Welcome to another ‘The People Behind the Scene’. We are really excited to chat to Christian Legno AKA SOUL BUTTON, DJ, Producer and owner of label STEYOYOKE. Steyoyoke consistently delivers gorgeous ethereal techno and has seen amazing success in the past few years growing to be one of the leading labels on the melodic techno scene. Read on and find out what it takes to make the magic happen…
What is the role of a Label owner?
Organising and scheduling are the most important functions, especially because you get to coordinate and communicate with many people every day; between artists, promoters, distributors, agents, managers, employees, competitors and of course, all of the followers (who are the best). It’s a lot of work because there really is no specific role. I can mention a quick list of various daily tasks: consult with artists, listen to music, plan the release schedule, send music to the distributor, promote the label, artists, gigs and music, send promos to the radio, magazines, dj friends and blogs, update the websites, manage all the social media, upload to YouTube, promote the releases when they are out … and … organising the merchandise, the new products in the shop, book the artists of the label, manage their careers … well, I’m pretty sure I’m forgetting lots of other tasks
What is the role of a DJ and producer?
Clearing your mind empty of all the bullshits of this world and use the creativity as weapon for creating “bombs” I do listen lots of music every day because the most important thing is to follow how the sound keeps evolving. Also, I try to always be up to date with all of the new tools, like new plugins, techniques, software and gear. I spend hours and hours, days and days, weeks and weeks in my studio. I don’t care if I don’t see my friends; they know I’m locked in the studio and I don’t go out with them because I’m making something that makes people happy and dancing … and that’s why they still love me.
Tell us about your typical day?
Typically, I wake up at 9am and I go straight to the Steyoyoke office where I meet my lovely collaborators Susi and Simon, we drink coffee, we joke a bit and then we start our chaotic day. There are no simple working days, there is always something crazy happening. Around 6-7pm I leave to go back home, I eat something and then I start producing or DJing or record a podcast. Sometimes if I’m too tired from the office work and not really feeling super creative, I take care of my social network pages … sometimes I don’t sleep until the next day; Susi and Simon will already know why I didn’t get to the office early!
How did you get your job?
I created my job and … believe me .. it was a very hard and long process. I started to make music when I was 17, now I’m 39. I stopped producing music for 3-4 years when I was living in London because I wanted to better understand the music industry. After I learned about how many challenges face the music business, I decided to come back to production and I started to think about starting my own project.
The reason why I do music business? …even though I don’t necessarily love the industry after what I learned (I wanted you to ask me this question so I asked myself, LOL). Music is pure art, and the music business treats it as product instead. This is what I don’t really like, so this is what I will never accept for my projects. The only way to control it is to avoid connections with agents, managers etc… And this is what Steyoyoke is. We don’t have any connections with anybody. Yes, we have been open to the idea in the past, but in order to keep things organic we no longer have any connections with anybody. I still believe in music as beauty and wonder, and prefer not to accept the concept of making agents rich from exploiting my art.
What’s the best part of your job?
For sure it’s the performance piece, when you get go to play in front of thousands of people. The energy and adrenaline that the crowd shares with you is something that is just impossible to describe. When you play your own tunes and you notice that people know them… When you start to play and there’s this excitement in the crowd because the headliner is starting.. and you notice them all prepare themselves to give their best on the dance floor.
And … of course when you see your own, or your friends releases climbing the chart on Beatport…
Also, when Sasha plays your tune in the Essential Mix
And the worst…?
The worst ?? uffff … I do not like to deal with people who are not able to use their brain. I prefer to not go further.
What has been the highlight of your career to date?
For sure my label Steyoyoke. It’s not just a label, it’s my child, my work and my life. I put so much energy in this project, every second of my life. I never forget “her”, not even for one instant. People who know Steyoyoke definitely feel it.
Any tips for aspiring label owners?
There are millions of labels around the world. Only a few have a strong concept and character. If you want to start your own label, don’t think that it only means releasing music and sending it to the distributor and then wait for the release date. Create something that distinguishes your label from the others. It can be a strong artistic concept, it can be a very specific music style, it can be consistent quality music. It can be whatever, but you need a concept for sure. And .. you have to do it with your heart and with passion, otherwise you will fail after a couple of years max.
Any tips for aspiring DJ/producers?
I could say the same things like … put your heart into it, express your soul and translate what’s “deep inside” in notes … but I feel like I want to say another thing … be original … don’t copy. The music, in this very strange transitional period of the story of dance music, is all far too similar. When a good producer makes something that becomes popular, then millions of small producers try to do the same. Now everyone is trying to copy Stefan Bodzin, two years ago was Tale Of Us. You have no idea how many demos I receive, with the producers writing: “I have made this song, especially with the sound of Steyoyoke .. but I can do so many different styles” … WHAT ??? That’s so sad. It means that they made their music with another goal, that is to be released and not to show their own art … and what is exactly their signature if they can do so many different styles?
And .. I want to add something important. We lost the concept of the “MESSAGE” in the music. Ok, of course we do Dance Music and very often there are no lyrics, making it hard to deliver a message, like the way it used to be 10-15 years ago. I understand this point, but let’s not forget that make music means to share a message to people. This is important .. very important.
Qualifications: Degree in Electronic Engineer. Sound Engineer.