Trouble & Bass started from humble beginnings as a local party that catered to underground dance music. Six years later, the Trouble & Bass family still hosts parties that dominate the east coast, but are now a full fledged record label & DJ collective as well. Oh, and they have an incredibly cool merchandise line.
Genre-defying artists like Drop The Lime, AC Slater, & Plastician are signed to the Trouble & Bass stable and can be found dropping face-melting beats at parties around the US, UK, & Europe. They’re known for creating their own eclectic blend of house, hip-hop, dubstep, drum & bass, and metal that keeps you sweating until the break of dawn.
We spoke with Patrick Rood, a true renaissance man of the dance industry.
He is 1/4 of the Trouble & Bass DJ crew, the vice president & creative director of the record label, and can be found producing and directing music videos as well. Patrick gave us insights on how aspiring DJs & producers can properly reach out to record labels, his thoughts on subgenres in dance music, and the importance of social media.
You joined Trouble & Bass 5 years ago and have been with them when it was just a party. Years later, and looking back, how difficult was it transitioning from DJs and promoters to a full-grown respected label and music collective?
It seems like a lot more than it was, I really didn’t know how a lot of it worked. It was just like, “oh these are amazing tunes, let’s release them … how do we do that?” Luckily for us, SEED, our digital distributor, worked with us from the beginning. When I came on as ‘label manager’, AJ from SEED really taught me the ropes of the ins-and-outs of how everything in the digital sales world works. Being a label takes a lot of planning and patience and hard work. Things take months to finish, and then you don’t see sales money from the releases for another 2-3 months. So, in comparison to doing a small event, where you’re promoting for a month and then collecting cash at the end, it’s such a huge difference of approach and attack.
You guys have a history of discovering and developing new artists. As a label head for some very well known artists, what advice can you give to talented and undiscovered producers looking to get signed?
A really important thing to keep in mind before approaching a label is that you have some sort of following or fans, or have even established yourself out there. It’s not always necessary, but very helpful. Also, depending on which label you are approaching, whether or not you’ve released material on another label, and which one or how many. We tend not to sign any artists that have released material all over the place. We like to develop artists and give them a home and place they can grow and a main resource for their material. We’re really big about being a family. Of course there are exceptions to this.
One major thing to keep in mind when trying to get your music out there or signed to a label, is to be ambitious without being too annoying. Make sure to send out tunes to fellow producers and labels, but not to send them too many. Also, provide your songs on a streaming service, no one wants to download WAVs or a zip of your material without hearing it first. Separate links for each song can be overwhelming, creating a set in SoundCloud, or even a mini-mix of your tunes is very beneficial.
And don’t forget links to your own social media sites. Dont have to be too wordy in the emails, if I don’t know who you are, I’m not going to read 4 paragraphs about you, just let your music speak for you. Never ever attach anything, wasting my inbox space or slowing my mobile e-mail box up by downloading 3 of your tunes and some weird logo or press shot, those kinds of things can bother someone if they are dealing with too many emails. And if people don’t respond, dont give up sending them the next round of tunes. I get tunes every day, it’s really hard to respond to everyone, but I definitely listen to them all. I may like it, and then I hear another later and be like “oh I remember this guy”, etc. etc.
In the past year and a half, we’ve seen genres like moombahton and trap become favorites at electronic music festivals. Trouble & Bass has always been a purveyor and supporter of genre-bending music. Where do you see the landscape of electronic music headed, especially as the scene becomes increasingly popular?
It’s hard to say where things will take off to, but if you think about the styles that have blown up, mostly surrounding styles that have been very popular on the internet and into the clubs like trap and moombahton, both these genres are party music that has been melded with some electronic club music aspects and taken from and glorified from music that is perceived as somewhat dangerous. Both trap music and reggateon have been popular for a long time in the hood and more urban atmospheres, just not necessarily in the electronic dance club scene.
So I feel like a lot of the music these days that blow up, are younger kids appropriating sounds from more ghetto club scenes and cultures (Baltimore, Philly, Jersey club, trap, reggaeton, etc.) and even if some of the originators from these original genres get some shine, it’s definitely getting a lot of push from producers taking that sound, making it their own and pushing it their way. It’s pretty interesting. But also a strange thing to see happen, if you’ve been following and seeing trends go up and down for the past decade.
Trouble & Bass is super active on social media and is an adopter of emerging technology, how important is it for upcoming producers and DJs to interact and market themselves on the internet?
It’s verrrry important. It’s one of the biggest tools to get your music out there. It’s really important to have your name and music hitting all these free (sometimes not free) resources, such a huge help spreading your sound, and getting new listeners and fans.
Congratulations on the 6-year mark Patrick, the photos from the Gowanus party looked really fun. How are you celebrating the success and what are some upcoming projects/events you would like to preview for our community?
Yeah it was an awesome party, had so much fun, thank you! We have a few more events planned before the end of the year and working on some other great event ideas for 2013. And of course lots of great music to come out, I think a lot more of a difference in our style of releases will be more prevalent in 2013. And don’t forget our ongoing onslaught of awesome merch!