NEM3SI$ from Techno Label Onhcet Republik talks about ethos, the scene & gives a heads up on a very exciting remix of a renowned classic anthem!
Reported by Jessica Alici
Submitted 15-04-20 09:34
Onhcet Republik is a Techno label born out of the combined efforts from techno artists Nem3si$ & Jesika Jane! The label only began in 2018 yet they’ve just unleashed their 10th release onto the world! It’s going from strength to strength and is now receiving support from some of the biggest names in techno – we decided it was time to find out more about this fast-rising label so sat down with Label Owner – Nemes3i$!
When did you start the label and what made you decide to launch your own label?
We launched the label in late 2018 when it became clear it was going to be difficult to get other labels to listen to our music. Most seemed swamped with demos, others didn’t even have a demo address or stated on their website that they wouldn’t accept any demos. It was a pretty strange experience; until then I had never encountered anything like it. It also made me realise there was so much talent out there who were in the same position, so I thought the label could become a home for their music too.
What is the ethos and the sound of the label?
That is a good question. I think in general every style of Techno is considered as long as the music grabs us and it would be something we would like to play out. I skip through a track and if I like the vibe I will listen to the whole thing; if not then it’s just not for me. It might sound strange but I know about 5 seconds into a track if I like it. It really is very subjective, sometimes you hear something which you know might be a hard sell commercially, but it just works for me. And on the flip side; I might hear something I know will sell but just doesn’t grab me. Ultimately though, anything we like has to pass the test of our techno cats Sven & Mikayla ;-)
Tell us about the upcoming releases on the label…
We’ve got some very exciting stuff out in the coming months, starting with the 10th release. This is a collaboration with my wife, joint label manager and partner in crime - Jesika Jane. It’s a real retro track with some modern elements, almost pure acid. After that, we have the remix release of my old Steve Morley anthem ‘Reincarnations’. I just had to do it!
For ages, I had it in my head, a driving but stripped back techno version with some ass-kicking 303 line. Funnily enough, I kept going back and forth with the idea as I know so many people love the originally released mixes and would probably hate a non-trance version of it. But it also felt right to expose a new crowd to it in what I call a reincarnated jacket. Out of the blue, I got a remix request from Phutek, he wanted to do a remix and play it when he was going to propose to his girlfriend! I just had to say yes to his request! It was what I needed to finally make up my mind about my own remix, I felt it was the right time to do it and I thought it would be really special to unleash both versions together upon the world. We also have upcoming releases from Luke Thomas, as well as one from Chris Coles & Latex Zebra. There is much more coming after that, but all in good time LOL…
However, a little teaser won’t harm – ONHCET REPUBLIK XTREME... think dark, think deep, think extreme... and watch this space...
What are the pros and cons of running a label?
Ouch, that could take a while to get into so I will try to keep it short and honest!
Pros: You have full control over your own music and can release new exciting stuff from other artists. It also gives you commercial control over release dates, PR and promo lists.
It can be great fun, especially when you find new unreleased music and can give these artists a platform.
Cons: These days it’s really hard to get noticed and to get the big DJs to open a promo and actually listen. It can be so frustrating when people complain about getting too many promos or a feedback reminder, I mean, you chose to be a DJ so it comes with the territory. Back in the days when I got tons of vinyl promos which had to be collected from my PO Box I never thought - ‘I’m going to freak out, too much to carry and too much to listen to’! LOL, it is exciting to hear new music! Of course, you’re not going to like everything and sometimes you might tire a bit of hearing similar stuff, but in the end, that’s what it’s all about. Part of the fun and the privilege of being a DJ is having the opportunity to find new ‘gems’ and to share them with your crowd. Having to be honest and tell people their music is not for you can be hard at times, they put their heart and soul into it and you reject it... I know first-hand how tough it can be dealing with that and it doesn’t matter how big an artist you are, it sometimes hurts your feelings.
Overall, running the label is great fun though and very rewarding at times; I can safely say I love what I’m doing!
You’ve been a well-respected artist in the music scene for over 25 years and even enjoyed main chart success. Tell us about your long-spanning career – the highs and the lows – talk us through your journey...
I’d like to start by saying that it was, it is, and it will always be a rollercoaster ride; that’s just the way the music industry works. You have to be prepared for this mentally.
My entry into the industry was a crazy one. On one hand, I was extremely lucky that my first release became a club hit; on the other hand, I was unfortunate to have landed on a label which didn’t behave correctly in their dealings. After that episode it was mainly happy times, releasing originals and remixes on labels that I looked up to like - Rotterdam Records, Le Petit Prince, Low Spirit, NEO, Tidy Trax, IT Records, Cream, Slinky, Iono Music and 2Play. I was lucky to play many amazing clubs and parties both as a DJ and live PA, it is without a doubt the part of being an artist I still love the most. Nothing beats seeing those happy faces in the crowd, the electricity, the raw emotions and that feeling of all being one.
