To celebrate 5 years as Finland’s leading independent dance label, Youth Control has released a forward-thinking compilation. ‘Celebrating 5 Years Of Youth Control’ showcases seven new and exclusive tracks from label mainstays, Roisto, Rony Rex and Smok, as well as introducing talented new artists who the team are excited to work with right now and for the future; CutWires, Y-DAPT, PHAST and FUNKYBEAT. DMC caught up with label manager, Juha Moisala aka Smok to find out how they go about unearthing new talent, what the current scene’s like in their hometown Oulu, and to share tips on setting up a label.
What does the day-to-day involve as Label Manager at Youth Control Records?
Mostly keeping in touch with our label team, artists, distributor and other parties. We want to be easy to reach out to and have an open communication with our artists about everything that comes to the release.
How did you go about selecting the tracks to appear on the Celebrating 5 Years Of Youth Control compilation? Were you looking for a specific sound from the artists or were you already sitting on a number of tracks that you knew would work together for the release?
It was quite a long process and we wanted to showcase the variety of sound we have released on Youth Control before. We specifically asked from some of the artists whose music we have released before if they would like to be part of the compilation. We also selected a few tracks from demos that we had received, and tracks from artists that we want to work together with in the future.
What do you look for when signing new talent? Are you looking at an artist’s social following, DJ schedule, past support, or purely on their style and commitment to their art?
It’s always been all about the music and always will be. We want to sign music that we love and believe in from artists who have passion for what they do. Instead of putting out single releases from a huge number of different artists, we also want to build a long-term relationship with a smaller number of artists which would benefit both sides. Of course, an artist’s merit and what they have done in the past is something that we look for when we are planning the release to be able to determine what kind of things we could use for promoting the release.
You’re not only tipping ‘hot new talent’ from your native Finland on the compilation, but from the UK and Italy too. Was this a conscious decision to showcase producers from other countries as well?
Yes. Since the beginning, our idea has been to sign artists we love to work with and who could benefit from our work no matter what their nationality is. However, we have always wanted to work with Finnish artists as we know there are a lot of great talents here who produce music in their bedrooms but might not have a good channel to release their music. I think in the past five years we have been able to build a pretty good outlet for and we will continue to build an even a better one in years to come.
When you’re not on Label Manager duties, you DJ and produce under the alias, Smok. What’s the music/ club scene like in your hometown, Oulu, at the moment, and where are you regularly playing?
I think the local club scene is picking up a bit again after some quieter years as there are some cool monthly nights organized by local DJs with occasional international guests. During the past twenty years I’ve been following the scene here and there has been ups and downs like everywhere, but I’m hoping to see more events in the future and more diversity in the music. I don’t have any residencies currently, rather playing in various clubs on an irregular basis, but you never know as that might change soon…
What have been the highlights for Youth Control over the past five years?
We have had many great releases which have been picked up by some of the most renowned DJs in the world and synced to various TV spots, and we’ve organized some great events in our hometown, Oulu. I think the most rewarding thing, however, has been to watch the profiles grow of some of our artists like Roisto, Disco Despair and Rony Rex. It’s a privilege to be able to continue to work with artists like them.
What other celebratory plans does the label have in store to mark the anniversary?
More great music of course! There might be some other things up our sleeves, but nothing I can announce yet – sorry!
Running a successful, independent record label is no mean feat. What advice would you give to anyone wanting to set up their own?
There’s no shortcut to success. Running a label is much more than just putting music out every month and hoping for the best. We have been to the Amsterdam Dance Event every year since 2011 to see what is happening in the electronic music scene globally, and to build our network and connect with our artists – the network around you is the key thing in this business.
What other key releases does Youth Control and also Smok have coming out in 2020?
We have lots of great releases planned for later this year from some of the artists who were on the anniversary compilation. We’ll be dropping a new single from Rony Rex on 27th March called ‘Mile High’ – a collaboration with Laz Perkins and GOFTY. As Smok, I have some soulful and deep house releases coming out in the near future, but no dates have been set yet. Keep an eye on our social media for the latest info…