âWe sat down with the accomplished label and network owner, Marvin Nolze. He currently manages Sativ Records as well as Seal Network and Seal Records. In addition to his work and leadership there, he also serves as A&R for Nik Cooper.
How did you get into EDM in the first place?
Some friends of mine introduced me to the genre when they were showing me their DJ program. I first fell in love with the Dirty Dutch sound that people like Sidney Samson are known for. I started to play around with mixing and started a YouTube channel for the sets that I created. After some some exposure to the site there, I decided to make another promotional channel called ElectroPortTV where I uploaded other people's music. Much to my surprise, it really took off even though I had no clue what I was doing at the time.
In the end, all I want is to have something to do with music. Since I can't bring myself to DJ and produce without inducing this vicious cycle of self doubt and depression. I still deal with those issues while running Sativ, but it's to a lesser degree than when I was trying my hand at creating music and mixes myself. Slowly but surely I'm putting in the work so that I can achieve what I truly want to achieve in this industry, but for now, Sativ is my main focus, even if it's not where my heart truly lies.
What are the day to day activities involved with running a record label?
If you're doing it right, running a label can't be a one-man show. We've got a fantastic team supporting this project and we're all dedicated to releasing the best tracks and getting it heard by the most people. All of us work A&R together but there are of course other jobs to be done. There's Ray Smith helps me manage Sativ as well promote our releases. He's one of the most brutally honest people you'll ever meet. You could say he's a bit of a savage in the way he roasts the shit out of the rest of us, but in the end, it comes from a good place, I think. Sandesh from Aftermarket is the head of A&R. Nothing gets signed without Sandesh's approval. He's one of my closest friends both personally and professionally. We also have Manuel from Averdeck who works on video material and other graphics. Whenever we have the time, we'll be on the phone talking for hours just shooting the breeze and talking shop. Yatish is in charge of our Instagram account. I hope that one day, Sativ rakes in enough money from PR and promotion orders so that I can pay all of these guys enough to live off of. It's a long shot, but it's something to hold onto.
We've covered SoundCloud promotion on this page before with Bangerang Network and WABE Promotions, but neither of them have a network that includes Dim Mak in their repost chains. How did you go about building and monetizing your networks.
When I was starting out, I was just reaching out to people and active accounts and playlist. I think they got on board with working with me because they weren't familiar with working with other people with curated accounts that added value to the reposts they were doing. To elaborate further, if you're a big room account but are doing paid reposts for summer pop tracks, you're not really reaching the correct audience with your money. So I was reaching out to other accounts that were similar to mine so that we could trade tracks of value to one another. You've got to make sure that your followers are active and engaging with your tracks and repost and you see now that there's tools like from Artist Union that can help verify the quality of your account and followers.
What do you think separates your label from others?
We have a lot of artists who released with us who haven't released on comparable labels. The problem with a lot of other labels is that they're not going the extra mile with their marketing and promotion. I don't think you can get anywhere without going the extra step because of how competitive and saturated the market is. That extra mile ensures that you stay afloat and relevant amongst a sea of releases.
In addition to doing better marketing, we also release more diverse and unique tracks. Since we receive so many quality demos, we're able to be extremely selective and release some really unique tracks that are more than just generic big room or dark progressive house. Another big reason is that our promotion for our releases is really decent and all organic both on SoundCloud and Spotify.
What have been some of the challenges you've faced along your journey?
For me, the greatest challenges have been personal ones. There are just some days where I just can't get out of bed and do anything productive. It's this paralyzing fear from this feeling like no one understands you and the possibility that you've been wasting your life and time. I feel like I could done so much more if I didn't have this weight on my shoulders. Sometimes I wonder why I feel like this while others are able to go about their lives seemingly carefree.
What has been your proudest moment so far?
There are three moments that stand out in my mind are the time we signed Jake Sgarlato, having "Million Miles" from Hydrogenio, Frostloud, and Misha Sinal reach over one hundred thousand streams on SoundCloud and over four hundred thousand on YouTube. The most meaningful moment was when we signed "Icaro" by Distrion. There was this day where I was just in tears over what was going on in my life and I came across this demo and it just turned my day around. I've never found a track that's had that emotional effect on me. As the song played, I found myself become happier and giving me the motivation and strength to carry through my day. I've truly never heard a better track opinion my life that isn't from a major artist or label. I'm almost sad that we signed this track instead of a bigger label because I truly feel like everyone needs to hear this song.
Chris W. Lao
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