Known for DJ sets leading a journey of techno and minimal sounds blended with dark vocals, the time has come for SOEL to make his live debut at the Cityfox LIVE Festival 2020 this weekend. The festival, showcasing only live electronic music acts, is closing out February at Avant Gardner in Brooklyn, NY this Saturday, February 29th. Read on for more about SOEL’s upcoming performance, launching ORACOLO Records, his debut album, and advice for aspiring artists to be signed and run a label of their own.
I believe I saw on social that this will be your live debut at Cityfox. How will it be different from your other performances to date?
■ To me, a live performance is something extremely personal. It’s a personal tale very few people can describe to the audience, and everyone has their own unique approach to how they want to tell it. There is something inherently special about being the narrator of your own story and sharing it with an audience of people you’ve never met. It’s a very raw, almost vulnerable place for an artist to be in, and that’s what I find especially magical about it.
A live set obviously involves more than a regular DJ set in terms of content, preparation, gear, etc. What inspired you to take the live route?
■ Although this is my first live debut, the approach has never really been that different for me, because even when I DJ, I always have a similar approach with the tracks I play. Before I play them, I always work on them in studio and make my own remix or rework, and also during my performances I always mix them with something, an instrument, it could be a drum a pad or a synth, but I always mix them with something and add my own flavor to it. I have over 37 hours of unreleased music, and for years now people have been asking me when I’ll play live. Professionally, it’s something I’ve wanted to achieve and I think that as I began producing more music, and evolving as an artist, that combined with the encouragement and support of longtime artist friends — many who also play live — I finally felt ready to go for it. I was waiting for the right time, at the right event and when I felt truly ready. I couldn’t think of a better place to debut other than the Cityfox LIVE Festival.
What can we expect to see from you at Cityfox LIVE? What type of gear will you be using?
■ I keep it simple: a main XONE92 mixer for EQ and levels, a few midi controllers, two computers and their soundcards, and a Roland Drum Machine. The DAWs I use on both laptops is Logic Pro. I found my own way and equilibrium with this software, which is kind of unusual because a majority of artists use Ableton.
What about this particular event are you most excited about?
■ I’m most excited to make my live debut here, especially with Cityfox because they always put on incredible events with consistently good lineups. I’ve gone to their events for years as a clubber, so I’m really excited to experience this as an artist.
You recently announced the launch of your own label, ORACOLO Records. What are your goals and visions for the label in 2020?
■ My main goal for the label, for 2020 and beyond, is to curate and showcase music from artists who are unique, the ones who have decided to go down their own path, choosing individuality over conformity. The first release will be my debut LP, featuring some of my most well-known tracks. I have some of the best supporters in the world, who have been waiting for this release since 2017.
Are there challenges for you when holding down both roles: an artist and running a label? What advice do you have for someone who aspires to launch a label? What about advice for artists who would like to be featured on your label?
■ I actually feel it’s less of a challenge running my own label as an artist as well, because I know what sound/style I‘m looking for for the label, and I can make some of these business decisions from a creative standpoint. My advice for someone who wants to start their own label would be to take your time and don’t feel pressured by anyone, especially yourself. There are no rules and there is no expiration date. When you’re ready, you’ll know. For artists who are interested in releasing on the label, my advice would be to stay as original as possible. So much music nowadays sounds exactly the same, and I don’t want ORACOLO to turn into a label that is releasing the same music as other labels. There can be crossover at times, sure, but more than anything I want to feature artists who stay true to their sound and are proud to be unique.
You also have your debut album Ambrosia coming out this May. What can we expect from the album? What else is in store for 2020?
■ The LP features many of my most well-known dancefloor tracks, that had been played by myself and other artists, some as far back as three years ago. For a long time, supporters have been asking me when I’ll release my music, and so this LP is in many ways for them. They’ve stuck by me over the years, and I promised that my music would finally see the light. The tracks I chose for the LP, together, tell a story about the evolution of my sound over the past three years! Aside from the LP, I have one various artist’s album coming out towards the middle/end of the year, and two other EPs on my label. I’m releasing on a couple of labels in 2020 but I can’t go into details just yet. The projects I’m working on now are some of my most creative and interesting projects to-date, and I can’t wait to share more about it in the coming months.