Blue Amazon – Resonate Together In HyperdriveJuly 23, 2021
Its uniquely diverse, energetic, and capturing people’s imagination with an almost activist attitude.
The project started as a website in September 2020 – a web portal that catalogued DJ sets using Mixcloud players for easier access. It was a reaction to the impact that illegal streaming had on artists and labels music. A different idea and supportive momentum to help the cause. Quite quickly one of the biggest European stream radio outlets – DI FM came onboard offering to Resonate a weekly DJ showcase – currently every Saturday 8 pm to 11 pm.
The DI FM show has showcased multi-talented unknown and known DJs – it has an anything-goes attitude with creative tracking, mixing techniques, and expansive styles in one. The creative focus and attitude of the resonate shows are captivating music fans’ attention with the joy of entertainment. You can hear anything from Drum & Bass, Melodic House, Electro, 80’s, Progressive, Techno, and even pop tracks mixed merged. The show has already discovered and highlighted some fresh blood into the DJ world and continues to inspire.
DJs – Rich Primrose, DJ B -12, Hugo McCann, SASHA LE MONIER, MARCUS NILLA, Hall North, Michael Grant, Steve Goldsmith, LCR, Mark Kovach, ED CASE, Enrico Ponti, Ajit Sarathi, Paul Tea, Miki Mad, Mark McDonald and many more have been showcased with a unique result.
Resonate Together – the record label followed suit from February 2021 and is ready to launch its 13th release with Renaissance legendry DJ – Nigel Dawson. The label follows a similar concept and theme to the radio show with a diverse energetic output. The label featured artists such as Miki Mad, Enrico Ponti, Hall North, Damien Spencer, Mal Black, Audioglider, Steve Goldsmith, Med In Mars, Sean McClellan, MR Fred, and several Blue Amazon productions as well. The diverse sound of the label has been heard in many DJ sets and even featured on Radio 1.
There’s much more weight to the Resonate label than just outputting artist music and DJ focused – apart from the varied style of the label it’s also designed to support artist wealth as best possible in turbulent times. Resonate Together – label returns 100 % royalties to artists – very limited to almost zero costs included and encompasses focused promotional work in video, DJ promotions, and more. It has a focus around fair artist support with portals such as Bandcamp as well as the mainstream services and download stores. There are heaps more to come from the label with new electro projects, artists such as Lee Coombs, and DJ mix album projects.
There’s captivating energy surrounding Resonate and I wanted to get a further insight into the thinking and thought process behind it. An interview with Lee Softley that doesn’t dwell on what we already know or described, a shorter sharp – straight to point interview with questions that might be more provoking.
Mike Mannix: Starting at the beginning with the Resonate website and the motive behind it, I understand it wasn’t completely met with welcoming arms?
Lee Softley: You’re right, it was met with debate over illegal streaming and its morality.
Some challenged me and others over the free art movement or saw it as a corporate way of stopping expression
It’s the bigger picture that concerns a lot of us and what will happen if we don’t protect what we have and try to help with positive action, even if that makes it harder for all of us to get instant exposure. What’s more important?
MM: Has it improved?
LS: The support for the concept has increased and on a whole, there’s a lot more awareness and concern about online streaming, etc. – some have been forced, some are personal choices which is nice to see.
MM: You are encouraging DJs to be more diverse and creative; do you think it’s gone flat?
LS: The quality is there and has been for a long time but it gets very predictable at times. Sometimes you know what a set is before you listen to it, you have an idea of what a track might sound like before you play it. That kind of bores me and I need to be inspired and likewise,
music fans love to be surprised. Familiarity breeds contempt
as they say – we can all jump out of the comfort zone, experiment more – even the leaders of the scenes. There’s a lot more we can do with DJing.
MM: Do you think it’s similar with releases?
LS: Again, it can, and the stores like it that way because it makes it easier to market and sell music – even though the word sell seems dated these days. It’s not a bash of genres but for example – Progressive house was a name given to a style of music that lived up to the name – now I can’t say it completely does.
Like DJing, there’s heaps of quality but it’s getting harder to hear something as ground-breaking
we have so much of it all now. It may be something we all need to think about more in the studio and challenge ourselves to do more, even the leaders of the scenes who can make more of a difference.
Comfort zones are armchairs to watch TV in, the tried and tested options have been done
We tend to look retrospective to move forward, a lot of that has been happening, including myself looking at 80s influences.
MM: You seem to regularly output open invitations for DJs and producers to get involved. This includes guest radio shows and production projects, why?
LS: Well, if we only look at what we know and who we know, we will never find anything different. There are heaps of talented people out there and often overlooked, I’m constantly being introduced to crafted DJs and producers. On the DJ side – DJsinbox helped a lot, we feature one of their Embark – DJs each month. They follow a similar principle on the DJ side. It’s easy to go with only the tried tested but that wouldn’t live up to the name Resonate Together.
MM: Resonate the label boasts artist support, 100% royalties, is it working?
LS: It works when it works but we are all faced with the struggles of the digital domain. There’s less need to buy anymore, the audience doesn’t need to buy to enjoy the music anymore. Streaming is massive and isn’t going away, look at Beatport link and stream to DJ.
Lots said it wouldn’t happen but it has, it works, its popular, and more will come
MM: Do you feel more labels should try to support artists?