Highlights are knowing you made people happy and your music did that to them, seeing how much people love your music is priceless. In a more egotistical way; it was, of course, amazing to see some of my music rising up the mainstream music charts, it’s an unreal experience for an underground artist and in a way validates your work. I have been lucky to be able to write and produce various genres, something I attribute to my classical training and starting at a very young age. It certainly made my journey very interesting – starting when the scene was fresh and everything was still called House! Over the years I have explored Gabber, Techno, Trance, Psytrance, House, Hard House, Down-Tempo, Pop and now I’m back with Techno! It’s like things have come full circle and I finally feel like I’ve come home.
The lows are the times when you feel no one likes your new sound and you have become obsolete to labels and promoters. It really can fuck with your head and it’s not all that hard to land in a dark place at times. I think rejection is one of the biggest issues facing artists, you have to find a way to deal with it, as it’s one of the most common things you will face in the industry. It’s not easy at times, we are all human after all, we all have feelings and to some extent egos!
What is music to you?
To me, music is life and music is me. Without it I would be lost and probably a really deeply depressed asshole ha ha ha. I just can’t think of a life without my music, it’s all I’ve ever done and all I’ve ever wanted to do. It’s difficult to explain how deep this feeling is, it’s like the air I breathe – without it I wouldn’t be alive.
What do you think makes a killer track? What do you look for when signing a track?
That is really something I couldn’t tell you in all honesty, it’s a feeling, something unquantifiable. It can be anything from something as small as a killer sound or a little riff to a vocal or the way a track is arranged. I guess it’s the emotional response to a piece of music which determines if a person regards it as a killer track or not. When it comes to signing a track, it comes down to the simple question in my mind, does it move me, can’t I wait to play this in my sets?! Often this goes hand in hand with what sound does it for me at that particular time.
What advice would you give to upcoming artists trying to get their tracks listened to?
First of all, I would like to say to any upcoming artist: don’t expect you will necessarily be able to make it a full-time career. Most people don’t even come close; when you do, you are extremely lucky and privileged, no matter how good your music is. It sounds harsh, but unfortunately, this is the truth – many amazing artists didn’t make it and many incredible tracks were never finished or released.
So, my tips would be: only send your best work and don’t send too many tracks at once. Keep it to your 2 or 3 tracks and make sure you approach a label with some information about you, but keep it honest. Always use something like SoundCloud and keep the track private so only the labels who get your link can hear it.
Most of all, never give up on your dreams!
You’ve run many successful labels over the years. What do you think has changed in the music industry and why?
The music industry is always evolving albeit slowly, mostly in good ways but also in some negative ones. I think the biggest change was the internet and digital technology, this caused a major crash of the industry. Just before all of this happened the industry was at the peak of its investments in artists and sub-labels, putting a lot of strain on the financial performance of the labels. Many labels resorted to putting out more releases, milking tracks on compilations and rehashing their biggest sellers. To make things worse, music retailers inflated the price of releases so much that many customers got fed up with it all. So, when the digital technology came of age and the internet became mainstream, the party was well and truly over. The industry came crashing down like a house of cards taking many labels and artists by surprise. Sales plummeted fast and labels could not fulfil their financial obligations anymore; this had a knock-on effect on everyone working in music. It set off an avalanche of labels folding, creative accounting, and label owners disappearing with the proceeds. All in all, not a good advertisement for the industry. One of the main problems was and still is Digital Rights Management (DRM) - the protection of music against illegal distribution - which is the main killer of the industry now; combined with a belief by some that music should be for free these days. There is no un-hackable protection for digital music files and most people don’t want physical sound carriers like vinyl or CD anymore, so you are left with digital sales and streaming. This is where it becomes problematic: digital sales wouldn’t be too bad as long as people were willing to buy music instead of stealing it, and streaming wouldn’t be too bad if the platforms would pay a fair royalty for the streams. However, that seems like a utopian idea for now, and will remain so for the foreseeable future.
Some things thankfully did not change though! There are still many incredibly talented artists around and tons of great music still gets produced and released every day. Many labels are still run by driven, hardworking and passionate people, doing whatever they can to support their artist and maximise exposure and the potential of their releases. And of course, there are still masses of dedicated hardcore ravers making it possible to sustain a career for artists - so that we can all keep doing what we love.
What are your hopes for the label in the coming years?
I think it would be incredible if we can grow the label to a position where it will become the home of many new and established artists. A label which can support and develop artists; helping them build and grow their careers so they can, in time, achieve their dreams.
However, under the current circumstances where we find ourselves living in a world paralyzed by this pandemic, it’s anyone’s guess how things will look in the future. Many people are struggling mentally, physically and financially; no one is immune to the strain we’re living under. I feel the best thing we can do is stay safe, be kind to one another, be thankful for the good things we still have in our lives, try to make the most out of every day and try not to get too wrapped up in all the sobering news (fake or real, who knows the difference anymore?) and steer clear of the negative vibes on social media. This just adds to our anxiety, frustration and fears which affects our mood and subsequently how we function. I think we should try to focus on the exciting times and experiences that we will have in the future, stay safe and enjoy what we have in this moment as much as possible! One day these challenging times will have passed, and we will all be able to return to some sort of ‘normality’ and enjoy life to the fullest again!
To buy Onhect Republik’s latest release click here:
To follow Onhcet Republik on Facebook click here:
Images courtesy of Onhcet Republik & Phutek. Not to be reproduced without permission.
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