The Directors Chair Label Manager interview 101 with Mario Manganelli
To be recognized as a notable record label in the modern era involves a number of factors including consistently releasing a high level of quality music, having a unique style and edge, dominating DJs playlists and a dynamic media presence to match.
“Loose Records & Unrilis” are two labels that definitely match that criteria in an emphatic way. They have been incredibly consistent for many years, featured outstanding artist’s such as “Luigi Madonna”, “Robert Capuano”, “Cari Lekebusch”, “Hollen”, “Rino Cerrone”, “Joseph Capriati”, “Bill Mars”, “Enrico Sangiuliano”, and many more. The quality of the music has been fantastic with no shortage of featured remixes and track list packed EPs.
The two labels are born out of “Italy” who as a nation seem to dominating the techno scene right now with consistent flourish and flair. We managed to catch up with “Mario Manganelli” for further insight into the world of “Loose Records” & “Unrilis”.
1. First of all “Mario” thanks for agreeing to chat to us, as it’s a pleasure. I wanted to get started by asking you about the motivation for the two labels, were they both born at the same time and what’s the focus and style of the two labels?
My pleasure and thanks for thinking of me, it feels likes I’m doing things right. The motivation for “Unrilis” was founded back in 1999 when “Rino Cerrone” and myself started this adventure.
“Rino” was strongly motivated to release his music and for me to create an independent way for him to do it.
We started this limited project called “Rilis” (release) that was successful few years later, but this was just the beginning as we turned our passion and enthusiasm in to a new project that opened up all the music “Rino” used to include in his DJ sets, and we named it “Unrilis”.
“Loose Records” started for me as a new way of spreading techno and promoting local artists. It represents the mutation of the “Loose Club Events” that I founded back in 1997 with the same aim but with a different perspective. “Loose Club” pioneered in the history of the Neapolitan Techno Scene for many years. To reply about the music style on” Loose Records” we are more groovy oriented, global main room techno sound with some limited editions of underground tech house and minimal. On “Unrilis” we focus more on a straight, dark heavier techno and all the tracks are tools made for the dance floor.
2. You must be proud of the artists that you have featured on the two labels so far as many of these artists are now huge prospects. It also seems that many of them were first heard on your imprints when developing and growing. What’s the label outlook on developing new talent vs established and how does a new artist grab your attention?
I’m absolutely proud and happy for all the artists that have appeared on the labels. If many of them were picked unripe it’s because I never lost contact with the real thing and I have a kind of natural tendency with open listening.
Basically I always try to develop at least one project with all artists featuring either new or established. I look to establish long lasting, friendly and very professional relationships. I do not make any prior calculation on the quantity for one artist position or the other. I openly listen to everything that comes to my ears but also I have to say that trust, empathy, dignity, and freedom are at the bottom of each relationship when I try to work with an artist. An artist that grabs my attention needs to impress and make me move on the “Director Chair”, the rest is my A&R decision, they are my ears and taste makers.
3. Many of us are aware of the difficulties labels are faced with in the digital age of releasing music and combating the shear mass of music that’s released every week. Do you have a special strategy or adapted promotional guide to help people take notice of what you are doing?
I think the best way to get your music heard is to let it reach the right pool of DJs and Media. Once your music is supported an played by some of the most in demand artists, radio shows and podcast then you need to be very focused on keeping the attention with quality releases, creativity and exclusiveness.
4. Who makes up the team or individuals involved with “Loose & Unrilis” and what’s each person’s role?
Our record Family is composed by me, I take care of management and publishing, “Luigi Madonna” and “Roberto Capuano” are A&R for “Unrilis”. Marco (Audiomatiques) and Luigi (Aaron Bessemer) are A&R of “Loose Records”. Gianfranco takes care of distribution and marketing, and last but not least our Audio Engineer Stefano Bottalla takes care of mastering and Sound Packs.
5. Alongside releasing music digitally you also often output vinyl as well. How are you currently finding the vinyl market vs digital?
We started the labels during the golden age of vinyl, these days we don’t plan any vinyl releases upfront. On occasions if the music is vinyl proof and in demand we decide to print it out. Digital represents the market, the numbers and the business. Vinyl is something romantic and exciting, it’s something that gives me that melancholy of the time when techno was small and personal relations were on top of the game.
6. I’ve also noticed you have recently got into sample pack releases, can you please tell us more about that?
This is a project we started working on since last year, we have only released two packs until now but the schedule will be more substantial next year. We are planning a sample pack monthly release and we want to develop / spread our sound under this prospective.
7. If you could sign any artist tomorrow who would your dream artist be to include on your labels?
I can say that I would never look at the top ten charts, although I dream for more releases by “Luigi Madonna” and get back to more from “Rino Cerrone”.
8. 2016 you were a feature of ADE. Was this the first time your labels were involved in showcases at ADE and how was it on a whole?
Our first appearance at ADE was with “Loose Records” back in 2007. We showcased in to a small club in the city center with “Rino Cerrone”, “Uto Karem” and “Maurizio Vitiello”. We didn’t know but that night a reporter from Ibiza Voice attended the event and few days later we got an amazing review online.
2015 we featured a producer meeting within the ADE Playground Program. In 2016 we kicked off ADE on Tuesday with an unofficial ADE event at Sugar Factory and again the producer meeting as part of the Playground Program.
Luckily I can say that all events have been successful, the party’s were amazing and because of the producer meeting we were able network with lot of artists and sign some great music that we are releasing on “Loose Records”.
9. What do you think is making Italian techno so special right now with an abundance of quality artist and music seeping out of the country?
I think it’s all about a quality recognizable sound that new talents are producing mixed up with the prestige pioneers like “Marco Carola”, “Rino Cerrone”, “Gaetano Parisio” that all gathered since the late 90’s. Not to forget that Italian Dance Music was also very big and famous at its time.
10. Finally we wish you all the success in 2017 but can you share any of your plans and actives for this year?
I wish you a successful 2017 and full of joy. For 2017 we have confirmed our attendance at SONAR and ADE. On the release side we try to stick to a monthly release plan of tracks, STEMS and Sound Packs.
Beatport Unrilis : www.beatport.com/label/unrilis/5060
Facebook Unrilis : www.facebook.com/Rilis.Unrilis/
Soundcloud Unrilis : https://soundcloud.com/rilis-records
Beatport Loose Records : www.beatport.com/label/loose-records/4237
Facebook Loose Records : www.facebook.com/LooseRecordsNapoli/
Soundcloud Loose Records : https://soundcloud.com/loose-records