UFO Recordz and the UFO Network are two well-known entities within the EDM industry, founded by Darren Bezuidenhout and Jacques Maurice Julie. The group has started a new collaboration with VIRPP and we talked with them about music, new talent and passion.
How did UFO Recordz get started?
Jacques Maurice Julie: “We started late 2015. Darren was one half of Striptek and I was a fanboy who worked in the music industry. We started talking on Twitter and we clicked. Around that time, I had a small label and we decided to join forces. It has been a lovely journey with a lot of cool things. The only thing that stayed the same is our passion and enthusiasm for the music.”
Darren Bezuidenhout: “Starting a record label takes time and perseverance. So after we launched UFO Recordz, we decided to start a second business called UFO Network – an EDM specialized blog and media company. That took off and established our name in the EDM industry. Our label profits from that. Nowadays, we can state that the label has outgrown the blog in popularity.”
Jacques Maurice Julie: “The record label has been very successful. We have made more progress than we could have imagined in 2015. There is a great roster with names like Mark Stent, Da Broz, Rudeejay and Baddies Only. He [Baddies Only] is one of our recent blowouts with more than 108 million streams on TikTok and a hit with “Aqui Las Colombianas” in 127 countries.”
South Africa is your home base but you have an international roster. How did that come to be?
Darren Bezuidenhout: “We are very lucky to have offices in South Africa and Sweden. That way, we can get the best of both worlds. Don’t get me wrong, our focus is not necessarily South Africa or Europe. It is music, artists and producers. One of the most important requirements to be part of UFO Recordz is passion, the talent must have the same passion for music that we have.”
How does new talent reach UFO Recordz?
Jacques Maurice Julie: “We get hundreds of demos a day and always try to give feedback but due to the amount that is really hard. You just don’t have the time. That said, eventually we listen to every demo that we receive.”
Darren Bezuidenhout: “I think it is important to always get back to the artists, just to let them know that we have listened to their demos. Just a small piece of acknowledgement. As an artist myself, I know how frustrating it is when you send a demo and don’t hear anything back.”
Jacques Maurice Julie: “Communication and community are key. That is something that sets UFO Recordz apart from the competition and is an important factor in building a successful roster and thriving community.”
What are your thoughts on VIRPP?
Darren Bezuidenhout: “We always look for labels or platforms that can help us get the music out there or streamline the workflow we already have. There are a lot of places where new talent can drop their demos. For me, it feels like you pull the same artists again and again from these places. VIRPP brings something new to the table with the way the community plays a big part. Also, the fact that professional companies like Protocol Recordings and Musical Freedom are on board shows this is a serious platform.”
Jacques Maurice Julie: “I also love the whole copyright check they do. In the past, we had some problems with vocals and beats that weren’t cleared. The check before anything is uploaded makes it so you don’t have to worry about potential legal headaches. I am looking forward to working with VIRPP on demo drops and running contests. We have already invited VIRPP users to remix Aqui Las Colombianas. The winner will get an exclusive interview, blog feature placements and a YouTube upload on our channel, along with an official release with UFO Recordz.”
What should VIRPP users do to get noticed by you?
Darren Bezuidenhout: “Everybody knows that nowadays, it is not only about the music anymore. But also, how the artist represents himself and how he or she looks at him or herself as a brand. Music is what makes us notice you but the full package is very important.”
Jacques Maurice Julie: “The chances of getting noticed by us go up 90 precent when they have social media links and a short bio on their VIRPP profile. Let us know who you are and what you have done.”