PHILOSOPHY OF MUSIC
Moderne Day Woman
NIKI ROBERTON, FOUNDER OF IAMSOUND RECORDS
By Roxana Vosough
Niki Roberton is the definition of the Moderne Day Woman, starting IAMSOUND records at age 26, after a career in directing music videos. She was determined to find and sign hidden talent, re-defining pop-music. The native Londener has gone on to do just that, signing some of todays most recognized voices, such as Florence and The Machine and produce some of LA's most legendary events, such as The Mondrian Sessions.
Roberton was gracious enough to interview with Mode-Moderne Journal, giving an insight to the recording industry today, advice to emerging bands, and upcoming concert recommendations.
ROXANA: How did you start IAMSOUND records?
NIKI: I used to be a music video director and often found that the bands I wrote treatments for were not the bands I liked, so I used to search the internet looking for new bands. The artists I found usually didn't have labels, let alone a budget for a video, so I opened an iTunes account (back then when you could easily) and started signing these bands for little to no money, and it just sort of grew from there.
ROXANA: What are you doing differently than other recording labels?
NIKI: I don’t think we are reinventing the wheel over here but I do know that I let each artist have 100% creative control. We sign them for small term deals so they are not trapped in a huge contract and then we help them grow. IAMSOUND is a development label and I love working with new talent and working with them from the very beginning. IAMSOUND is also a very small operation, I pretty much ran everything with just one other person, Paul Tao. Last year we brought in our friend, Anh Do who has started heading up the events and management division of the label. This helps to bring the IAMSOUND brand into different areas that just a normal record label couldn't, and we've been recently working with brands like Madewell and Vans to do events as well as doing an upcoming MOCA summer series.
ROXANA: What is a typical or not so typical day in your work schedule?
NIKI: Everyday is different; I honestly don't have a typical day, which I love.
ROXANA: How has events such as Mondrian Sessions defined your presence in the industry?
NIKI: I'm not sure it defines IAMSOUND in any way, I just feel that they are just another arm for promoting the brand. The Mondrian events have expanded to us working with the Morgans Group in Miami/ NYC/San Francisco and London, and shows IAMSOUND as more than just a record label but a creative and musical force that's hard to define, which I love.
ROXANA: What advice do you have for emerging bands and performers who are looking to take the next step and sign w/a record label?
NIKI: Research! We get so many submissions from artists who are not right for our label, and it's clear that they've just sent out a couple hundred demos to every label they can think of. I also think you need to have a strong idea of your identity, to go along with your research, in order to find the right labels to try and approach.
ROXANA: What music are you listening to these days? What would you like to hear more of?
NIKI: I've started listening to more vinyl lately for no particular reason, so I've been listening to a lot of the older parts of my collection: Sade, Carole King , Steely Dan, Marvin Gaye.
ROXANA: Any recommended concerts or performances to attend in the coming months?
NIKI: Our artist Nikki Lane is performing at The Wiltern with Spiritualized on the May 22nd and also our other girl, Charli XCX is playing with Santigold in June… Girl power!!
ROXANA: How has passion defined what you do?
NIKI: I think it's 100% of what I do. I'm obsessed with the artists we put out and work for them 24/7…I think anyone who runs their own business has a passion for what they do. They have to or it would just be pointless.
ROXANA: How has it been working with such talents, as Florence and The Machine and Little Boots?
NIKI: Amazing, being there in the early days and seeing it develop into what they are now is a total joy.
ROXANA: What are your goals for the future with IAMSOUND records?
NIKI: Keep finding and working with talented artists :)
Roxana Vosough, 25 is the founder and publisher of MMJ.
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