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  • Writer's pictureWill

The Art of Submission

Marc O’rell is a DJ, producer and a key force in the Mystery Freedom family, and we chatted with him about the submitting work to the label, all of which happens through their SubmitHub account.

MysterFreedomBlog: While MF has released a rather wide stylistic variety of electronic music, what do you say to a producer or artist who asks, "What are you looking for?”

Marc: In general, we are looking for house, trance and techno related music with 4 to the floor drum rhythms, between 110-140 BPM, and with professional quality mixing and mastering.

MFB: How much music comes in that is simply in the "wrong" genre?

Marc: There are always some people that send demos to labels without checking the label itself. It’s always good to look at the home page and social media channels of a label and try to understand what sound they are looking for. For electronic music, it’s also helpful to check their releases on Beatport. If a label is focused on tech house music only, then it doesn’t make sense to send a slap house demo. For Mystery Freedom we have tried to keep it more open and accept a wider range of genres.

MFB: Are there particular mistakes producers make when they submit their tracks to you?

Marc: Most of the time we decline demos because the production is not good. A track should have a theme and build and release energy. Many producers don’t think about a theme, but it’s essential for a good track. When a track has all that, but mixing and mastering is not on point, we usually reach out to help. Another thing to keep in mind is the length of a song. Streaming requires short tracks of 2-3 minutes. That’s something to keep in mind when producing the track. Personally, I make an extended version of a song first and then cut the streaming version.

MFB: What can an artist or producer expect from MF when they submit a track through SubmitHub?

Marc: Mystery Freedom has a team of 3 A&Rs that listen to all the demos. There are days when we receive 5 or more demos and then there are days without a new demo (but they are rare). If a demo doesn’t fit at all, we’ll directly reject it, but usually the A&Rs listen to the tracks and write down their feedback for the other A&Rs to consider. As soon as they have all listened and written their feedback, the artist gets a reply.

MFB: What happens when the news is good?

Marc: First, we ask for the files, so we can do a studio check. If this check shows that the quality is not good enough, we ask for improvements from the artist or suggest a mixing and mastering service to help them. When everything is great, our label chief Thirsa reaches out with the necessary forms. Conversation about contracts and release info takes time as well as creating a cover, preparing the meta data and submitting to stores, posting about the releases on social media, and lot more.

MFB: What has your experience been like listening to submissions for the label

Marc: Listening to a huge number of demos is actually not easy and requires a good understanding of what really matters. There are sometimes tracks where your gut says that it’s not a good fit, but at the same time it’s hard to point out the problem. On the other side there are also tracks with obvious mistakes and we are sometimes able to help the artists by pointing them out, and helping them improve the recording. I personally see Mystery Freedom as a launching pad for smaller or upcoming artists. Discovering artists with great talent and helping them and becoming part of their journey is the biggest motivation for me.


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