: Safe House Radio: 10pm-12am GMT www.safehouseradio.co.uk
On rotation: Inside My House Radio www.insidemyhouseradio.com