LS: I think being completely honest, more could be clearer about their objectives, and is there any need to take funds from struggling artists? when your objective is merch sales and gigs etc? let’s just be open and honest – Some labels aren’t as business-minded and are doing it for the love of it, you can’t knock that.
MM: Your principles are clear on artist support, so how can you advocate portals like Spotify?
Well, we all know streaming royalties are poor and Spotify isn’t exactly pro musician. However, there are other benefits to having your music on these portals and not just the audience. It can improve your chances of music publishing revenue. Bandcamp is awesome but still has its limitation in these areas. I would encourage artists to start taking music publishing more seriously.
MM: If you could push a button and remove Spotify, would you?
LS: I really don’t know, I speak to labels who do very well and have business models based around stream.
They tell me It can be a positive picture, but its how you approach it
MM: I’m picking up that all of this can be demanding, so the question is it worthwhile considering it is not a money exercise?
LS: It certainly can be demanding and a lot of time is devoted outside of what people see in terms of a radio show or a music release. To be completely honest if I were to devote all my time to me and my music projects then it would be easier, but why start it in the first place.
I’m dedicated to the cause, the fun, the creative expression
and whilst I don’t completely know what will happen in the future with Resonate – I’m sure it will go somewhere beyond the now and any expectation.
MM: Regarding Blue Amazon, how do you feel about being called a Progressive Icon?
LS: Ying & Yang, I respect it and it’s nice sometimes but like a lot of musicians, producers, artists etc it’s only a part of who you are. In my case, it’s a bigger part of my past than now and I’ve done so much more since then and in lots of other areas. The trouble with tags is it can lead to pigeonholing and confusion when you do anything different from the past.
We hope everyone is open-minded but it’s not always the case
It can be very frustrating sometimes, I do get some unnecessary comments when I do things differently to what’s expected – Anyway,
the only ICON I want to be is one to my son
MM: Education in music production has pissed you off recently, why?
LS: It’s not all education in music production, it’s the universities mainly that use cheap sales tactics, out-of-date odd methods with low success to get lots of young people into debt. Whilst they sit on high paid jobs talking junk about nothingness and pass it off with little concern. It’s concerning, not fair and there are far better options that = little to no debt – longevity and more.
A good look in the mirror wouldn’t go a miss
MM: Do you think being open about it has made a difference?
LS: I know some university people have been watching it like hawk but they won’t change, they have PHDs in nonsense. The good thing is other people have openly spoken online about similar experiences and that can only help others question it.
MM: You are quite outspoken online about music and related topics, very direct, do you feel some might see it as aggressive?
LS: I think it was Noel Gallagher who said “if you go around hiding what you really think and flower over everything, you are boring”. But I’m not aggressive at all, I live up to my surname more — yesterday whilst the sun was blasting, I saw two worms trying to cross a hot paving stone. They would be melting soon – so I picked them up and put them in a plant pot which was in the shade and damp.
Social media posts can easily be taken out on context, its evil at times but unfortunately becomes part of what we do
MM: What is your obsession with Dolby Atoms about and is this something for Resonate in the future?
LS: OK, to try to keep it short – Dobly Atmos is an upgrade on surround sound with additional Hight and depth. It is an obvious choice for cinema and lots already have upgraded to it. There is now a massive push on incorporating it into artist music and streaming platforms, it’s happening – Apple, Tidal and amazon already have Atmos music. One of the main reasons its hot value is that you don’t need an expensive set-up to enjoy it. Its works on smart speakers, certain headphones, TV, iPhone, Android coming and more. Then there is also the standard headphone configuration of Atmos that allow you to still enjoy 60% of the experience – on any equipment. – Apple Music already have both options.
For producers and artists, it’s exciting because we can take the music, we make closer to what’s in our heads in terms of spectral dimension. Fx can sound like FX with real space and width – panning beyond left and right. The major labels that still exist are also doing a massive push on ATMOS. They want to get all music Atmos compatible — it’s exciting we haven’t had anything as accessible as this in music in years.
In terms of Resonate – of course, I would love all that we do going forward to become Atmos ready, will take time of course and it wouldn’t be for the DJ side of things. The DJ side would mean a lot of updates even to DJ equipment but
It’s massive for the artist who wants to do more in terms of singles outside of pure DJ music and concept albums
MM: Do you think the dance music industry is slow to react to new things like this?
LS: We would hope not but history paints a different picture – the whole vinyl to digital period was on the cards for a long time but not all tried to adapt, now it’s similar to streaming. I think there’s a Romanic view about the scene, being authentic and underground, that’s cool and would be fantastic but not always the reality of it.
if we aren’t prepared to change, then how can we complain about it later? ATMOS right now wouldn’t support the DJ side of things, album artists yes – imagine a Chemical Brothers – ATMOS album.
MM: What do you think will be the future of electronic music?
LS: Hopefully, a mind-blowing WOW factoring one – it’s got to move forward – the past has gone. Technology will always drive it forward, VR is getting bigger and inclusion of DJ sets. I think the home entertainment sector with streaming won’t disappear, it has more of a value now and well won’t really know the true future of live events for a while.
LET’S EMBRACE THE FUTURE – NOT FIGHT IT
Resonate Together Web: www.resonate2gether.com
Resonate chat group : https://www.facebook.com/groups/resonate2getherchat
BANDCAMP : www.resonatetogether.bandcamp.com/