dig dis!cover: BOHO
From launching a fashion brand to running a worldwide selling music label - Lars Kohl's journey into the music industry. This is an exclusive interview with BOHO aka Lars Kohl who tells us about his career as a label manager, the creation of his artist brand BOHO and his love-hate relationship with the social media world.
You launched the label Jannowitz Records together with Linus Elter. What motivated and inspired you to start your own label back then?
The idea was to start a fashion label with Linus and we sold merchandise at the beginning. In the first place, we just gave sunglasses away to our friends, but they ran so well that we started selling them at festivals. They were especially well received by DJs and producers, and that gave us the idea to start a music label. We had no idea about the music business at first, but we really wanted to do it. By now we still sell merchandising, but the focus is definitely on the music. (We acted under the motto of love, people and music. The people as consumers of music and the love that connects them both.)
And how did you come to dig dis!?
I was introduced to your distribution by a label that was already working with you. I also had no idea about this whole music world and all the administrative stuff, but I immediately felt in good hands with dig dis! and really liked the fact that it's a German music distributor and you could always call when something came up.
You publish your music under the artist name "BOHO". Why not under your real name and is it the shortcut of Bohemian and the reference to the Ibiza style?
Yes, indeed, BOHO comes from Bohemian. I was working in a fashion store at the time and we had a boho collection on display. I thought the look was totally cool and loved this "free your mind" style.
After that I knew I wanted to call myself BOHO. For me, however, it's not really about the style of the clothing, but much more about the attitude behind it. The unconventional lifestyle with few fixed ties and freedom was something I could identify with. In addition, the name BOHO is short, casual and international. I even had my debut with Boho in Ibiza and it all came together so well. In comparison, Lars Kohl just wouldn't come across as well. *laugh*
You are not only a DJ, but also a label manager. How much do these "fields of work" differ from each other and what are the positive as well as negative aspects of it?
The first 4-5 years, since Jannowitz Records existed, I was just a label manager. I already said that in the beginning I had no idea about it at all, but I quickly learned the business. I quickly realized that there is a lot of management behind it and the administration is very complex. The back office is also tedious and you spend a lot of time at your desk.
In the meantime, however, I would almost call myself the father of my label artists. :D
Years later I became a musician and a producer. The two fields of work are very different, because as a DJ you first concentrate only on producing and only later deal with the administrative part. The cool thing about managing both is that I have exact control over which releases will be released next for the Jannowitz label. I can set the release order myself and determine the sound of the label. It's almost like a DJ set: but instead of me scheduling a 1-2 hours set, it's me scheduling entire releases over the span of multiple months or years!
Which artists would you like to include in your label?
I have a few idols in this music scene, but I'm especially excited about Oliver Huntemann. I released something on his label some time ago, maybe he'll release on mine. Also, I wouldn't say no to Dubfire and Richie Hawtin either. I think they've all done a lot and influenced the music scene.
Your last single "Santiago" was released last month. How does it feel that you unfortunately can't play the track in front of a live audience due to Corona?
This track in particular is more for streaming portals, so it's fine to listen to it more at home. But still it's a pity not to be able to play it out live in front of an audience. It makes me sad not to be able to play songs live, because there are just a lot of songs on my label that are not made "just" for listening at home. The direct contact and the associated emotions are missing. But I have a tight release plan and I simply say: Keep the groove alive.
What would you say: what impact does the internet or social media channels have on the music industry?
The Internet and social media channels have a very big impact, sadly too much. It's annoying that you have to be so present and stand out so much. The outer presentation is sometimes more important than the actual music content. Also, you always have to decide what to show at all, e.g. only the music world or also private stuff.
What I also criticize about this social media world is that the outward appearances are so important that you are judged directly by them. Rahel, my friend was recently booked because she is a woman and that "sells" better, so to speak.
Unfortunately, music and social media can no longer be separated.
On the other hand, I look at potential artists of course first on the range and how the musician gives himself in public, but in my opinion, the symbiosis of artist, style, etc. must be right.
And the last question: What is the first thing you will do when the clubs are open again?
Should I really answer the question honestly? *laugh* The next time I get the chance, I'd like to play as long as I can. And really as long as I can until I drop. I really want to make up for lost moments. I really want to dance again and feel all the emotions that music carries with it.
We hope you enjoyed Lars’ story as much as we did! A big thank you again to Lars for giving us insight into his daily life as a label manager and we hope that we can hear many other label stories such as this one.
If you are interested in giving us a glimpse of what your label business is like then please don’t hesitate to let us know!