Hi TJ, thanks for taking the time to speak to us today. Can you give us a little background info about the people behind Pick N Mix?
Thank you so much for having me. Pick 'n' Mix was created by myself in Nov 2018 in south London. My goal was to help up n coming producers who were sending me music (50 tunes a week) to have a strong platform solely for them. In May I made a post for people to get involved and now we have a strong 5+ marketing team. My music background is very volatile. I used to play the piano and dabbled in logic for 4 years but gave it a break once I swapped over to PC from Mac. My family have an abundance of musicality. My dad is a drummer, sister is a DJ, brother plays piano and sister use to play violin. You could say music runs in the family.
What was the inspiration behind starting the label? Did you have a goal or target when you first started?
Ultimately, I had the self-awareness to know what I’m good and bad at, what I like and what I don’t like. One thing that honestly makes me tick, is being able to provide for others. Me having my own label allowed me to give people I thought deserved a chance, an opportunity for their music to be heard by the masses. I’m super confident the next 10 years of DNB is going to be strong hence why I want to create a platform that will lead the way for our generation. My goal was pretty simple. Help people and do it the right way. A lot of labels I find copy each other and that left a lot of room for my creativity to shine.
Pick N Mix is a fairly new label yet, your releases are regularly topping the charts on Juno Download. Is there a secret formula behind your success? or do you just work extra hard?
Work ethic, humility, self-awareness, gratitude & kindness. These are the tools that have got me to where I am 100%. In all honesty having number 1’s is amazing and is testament to the high quality the DNB scene has and how well the team are in distributing content. However I’m here to build brand and a legacy, I genuinely believe that numbers get in the way for a lot of people as they have expectations, the judgement of others and mental health all play a part but it’s not the be all and end all, I just want people to love the music we release and if 1 person does, I’ve done my job.
Do you guys specialise in a particular style of Drum & Bass? Do you think this has helped to make the label successful?
I get asked this a lot. I am predominantly known for playing jump up however starting the label I definitely have shown the versatility that I have. I love all dnb which is why we have a free download album with 10 tracks that people would class as ‘’rollers’’ (Dark Fruits LP). We have a minimal EP from Division and a liquid EP planned this year with Metalwork. I actually believe not giving myself a certain ‘sound’ has benefited as I don’t want to box anyone out, the label is for the scene, by the scene. We sign good music, that’s all there is too it.
What would you say are the most important things to consider when running/setting up a new label?
You need to know your ‘why’. Why did you start? For money? Cool, you need to make sure you’re budgeting, financing and accounting everything accordingly in order to get to where you want. Is it for status? Cool, you need to brand yourself at scale & consistently. Whatever your ‘why’ is, I’m not judgmental at all, if it brings you happiness then you need to go for it. On the complete flip side however money isn’t long term in my honest opinion, as someone who puts reputation and happiness above money, I’m thinking about the next 15-20 years & when your main focus is money, you can’t think long term as you have to focus on short term expenses and many other things. I love the process. Distribution, artists & artwork are 3 of the most important factors when creating a label.
Can you tell us a little about the PNM All Stars LP you are releasing?
This has been the hardest project so far and I’m so happy it was. It’s our 10th release, so a lot of work had to be put into it, the fact I was stressing out some nights definitely gave me reassurance that the end product was going to be amazing and it is absolutely fire. We have 20 tracks from 23 different artists from all over the shop. With artists like Vital, KL & Phoroptic making a return, we also introduce newcomers who you may be seeing more of this year. I’m so excited to get this to the masses and to show off the talent we have in the up n coming scene.
There is a huge amount of music on the release… How did you go about choosing the tracks to go on the album?
It was really quite simple. I just thought, who deserves a platform. At this point, I was assured that the label had attention and I felt that I could actually create a change for some of these artists. Everyone on the release deserves a spot as in their own individual lanes, they’ve put the work in and have turned my head.
Do you have a favourite track from the release?
I love all the music I sign. I can’t say I have a favourite tune from this release but the VIPs are insane. Hear them at a rave near you soon.
On your SoundCloud page it says you are creating a path for newer, younger talent. With this in mind, what advice would you give to a budding producer hoping to get some music signed to PNM?
I’m extremely happy you asked this. I feel like nowadays producers forget about quality control. In this internet age, once you post something up it stays there forever. All the music I have signed, I have approached the artist. One factor is they only post quality clips or finished tunes. I would stay away from showing me WIPs (works in progress) and stick to sending a piece of finished quality work you’re happy with. I’d hate for someone to send me music they don’t like, one it doesn’t make sense and two, you’re undervaluing yourself.
What else do you have planned for 2020? (Gigs coming up or releases to watch out for?)
In 2020 PNM is taking over, every month our supporters will get their hands on a free download (first Friday of every month) and a new release on Juno (last Friday of every month. Look out for our ‘’Arcade series’’ featuring an old but gold concept. Artwork is going to be insane. We have 6 events / takeovers scheduled in the next 2 months. We have radio shows, competitions & loads, loads more. It is overwhelming, it’s the most work I’ve put into anything ever and I love every step of the way, I don’t think people understand how much I do and I just want to say thank you to everyone who’s been a part of this journey.