BLACKLOUD has a decade of experience under his belt, and although, at times, it can still feel like he’s just starting out, he fully embraces his journey. He talks about why mindset matters in the music business and how working with other industry members has helped his career gain traction. He recognizes that an artist’s life is a continuous journey of self-discovery both professionally and personally. Always learning, and always growing BLACKLOUD shares his story in this ArtistMap interview.
Thank you for taking the time to chat with 6AM to dive deeper into ArtistMap, a roadmap program dedicated to supporting artists on their journey to go pro. Why do you think it’s important for aspiring artists to develop a strong mindset as they embark on their artist journey?
First of all, thanks for inviting me, a pleasure to be here. Coming to your question, I believe this relentless, over-saturated, and “always-demanding with minimum returns” industry is not for everyone and that’s why you need a strong mindset if you want to be welcomed. You are surrounded with noise and subjective artistic point of views which makes it even harder to show your abilities, thoughts and your vision. You have to be careful and patient if you want to achieve something.
After a decade of playing at clubs and parties, I started to think about making my own productions, and now I am in the fifth year of my artistic journey in which I’ve learned a lot but still feel like I am at the very beginning. It is a never-ending path of learning and experimenting that I truly embrace.
Life is a continuous journey of self-discovery
Tell us a little bit about yourself. Is there a specific moment that made you realize you wanted to pursue music more than just a hobby?
To be honest, it came very naturally to me. I started my musical journey in a progressive metal band playing drums then guitars and finally bass. So I encountered instrumentalism at a very early age. Then I realized I was not going to be the best player, so I shifted my career toward being a DJ at around 18. Since then I listened, collected, and shared my music with my friends and fans. After a decade of playing at clubs and parties, I started to think about making my own productions, and now I am in the fifth year of my artistic journey in which I’ve learned a lot but still feel like I am at the very beginning. It is a never-ending path of learning and experimenting that I truly embrace.
Do you consider yourself a music producer first and then DJ, or do you see both as equally important?
When I started playing music, being a DJ was more important when there was a more narrow fanbase for producers and people who were interested. With the technological developments, mixing and sharing content has become very easy, thus it attracted more people into the DJ world. So now, producing is more valuable than just spinning records. I would like to define myself more as a musician/producer and then as a DJ but I think they are equally important for an artistic journey.
Success is a state of mind. How do you define it for yourself?
After a long night of playing music at a club, usually, somebody approaches you to share their gratitude for the music you play. I always felt like if I could make someone’s experience more impactful, I have done my part for that day. It gives me the satisfaction to receive that feedback even from a single person at the party. It is the same feeling that you have when you release a song and someone contacts me to say how they felt after listening to my song. That feeling is the definition of success for me.
For you, what makes the house and techno community so special?
We seem like a very large community, but the numbers tell us that the dance/electronic music’s total share of sales revenues across all genres was 3.6 percent in 2019. This includes EDM, tech house and other genres which have a higher impact than from the “House and Techno” community as I understand. We represent a significantly minor population which makes it so special, and I believe it will be kept this way, just like in the words of the master Eddie Amador, “Not everyone understands house music; it’s a spiritual thing, a body thing, a soul thing.”
I choose to release music through labels, [and] about 90% of my catalog is supported by various labels. Self-publishing happened only if it was a remix that I didn’t have the copyrights to or a song that couldn’t be released by the labels that I’ve forwarded. I want to release more music by myself but I don’t feel comfortable about the ways of promoting it. I believe, in today’s over-crowded market, self-releasing songs is just a waste of time and energy.
Labels can offer artists more opportunity.
Life is full of ups and downs, and artists go through this cycle of “Rinse & Repeat”—sitting in the studio for hours to create music and release it to the public…it’s a very high stakes game. What keeps you motivated?
Every artist who puts out their work in the eyes of the public expects some kind of appreciation. This could either come as a next record deal from a label you chase, a gig request from a club that you always wanted to play, a simple text message from a friend, or as a number of followers on socials. Any scenario would keep me motivated to sit down and simply do music.
About how much of your catalog is supported by labels vs. self-published? For you, what helps you decide when to go at it on your own?
I choose to release music through labels, [and] about 90 percent of my catalog is supported by various labels. Self-publishing happened only if it was a remix that I didn’t have the copyrights to or a song that couldn’t be released by the labels that I’ve forwarded. I want to release more music by myself but I don’t feel comfortable about the ways of promoting it. I believe, in today’s over-crowded market, self-releasing songs is just a waste of time and energy.
Why has it been important for you to work with a PR agency, and how long have you been investing in external support (PR, paid promotions)?
This is actually the first time I’ve invested in a PR agency. I felt like it was the right time to present myself not just as a producer but as someone who has more things to say about his music and personality to reflect the artistic point of view. Because you get lost in the noise when you only release songs and wait for people to recognize you, I wanted to take the next step to develop the artistic journey.
Any upcoming projects you’re excited about in the coming months?
I have a song lined up for release by Perspectives Digital in March/April. I have two livestream projects for February and a remix project waiting for my attention. I have five unreleased and finished tracks which might easily be turned into an album, but I don’t know if this is the right time to release an album or not so, I am on hold.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I see that the big labels and industry leaders are reluctant to release new music, instead they are making compilation albums with older releases. I want to shout out to every major record label out there. Now, is the time to support emerging artists, there is a safe space where you could freely release new music from unrecognized artists rather than heating up the old stuff. Be brave, be supportive, and be open.