Photo by Josh Gordon on Unsplash Here in California, it seems like just yesterday that…
Infinite Depth is a Rotterdam-based record label that lets the deepest melodic techno music out there see the light. It’s all about the right combination of darkness and overwhelming melodies. Founded with dedication in 2018 and ready to bring you new talents together with respected names in the scene.
We caught up with Jonan Kouwenhoven, the label owner, to talk about the process of running his brand and the latest VA ‘The Second Milestone’.
Electronic Groove: Hi, Jonan, we are very glad to be able to have you here with us. How are you doing and dealing with it all? What the situation for the music industry like in Rotterdam at the moment?
Infinite Depth: Hey, guys, thanks for having me! Personally, I am doing pretty good and I am lucky that I can still say that. Till so far my patience has been helping me to get through the whole covid situation. Despite that, I am missing my regular job in the event industry a lot. At the moment, here in Rotterdam, it’s all still pretty quiet, unfortunately. Throughout the Netherlands, some bigger events announced their dates for the coming summer and it looks like the government is going to allow pre-testing outdoor events. Also, ADE did some nice announcements already, so I am keeping my fingers crossed for a clubbing season. Overall it’s good to see that there is positive energy in the industry and I can’t wait to carry out some of the plans I have in mind myself.
Electronic Groove: So, how was your label Infinite Depth born and why? Do you remember what drove you to create it?
Infinite Depth: The idea was born 4-5 years ago when I was asked to do some interviews for a promotional video of my studies. One of the questions was what my dream job would be after my studies. At that time I already had a big passion for the melodic side of techno, but also for management and organization, so my answer to that question became that I wanted to run my own label once. This idea gave me so much energy and happiness that I started right away with a plan to get this dream a reality. I managed to integrate this into my studies and dedicated half a year full-time to creating the plan. In the meantime, the concept Infinite Depth was already born as a premiere/repost channel on Soundcloud and when the time was there, I turned this into a label.
Electronic Groove: What is the general concept behind Infinite Depth? How would you describe its particular sound?
Infinite Depth: The sound of the label fits within the triangular spectrum of dark atmospheres, overwhelming melodies, and underlying grooves. With the releases, every corner of this spectrum could be reached, but for me, I would say the perfect sound hits the center of these three aspects while being conceptual.
Besides the sound, the label is here for talents who are working with dedication on their way to becoming professional (and hopefully full-time) artists and who are also delivering qualitatively high and authentic music. For these artists, I hope Infinite Depth can be the bridge between the relatively smaller and the bigger labels. I try to do this by being a platform where the talents and the more well-known artists are coming together. Furthermore, I always try to search for a non-obvious combination of artists and their music, so for example it will hopefully mostly be a surprise who does a remix.
Electronic Groove: Has the ride gone as expected so far? Have you stayed true to some ethos, or do you believe that sound and tastes evolve over time?
Infinite Depth: Actually, the ride has gone better as I could imagine. I think this is mostly a result of the great start the label had with the first releases and I am really grateful to everyone who has collaborated with the label. I think till so far the label has been keeping the sound I described before, but as the label is an extension of my own taste, I do believe small changes in sound are natural. Nevertheless, if I want to release a totally different sound, I would rather start a new label than drastically switching the sound of Infinite Depth.
What I think is the most important is the way how the label is managed and the idea behind the releases. I believe every release has its own story and that’s why I have been putting a lot of effort into each one. To strengthen these stories every release has gotten a remarkable artwork, designed by the graphic designer I am working with. Also, I am releasing it every 5-6 weeks to give the music the full attention it deserves. This is something I had in mind from the beginning and worked out pretty well luckily.
Another thing I am happy I stayed true to, is listening to and replying to every demo (sorry for the ones which ended up in my spam inbox). I believe everyone has to get the same chance to get their music heard by labels and as a lot of people know, waiting on a label to listen to your demo can be pretty frustrating. On the other hand, it’s a way to discover new artists too.
“Every release has its own story and that’s why I have been putting a lot of effort into each one”
Electronic Groove: You’re hitting a new milestone now… Well, ‘The Second Milestone’, in fact. What can you tell us about this new monumental VA release? How did you go about selecting which tracks would make it into the compilation?
Infinite Depth: ‘The Second Milestone’ is representing the growth and development the label has made since ‘The First Milestone’ one year ago. This time it’s a collection of ten quality tracks by ten lovely artists: Convolute, His. Creator, Final Request, U S H N U, Altman, bastinov, Klankveld, Dario Gismondi, Alberth and Symmetric. It’s a pretty broad pack with emotional melodic tracks, as well as some more dark minimal melodic techno tracks.
For the selection, I am mostly reaching out to the artist I would like to have on the VA. Most of the time these are familiar faces of the label and sometimes they are completely new to the label. Apart from this, it’s important for me that the VA covers the full spectrum of the label’s sound, with a maximum of 10 tracks. In this way, every track is able to stand out in its own way.
Electronic Groove: What is the process for selecting new tracks and scheduled releases? How many people collaborate at Infinite Depth?
Infinite Depth: The process variates between listening to demos, talking with friends and artists who already released on the label, but also asking artists of which I think are really interesting.
I have been running the label on my own but, for the artworks, I am working together with a talented Dutch graphic designer, called Jeroen from Jeroen Vos Graphics.
Electronic Groove: What would you say was or is the most challenging part of managing a label these days? What advice would you give to someone thinking about starting their own label?
Infinite Depth: I would say most difficult is getting noticed in between the big amount of good music being released these days. Even when I am listening to music recreational, I am thinking by myself “how is it possible this many interesting tracks are being created every day, all over the world?”. Sometimes it feels like it’s a little too much to divide over all the music lovers on this planet, but in the end, this is a good thing of course, because everyone has the right to express their selves through music.
Regarding the advice, I think it’s important to have an eye for detail. To get noticed, a detail could make the difference. In this case, I am talking about the details in the concept of the label and its visual representation, as well as the details in the music you are releasing (or going to release). Furthermore, don’t be scared to give feedback. If you and the artist are on the same page, it won’t be a problem to share your thoughts with the artist. If you have some honest feedback, the artist would most likely appreciate this.
A final ‘advice’: be kind. Not just being kind to be kind, but be a good person. Reflect on this and if you feel like you haven’t been kind to someone, apologize. Try to have a good understanding of your position in the scene and never forget the value a track has for its creator, the artist. Their music means a lot to them, so make you treat it well.
Electronic Groove: How has the current situation with the global pandemic impacted your strategy and what changes or adaptation have you made to keep things flowing?
Infinite Depth: Actually, I haven’t been following another strategy since the beginning of the pandemic. Of course, I thought about what I had to do with it, but overall I think music is for everyone. For the people listening at home, for the bedroom DJ’s doing a two men party, and for the bigger artists doing a livestream. So, my decision not to change my strategy was made pretty quick.
” It’s important to have an eye for detail. To get noticed, a detail could make the difference”
Electronic Groove: So, what’s in store for Infinite Depth for the rest of the year? Any big moments you guys are looking forwards to?
Infinite Depth: There are some nice EP’s lined up after the VA. Won’t say any names yet, but the first duo is debuting on the label and they have gained some nice livestream support this year. Furthermore, a new talent will be debuting and I am working on some EP’s with some very interesting artists.
Electronic Groove: Thank you for your time! We wish you all the best for the future!
Infinite Depth: Thank you too for the cool questions! It is really nice to give the reader a more extended insight on Infinite Depth. All the best to you too!
Infinite Depth’s ‘The Second Milestone’ is now available. Pick up your copy here.