dig dis!cover: Patrick Scuro
Recently, a lot has been happening for you musically. How do you feel, and how would you generally describe your mood?
Yes, I am definitely very happy. It's nice and enjoyable to see that everything has changed so positively. It was already going quite well before, and it's great to see how the listener numbers are increasing and how well the music is performing in the charts.
How did it all start for you in general? Both the music and the producing? How did the label Animarum Recordings come about?
Yes, it all started in 2018, so five years ago. At that time, I played my first gigs under a different name. Although it was always electronic music, I played everything from psy-trance to house and many other genres. In the first year, I managed to get nearly 50 gigs and played almost every weekend. I found a real passion for it. Music has always been a topic for me, but I didn't think it would suit me. I got into DJing through a friend. I was just standing at the back of the club while partying and watching it and thought: I can do what he's doing, just push the buttons, haha. Then I just tried it and had my first gig in March 2018, three months later.
At the end of 2019, I decided to focus on techno as it was the genre that I enjoyed the most. But since it is always difficult to dance at multiple weddings I then decided to focus on one theme, which was techno. After that I started learning how to produce through online seminars. I didn't have a real mentor or anything, but mostly taught myself through online tutorials. I learned how it works technically and then just tried it out. In mid-2020, I had my first releases and started releasing them on various labels. At some point I felt that my music was not always a perfect fit for the labels I was working with and that I was dissatisfied with the end result. Negative experiences with certain labels reinforced this impression. Although my music was in line with the label's direction, it just didn't fit 100%. That's when I made the decision to start my own label.
I thought about what touches my music the most and always called it Soul-Techno. I thought about what could be done in the direction of the soul or something like that. In Latin, soul means Animarum and that fits. In addition, the name didn't exist yet so it fit like a glove. Then came the logo #Soultechno and I made it a bit bigger. It's always included in the releases and the music is meant to touch souls. This is how Animarum Recordings came about.
That's a very nice story. So, during the first year when you started DJing, you didn't have any productions yet?
Exactly, it took me two years after I started DJing to test my own music for the first time. The Corona pandemic personally helped me a lot because it gave me more time for music. Before that, I had gigs every weekend and in addition, I work in a bank from Monday to Friday. If you only have time on weekends and then play gigs, there's little time left for producing music. During the pandemic, I had weekends off and could sit down with a friend. We tried a lot of things and I got better and better. The only thing that was a shame is that I couldn't test my first productions in a club. I could only listen to them at home or in the studio, but it wasn't the same as getting a reaction from the audience in the club. That was a bit disappointing. But when the gigs started again, my music experienced a tremendous quality boost.
How did you decide to open your label with us? How did the first contact with dig dis! come about and how have we been able to support you in the development of your label in recent years?
I became aware of dig dis! on recommendation. Prior to that, I had informed myself about starting a label and a friend had advised me to simply register with you. After a phone call with Oli (from the dig dis! team), I had a good feeling right away. The personal contact was very pleasant, and I had a German-speaking contact person, which was very helpful for me as someone who is only semi-fluent in English. I could ask for help at any time, and everything was explained to me in detail. The support I received was really great. I must have annoyed you guys a few times, but I wanted to know everything exactly because I want to do my label thing very well and learn from the mistakes of other labels. In this regard, the collaboration with dig dis! was perfect. Particularly helpful were the pitching topics, such as feature requests. The personal care and contact were extremely important to me.
Thank you. We are very happy that we were able to support you. Your label "Animarum Recordings" has now released over 70 records. Did you ever think that your label would reach such a large number of releases when you started it with us?
To be honest, I didn't think that the demand would be so high. I had planned to release my own music through the label because I couldn't find a label that suited me 100%. Now I receive 5 to 10 submissions for the label every day, and it is already fully booked for the entire year. If you apply now, we can only release it next year, which unfortunately requires some patience. I think it's a double-edged sword because on one hand, it's a shame to wait so long for your release, but on the other hand, it can also gather very good promotion from big artists who play at festivals. However, I really didn't expect the label to reach such a large scale at the beginning.
