Record labels are an important part of the music industry. Without them, we would never find out about some artists or hear their songs. On par with the three international giants, numerous indie labels are on the hunt for Danish talents. We decided to have a closer look at their work and philosophy. Having selected a few most exciting Danish indie labels, we sent them a questionnaire and asked for a playlist of the music they listen to in the office.
The Record Labels’ autumn on Good because Danish continues! Meet W.A.S. Entertainment…
Name: W.A.S. Entertainment
Year of launching: We Are Suburban – 2017, W.A.S. Entertainment – 2020
Danish artists on the roster: Rebecca Lou, Elisha, girlcrush, Brimheim, Blæst, Reveal Party, Mørkeblødt, SOÉL, and more.
The question hated by most artists and bands to start with: what’s the story behind your label’s name?
We just recently relaunched our company as W.A.S. Entertainment. Before the relaunch, we went under the name We are Suburban. “Suburban” because I used to be part of a music-collective in Skovlunde, a suburb to Copenhagen. The collective was called Suburban Music Collective and consisted of acts such as The Chairman, Alcabean, Nûrnbear and my own band The Awesome Welles. We shared rehearsal spaces and recording equipment, and I handled business and performed with most of the bands.
At some point around 2017, The Chairman and Alcabean started to gain momentum. I decided to turn the collective into a music management company — We Are Suburban. It was also when I decided to expand into doing both label and management, but I was still running everything by myself. I came to realise that I needed help to keep up with the workload. I wanted to grow the company into a full-service music company, so in 2019 I partnered up with long-time friends Mathias Bang Madsen and Hisham Maroun, who I felt could help me reach our now common ambitions. In spring 2020 we hired two amazing new employees, so we are now five, working on this thing day-to-day.
.A.S. Entertainment was officially launched on 10 August 2020. However, we had actually worked together a year prior to that as We are Suburban. We tried to come up with a forward-thinking and original name but ended up with W.A.S. Entertainment. Adding “Entertainment” to our name reflects our ambition to be seen more as a modern full-service music company using every necessary tool available to us, rather than a traditional record label.
What is your philosophy and process of choosing artists to work with?
First and foremost, I ask questions. Do we see ourselves being the right fit for the artist? Can we take them to the next level? What are the artist’s ambitions, and can we see ourselves deliver on these? We can fall in love with a band or an artist, but we need to be able to see ourselves in it. That’s why we like to work with artists as early in their career as possible, so we can spend time developing every aspect of their career together with them to ensure that we have redeemed their full potential.
We also need to make sure that the artists we sign are willing to invest just as much time developing and prioritising content creation. They should be as dedicated to growing their social media channels as they are to their songwriting. We can be quite demanding to work with, it’s a very committed relationship. In this day and age, competition is hard and we don’t have the finances to compete with major labels anyway. Our philosophy is to try and outsmart them in every sense. Both when it comes to songwriting and production, but also content creation and marketing strategies. For that, we need the artist to be open-minded, creative in all departments, and share our dedication towards long-term growth.
Lastly, we don’t limit ourselves to specific genres, though most of our artists can be categorised as some sort of alternative pop.
Why did you decide to open a record label?
Technically, we don’t see ourselves as a record label. That’s just a small part of the entire body of work. We see ourselves as talent developers. To make musical talents fulfil their potential, we need to release music, but we are also involved in every aspect of our artist’s career: from songwriting and production to content creation and social media strategies, finances, taxes.
The reason why we do it, is because we believe that music can make the world a better place. We like to sign artists with stories to tell, and we love it when we can ensure that those stories can be told to a broader audience. For instance, it was amazing to release the band Reveal Party and experience their singer Emily Holm Nyhuus giving an interview to the Danish national TV channel TV2 about being a trans woman having to wait 15 months to get hormone treatment.
What is your favourite spot in the office?
Might be our main studio. We recently moved into a bigger office space, and this studio is just beautiful and full of life. We have artists working there all day, and I love the combination of office and studios at the same place. It is important for us to be close to the music, and to our artists.
Which new releases are you excited about these days?
I’m excited about all our upcoming releases. We are fortunate to work with so many talented people these days. Right now, I’m excited to release Brimheim’s debut EP “Myself Misspelled” which is just wonderful. Soon after that, we will release girlcrush’s self-titled debut EP. There’re many good things to be psyched about. We are also releasing a Christmas song, a really good one actually, so stay tuned!