The 'KONNEQT' A&R team discuss the rise and rise of the label
KONNEQT label boss, Mark Lawrence (CEO, AFEM) is a man who needs little introduction, sitting on over a decade’s experience in the industry. First undergoing a healthy stint at the PRS, then on to founding (and running) Black Rock label alongside Steve Mac and finally landing a role lobbying for our best interests in heading up the Association For Electronic Music. With AFEM taking every spare moment, Lawrence has built a team to take on the demands of the label.
Mark Lawrence spared the time to introduce us to the new A&R team behind KONNEQT: Kayleigh Beth-Wells, Chris Prole, Chris York and Wayne Dewhurst and we discussed the creative process behind the label, musical direction and current releases.
Thanks so much for chatting with us, tell us a little bit about the thought process behind KONNEQT.
Mark Lawrence started KONNEQT less than to 2 years ago as an outlet for his musical dark side! Mark’s role at the Association for Electronic Music is full time and very demanding, so he handed over running of the label to us. Naturally being Mark, his guidance and demands are ever present in the background ;)
How would you describe the focus and musical direction of the label?
Its about the artists, its about being uncompromising and its about focusing on new talent and artists who might be overlooked elsewhere who have crafted their own sound and fit in with our style – some times we take bold decisions with our A & R, such as the minimal tracks from Shaun Burnett – other times we just know something is ‘right’ such as with MESA, Matthew Charles, MAFF.U and Chris Rawles. Our goal is to be true to ourselves and our artists, and if this brings it with commercial success then that’s a bonus.
Tell us about what’s currently out on the label at the moment.
Chris Rawles, ‘Looping’ just hit number 1 on Traxsource Techno. It’s a pretty uncompromising track, meanwhile the Sam Sky, Tony Soul and Joris Dee track, ‘America’, is a smooth slice of spoken word techno with a dark remix from Nuendo.
Describe running a record label today, what keeps you motivated?
We are motivated by our artists creativity and their success, commercial or critical. It’s tough running a label today, but as a team we play to our strengths and keep pushing on.
How do you A&R a record for the label, what are you listening for?
We all have to like it and the track has to work – its very hard to describe that process – its a combination of heart and head I guess.
What’s next for KONNEQT?
We are very excited to see MESA‘s ‘After Party’ single which was just released on the 17th of June. MESA is an artist we have been working with for 2 years and he has a big future.