dig dis!cover: Teho
Well, tell me how you got into music in the first place and what made you want to become a musician?
When I was about 12 or 13 years old, my mother worked in a music venue. She had many musician friends there and one of them gave me a bass guitar and I practiced all night. I tried to play everything. However, being alone and only playing bass guitar wasn't that much fun. So I got together with some friends and we made music together, but we went more in the rock direction. That's the story of how I got into music in general.
In 2006, when I was 16, I discovered electronic music. I was very fascinated by artists like Stefan Bodzin and all those who went in the similar direction. And in 2007 I went to see Daft Punk playing Live in “Arènes de “Nîmes”. At the time I was like, ‘Oh, what is this? It's so freaking amazing. I want to do that too.’ That's how I started to produce music.
Has the genre Melodic House & Techno always been your thing or did you try out different styles in the first place?
No, I started directly with this genre and have stayed with it ever since. As already mentioned, I was inspired by artists like Stefan Bodzin and James Holden. It's very important to me to stay melodic. It's close to techno, but still melodic. I've always felt that emotions are simply strongest and best expressed in this type of music. That's also one of the main reasons why I do this kind of music.
What made you found your own label Labo T?
I found it a bit annoying to always have to arrange with others to release music that I produced. I wanted to have my own freedom and do what I want. So I decided to start my own label without any pressure. I just wanted to have a platform where I could do what I want and just be myself and express myself the way I want. That was my basic idea. The second thing was that I have a lot of friends who do the same music as me and who had the same problem as myself. That encouraged me even more to start this label so I can give them the same freedom. They can just send me the tracks and we can release them together. That worked out great and I'm also super happy to have this platform.
Why and how did you end up at dig dis!?
Before I started my label, I released my music with different labels. Still, it was a big step in my career to take over the label-management myself. I believed in my music and I was pretty excited and happy at the same time. I had been in contact with some (electronic) music distributors and my first contact at dig dis! was your colleague Oli. When we talked, he was super nice, active and I felt at home right away. It was a very familiar feeling. That's why I decided to work directly with dig dis!.
What are your daily tasks as a labelmanager and what is the most challenging part of it all?
I try not to bring routine into my daily life. This is the way it works best for me. I take things one step at a time and do what needs to be done. For example, if I wake up in the morning and see that I don't have much to do at my desk, I make music. Or if I have a lot to do in terms of label-management, then I make music in the evening. One of the things I find difficult about label-management is communicating with my artists sometimes. We talk a lot on the phone and listen to the tracks together before we send them to the mastering engineer. I analyze the tracks intensively and sometimes I ask for one or the other change. Or if I need new press pictures or a small description of the biography, then it's a bit exhausting to wait for an answer and everything gets delayed because of that. But that's okay and we are all humans.
Let's come back to your artist profile: ‘Teho’. You now have almost 300,000 monthly listeners on Spotify and your tracks have been streamed millions of times. Have you ever imagined your music being streamed by so many people?
No, I wouldn't have expected that. I can't imagine 300,000 people listening to my music regularly. It's super vague. At the same time it's like... I don't know how to explain it, but I’m sure my music could reach even more people while at the same time looking at the current number of monthly listeners feels surreal. It makes me very happy that I was able to reach so many people with my music to date.
You just recently released your studio album ‘Infinity’. Do you have any other big projects coming up for this year?
We are just starting to do some remixes of the album. One remix I’m especially excited about is the German artist Einmusik. That’s an artist I’ve been following for years, and it’s absolutely insane that he’s collaborating on my own label. So that’s a big step for me. So between now and the end of the year, we’re going to put out some other remixes. And at the end of the year we’re going to put out a deluxe edition of my album, with new tracks, all the originals and remixes as well. So it will be a huge package with about 25 tracks.
Okay, that sounds great! How do you manage to get artists to remix your tracks?
There are several ways this can work. When I discover an artist whose sound I think is great, I send a request to their management. Otherwise, it's also more often the case that the remixers are longtime friends of mine and this way it’s super easy. So it depends on which artist it is. But I really like a lot of artists, so I try to get them on my own label. So I just send a message, even if I don't know them. And then we'll see.
And sometimes friendships can develop from such requests. For exemple, in 2020, during the pandemic, I sent a request to Joachim Pastor and over time the initial email correspondence developed into a deep friendship. We don't just work together, we also became good friends.
Merci beaucoup Teho. The interview with you was very interesting and we thank you for your insights into the work as an artist and label-manager. If you are interested in sharing your story about yourself and your everyday life in the music business as well, please contact us anytime.