As Such Music Celebrates Its 20th Release We Talk To Label Owner Toomas
Posted by Adam on 7th August 2017
Hi Toomas how are you?
Hi there. I’m great. Thank you for this opportunity to chat!
Tell us a bit about yourself and why you decided to start Such Music
I grew up in Toronto and fell in love with drum and bass at the ripe old age of 14 — back in 1994. Within a few years of that I was promoting for Lifeforce industries, which was a conglomerate of three massive rave promoters at that time. From there I began to DJ and produce and eventually started throwing events with a group of friends in Toronto as well as some other events in Vancouver, where I was going to school for audio engineering. I realized that if I really wanted to represent drum and bass in a way that was meaningful to me I needed to start my own label. My day job took me to LA a little while later so I decided to take a music business course there and after that Such Music was born.
20 releases is a fantastic milestone, how are you celebrating?
Thanks man! There’s part of me that still can’t believe we’ve made it all the way here. We’re celebrating with a two-part series — which will be a “best of” compilation called Such Music Fundamentals. There are fifteen songs on the first compilation. It wasn’t easy deciding which tracks to include so that’s when we opted to do Such Music Fundamentals in two parts. Since Such Music’s inception we’ve worked really hard to put out quality music with lots of emotion behind it and when we began picking songs for this compilation I realized that over the past four years we’ve really accomplished that.
Has your ethos or plan for the label changed since it started back in 2013?
Not really, actually. When I started Such Music I had a really clear vision about how I wanted to represent drum and bass out there in the world. I knew then that if I was going to start this label, it would only work if I stayed 100% true to that vision. So since our first release I’ve really devoted myself to finding music that fit with that — music with high quality sound that hits you on a deeper level. I don’t ever want to let drum and bass fans down by putting out tunes that don’t sound top notch and/or never really quite crack the surface.
You work a lot with up and coming talent as well as a few established names, how do you find producers to work with and do you have artists who you work with regularly?
In the beginning I spent many, many hours searching online forums and sites like SoundCloud to find new producers. As time has gone on I have begun getting a lot more demos but I still do my fair share of searching to see what’s out there. With that I’ve been able to build a roster of producers for Such Music — I’d say about 75% of our artists have put out more than one release with us now. One of those artists is Low:r. I found him originally on SoundCloud, going by the name Morah at that time. I was really blown away by his music and asked to sign a few of his tracks. Once he agreed I was equally impressed with how many questions he asked about the inner workings of Such Music and how his tunes would be featured and released — surprisingly enough this is something not all producers do. Low:r had such a keen interest and shared my enthusiasm for quality sound so after his second release with Such Music I asked him to join the team. Now we’ve been working together on the label.
Since the label’s first release how much has changed for you in terms of running and managing the label.
The biggest difference now as compared to when I started is the impact streaming has had on releasing music. It’s crazy that only four years ago streaming services still seemed like they were in their infancy and today more people than ever are choosing to listen to all their music through these services. It’s definitely changing the game quickly. I am starting to make plans for how we can really increase the amount of streaming time Such Music gets. In the beginning I never thought Such Music would be big enough for that to even matter for us, but now I’m starting to see there might actually be an opportunity to bring in some dollars this way — as other small, independent labels have also recently started to see some increases here.
What’s the biggest challenge of running the label and getting your music heard at a time when there’s more music being released than ever?
Well, I think it’s exposure. The more people see us out there the more they’re going to pay attention and listen up. We do our best to promote ourselves with the resources that we have but I’ve also got kids, a full-time day job and an angry wife (just joking, she’s awesome ;). So spending the time I would like on making sure our music really gets out there and has an opportunity to rise above is the hardest part.
If you could go back to the beginning and do one thing differently, what would it be?
In the very beginning when I first started Such Music I originally signed on with a different distribution company but something didn’t feel right about it from the get go. It caused me a lot of stress actually and I wish I had listened to my gut right away. Thank goodness I finally did though! Right before any of Such Music’s tracks were released I decided to get in touch with Dan at Cygnus. I came across Cygnus Music online and I remembered Dan as Callide. The fact that Cygnus as a distribution company specialized in drum and bass really sold me. In the end what started out as a bad move signing on briefly with another distribution company ended up leading me to the best move I ever made because Cygnus continues to be a great partner for us. So I guess looking back I wouldn’t change a thing actually ;)
What’s next for the label?
As I mentioned above, up next is the release of Such Music Fundamentals Volume 1. After that we have a couple singles coming out from two new artists we’re really happy to have signed. Their music is right in line with everything that Such Music is about. Another project we’re really excited to be a part of comes from an old and dear friend of mine, Peter Costigan, aka Stickbubbly. He’s a producer but also a filmmaker and has been working on a truly amazing documentary about the birth of jungle/drum and bass called “The Rest is History.” Such Music is going to be releasing songs from the soundtrack for this documentary, produced by Peter, with a release date still to come.
Thanks! Is there anything else you want to tell us about?
No just check out these links below! Thanks again for this opportunity!