The vast majority of labels absolutely suck! Scott Diaz slams record labels who aren’t doing their jobs

House and garage don Scott Diaz has panned record labels for failing to do their jobs properly. Taking to Twitter, he pointed out that only two record labels have sent him statements in the past 15 months – amidst of a backdrop of a pandemic.

He also mentioned that for nearly every release he’s involved with, he creates more social media content, video and such than the label themselves do.

Speaking with my producer head on, I’m lucky when it comes to the first point. Both 3rd Way Recordings and Disco Balls Records – the labels that I appear on most frequently – send out statements at regular intervals, so I have no complaints whatsoever about that.

Oddly enough though, I wrote an opinion piece on a similar subject last night. The role of record labels in this ecosystem needs to change – I honestly believe that if it doesn’t, we’re going to end up with the system collapsing. And then where are we all?

Probably on Bandcamp trying to do everything ourselves.

Yep, even I get imposter syndrome…

I’ve accomplished more in music than I ever thought I would. Which, to be fair, isn’t hard. I personally thought when I started out that I would accomplish nothing, so anything was a step up from that.

All the same, it doesn’t stop me experiencing imposter syndrome occasionally, as described in this Mixmag article.

There are, for example, people whom I have refused to approach because I worry that my lack of knowledge will show me up. There was a time when I knew literally nothing about music theory, chords and so on. Curiously, music lessons at school never taught us about such things…

My knowledge now is better, but still limited. I know there are people out there who have been doing this for far longer than me, who know a lot more than I do.

And yes, I get days when I think I’ll be exposed to the world. Yet I should probably have more confidence in my own abilities. Only one musician and singer to date has criticised my skills in this area.

I was, however, reassured when I discovered that the instrumental version of his latest release was selling better than the version with his vocals on them…

Can we drop the Miami albums, please?

It’s that time of the year again. It’s when the Miami compilations inevitably appear on the digital stores. It appears that the Covid-19 pandemic has not done away with this tradition.

I seriously think it’s time to ditch this practice. It’s no longer relevant in this digital age, is it? For those of you who are unfamiliar, allow me to explain.

The Miami Winter Music Conference came into existence in 1985. Over the years, it started being treated by the big dance labels as a combination of signing new records for the summer as well as being a nice holiday in a hot climate.

For years, many of the records that became popular later in the year started out being played at Miami. Frenetic bidding wars would often take place – “Groovejet” by Spiller, for example, was fought for by both Ministry of Sound and EMI-backed Positiva. The latter won due to their increased power in clearing the Carol Williams sample.

As much as I would love to be able to take my records to Miami and have some of the world’s biggest labels fighting hard to sign my music and then turn it into something that’ll be remembered years later, it simply isn’t going to happen. Does it happen for anyone these days?

With one or two honourable exceptions, it feels like Miami compilations are used by record labels these days to release things they’ve signed, but have no idea what to actually do with – or things they’ve realised that they need to put out before they breach their own contractual obligations.

Yet like many other depressing things in the music trade, it looks like they’re here to stay for the time being. Great…

What’s happening in the world of Amateur At Play?

Good morning and welcome to another week on the blog. It’s been a while since I did one of these posts, so I thought I’d elaborate on what’s going on with me at the moment and what’s coming up soon.

So firstly, I’ve got this out on Traxsource right now. It’s my second collaboration with Morris Revy and it’s all soulful and stuff…

I have a number of remixes that are due for release soon, including for Paolo Maffia, UG Movement, Dwayne W Tyree and quite a few others. Release dates will be made available whenever I know what they are.

Elsewhere, I’m working on more vocal tracks than I’ve ever done before. There’s another one with Morris Revy in the can, alongside a track with Richelle Hicks. I also have yet another one with Morris Revy in production at the moment, and I’m nearly finished on three other things with two singers who I’m contractually barred from naming at this stage!

I’m also trying to clear a sample at the moment for a future release, as well as doing some 2-step remixes. Although anyone reading this ought to know I’m still willing to do the house mixes that I’m known for too!

Finally, I’m also investigating a few things behind the scenes. You’ll be the first to know when they’re published…

Burn down my studio? Nah…

There are many people who have wanted to say nice things about me in the past. There are also those who, well, haven’t. Quite the opposite sometimes, actually.

For example, I accepted a remix project back in 2018 for a track called “Life Is Worth Living”, if I recall correctly. The producer was sent my remix and told me “you’re clearly classically trained”, complementing me on my chords.

As flattering as that was to hear, I had to correct this. Rest assured that I’m not classically trained in any manner. Everything that I’ve learnt about music production comes either from tutorials on YouTube and a keen ear for what I think sounds right over many years of listening to music.

Conversely, I’ve also received charming emails in the past which are less complimentary about my abilities. Back in the same year, I received an email which told me…

“It’s about time someone said this to you. You’re a shit producer. Your shit isn’t in key, it just doesn’t work. Whatever your calling in life, it sure as fuck isn’t music. Best thing you can do is burn down your studio with all your music inside it and forget this ever happened. You’ll be more happy, and fuck knows the rest of us will be too.”

Some people aren’t happy unless they’re being cruel, are they?

That last one used to bother me. Now, I don’t care. Because I’ve realised I have no idea who this person is, and I think it’s terribly sad they actually felt the need to send me an unsolicited email of “advice” like that.

Life is like that, though…

Things don’t stop at weekends here!

You might be new to this site, so allow me to explain. Things don’t stop here at the weekends. There’s plenty still going on at this 7-day a week operation.

First of all, here’s a reminder that this is out this week. Lovely soulful house with Morris Revy and a garage dub too!

Tomorrow morning, you’ve got a useful recap coming up just in case you’ve missed anything from another busy week on the blog…

Then in the afternoon, the weekly review of the best tracks to come out the past 7 days…

And Sunday is filled with the usual Sunday stuff. Plenty to see you through to another Monday morning…

Where DO I find my singers from?

I’m currently working on several vocal productions. There’s no point me complaining about the relentless torrent of remixes of decade old tunes in the charts and not offering an alternative, is there?

I’ve got another Morris Revy track in the works – the follow-up to the follow-up of “Perfect Vacation” – and several other things that I’m contractually obliged to keep quiet about for the time being. All in all, I’m trying to keep as busy as I can.

People sometimes ask me how I contact singers and the finer details, like the financial side. I’m not going to reveal specifics about singers here because some of them appreciate a degree of confidentiality in the way they operate, but I’ll say what I can.

Morris Revy, for example, actually contacted me via Instagram about us working together. He became aware of my work though my reviews on the Six On Saturday column and thought we’d be a good match. I’m now working on a fourth single with him, so I suspect he might have been correct on that one!

There are other singers like Richelle Hicks and Karla Brown who I approached myself. And then there’s the latest batch, whom I haven’t worked with before. I came across them on a website called Airgigs.

I have to say I like it. It’s all pretty straightforward. The vocalists can put their terms forward from the outset and it’s all simple and transparent.

I could spend a hell of a lot of money at that place…

I promised you an EP? Not quite sure about that…

Earlier today, I was contacted by a record label who were asking me for an update on the EP that I was making for them. Apparently, I’d missed the deadline by over a week and they were wondering what the hold up was.

There was just one little problem here. You see, I’ve never actually contacted this label in my life. I’ve reviewed a few of their tracks in my Six On Saturday column, but that’s the extent of how much I have to do with them.

It was a weird email to receive, but it’s nice to know I’ve somehow got on their radar. I left them with my remix calling card and went on my way.

Speaking of which, I’ve got two remixes that I need to get finished…