EPM Music is a leading industry brand, with offices worldwide including in the UK, Germany, Netherlands and USA. Carrying a widespread genre palette allows them to be always on the cutting edge of electronic music, leading to being the home to top quality labels like James Ruskin’s Blueprint, Robert Hood’s M-Plant, Paul Mac’s Stimulus and Roberto’s Fossil Archive to name only a few.
This year sees them celebrate 15 years of existence and what better way than throwing some great parties. Already seeing Dave Clarke & Ben Sims presents… Ron Bacardi, Rebekah, Pfirter, Karenn, DVS1, Pangaea and Nicole Moudaber feature as guests, there are another 2 quality events in Berlin and London this weekend…
We caught up with the EPM Director to discuss their history, plans and true passion for music…
Q&A with Jonas Stone
by Jack! Who? for deathtechno.com
> Hi Jonas, thanks for taking the time to chat, can you give us a little introduction to yourself and the EPM brand?
Over the last nearly 20 years I have championed many artists from either writing in magazines such as JockeySlut (I was their longest serving freelancer), Melody Maker, Muzik, Update and so on to PR and promotions with many labels all over the world and the biggest buzz is always picking up on unknown artists and exposing them to the world. I have done this for countless artists, many of whom are now some of the biggest DJs and producers on the planet. As for what EPM now does, we are primarily a digital distribution company working with hundreds of labels. Primarily in the dance or electronic oeuvre. We are also a publishing company but my base and background is in PR and Promotions. I could give you a list that goes on forever but in terms of Techno we have pretty much worked with everyone. We now have a record label that we have been steadily building over the last 5 years. With that we want to work with a smaller group of artists over a longer period of time and expose new artists and talent to the world and take them to the next level.
> Reaching a 15 year milestone is a rare thing. Has your passion for music and releasing music ever wavered? What keeps you going?
The passion is still there but it takes different turns. I don’t think you can ever replace that heady, over-whelming rush when you first discover something – whether it was in 88, 98 or 2008. Everyone has their year zero or road to Damascus moment and I think maintaining that passion is the hardest thing as everyone takes knocks and blows on the way. You just have to keep believing what you are doing is right. I can’t tell you for how many years Techno was a dirty word in the UK press and the way the music business has changed so dramatically in the last ten years has also swept a lot of great artists away who simply got fed up with it all. Luckily we have now built a really fantastic team at EPM but its been a hard slog. Everyone who works here is really passionate and dedicated to the music. It’s really infectious. I have been truly blown away by young whippersnappers coming in who really know their dance music history, still go crate digging every weekend and have the same thirst and are looking for the same thing as you. It kind of slaps you in the face and stops you turning into a grumpy old man who just talks about how things were better back in the day. The buzz is still there, it just manifests itself in different ways now.
> How does it feel personally for you to have reached this milestone?
Half elation and half relief to be honest! About 7-8 years ago things were looking tough but we finally pushed the boulder over the top of the mountain so to speak. Every thing has really come together. The publishing is doing great, we are about to unveil a new LMS back end system for our digital distribution which has been a long time in the making and we have so many great releases lined up on the label, plus of course the great EPM 15 parties. Don’t forget the parties – you need to have fun and remind yourself why you don’t work in a bank!
> What has been a highlight moment or something you particularly remember as an achievement in the journey so far?
Just starting the label with ‘EPM 10’ was a dream come true for us, ten exclusive tracks from the likes of Alexander Robotnick, Marco Passarani, Sandwell District, James Ruskin & Mark Broom, Robert Hood etc. It’s been downhill ever since!
> Which track from the labels back catalogue stands out as a classic to you?
I think the one track that really took on a life of its own that we didn’t see coming was the Robert Hood remix of Carl Taylor’s “Debbie’s Groove.” It’s one of those tracks that was played at every club I went to and I wouldn’t realise it until half way through. It just had this insidious disco hook that lifted the track to another level. In fact we have just repressed it for our 15th year as there was still so much interest in it.
> Which artists are you keeping an eye on at the moment?
I love discovering old artists that I missed or were on the edges that I didn’t know about. Especially through radio shows like Stuart Maconie’s Freak Zone. In terms of new Techno and electronic music, I love the new album from Figure Ground, they have done something exciting with new virtual reality technology. Ben Long from Space DJz has made an excellent album that will come out next year (on our label). The new Blueprint Compilation, celebrating 20 years of the label is also stunning. I always keep an eye out for artists like Legowelt, Conforce, DMX Krew and I-F aka InterrFerence as well as the tougher Techno artists. I guess like a lot of people these days, I tend to look out for a certain label than a single producer.
> How far ahead have you planned already? What can we expect this year and beyond? Are there any special plans you are yet to announce?
We’re already looking at release plans for next year. As well as some new artists we are also looking at doing some releases with Mark Broom and Ben Long and have a fantastic new EP coming from Esteban Adame that’s been remixed by Juan Atkins. We’re looking to release an EP from some new Italian artists as well as another EP from Francesco Terranova, Victor Santana and perhaps Paul Mac again. Our own Oliver Way might even have some tracks by the end of the year.