We are very excited to welcome one of our favourite labels to NOYZ for our first label spotlight. Octopus Recordings has gone from strength to strength in 2012 after being spearheaded by its label boss and much respected producer in his own right, Sian.
Sian is currently on an extensive tour of the U.S and Australia and he kindly took the time out to take part in this interview.
Hey Sian, we at NOYZ are huge fans of your music and the music you put out on Octopus, Thanks very much for taking the time out to do a label spotlight for us!
No problem. Thanks for inviting me!
1. You launched Octopus Records in 2007. What made you want to start the label and how did you come up with the name?
Well originally it was just a small limited edition label, releases once every 6 months or less, and 2 years ago I took it over and began seriously focusing on regular releases. As with most interesting labels, it was created to be a home for music that didn’t fit anywhere else, we were making dark, clubby, big room or peak time tracks that had unusual production techniques and a similar vibe, so I felt a platform to launch this type of sound, with its special look and feel, was essential. The name is basically a symbol of adventure for me, seeing these nimble amazing animals in the wild in the Mediterranean as a kid, and being stunned by their almost supernatural powers and behaviour, the word fits perfectly.
2. The first release on Octopus was an original E.P by yourself titled Flood E.P and it featured a fantastic remix by the mighty Gui Borrato. A very impressive remixer for your first release! How did that come about?
Yes it was very generous and typical of Gui, he is a genuine music lover and just liked the track a lot. We had met and talked a lot,and his attitude and knowledge made him number one choice to launch the label, that gave us a nice start. Also it was just before he really blew up, which is something I always try to do, spot new talent rising.
3. How would you explain the musical direction of Octopus and how has it evolved since the label began?
It’s always been about specific sounding tracks, ranging from dubbier and chugging tracks right up to full force slammers. This has evolved into a more precise vision of club sounding stuff. It’s all about what I play in clubs actually, within my spectrum of taste, a true mystery ride!! Any track that hits me hard and makes me think of an atmosphere will get my interest. If you look back at our catalogue I guess you can see these are all tracks aimed right at the dance floor.
4. Going through the back catalogue of Octopus it seems you really started releasing a lot more music on the label from early 2011 onwards. Was there a reason for the increased output of the label?
It was a time when I just started to receive a lot of quality demos, which has risen profoundly in last while. I felt we needed to get some important music out and start doing some damage in the charts, so this was a calculated attack! Also this was when I decided to not release singles on other people’s labels, and focus mainly on my own imprint.
5. The releases on Octopus are always excellent and the label seems to be growing rapidly. What advice would you give to label managers who hope to emulate the kind of success that you have had with Octopus?
Just stick with what you love and if your taste is in line with what works in a club it will work for you. Also I’d recommend strongly working with only a few acts and focusing on developing them with the most potential, this way other minor labels release plans don’t clash and dilute the impact a well thought out release can have, also so many labels don’t think a concept through to artwork, press image, web design, and profile. These things can be learnt by looking at any successful brand in music, fashion or on the high street. I think the underground needs to get its branding strategy in place, and reach out to other genres more.
6. Piracy is obviously a huge issue in the music industry. What are your views on this and how has it affected the day to day running of the label?
We have a take down system in effect which I pay for each month, so our releases are not available illegally actually. It’s strange to see a whole generation growing up and getting into techno with the attitude that music is free, I do actually like to see some active online pushing and discussion so it’s a sore point for me. I employ a full time link removal guy who is very thorough, and this costs money. People must realize that a small handful of well selected tracks bought on Beatport has a process that involves more selection and Dj skill. Anyone can just bulk download a tonne of new music and play it, seeking out and buying involves more attention and real Dj selector attitude.
7. Octopus seems to support a lot of talented new producers. We love Mr Bizz and Kernel Key. Are there any new producers that we should keep an eye on?
Yes it’s big feature of the label,to introduce new blood.id really watch our for Ovi m.Reilloc, Timmo and Calculus. The demos they are sending are some of the best music I’ve heard this year,on my label or otherwise. They all have in common that they are growing and feeling out their sound, which is mixing super advanced and unusual production with floor shaking talent. The ones that keep at it each day, and define a clear signature are always the killers.
8. It seems that many of the most successful techno DJs all own their own labels. How has Octopus helped you in your career as an artist?
An essential part of a DJs career is his representation of his sound I guess, so Octopus for me is what I sound and mix like. If you come hear me or the other Octopus artists in a club, we are spinning probably 70 % label music, this has furthered my rep as artist and Dj by showing what I do, to larger audiences. Each release we put out has my vibe to it, and people react to that as a brand I think. Everything about the label is my personality, the black designs, the art, the sound, the foto styles, it’s how I live and work.
9. You also run your own Octopus events with your monthly residency at City Hall in Barcelona. How have the parties at City Hall developed and do you have any other plans in the pipeline for the events side of Octopus?
Totally, they are the real homebase parties of the label, and they have cemented a strong fan base in our city. I’m very much into bringing new talent, not just big names, to the nights, so we are always guaranteed a true techno party, sticking to our guns.
So apart from our usual sonar party, a new night in ibiza, and a possible WMC label bash, I’m really looking forward to working with clubs in other cities to develop the Octopus nights worldwide, we are careful and selective of which clubs we will host in, so that takes time and effort to solidify. The format works super nice so I want to expand these showcases properly.
10. And finally what is your vision for the label moving into 2013?
This year we are going a little edgier and tough actually, as if a coordinated mind was at work, our artists have started to get a big darker, heavier and rougher tracks together, maybe it’s my influence! The next couple of release will also see the likes of Ambivalent, Mark Reeve, Gary Beck, Jay lumen etc remixing for us,and of course the Octopus versus series will continue to grow with compilations from our extended family and favorite guest artists.
Thanks again Sian for answering our questions and we wish you and Octopus all the best of luck in the future. Thank you for the incredible music and supporting our great scene!
My pleasure, thank you guys!
Make sure to check out the latest release on Octopus which is an awesome compilation mixed by the none other than The Junkies. As you would expect it’s full of peak time bombs from some of the hottest talent in techno today.
Check out the a preview of the compilation below
Buy the compilation on Beatport by clicking here
As always please support and share the music!