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PROFILE: Protect Audio

PROFILE: Protect Audio
Jack Smith

To accompany the forthcoming release of their ‘Diffraction of Sound’ EP, we spoke to Protect Audio bossman Pete Callaghan to discuss the origin of the label, the highs and lows of label management and future beats.

Greetings Pete! Tell us a little about yourself and where you’re from… what would you say prompted the creation of Protect and does it channel your own taste in music in particular?

Hey! Well, I’m Pete, I’m 26 years old, 6ft 4 and I’m from Worcester. Sounds like blind date doesn’t it? I’ve been involved within the dance music industry for around 5 years now. I started off running another label that was aimed towards the commercial end of the music spectrum, before every man and his dog wanted a piece of the action. I’ve always loved the darker sides of Drum & Bass, but at the time I didn’t really know a lot about it, so I just left it on the back burner. 2012 hit and I’d been chatting to Marukomu for a good couple of years and I pitched him the idea of a release on a label called Protect Audio and it started there. Malc (Marukomu) sent me over some ideas that he’d been working on and we got to work. So yes, I love the music I put out on Protect.

How long did it take between having the original idea of setting up the label to it actually coming into form? And were there any particular barriers to entry along the way that elongated the process?

As mentioned above, I’ve always loved this type of Drum & Bass, so creating a label to put out the music I love feels pretty natural to me. There is always barriers when it comes to music. I originally wanted Protect Audio to release on vinyl, but trying to get a distributor was an impossible task. With Load Media and Nu Urban going bust I can see why other distros are bricking it, and probably taking on a spanking new label scared them a little bit. One distributor also told me that my music wasn’t good enough for their distribution, so I politely told them to sod off, and I moved on! I now distribute myself using Label-Worx’s software, it’s wicked. I actually made an enquiry today about limited vinyl runs, but that story’s for another day 😉

It must take some patience and planning to juggle a normal working life with that of label management. Would you say you are able to dedicate a substantial amount of time to one without compromising on the other?

Well I keep telling myself all the hard work will pay off, and it does. Label’s don’t run themselves so I put in a silly amount of time. Now it’s all up and running I can get away with slacking occasionally. I’m also doing a degree and co-piloting Bass Explorer, so I’m always busy! When it comes to doing uni work I find myself doing label work. Ha! I just can’t help myself.

Talk us through your first release and how that played out. It’s an eclectic group of artists for sure; did you have a clear idea of what you wanted from your debut release or did it present itself after having put the feelers out?

When Protect started off I set my aim to release 90s influenced Drum & Bass, so I had a chat to Marukomu who makes that exact style of music. His stuff is wicked, and he really does enjoy the music he makes. He hasn’t jumped onto the waggon of dubstep, trap, or anything like that – He just makes good quality Drum & Bass, and probably always will. I know instantly if I want to sign a bit of music, and he hit the spot with ‘Visions / Ganymede’. I also got Eleven8 and Mono on the remixes and they did a spanking job. Being a new label with new artists I used the hefty Backdrop PR to deal with my promotion – These guys delivered my music to all the right places to give Protect that initial impact.

On to your latest release, the ‘Diffraction of Sound’ EP. I’d hasten to say it’s your strongest to date, and it seems as if each respective producer if teetering on the edge in terms of becoming established in their own right and no longer simply a promising ‘up-and-coming’ artist. That in itself must be pretty satisfying right?

Thanks man, yeah they are all extremely good producers and they all bring a different element to the release. I love working with them, and really enjoy the music they send me. They guys really do push themselves musically, and this is why they’re better than average. Yeah I’m very satisfied with how they are all doing, after all, I wouldn’t be doing what I do unless it was for them.

What’s the most satisfying aspect of your job, and vice versa which aspect gives you the most grievance?

The most satisfying part for me is seeing the final product charting on the download stores. It reassures me that my ears are working and the hard work is paying off. It’s a wicked feeling to know it’s all finished, but then I’m straight on the next release to start the process all over again.

The most annoying part: The stores spelling the bloody release title wrong, I know they must have a tonne of music to get online for the release dates, but it’s not hard to use your brain and double check the spellings!!! Luckily this hasn’t happened in a while…

What does the future hold for Protect, and what would you ultimately like to achieve with the label? Anything in the pipeline we should know about or is it still under wraps for now?

Well I can spill some beans, but not many. Protect will be releasing an EP from Survey, a single from Cursa, and a single from DeadBeets. When I have some time, I’d like to sort out the occasional Protect Audio night, I got some plans but you’ll find out some other day.

And finally, what’s the one ‘Urban Essential’ you couldn’t live without?

Coffee? Is that an Urban Essential? [By God yes, yes it is…]

The Diffraction of Sound EP is out Monday 29th April.