What kind of support do you receive in your label work?
I work completely alone on my label. I talk on the phone at least once with every artist to plan the entire release. I didn't know about this approach from other labels. Additionally, I have a label group with more than 60 members, including all artists, where they can connect with each other. That's also one of my goals: to bring people together. I don't want the label to just release music. I've had bad experiences where I had little contact with the label manager and it was difficult to get in touch with others. That's why the family aspect is extremely important to me. For me, the released music is like my babies.
The management sounds very time-consuming. Do you have a secret tip on how you manage to do all of this?
Definitely, it's time-consuming, and sometimes it also gives me headaches because I depend on other people. For example, Jason does the mastering for us, he’s also at dig dis! with his label Bionic Room. When things are not ready on time, I’m also very grateful for your fastlane! option, which allows us to release spontaneously within a week. You just have to communicate well with others and if a mistake happens, you can always correct it. I create the cover artwork myself, and I enjoy it a lot because it allows me to express my artistic side. As I am dealing with dry tasks in my job at the bank, it is a nice balance for me.
You now have over 300,000 monthly Spotify listeners and were also on the top spot of Techno Bunker, one of the biggest Spotify playlists for Techno with over 2 million monthly listeners. How do you feel about that?
That was a huge highlight for me. When I first saw it, I couldn't believe my eyes. I really couldn't believe it and had to let out a little scream of joy. That was really a crazy moment. The beautiful thing about the whole thing is that it's my absolute favorite track, which was now on the top spot. I just think the track "Pulchra" is so beautiful and the lyrics also talk about "Beautiful". That it was so heavily promoted by Spotify is of course extremely great.
Does a high number of listeners or featuring in playlists mean success to you, or would you define it in a different way?
For me, success is not measurable in numbers. Numbers are fleeting and can change in a few months or years, so they are irrelevant to me. What's important is that my music touches people. The biggest success for me is when I see people close their eyes and enjoy the music at gigs. Then I know that I have touched them and I get goosebumps myself. I am also very sentimental about it. That's why I chose Techno, because I know that people go there to enjoy and feel the music. That is the difference with other more mainstream genres, where people go primarily for partying purposes.
You are not only an artist, but also a label manager. What are the biggest differences for you?
The biggest difference is that as an artist, I’m on my own. While I have a booker who handles management tasks for me, I’m solely responsible for the creative work. As a label manager, on the other hand, I am able to lead and assist. Through my leadership position at the bank, I have learned a lot about working with people in the past eight years, which helps me a lot in my work. The main difference is that as a manager, I am able to promote and support artists. I have access to the artists' Spotify accounts, and it is a great success for me to see their reach grow. With the releases from Animarum, there is always steady growth. When the artists chart for the first time, it is a sign to me that the marketing strategy was successful. In my opinion, marketing accounts for 70% of success. The advantage as a manager is that I can really support and promote the artists. However, they also need to have a little patience, as I cannot always respond immediately. But they know that I work until 7pm during the week and handle things in the evening. Of course, I still arrange separate appointments just before the releases, but a lot also happens in the WhatsApp groups.
What would you recommend to aspiring artists, or do you have an ultimate tip for people starting out with music now?
My ultimate tip for aspiring artists is to focus on authenticity. That's why I chose the name "Patrick Scuro," as "Scuro" means dark. At the beginning, I associated Techno with the underground, the dark, and somehow also the evil. That's why we initially took pictures where I didn't smile or anything like that. But since I've just been myself and shown who I really am, things have been going much better. I'm an extreme optimist and I love to have fun. I show this to the outside world now and since then things have been going better. So my tip is: be yourself. Because that way you can reach people best.
Thank you, Patrick, for the great interview and your kind words about us. We're pleased that we could assist you in the growth of your labels. If you're interested in sharing your personal story and your daily experiences in the music industry with us, please don't hesitate to contact us anytime.