We're excited to chat to Taylor Cohn, Co-Founder and A&R at Seshling Records, as he shares a wealth of insights from his journey in the music industry so far. From personal learnings, to professional insights, Taylor's inspirational mindset makes this a great read for both aspiring artists and anyone considering launching their own label alike.
Interview with Taylor Cohn:
Question: What initially drew you to the music industry and working at a record label?
Taylor: My journey began as a music lover and the go-to music curator for friends and family. Over the past decade, I've evolved as a DJ. My true passion lies in discovering the most unique, forward-thinking, and even the quirky music out there. Starting a record label was sparked by the desire to share these sounds with the world.
Question: If you didn't work in the music industry, what would you do instead?
Taylor: If music wasn't a thing, I could picture myself in video game development — a field that combines storytelling with technology and interactivity.
Question: What's your ultimate guilty pleasure song?
Taylor: A Day To Remember - If It Means A Lot To You. 'Nuff said, haha.
Question: How do you handle the pressure and demands of the music industry while maintaining your own well-being?
Taylor: It all comes down one thing for me: patience. I come across so many amazing artists, and while I'd love to sign them all, I know that's not always possible. We can't win every battle, but that's okay because in the grand scheme of things, as long as I'm channeling my passion and staying true to my goals, it all works out. I find it crucial to set those long-term goals that you'd be proud of achieving, whether it's tomorrow or years down the line. There's room for flexibility, but having a solid understanding of what truly brings you happiness is absolutely vital.
Question: Can you share a memorable or defining moment in your career that had a significant impact on you?
Taylor: Our journey began in 2018 when we started Seshling as a media brand, primarily focused on live-streaming local and lesser-known artists. We aimed to shine a spotlight on them in a positive and inclusive way. We hosted over 50 livestreams, including some big names at respected Phoenix clubs. But when the pandemic hit, our plans got derailed. However, instead of throwing in the towel, we shifted gears and decided to start our own house music label. It was our silver lining. This turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever been a part of. It taught me to see every twist and turn, whether good or not-so-good, as an opportunity for growth and honing in on what truly brings happiness.
Question: Who is an emerging artist you think people should be listening to?
Taylor: Definitely RSquared. These guys have this magical ability to infuse those unintentionally artificial sounds of '80s and early '90s pop music into their grooves. It's a refreshing twist… a pleasant juxtaposition.
Question: Is there a specific piece of advice you'd give yourself back when you first started in the industry?
Taylor: Looking back, the advice I'd give myself is pretty straightforward: 'Quality over quantity.' At the beginning, I was overly eager and would sometimes overcommit, trying to sign more tracks than our label could handle. I realized that true progress comes from having a solid foundation with a unique sound and consistent quality that fans can count on hearing every time they tune in. So, I took a step back and refocused to rebuild this sonic foundation, so to speak.
Question: What's the best piece of advice you've ever received in your career?
Taylor: Failures aren't just lessons; they're hidden opportunities.
Question: What is one thing about the music industry that surprised you when you first started?
Taylor: The absence of a definitive roadmap for starting a record label was surprising. We began with little knowledge, learning as we went along. Our goal was to create an imprint aligned with our passion for discovering cutting-edge house music artists and supporting them on their journey. We had to delve deep to find the best approach.
Question: If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?
Taylor: I'd choose the power to telepathically share the sounds in my mind. It would transcend language and semantics, opening up endless possibilities in music. Having all the musical knowledge is one thing, but this... this would be truly extraordinary.
Question: Can you share a mentor or role model who has had a significant influence on your career?
Taylor: My main man, Seshling co-founder, Derek Skinnell, aka DWREK, has been an absolute rock in my journey. He's not just a mentor but a confidant, a friend, and a source of life lessons. I owe a lot of my current position to him. One of the most crucial lessons I've learned, especially in the music industry, is the importance of surrounding yourself with positive and driven individuals who genuinely have your best interests and goals at heart.
Question: What are the common mistakes artists make when approaching record labels?
Taylor: The big two are impatience and demands that don't quite align with where they are in their artistic journey. It can be a bit of a turn-off when we discover great music, and the artist asks for things that might not be feasible at their early career stage. Another thing is when they request exceptions, like altering release art or promo strategies, which could disrupt our well-planned release process that we've put a lot of effort into.
Question: What do you think is the biggest misconception artists have about the role of record labels today?
Taylor: One common misconception is the belief that signing with a label guarantees instant recognition, a surge in stream counts, and a flood of gigs. The reality is, it's a two-way street. We can only be as successful as your music and your level of activity allow. It's a partnership, and we're signing you because we genuinely believe in your potential for a successful future. But that belief comes with the expectation that you're just as committed as we are. It's a mutual effort.
Question: Which artists have you signed from LabelRadar?
Taylor: Shout out to Bonfii, OXSY, Laurent Simeca, Fleax, Mostly Unfamous, among many others.
Question: How does LabelRadar help the music discovery process for you?
Taylor: LabelRadar is a game-changer for us. It's not just about discovering new and unheard artists; it also gives us a sneak peek into the ideas and creative directions these artists are exploring. It's like getting a glimpse into the future of new and unheard music. Having this tool at our fingertips is a true blessing.
Question: How has joining LabelRadar impacted your (or your team's) day to day?
Taylor: From the early days of our label, LabelRadar has been an incredibly valuable asset. It's like our secret weapon for discovering new and unheard artists with amazing music but lacking the platform to share it widely. When it comes to A&R, it's hands down one of the best tools in our arsenal. There are so many talented artists we might have missed if it weren't for LabelRadar. We're thrilled with the results, and we're not planning on parting ways with it anytime soon.
Thanks for talking with us Taylor!
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