The Directors Chair Label Manager interview 103 with Brendon Collins
Tulipa Recordings is based in the USA and is something of a unique substance. It’s a label that is not easily categorized to a specific genre with a cross breed of music available but one which is certainly very purposeful with consistent quality, style, and integrity.
Each month there is an influx of releases to keep us on our toes and above all it’s hard to take your eye off it. There is an incredible amount of quality driven exhibits to the labels catalogue and not just in the recent years but also from the prior that’s super impressive.
Artists featured on this label includes the likes of Third Son, Quivver, Jamie Anderson, Guy J, Funkagenda, D-Nox & Beckers, Cari Lekebusch, The Japanese Popstars, Dave Seaman, Robert Babicz, Oliver Lieb, Ramon Tapia, Misstress Barbara, Spartaque, Summer aka Brendon Collins himself, and this is just touching on what you will find on your favoured digital store.
We managed to catch up with Brendon for further insight into the world of Tulipa Recordings.
Q1. First of all Brendon thanks for agreeing to chat to us. Let’s get started by asking you about when the label started, the motivation behind it, and its ethos.
Thanks for having me. I started the label in 2010 and it has always been a place where I can release music from artists that I admire as well as some of my own productions. The motive for running it is strictly pleasure. It’s exciting and quite fulfilling as well.
Q2. The label as mentioned is quite unique in that it is not just limited to one genre. What’s the idea behind this as most labels really try to pitch themselves into one area?
I don’t really care about sticking with a particular subset of techno/house music. I do have a set of standards that keeps the label sound cohesive which are: the music must be hypnotic and trippy; there should be groove, and I need strong moodiness in the melodic structure. I also like tempos around 120-125 and a little deepness couldn’t hurt. The over all “feel” of the song should have tension… I don’t like floaty vibes and I’m not huge into vocals. Tracks can be either techno, tech-house, deep house, or minimal. That’s what I would say the Tulipa vibe is.
Q3. The artists featured on the label are almost like a who’s who of the electronic world. How have you managed to attract such notable artists and remixes to the imprint and even in the early stages?
I work really, really hard to work with producers that I admire. And I mean I work really hard. This means working 6-8 hours a day meeting new people, chatting, and exchanging music- all online. I obviously don’t have another label managers’ experience to compare it to. I just know what works for me and that is just being friendly, patient, understanding, and persistent. Also, staying up late at night (weekends included) emailing artists that I want to work with goes a long way.
Q4. Consistency and frequency seems to be very key in the digital release domain. What are your thoughts on this and is it effective or limiting music life?
Consistency, yes. As far as frequency of releases, I think there is a fine line to walk between not releasing enough and releasing way too much. Tulipa typically releases every week or two and I find that it works for me since I don’t release music just to do it, I only like putting out music that represents absolute quality, in my opinion.
Q5. Social media and digital marketing also seems to have taken a big presence in what a record label does. Is this a focus for the label and how do you work along side this expectation?
It’s not really a focus of mine. To be candid, it should be more so for Tulipa than it is right now. Online marketing and social media stuff bores me too much. I would rather just showcase amazing music and put my energy toward that. Things will change in that department sooner than later I think. But we do well without putting up cliche posts on Facebook every 4 hours.
Q6. This is a quite a tired question but one which is still quite a popular topic. What are your thoughts on physical formats, i.e. has vinyl really had its day or could you ever see a market for a physical CD again?
It doesn’t really matter to me, as long as the audio quality is great I don’t work about the medium.
Q7. Back to the artist side of things. Apart from the key artists that you regularly feature on the label, how would an unknown artist grab your attention and get their demos to you?
It’s very simple: Demos are always welcome to the label’s demo email address. I check all private Soundcloud links that are sent to me as long as they mention Tulipa’s name specifically in the actual email so that I can filter out the “cut and paste” emails that are directed to 100 other labels as well. I have no interest in working with a producer who doesn’t put time into sending their demos with a personal touch. If the demos are sent correctly I will always listen, and the music has to be amazing, unique, well-mixed, and fit the Tulipa sound.
Q8. Lots of label managers take part in conference activities such as “ADE” and “WMC”. Is this something you have or will get involved with ?
I haven’t been involved with this and don’t really have a desire too. Tulipa is a music label foremost and I just don’t have the time for event ventures presently.
Q9. I believe you mainly work on the label activities solo? Or do you have other involved to keep the productivity high and affective?
I do everything related to music, conceptualization, writing, business, and accounting by myself. Although I work with a few others as well. Justin Chodzko does our artwork, Werner Niedermeier is our mastering engineer, and Enzo Avanzato is in charge of the Youtube channel. Also, producer and Tulipian Swyft runs some of our social media platforms.
Q10. Finally we wish you all the success in 2017 but can you share any of your plans and actives for this year?
Thank you very much and the plans are to keep releasing hypnotic and groovy dance floor BOMBS. In particular, 2017 starts with Charlie May & Barry Jamieson as a duo, Dusty Kid, Nick Muir, Lutzenkirchen, Someone Else, Samuel L Session, Brothers’ Vibe, Dousk, Rob Hes, D. Diggler, Javier Orduna, and many more.