You are here

The Juice... with Jonas Stone (EPM Promo)

Taking a look behind the scenes this week, with music promo guru, Jonas Stone.

Tell us a little about your history in the dance music business?

I guess you could say I caught the dance music bug in the after shock of the summer of love, primarily due to bands like the Stone Roses and Happy Mondays. It was via hanging out with mates who were a lot more clued up than me (be it football, fashion or music) that I started going out to clubs and got sucked in head first to acid house, techno, garage and house. After going out to Madisons in Bournemouth one night I was round a mates house who had bought the first ever issue of JockeySlut magazine. I picked it up and just thought this is the mag I have been searching for and called the guys up and became their first subscriber. I wrote my first feature for them by the fourth issue - remaining a freelancer for them until it folded some 13 years later. I wrote for various other publications like Melody Maker, Magic Feet, Muzik, Update, Dazed & Confused over the years and in 1996 joined a PR company called Phuturetrax where I eventually ran the ‘electronic dance' department.

Famous Jockey Slut cover of Daft Punk in 1996

How did EPM start, which records/artists/tactics?

I worked with Oliver Way at Phuturetrax and by January 2001 we decided to set up our own thing with myself running the PR side and Oliver handling DJ bookings and artist management. Oliver was already representing artists like Freddy Fresh and other DJs and I was doing PR for labels like Tresor, Eskimo, Music Man, Novamute and events such as Dedbeat and Homelands. There was no other plan other than doing it for ourselves and working with artists and labels we wanted to work with. It was great to be able to steer our own ship but I must admit there was a hell of a lot of work involved. I remember the very first person to email me back when we announced we were setting up our own thing was Jeff Mills who said he knew way back we would set up on our own. That was a massive vote of confidence and I still smile about it now.

(Not that we need encouragement) Here's Plastikman classic Spastik, released on Novamute in 1993:

What's been the key to your success?

No.1, hard work. It's been tough and there have been times when we nearly didn't make it if I'm honest. We've seen a lot of changes in the music business since we started and a lot of good people and labels have fallen by. A big change for us was when Melle Boels came on board and had the vision in 2003 to set up EPM as a digital distribution company. That side has built up over the years to become our core business. Melle has really driven the company in that respect and deserves every credit into turning EPM into a company with a global vision and reach as we now have offices in London, Maastricht and Berlin. Finally after 10 years we feel that we are in a really strong position which is why we have also set up our own label and rights management / publishing side to the business. It's still hard work but I'd rather do this than work in a bank!

What's changed in 10 years of promoting music?

Well the answer pretty much hinges on one word – digital! The digital revolution has changed the game in almost every aspect. From promotion to sales, DJing and live shows technology has been the driving force of change. We are still adapting to the on going changes and that's what you have to do to survive. The geek have inherited the earth! The lead in times for club and radio promo have shortened, piracy is a major issue for every label and we live in a very immediate society where people want to read and then click and listen/buy, There are still a lot of underlying aspects that remain the same like building up good contacts, pitching features and so on. Also everything is done by email, hardly anyone speaks on the phone these days but that personal contact is still important.

Tell us about the EPM 10 album, what's on it, what's the vibe?

EPM 10 captures the essence of what we want to do with the label and we are very fortunate to call on some very highly regarded artists like Robert Hood, Alexander Robotnick, Sandwell District, James Ruskin, Mark Broom, Keith Tenniswood, Marco Passarani, Detroit Grand Pubahs, Orlando Voorn, Dirt Crew, Billy Nasty and Marius. It goes from techno to house, industrial and electro – 4 key foundations to the label. We're getting a lot of very positive feedback and we couldn't ask for a better way to launch the label. We already have the next three artist albums lined up, its going to be an exciting year…

You're doing some EPM events too at Fabric and Pbar, right?

Yes, we host Fabric on 26th February with Robert Hood (Floorplan), Orlando Voorn, Detroit Grand Pubahs and Kone-R from Uncharted Audio performing in Room 2. It's going to be a very special night in the club that has been a spiritual home for EPM from the beginning. And then we also host Panorama Bar on 16 April with Robert Hood, Orlando Voorn and Marco Passarani playing. Again what an amazing club and line-up, we are very chuffed indeed! There are more parties in the pipeline in Paris, Barcelona and Amsterdam but I don't want to jinx them until they are confirmed. Watch this space! And come join the party…

What advice would you give to artists new or established who are producing music and want to get it heard?

There are so many different answers to this question. I guess firstly be true to yourself and do something that makes you happy. Also get a good team of people involved so you can concentrate on the music. You need to have the time and the vision to make the music and DJ / play live every weekend. You can still control everything and oversee it all but you need the time to focus on your career. If you can get someone to promote your label / music, handle distribution or even manage you then even better. Also you cant just put out a single and do nothing about it. You need to send out to club DJs, press and radio and get a buzz going. You need to use social networks like myspace, facebook and twitter to engage with your fans and get your news out there. Maybe even run a club night and build up your label as a brand that you can take around the world like M-nus or Cocoon have. There are a lot of possibilities but you really need to shout about your music a bit more these days. Everything is moving quickly and DJs these days need to be a bit more business savvy if they are going to survive. However, believe in yourself and what you are doing. Otherwise why will other people?


Related content