Get To Know Audiophile Deep

With Audiophile Deep’s latest project ‘Lars Wickinger – Analog Code EP’ out now on Traxsource, we sat down with co-founder Jimmy Freer to discuss his labels origin, what its like running an imprint in today’s industry, his A&R process and much more.

Thanks for taking the time to chat with us. Can you are give us a description about your label.

Sure! First off we are based out of Dallas, Texas, which isn’t what people think of as being such a rich and cultured history of underground dance music. Saying that, we have churned out names such as Maceo Plex / Maetrik, Brett Johnson, Demarkus Lewis, Red Eye, JT Donaldson, Lance Desardi, Convextion, Samma Lone and Walter Jones! As far as our label chained is concerned, Audiophile Deep was actually the 2nd label to enter the chain behind our more commercial and festival dominated label Audiophile Live, but didn’t really satisfy my and co-founder Jacob Bucks fuel to put out underground music.

The machine behind the creation of the label was turning and the brainstorming began. Shortly after, Red Eye, who is widely regarded as the face behind Dallas house music for the past few decades, contacted me for advice in starting a label. This started a great business partnership and friendship as we decided to instead link up under one roof. Red Eye at the time was the resident (and still is) of the acclaimed ‘It’ll Do Club’ out of Dallas (owned by very forward thinking Brooke Humphries) and gaining notoriety from world class DJs who played like Fred Everything, Danny Tenaglia and even the legendary Sasha. Together, we throw local label events that are more so of a rarity, as we try and preserve the feeling of our house music family and our city’s drive for credible music. Some of our label nights have contained appearances from acts such as Pezzner, Joeski, Gene Farris, Beckwith, John “The Anti-Fedora” Mork & Alinka, Multipass, Left/Right and Medicinne. Since 2014, we have had releases from artists such as Gabe, Demarkus Lewis, Vanilla Ace, Pezzner, Joeski, Gene Farris, Francis Preve, Dousk, Artful, ishi, Medicinne, Hotspot & Komaroff, Aaron Jackson, Dashdot, Brett Johnson, Cable Cat, DJOKO, Rich Pinder, MANIK, Lars Wickinger and many more.

What’s the imprint’s musical direction, mission and overall goal?

Our musical direction comes in form of the experience of our A&R Scottie ‘Red Eye’ Canfield as mentioned earlier, as well as myself in a way. Scottie comes from the early glory days of house, while I am come from a more new school environment as far as taste is concerned; not to say Scottie doesn’t like the new records because that would be false. I feel like this way Audiophile Deep has been able to sign fresh new records while keeping the legacy of classic house alive to an extent, pouring our soul primarily into the Chicago, Detroit, West Coast and NY styles of music, although sometimes we throw in a curve ball or two. Lately our label has shifted gear from a wider array of selections to the more ‘peak hour’ sound. As the millennials search for what’s next in their love for electronic music, we want to be there to bridge that gap and send them in the right direction; something that is actually terribly hard to balance but worth every minute. I guess you could call that our mission, ideally bringing what we consider to be quality and fun people into the world of house music. We like the vibes at our parties and that’s something that has definitely made them special for not only us, but our fans that come out to support. Recently Audiophile Deep merged with the Austin based Academik Records, which saw us link up with my mentor and professor Francis Preve (Toolroom, Definitive, Audiophile Deep) and has provided us a type of avenue for his students and protégés to get into the right hands as far as their music and career. Best example? The duo Medicinne whom recently had their music get the interest of the legendary John Digweed and are our picks for ‘ones to watch’ out of Texas at the moment.

Tell us about the current release.

Lars Wickinger’s ‘Analog Code’ dropped on our doorstep during the transitional time when we all decided to take Audiophile Deep to the other direction I discussed. In fact, the day we were meeting about it was when I got the demo from Lars in my inbox. Within 15 minutes Lars and I were in contact and discussing the release and had a mutual type of excitement going on as he had been an early fan of our artist and now A&R of our new label Audiophile XXL, Aaron Jackson. Based out of Berlin, he has a strong knack for unique yet effective tech house, which landed him a spot on our catalogue. He’s got one hell of a quirky ear for the tech side of the spectrum and we are beginning to figure out we aren’t the only ones who love this guy’s productions.

Describe running a record label today. What keeps you motivated compared to say 5 or 10 years ago?

Running this label has been almost like a sports card collecting fascination, except with our favorite talent and a higher maturity level! Ideally, we sign what we like and promote it to the best of our abilities. We don’t necessary think about anything regarding commercialism with this imprint as it would affect the edgy aspect of our music and our ‘end game’. Instead, it has just come naturally as we continue to pick up quality talent. We started in the heat of the confusion of the music industries adaption to the digital culture in which is starting to sort itself out slowly but surely. The ability to reach fans and expand is at an unprecedented level right now and with a couple of solid marketing strategies, labels and artists can break through at lightning pace like never before. Our motivation is that underground music is that from our eyes, we see underground music making a huge kick back and that’s something to be excited about. We want to be at the forefront of that movement.

How do you A&R a record for the label, what are you listening for?

Our A&R process is fairly simple. I tend to skim out a lot of tracks that are missing a sense of direction in our demo box i.e if the vocals that don’t have an edgy and unique approach, ones that lack a suitable groove, poor arrangement, or even ones that do not have a mix down that feels balanced and impactful. From here, I then let Scottie take a look at the tracks for a final green light. He plays them, critiques and then he lays down the book of knowledge of his opinion of how to approach the release, mix versions, remixes and all that jazz.

What’s next for?

Well first off, we are continuing our label nights! We have our friend Gene Farris making a round back to Dallas on August 22nd, joining us for a record release party for a remix he did for Mikey V’s ‘Beat Inside My Head’ that is on its way in September. Now that we have picked up some steam, we plan on looking at the possibilities of releasing more unknown talent and breaking them from the ground up. Recently Left/Right and I started a production class called ‘Frequency Forward’ at Rockit Lab Studio in Dallas, where we help aspiring producers get the ropes of a very lucrative industry. Not just the production side but also the business side. Demarkus Lewis also throws workshops at the same studio. We also intend to support Traxsource’s journey in every way possible, as you guys get what we are all about and our trials and tribulations of being artists and labels. We can’t thank you and your team enough for the opportunities you have given us.

Some our upcoming releases include:

• Cable Cat’s ‘Ponch Ponch’ EP
• John Mork’s ‘Body Slow’ EP
• Ali Farahani’s ‘Cy Begam’ EP
• ishi & Artful’s ‘Toss & Turn’ Single

Audiophile Deep label page and releases on Traxsource