The Amsterdam based Roq ’n Rolla Music was founded in 2015. Ever since, the independent label is one of the main hubs for creative artists who like things out of the box and yet want to score commercial hits. Their roster is full of big names like Jebroer, Snelle, Bollebof, Russo and Tally. Roq ‘n Rolla is also the newest partner of VIRPP. We talk to Head of A&R, Mahi Khalesi about the company and breaking into the business.
How did Roq ‘n Rolla get started?
“After working in the Dutch music industry for some time, Jebroer and his manager, Babek Arjang Far noticed that labels could do a lot more to promote their artists. Instead of complaining about it, they decided to take matters into their own hands and they started Roq ‘n Rolla. At that time, Jebroer was also a lecturer at the Herman Brood Academy and Snelle was one of his students. They hit it off and in no time Snelle was the second artist signed to the new label. The rest is, as they say, history.”
How important is the search for new talent?
“The answer to this question is short and simple. Finding new talent is our main focus. You always want to discover the best and most surprising new artist or producer. The most effective way to do that is to keep your finger on the pulse, go to events, look online and listen to other artists. Everybody here will get lots of demos in their inbox on a daily basis. In a perfect world, we would reply to everybody who took their time to drop a demo. Sadly, that would be a full-time job. But rest assured, we always try to listen to every demo we get.”
Could you describe your demo listening process?
“For me, it is important that there is a picture included with the demo. I want to see who the person behind the music is. Production is also a very important thing. I like to be surprised by the combination of voice, beats and lyrics.”
What kind of artists or producers is Roq ‘n Rolla looking for?
“We are not a specific genre label. To give some examples; Snelle makes pop music, Jebroer left his mark on the EDM scene and Bollebof is known for his club hits. Our focus is a broad one. Everybody who wants to drop a demo should ask themselves the following question – what makes you the next big thing? Nobody is looking for the tenth Ronny Flex clone. It’s more interesting to find unique, original and creative people who do their own thing.”
What are your thoughts on VIRPP?
“I love it. It is perfect for labels and for aspiring artists and producers; seeing there is one place for demo drops. Working with a platform like VIRPP makes everybody’s working life a little bit easier. I’m looking forward to hearing all of the submissions and yes, it would be really cool if we can find that special artist that complements our roster. We are going to start with several contests and are thinking about other future plans like masterclasses or activities to help and educate the future generation of artists and producers.”