Adam Beyer: Building up the Bayer brand
In the current environment of music piracy and digital downloads, what does it take for a techno DJ/producer and label owner to be able to keep on doing his thing? Stockholm’s Adam Beyer reckons it’s all about branding.
“It is not like it was in the 90s that’s for sure, but I have the advantage of having made myself a name and that helps a brand a lot,” he says, and as the owner of the Drumcode record label along with several others, he’d be the one in the know. “The most successful labels are connected to one or a group of DJs that are supporting the sound. To be seen you need to have more than just the label: we do Drumcode parties and tours as well.” With Beyer currently in the country, demolishing nightclubs and set for a performance at the Ultraworld Festival on Saturday, ITM has a chat about what we can expect.
Globally, where do you feel techno has its origins? Where is the most exciting place for it at the moment?
Well, you can draw influences from a number of things and artists, obviously Kraftwerk and the Detroit guys like Juan, Kevin and Derrik played a big role at an early stage. I think the most diverse and spread out scene is in Europe, we have important places like Ibiza, Berlin and tons of other great places for electronic music.
At what point of your career did you feel you were destined to have success as a DJ and producer?
I did some records under pseudonyms when I was really young and not much happened, I was searching for my sound and wasn’t 100 per cent ready with my identity, but then I came up with the Drumcode idea and started to use my real name, and things went pretty fast from that moment, so about a year or so into Drumcode (1997) I would say I realised that I could actually do this for a living.
Do you think it’s been easier to release music through your own label Drumcode, or is it a harder slog because you have to do all the work?
Well, I started it so that I would have the freedom to release anything whenever I felt like it, I had some releases before that took 12 months from ready to release and that really put me off. Today, especially since I am putting a lot of effort back in to the labels it is quite a lot of work with all the touring and late nights to run three labels on my own. Drumcode is focusing on a lot of new artists as well so it’s not just me and close friends anymore.
In this age of digital music, are you finding it hard to cut through with the labels? How many releases do you feel ‘cut even’, or further than that how many are ‘successful’?
It is not like it was in the 90s that’s for sure, but I have the advantage of having made myself a name and that helps a brand a lot – the most successful labels are connected to one or a group of DJs that are supporting the sound. To be seen you need to have more than just the label, we do Drumcode parties and tours as well. All releases are successful in terms of money, it’s not always a lot but we are not loosing money, most artists today have to DJ or play live to be able to make a living out of it.
Post Drumcode, Truesoul was established. Which direction do you see your labels heading off to now?
With Drumcode, which stayed a bit quiet for a while due to a massive change in the sound and scene I want to release modern techno that works with what’s current today, but still keep the somewhat tracky DJ tool feel to the label, it’s a label for DJs and always will be. Truesoul is more open and can be anything electronic really.
When was you last visit to Australia? How do you think it will have changed, and are you looking forward to coming back? What are your memories of past tours?
A couple of years ago, I don’t remember exactly to be honest. I really don’t know what is going on right now since it’s so far away we don’t get much updates here. I remember first times we came in the late 90’s that there was a great techno scene in Melbourne, but later on it seemed to die of a bit. I’ve heard that the new sounds like minimal and electro has made the scene happen a bit more again (like in Sweden) so I hope for some cool parties.
As for memories… barbecues and friendly people, kangaroos, pinguines and wakeboarding. Drunk nights and jetlag. Richie McNiel from Hardware talking non stop 🙂
I think somewhere like the UK and parts of Europe are more successful in music production due to cold weather. Us Aussies look outside and say, “Let’s have a BBQ!” So nothing ever gets done. Do you agree, does your environment reflect your productivity?
I would say so, Sweden for an example has the most studios per capita, we have 7-8 months of shit weather and winter so it’s definitely a studio-friendly environment.
Do you have any hidden talents that you’ve always wanted to expose in your music but never had the chance?
Not really, I am not a trained musician, maybe I could do some DMC styled cutting up and stuff while DJing but I actually don’t like the music being interrupted too much while playing.
As a kid you were sending out demos and mixtapes. How did some end up in New York with Jimmy Crash and Adam X?
We sent out a few demos (on cassete) and they where the first to answer, we use to love their records back then so it felt natural.
Wanna know more about the Adam Beyer brand? Catch him at the following shows…
Fri 7th Dec : Empire, Brisbane
Sat 8th Dec: Kryal Castle, Ultraworld Festival, Melbourne