FROM listening to the likes of Jean Michel Jarre as a teen to setting up his own label and working with some of the biggest names in electronic music, it’s fair to say that Brent Lawson has realised a life-long dream. With a passion for music that knows no bounds, the Scotsman is now one of the leading figures in the UK’s thriving electronic scene, at the helm of a hugely exciting label in Pro-B Tech.
Having recently expanded his business into management and production, he is now the owner of Pro-B Tech records, Bro-B Tech Music, BTechNoir and Probtech Management with a roster of artists that any label would be jealous of. Featuring the likes of Jawjee, Ian Dillon and Ingo Vogelmann, his aim has been to shine a light on underground progressive house , tech house and techno by working with a number of profile names alongside an exciting array of budding artists and allowing them to flourish.
With years of experience to his name, Dawson is a fountain of knowledge when it comes to the inner workings of the music industry and will be lending some valuable advice at the inaugural edition of Resonate Glasgow this Thursday (16th November). Set to appear alongside an extensive list of high profile guests, he will be there to discuss the rise of his well-respected label and management firm. Ahead of his appearance at the highly anticipated event, TTV caught up with Lawson for a sneak preview of what he’ll be talking about.
How did you get involved in electronic music? Who were your greatest musical influences growing up?
My greatest influence that created my love for the electronic scene was Jean Michel Jarre; I heard his music in my teenage years on tape cassette. From memory I believe it was ‘Oxygen’; the minute I heard that something clicked and from there on I started following him and the electronic sound. I still follow and listen to his music to date and continue to be mind-blown. From a specific dance music side it was the pairing of Dave Seaman & Steve Anderson. aka Brothers In Rhythm.. I think it was their remixes of well-known artists that initially grabbed my attention and similar to JMJ, Dave Seaman continues to be an artist & DJ in my top Tier and a damn good guy as well.
What made you want to set up Pro-B Tech Records?
I had loved the Dance music industry and its sound for so long but could not find the time / skills to produce myself. As technology progressed the chances of getting a break as a standalone DJ were and are very limited so I decided to do the next best thing and take up the record label side of things.
Who have been your favourite artists to work with? I think it’s be a real rollercoaster good and bad. But it has opened the door to letting me communicate and deal with some of my heroes within the scene – people like Hernan Cattaneo, Quivver, Dave Seaman. To be dealing with these guys and seeing them release on my own label…I was kind of star struck, However the real great thing about having my own label / labels has been the chance to bring in new artists and see them flourish. Artists such as NILA, Zed White, Hernan Serrao, Ingo Vogelmann and many more of our own team at Probtech Management; it has been really really rewarding to see these guys continue to progress with many labels and continue to do so.
How has the label’s sound diversified since starting out?
What we aim to do is keep our labels solid to the sound we initiated them on, this means that people get to know what the sound will be each time something is released with us, so Pro B Tech Music is our more Progressive House sound and to compensate for a diverse market and to keep ourselves involved in the whole scene, we opened up BTechNoir Records. This is our darker, harder more Techno / Minimal sound, the idea as I say to help us cover all avenues.
Where do you see Pro-B Tech going from here? What artists would you like to see on the label? I see Pro B Tech continuing to expand getting a lot more involved the streaming market, Spotify specifically. We intend to start putting on our own events through our own team / roster and Probtech Management. Within the team we have a very diverse, new and global reach which includes, UK, Germany, South America, North America, New Zealand, Ibiza and more. As for artists we very much want to concentrate on our own roster helping growth from within the team, we very much believe in working with new artists, it is a very tough market nowadays and being noticed is very difficult so we work hard to help out any budding artist
What advice have you got for those looking to start a label?
Think very carefully, set out your stall and plan before diving in, it is very easy to start a label nowadays but be clear on what you want, your direction and be sure that you understand you will lose money. That’s maybe not what people want to read or see; however, it is the truth. It is how you deal with the loss in one hand but gains in the other, hence setting out your plan and being very clear. Furthermore, don’t fall into the trap of signing and releasing music that you like – that will hit many listeners but it won’t hit them all always. Think about the bigger picture and check out regular charts, the sound that is being supported. You will be surprised that on many occasions it doesn’t fit your personal sound.
How has the electronic scene developed in Scotland over the years?
I think it has become very niche, the market is still very buoyant but it’s more confined. You need to work with a group of like-minded people. The days of just throwing an event on in the electronic scene and succeeding are not there now, however that applies to the scene across the UK.
Finally, what other new plans and ventures have you got coming up?
All I can say is we have a catalogue into 2018 and beyond, some big releases and events. Keep a close eye out on what we are up with the developments at Probtech Management.