Last week, I wrote about how Sef Kombo had decided to leave his job at Transport for London to run Sondela Recordings full time. Since then, a curious thing has happened. Defected appears to have suddenly remembered they exist. I’m sure this criticism had nothing to do with it…
Anyway, Kombo has certainly got his work cut out to turn things around for the fledgling outfit – which only had 494 followers on Twitter at the last check, and no verified blue tick either. Following a blaze of publicity at launch, the label has so far proven a damp squib.
At times like this, I like to defer to those with knowledge. So I spoke to a record label executive at a senior level to ask for his thoughts. Speaking on condition of anonymity – because he knows Dunmore personally – I asked him a few questions.
What does he think of Sondela? He said “I think the idea is sound – African house music deserves a lot more attention – but the execution was clumsy. Even the partnership with Bridges For Music didn’t stop accusations of colonialism. They only got away with it because the music press is lazy. Given his exceptional track record, I think Simon will be disappointed with the launch.”.
Moving onto present times, he told me “The best thing Sondela can do is release quality music – and from an optics point of view, let Kombo do his job without having one of the Dunmore family watching over his every move. Having a bunch of white guys peeping over the black guy’s shoulder is not a good look.”.
Finishing up, he said “I just think more needs to be made of the association with Defected. They have massive power on social media and Simon is an influential figure in dance music. If the label is run properly and promoted properly, I see no reason why it won’t be a success. But there’s a lot of work clearly to be done.”.
Better finish up that coffee and get to work, Sef…